10 Non-Technical Things That Every Photographer Should Know.
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
― Ansel Adams
Here are some invaluable advice to all the photographers. These are the basics which you must know. Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment to let us know your view.
- The Best Camera is the one that you can Afford.
Purchase what you can afford and that includes lens and accessories. Going into debt to sustain the hobby of photography will make it stressful and cost you negatively.
If you want to go directly to a higher end DSLR camera that will serve you well for a few years (eg. full frame DSLRs), save up if you need to as full frame DSLRs are worth every penny if you choose wisely.
- Research before you Buy.
Research about the equipment that you need, check out or get a demo in stores before purchasing. Don’t make quick decisions based upon the discount. Camera equipment prices almost invariably decrease over time.
- Stay away from low quality Photography Forums.
Once you have made an informed decision and picked up your camera, stay away from gear forums. The recommendations will never stop and you will keep craving for that awesome lens. Instead spend your energy learning about better technique, art, light and composition. Understand that all you are doing with a camera is capturing light.
Recognize & Respect light. It’s your best friend. Don’t stay up thinking about the specs of the upcoming next DSLR. Go out and catch the good light in the morning or golden hour.
- Get a Speedlite / External Flash.
You don’t need expensive and high tech equipments to create high quality artificial lighting setup. Branded ones from Nikon or Canon will cost you in excess of $300. But there are some fantastic manufacturers who provide great flash units for fraction of that price.
One of my all time favorite is from Yongnuo. They also make radio triggers and other accessories. Check out Yongnuo’s Flash. It comes for less than $70 and is top recommended flash for anyone who is starting to learn about artificial lighting.
- Bokeh vs Blur.
Shoot with both shallow and wide depth-of-field when you are not sure. Not every shot has to be shot wide open at f/1.8 on your light sucking lens. Sometimes isolating the subject is appropriate, sometimes preserving foreground or background details provides important context to the photograph. A prime lens will greatly increase you capability to shoot under low light as well as pleasant background blur called bokeh.
The first prime lens that anyone should get right after their kit lens is the very popular nifty fifty 50mm f1.8 Lens. It costs just $100 and is absolute value for money. If budget permits then 85mm f1.8 will be a professional choice.
Read : How to create better bokeh.
- Shoot, Experiment, Learn & Shoot Again.
It’s a repetitive process but it will never get boring. Come up with new ideas. Your first images are likely enough going to be tragic. They will depress you. You will improve. As you improve, celebrate your little victories, and continue to raise your personal bar. Remember that the first person who should be happy with the photographs is ‘You’. There is always an opportunity to do things differently. What you photograph is different and how people will see it may differ. Photography is a game of perception.
- You are never too late to start Photography.
When you see less experienced photographers that are shooting on a camera quarter the price of yours and creating better photographs, do not be discouraged. That should motivate you to become better at Photography. Similarly don’t be discouraged when you see an established photographer shooting fantastic photographs with gear that you may not afford. Digital photography has exploded, and everyone who may afford is getting a DSLR or a Mirrorless camera. Phone cameras are improving by leaps and bound. Focus on your developing your abilities and creativity.
Camera on phones like OnePlusTwo, Samsung S6 and iPhone 6s are as good as DSLR in some cases.
- You don’t become Pro by purchasing an expensive DSLR camera.
Concentrate on your next shot and plan for it. Learn more about the gear that you already have. The best camera is the one that you have with you. Practice, experiment and learn by doing. Do not copy other artists. Develop your own style. If you don’t know what’s your style then just go out and shoot and you will discover it in a short period of time.Remember that the camera is just an instrument. It’s YOU who creates the photograph.
- Count the Keepers on Fingers.
You should know that accomplished photographers take their fair share of garbage photos. They also have learned which ones to throw away. One skill you’ll develop is for editing. Look critically at your work, identify the best pieces, and present those if you’re sharing on social media or building a portfolio on stock website. “You’re only as good as your worst photograph”, or some such.
Read: 25 DSLR Tips to Improve Your Photography.
- Photoshop vs Lightroom vs Others.
Photoshop has its unique abilities, but be sure that LR can’t fulfill your post-processing needs before making potentially unnecessary PS investment. Insist on doing “your own” post processing than to just apply some quick presets. Lightroom is value for money and easier to use if you are new to post processing.
Edit: Now you can get both Lightroom and Photoshop as a bundle and it is very much affordable.
Print Your Photos.
Everything is going the digital way. But, print your photos that you are proud of. It is a completely different feeling to see them on paper. This will also keep you motivated. Find an affordable printer here.
Got more suggestions/tips/questions? Do comment below.