11 Things You Should Stop Doing as a Beginner Photographer.
So; you’ve finally gotten yourself a camera, lens and memory card and think you are ready to enter the world of photography. Some of you just want to play with it because you think it’s a fun hobby. You aren’t wrong. Some, want to give it a go as a business.
Either way; I’ve been noticing what I find to be extremely disturbing trends among new photographers these days. Trends that I am going to address here. Things that need to stop.
Some of you reading this are likely to take offense to what I have to say; but then it’s likely that you are doing what I’m talking about.
- Stop thinking that there are no rules to photography. – When you’re a beginner there are in fact lots of rules. Learn them. Love them. Master them. Those rules will help you become a very good photographer; and that is why photography schools still teach them.
- Stop thinking that you have a style. – After having a camera for six months and shooting maybe once or twice a month you do not have a “style.” It takes years and lots of frames to have developed an actual recognizable style. Playboy had a style. One that was immediately recognizable when you saw their images.
- Stop thinking that being a “natural light” shooter makes you special. – It doesn’t. Every beginning photography student shoots with natural light. That’s how they learn to see light. Advanced students shoot with flash because they learn to control light. Everyone with a cell phone is a natural/available light photographer. You spent a lot of money on a camera and lens(es). Doubtful you did that to do what anyone with a cellphone can do right?
- Stop thinking that you need Bokeh in every portrait you do – What’s the point of going out into a field to shoot a portrait when you’re just going to blur out the entire background anyway. Learn how to get other looks for your shot.
- Stop thinking that your gear is going to make you a better photographer – That just is never going to ever happen. Ever. If you don’t know how to control your exposure or light with a thousand dollar camera you’re not going to magically know how to do it with a forty thousand dollar camera. Instead; start focusing on exposure.
- Stop thinking that you’re ready to shoot weddings – This one absolutely has to stop. Arrogance is what makes you think you’re ready to shoot a wedding when you’ve never shot a wedding before. You will more than likely screw it up. Instead; spend at least six months to a year interning to shadow an experienced working wedding photographer if weddings are what you plan to shoot. I interned/assisted a photographer for nearly six months just working in the studio and locations setting up and breaking down lights before I was even allowed to touch a camera.
- Stop thinking this is a job and you should be paid for taking photos – It’s not. It’s a business. No your time is not valuable to anyone other than yourself. Photography is a skill set as much as it is a talent. Think of it as being a sniper. Snipers fire of thousands up thousands of rounds of ammunition at targets sometimes daily for months before earning the right to call themselves snipers. In that they learn to hit their target consistently no matter the circumstances or conditions they shoot under. That is the same as photography. It takes thousands of frames and years of practice and training to be consistent in delivering quality images.
- Stop thinking that Photoshop is a part of photography. – That simply isn’t at all true. Photoshop is something done afterward. As a beginner; your focus should be on getting the images you take right in the camera. Not thinking that you can substitute good photographic skills because you’re going to Photoshop it later. Let Photoshop be what you use to further season an already great product.
- Stop thinking that there are shortcuts to photography. – We live in a world today where everything has an app or a shortcut. Photography is not one of those things. There are no shortcuts to being a good photographer. It takes study, and practice, emphasis on practice. You need to take the steps. All of them; one by one.
- Stop providing concierge services at wal-mart prices! – For goodness sakes; if you’re at a point where you’re good enough to get paid for your portrait skills; stop giving it to people at prices that are in league with what they can get at Sears or some other place like that. You’re providing them a custom service why are you charging a low rate for it. That’s just bad business; Period! Stop it! Your job isn’t to provide all the people with your service. Your job is to provide those who can afford it your service. It’s an exclusivity thing. Don’t devalue what you do that way.
- Stop thinking that you will never get there. – While it’s true that not everyone will be able to become a professional photographer; you can still learn how to produce better images than someone with a cell phone or a point and shoot camera. If you have the dedication, and discipline you can certainly take images at the professional level with consistent accuracy.
You’re a beginning photographer and this means quite a few things. One thing it means is that you have a lot of work ahead of you before you earn the right to consider yourself a professional with a profile of work.
That is absolutely ok. Just be willing to do the work. Be willing to put in the time and watch how much and quickly you improve.