10 Things I Wish I’d Have Known About Photography As A Beginner

Owl Photo by Scott Bourne

10 Things I Wish I’d Have Known About Photography As A Beginner

New photographers have a lot to learn. That’s normal. Every journey starts with the first step. While these aren’t the ONLY 10 things beginners should know, they are 10 things that will absolutely help newbies get a better foothold on their photography.

1. There is no magic camera that makes you a great photographer – no more than there is a magic set of golf clubs that will make you a pro golfer or piano brand that will make you a great musician..

2. “Gear is good – vision is better.” Well-known travel photographer David duChemin says that. How do you develop vision? Look at lots of published photos.

Eagle Landing In The Snow - Photograph By Scott Bourne

3. Learn before you buy. Study the craft and the art of photography before you spend a lot of money on gear. During your study you will come upon your own photo truth and this is necessary before making a big investment in camera gear. (If you want to make a smart investment – that is.) Try renting cameras for the first few months before you decide.

4. Start small. It’s almost always good advice in any new pursuit but it’s especially important in photography, since any art form thrives on limitation. Stick with one camera and one lens for a while and see what you can do with that.

Cardinal in flight photo by Scott Bourne

5. Make photographs that feature subjects you’re passionate about. Shooting from the heart always yields the best photographs. If something is moving to you, chances are it will be moving to others. Concentrate first on what moves YOU and let the audience find your work later.

6. Try to master each stage of photography before moving on to the next level. Theres a lot to learn. Don’t rush it. Make a commitment to learn and love one type of photography at a time. After you’ve gone through several genres – your favorite will stick out.

Eagle Photograph On Snow by Scott Bourne

7. Pre-visualize! Try to think about your photographs as if they were hanging on the wall and do that BEFORE you press the shutter. Know what you want to accomplish. Take your time. Do it carefully and with serious consideration given to the end result.

8. Read your camera manual. Really. Every day. Become so familiar with your camera that it’s simply an extension of you.

9. Practice, practice, practice. This means shooting every day — If only to make a photo of a beer can on the porch. Take your camera out of the closet, set it up, make a picture, do it every day and you won’t believe how much that simple act helps.

A photograph of an egret in flight - Copyright Scott Bourne

10. Don’t get discouraged. This takes time just like anything else. You wouldn’t expect to be a world-class golfer or musician overnight. You won’t be a world-class photographer overnight. But you can still have fun and enjoy yourself until you do – become a world-class photographer that is.


I wish I’d have known these things when I first started out. That’s why I decided to share them with you. Get out there and make pictures. Keep these things in mind. I am hopeful that this information will help.

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