We all love taking photos. Thanks to the development of technology, we can take good-quality pictures wherever and whenever we are; all you need is your phone. However, there is still a difference between an amateur and a professional – paradoxically, probably a greater one than ever. Do you think about taking your hobby to the next level? A good photography course is the first step in that direction. However, there are things that you should know before enrolling for one:
1. It Takes Time to Become a Good Photographer
If you want to be really great at it and eventually successful, you will need a lot of patience. The good thing is that you can actually see your progress. Little by little, you will get better with time and it’s only up to you how much you want to learn. It’s very possible that you will always have something new to acquire, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
2. You Don’t Need a lot of Money
You can find used, but still very decent gear for $200-$300 and still become a great photographer. You don’t have to spend thousands – it’s the person, not the camera that matters. Of course, you will need to learn your limitations – it’s hard to shoot pictures at night with your iPhone – but a small budget shouldn’t be stopping you.
3. Make Friends with Photoshop, But Know How to Use Your Camera
Your photos will instantly get better when you learn what your gear can do. You should know all about the exposure, the focalization, etc. But still, post-production is important, whether you do it in a dark room, on your computer or even in your camera right away, and sometimes it can save some pictures, so make sure you take some time to learn how to use Photoshop.
4. Remember to Enjoy It
Even if you want to become a professional, don’t forget that you started taking photos simply because you liked it. Focus on what you enjoy. Be open to gaining new skills and new experiences, but don’t forget what makes you happy. If you feel like you prefer taking pictures of landscapes, focus on that – don’t avoid taking portraits at any cost, but don’t force yourself to do anything. Of course, if you want to run a successful business, sometimes you will have to do what your client wants you to do, but remember what brought you there in the first place.
5. Specialization is a Good Idea
To continue – if you really like taking photos of landscapes, focus on that. Someone who is excellent at something will always be better than a person who is decent at everything. Of course, you will still need to take good pictures of other things but have something yours.
6. Make Peace with the Fact that You Probably won’t Make a lot of Money with Photography
It’s good to have dreams about becoming a famous photographer, it may even be your goal, but remember to stay realistic. Most photographers don’t make enough money to quit their other job. Even if they do, it’s still not a lot. So dream big, but stay reasonable.
It’s a normal thing to be afraid of criticism, especially if you’re a beginner, but by sharing your photos, you ask for feedback. And a good feedback can only help you become better at what you’re doing. You will see which solutions are good, what ideas you should follow and you will be able to adjust to make sure that you’re evolving in the right direction.
8. A Good Camera Bag is Essential
Seriously. It may seem like an irrelevant detail, but you will soon learn how important it is. A good photographer is almost one with his camera – but you have to carry it somehow. A proper camera bag is not too heavy (as a camera itself isn’t very light) but still strong (you don’t want to lose or damage your precious gear), and it has to be comfortable to carry around all day.
9. Start Organizing Your Photos NOW
It will save you a lot of time later. Find a system that will work for you – either by dates, themes, or people, places, or colours. Stick to it and you will spare yourself a big headache.
10. Be Wary of Dust
Yes, really, it’s your number one enemy right now. It can ruin everything – cloths, wraps, lens caps. Make sure you clean your gear carefully on a regular basis. It’s annoying, but skipping on that can cost you a lot of nerves and money.
11. And be Even Warier of Moisture
Stay attentive, especially if you live in a colder climate. Condensation can do some serious damage to your gear and it can do it in a very short time.
12. Print Your Photos
Printed copies are ruthless, but it’s something you may need from time to time. Prints can show you all, even the smallest mistakes, and it will help you to learn from them.
13. Remember the Rules, but Don’t Follow Them Blindly
The rule of thirds, the golden section, the rule of equivalent exposure, and many more, are important to know if you want to become a good photographer. So learn them to be able to use them, but also to know when it is better to break them.
14. Keep Learning
Don’t be embarrassed when you don’t know something. Don’t be ashamed to get your camera’s manual out and read it when you have some doubts – make sure you know it inside out. Ask questions, find some more experienced photographers to seek advice, and learn from others. When you take a course, listen to your teacher, but also observe other participants.
So, do you think you’re ready to take your hobby to the next level? Bear these tips in mind, be sure that you’re able to commit yourself, don’t stop learning and remember to still have fun. And good luck!