Starting out in the big, wide world of photography can be incredibly daunting for any amateur photographer, so we’ve compiled 6 tips to help you make your break.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Henri Cartier-Bresson speaks wise words! Photography is not an art form that you can master overnight, and half the fun is getting out there and practicing your skills. The more you shoot, the more natural it will feel controlling your camera, and determining what settings to use in different situations. After time, knowing what shutter speed, aperture and ISO to use will feel like second nature, I promise!
Remember to take your camera out with you and find reasons to challenge yourself when shooting. One day, you can look back at all your early work and see how far you’ve come.
2. Make Time To Study
Attending classes are absolutely one of the best ways to get to grips with photography. Receiving tuition from a professional photographer can save you time trying to get your head around the buttons and dials that SLRs are covered in, in a way that camera manuals often can’t. It also really does help to be with like-minded people who are in the same boat, as you can share tips and tricks that you pick up along the way!
If you are serious about becoming a professional photographer, taking on a full time photography course is hugely beneficial. Not only will it indicate to future employers that you are dedicated to the art, it is also an amazing chance to create valuable connections in the industry.
3. Get Publishing
In this digital age, there are heaps of photo sharing websites out there that are a fantastic tool for photographers starting out. Joining Facebook groups that encourage you to post your latest work is great for receiving constructive feedback from others, who are viewing your photos with fresh and unbiased eyes. Other people will be able to help spot areas that you are good at, and can flag up any issues that you may need to work on, giving you a friendly nudge in the right direction!
When you feel ready, there are websites that you can use as a platform for your photography, such as the popular Flickr and 500px. As well as providing you with the opportunity to show off your work, you can also browse other people’s, which is an amazing source of inspiration.
4. Explore Opportunities
Internships provide a great insight into the photography industry, and can act as a catalyst for your career. It can be hard deciding what area of photography you want to get into if you’re looking at making it your job. When I finished my photojournalism degree at university, I had no idea what to do, and embarked on a series of internships to help point me in the right direction. After interning at a newspaper, a documentary films company and for a photographer, I finally interned at a fashion photography studio, where I ended up working as an employee for 3 years. A far cry from photojournalism, but I loved it, and it put me in a whole new career direction. It pays to be open to opportunities, and to not be too quick to dismiss anything.
How often do you take photos when you’re out and about in your hometown? Compare that to how many you would take on holiday. Sometimes it can be hard to think of subjects to take photos of when we’re in an overly familiar environment, so it’s great to use this as an excuse to travel a bit and see new places and photo opportunities. It doesn’t even have to be far! As mentioned in the first point above, the more you shoot, the better you will become. It’s all about training your eye to see things that would look great as a photograph, then you will find lots of interesting things around you locally.
6. Build Up Your Portfolio
Once you've taken a variety of shots in a range of situations and locations, it's time to build up your portfolio! It's a great feeling to see the best of your work together in one place, and don't be afraid to show it off! Portfolios can be online or printed and made into a professional book, or you could even do both! It's a good idea to get a fellow photographer to take a look over your chosen images so that you can be sure you've picked ones that really demonstrate your skills.