If you’re interested in photography and are trying to figure out where to start or how to grow, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a lot of information out there, how do you even determine what to focus on? Sometimes in trying to do too much we find ourselves accomplishing nothing.
Photography is both technical and creative. That’s part of what I love about photography because we can always improve our technical skills and our creative range. In fact, when we work on both simultaneously they can have a compound effect with our increasing technical skills making us more capable or increasingly creative challenges.
In this article, I’m going to help you start with what you already know and what you love about photography. Then, we’ll talk about how you can grow by learning more about light, composition, or your photography gear. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we’ll talk about taking risks so that you can continue to grow creatively.
Start With What You Know
Let’s start simple. Let’s start with what you know. If you can identify why you are interested in photography, you’ll be on your way to not only getting started but getting started the right way.
For example, if you love capturing fleeting moments then you’re better off approaching learning the technical skills with that in mind. You might not think you care about understanding various lighting techniques until you start to see how they can improve your abilities to accomplish your personal goals.
The best way to get started in photography is to reflect on why you’re interested in art. What do you think makes a great photo and what types of photos inspire you the most? Keep that in mind as you’re learning, you probably know more than you think about what makes a great photograph and you can use that to determine how to take one.
Start With What You Love to Photography
As I mentioned above, if you take some time to reflect on what makes a good photograph you can start to break down the process you need to learn. Starting with what you love to photograph will be the fastest path to learning. For example, if you love shooting wildflowers because you love vibrant colors and bringing small things to life then you’re already learning about color and scale.
Plus, when you start with what you love, you can choose which photography concepts are going to be most important to you in the short term. There are some aspects of photography that might not interest you. However, you might find that you come back to them later when you reach a point of knowledge and skill where the information might be useful to you.
Learning any new skills is about the journey and the process. The more you can enjoy the process the more motivated you will be. There’s a lot to learn so do what inspires you to keep learning.
Grow by Learning More About Light and Composition
You can practice your photography skills even when you don’t have your camera in front of you. Notice the light as you go about your day or pay attention to the composition and design of everything from the ads you see in a magazine to the way your friend decorates their house.
If you learn to see light and design in everyday things, you’ll be able to practice them in your photography. You can be intentional too but setting a little challenge for yourself to practice one new technique and then another until you have a full toolbelt of techniques that you know how to use. Again, don’t focus on learning everything at once but start with what interests you.
Maybe today you want to practice silhouettes and then next week you want to play with leading lines. And then the following week you might see if you can incorporate both techniques into one photo. If you open yourself up to constant learning you’ll never get bored by all the ways you can combine photography techniques.
Grow by Learning More About Your Photography Gear
At some point you’re going to have to learn more about your gear. Maybe you’ve beat me to that and you’re a gear nut that reads every user manual ever. But if you’re not you can remind yourself that learning technical things will help you achieve more inspired ideas and open more creative doors.
You’ll want to learn how your camera works and understand the exposure triangle: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Also, understanding how to edit your photos can make you better too because you’ll know what’s possible in post-production. Play with different lenses and focal lengths and see how you can create different looks and feels from your work.
There’s a lot to learn and even things that you may dismiss as unimportant to you now might prove interesting later on in your photography journey. For example, you might think you always want a fast shutter speed so that your images are sharp until that day you see a waterfall and wonder how it would be to create that creamy water look. You don’t know until you try.
Grow by Taking Risks
And speaking of trying, don’t be afraid to. Try things that don’t make sense or things that sound silly or cheesy. The more you try new and different things, the more you learn.
Sometimes you’ll learn what doesn’t work and that’s great too because it might give you a clue to something else that does work. Or it might simply solidify a lesson in your head. Sometimes the best way to remember something is by making a mistake in a memorable way.
Have a mindset that there are no bad ideas. There might be bad results from an idea, but sometimes those bad results teach you exactly what you need to know to come up with the next best idea. Combine different things that you know in different ways and see what you come up with, maybe it’ll suck but it sounds like fun and it sounds like growth.
About the author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works alongside her husband at Bergreen Photography. With their mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling adventurous stories in beautiful places.