I have found over the years I’ve lived (and I’m not that young but not that old) that misconceptions about what should be achieved when you start learning photography can cause a lot of stress a disappointment. If you add a friend or family member who is less than supportive in this equation, you get what I like to call the “ I sold all my camera gear and went back to my 9 to 5 job that I hate” Syndrome.
Let’s set some things straight for you because emotional stability is important and a good thing to have in your life! Right?
You’re probably not going to make a gazillion dollars with photography within your first year as a photographer even though you want to. ( You will probably never make a gazillion dollars because does a gazillion even exist? It does sound cool though.)
I know you want to shoot a sexy model for Vogue.. Save that goal for year 10. Hey, look at the bright side, you’ll always have your mom!
Your first 10 to 15,000 photo are not going to be your best. They might even suck! Mine did! Who cares though! I still like that one shot of the turtle I took even if everyone else hates it. 🙂 Just have fun.
Ah… but beginners can and will get great photos right from the start. If you have a passion and you take time to focus, you will do great.
You should read your camera manual. Read it at least 5 times and carry it with you. Actually… Read it till you’re almost blind. It’s now part of your religion.
It’s a good idea to start by taking photos of things you like or care about. Don’t start shooting weddings if you hate going to weddings. I liked turtles. They are slow, easy to catch, and fun to skip across a lake. (Totally joking about skipping them.)
I don’t care how expensive your camera is, it will not make you a better photographer. You are the photographer and not your camera. It’s just a tool.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want the new Leica M10. That does mean if you go out and buy a Leica M10 and think you are a rockin’ photographer, you’re a stupid idiot. Yeah, I said it, and I mean it. Last time I checked, paints don’t make the painter and the baking pan doesn’t doesn’t make the baker. No one even cares what kind of computer J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter on.
Don’t freak out because you don’t know everything. Learn the basics first like aperture and shutter speed. Then, move on to lighting. Don’t worry about Photoshop at first. That’s later. Learning in the right order is important. There is a lot to learn. No great artist ever picked up a paint brush and painted his masterpiece right away. Be patient with yourself. I’ll bet you learned to add and subtract before learned algebra. There is a natural progression to learning, and if you skip parts, you’re what I like to call fucked.
Study the masters, the great ones. Don’t study the dude next to you. I know he’s cute, and all you think about at night is kissing him. You practice on your pillow when no one’s around, but calm down!
Photographers you should study and not kiss (because most of them are dead, and that’s just gross): Robert Capa, Henry Cartier Bresson, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, David Bailey, Helmet Newton, Richard Avedon, Galen Rowell, Saul Leiter, and Ikon Republik.
Please note: The last one is very kissable and not dead. Did you see what I did there? Tricky huh? Haha!
First copy. Then, create. It’s okay to find something you like and recreate it. This is how you learn. Eventually, you’ll find your own style and create your own art. No, this is not stealing. This is learning, and if you have a problem with it, go talk to Picasso!
Always remember and I can’t stress this enough, a great photo is not technically perfect. The that makes a great photo is feelings, connections and emotion. I think guys have a bigger problem with this part of photography. Everyone knows girls are more in touch with emotions. Guys just like to chew on rocks, talk about how big our egos are, and lift some more weights. Dudes! Go read some poetry, and learn be a romantic. It will help you in other areas of your life besides photography.
Ikon Republik- I am a photographer based in Salt Lake City Utah.I am the founder of VEGA Magazine. I like to write. I teach workshops. Please message me for a price list. Ikonrepublik@yahoo.com. Please give me about 3 days to respond.(Hey! I’m currently not working on getting better at checking email and I’m not even sorry about it.)
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