How To Get Into Photography

People take pictures with their cameras all the time, but not everyone can call themselves a “photographer.” It usually takes a new level of interest for any shooter to want to get into photography and make it a hobby or a career. At the same time, potential expenses and the vast amount of information that you’ll need to acquire can be overwhelming for any aspiring photographer, or anyone embarking upon a beginner photography career.

So what’s the first step to take? Any photographer will tell you that there’s no single road to get into photography. There are, in fact, many ways that you can kickstart your amateur photography journey.

Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy. And no matter which tip you start off with, as long as you support your drive to grow in the field, your passion and interest will definitely take you places.

Want to get started in photography? Here are some of our tips:

travel photographer

1. Find your inspiration

Do you find yourself taking portraits the most? Do you fancy abstract imagery or stunning landscapes? Perhaps you would like to get into event photography? Or do you simply want to capture every moment and object that catches your eye? Whatever it is that made you want to get into photography, hang on to it and use it as your inspiration to grow and follow your newfound passion.

A good way to find your inspiration is to figure out what you already like to do. If you love traveling, you can start by being a travel photographer. Similarly, if you’re into sports, you can try action and sports photography. Feel free to try out different types of photography that may interest you!

Rangefinder Film Camera

2. Get a good camera

Once you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want your subject to be, the only other thing you really need to start taking those amazing stills is a good camera. Today’s amateur photographers are lucky to have a wide variety of cameras that they can get their hands on. Just a few years ago, there was a significant gap between compact point-and-shoot cameras and more professional DSLR cameras in terms of image capability and price. Anybody who’s just learning photography now can purchase budget mid-pro mirrorless cameras that are not only very lightweight but also highly capable of delivering professional, magazine-quality images. But whatever you choose, it’s important that you learn how to use your camera, and that it fits your preferred type of photography.

As they say, the best camera is the one that you have with you.

Amateur Photography Rule Of Thirds Composition

3. Compose carefully

In photography, it’s obviously always quality over quantity. Taking hundreds of pictures won’t make a photographer, especially if they shots are not well thought of. Before holding the camera up near your face and clicking the shutter, take a few seconds to study the scene, properly focus on your subject, and carefully frame your shot. Don’t just take photos of everything—as professionals say it, K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). A simple tilt or movement of the camera to the right is capable of adding a story and appeal to a photo, so use that viewfinder well.

Camera Manual Settings

4. Go manual

Speaking of getting to know your camera, you really ought to make the most out of those hard-earned bucks you spent by getting over your fear of the unknown and going full manual. You may need to spend or invest a lot of time to better understand camera functions and features, especially the exposure triangle—namely Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO—but the results do pay off and show up in your photos. Manually adjusting your settings opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities and image outputs. If you want to capture those kinds of photos with breathtaking, blurry backgrounds and spectacular night shots, going manual is the way to go.

Studio Photography Workshop

5. Attend a workshop

There’s a lot that you can learn from a photography workshop or tutorial, even if you don’t have a camera or are not all that interested in getting into amateur photography. Workshops teach you everything from camera settings, framing rules, to more advanced lessons like professional lighting and photo editing. And aside from getting into the nitty gritty of it all, it gives you a whole new perspective on taking pictures and what really makes a photo visually appealing. It’s really the best option for getting a proper and comprehensive education in photography.

Mixed Lighting Studio Photography Model

6. Learn how to “read” light

One of the most crucial factors that can make or break a photo is light. Therefore, it’s important that a photographer learns how to use it to his or her advantage. You can make do with ambient light—like diffused sunlight or any existing indoor lighting—to capture well-exposed images, but learning to position your subject or added light sources can give your photos a different touch and feel.

When you’re just starting out and don’t have access to light modifiers (studio lights) and slave flashes yet, it helps when you can “read” the direction of light and manipulate it using props such as reflectors and DIY light filters to manually create beautiful highlights, shadows, and silhouettes within a scene.

Landscape Photographer Silhouette

7. Get active

Experience really is the best teacher. You can study and tinker with your camera settings all you want, but the only way that you’ll really learn photography is to bring your camera everywhere and make time for shooting. After all, what better way to practice and apply what you’ve learned than by actually going out there and taking pictures? You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll discover about your camera and your own artistic capabilities when you decide to have your camera within reach during your free time and organize shooting activities with fellow photographer friends.

Amateur Photography Beginner

8. Take your time

Like with any hobby or profession, learning and growth takes time. Rushing to become a pro will not only put unnecessary pressure on you as an amateur shooter but will also keep you from enjoying what you do. Don’t force yourself to be like other more advanced shooters or purchase expensive gear that you won’t be able to utilize anytime soon.

Slow your progress and take the time to learn all that you can, experiment, and maybe even discover your signature style of shooting before going big or asking for talent fees.

Photography Gear Tripod DSLR Lens

9. Expand your gear

After getting the hang of shooting even with your camera on full manual mode, you’ll eventually want to level up and improve the quality of your photos. If you’re particularly into adding better focus on your subject and improving the quality of your background blur (or bokeh), you may want to get your hands on wide aperture lenses. Aside from additional lenses, you may want to purchase external flashes for those instances when there’s just not enough ambient light; a handy tripod for more convenient shooting at slower shutter speeds; or even a battery grip that allows you to have extra power for prolonged shooting.

Learning Photography Mentor

10. Find a mentor

Apart from finding your inspiration, find someone who can inspire you. That person can be a workshop teacher, a friend, or anyone you know who has been doing photography for quite a while. A mentor can teach you camera and photography tricks, give you lots of useful tips, share learning experiences, and answer any questions you may have in order to help you improve your photography. You can even tag along with your mentor, observe his work environment and how he executes his shots, and maybe even assist in doing some second-shooter tasks to help you gain more experience.

Someday, you’ll also have the honor to pass your knowledge on and be a mentor to another amateur photographer.