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. So without further ado, here’s a list of 10 things every beginning photographer should know:
I constantly hear from people who tell me they want to turn pro. They want to make a living as a photographer. Rather than tell you how hard that is, and list all the reasons why you shouldn’t turn pro, I will just share with you one simple test that can help you decide whether or not it’s something that you REALLY want to do.
It’s easily the most important lesson I learned in photography – how to make better photos by controlling the background.
I am a background fanatic. Some photographers talk non-stop about low-light performance, or color saturation or sharpness…for me it’s all about that background.
I am a photographer who shoots what he sees, regardless of frame size, etc. But I do “see” better in 4:3 aspect ratio (also known as (1.33/1.37) than I do the more traditional 3:2 aspect ratio.
All Micro Four Thirds cameras, including my Olympus OM-D E-M1X, offer the 4:3 aspect ratio as their native choice.
I am a bird photographer and that means I have one very large group of people who hate my guts. The hard-core birders. These people don’t do bird photography. They merely watch birds – i.e., birdwatching. They are convinced that bird photographers are evil and that we are somehow out there harming birds. Most of them are sincere. Some of them are like the cranky old guy who runs your homeowner’s association and who lives to “catch” you violating the rules. Wannabe bird cops I call them.
The highest compliment I can pay a photographer goes something like this…
“I saw a photo on Facebook and instantly knew that it was yours.”
If you have a recognizable style. . . If you have developed and perfected a particular approach to photography over a prolonged period of time. . .If you have mastered a type of photography to the point where you are a true subject matter expert, then you have a body of work.
Music Is the Space Between the Notes
(Yes this is applies to photography too)
French composer Claude Debussy famously said, “Music is the space between the notes.” It’s a reminder that art sometimes relies on the space around it to shine.
Without that space, there is only noise, clutter, and chaos. Photographers who ascend to the heights of their craft intuitively know this, even if they cannot articulate why.