7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Photography

7. You cannot understand manual mode until you know your camera.
Many beginners attempt to step head first into manual mode when they first taking photos, and many fail at understanding the full depth of manual mode. One of my biggest tips is to know your camera before straying from the factory settings. You can get some great shots while on factory settings, and they won’t impair you for quite a while. Until you understand the full range of possibilities in manual mode as well as the complexity of each setting, factory settings will only help you learn.

6. Automatic focus is your best friend and your enemy for action shots.
I have always kept my focus on automatic. I focus on so many other things (crop, timing, settings, etc.) in the chaos of the fast-paced sports photography that focus would hinder my photography. Now, I do have about 15 photos out of 2,000 that are out of focus. It is extremely frustrating seeing that the perfect shot is a tad unfocused. However, there would be so many more unfocused photographs if I had to manually keep my subject focused.

5. Don’t try to imitate anybody’s style; develop your own.
Only few can remember the poor editing job I did when I began my account. I attempted to develop my own preset based off other photographers who did the same thing. However, since I did not understand editing yet, they came out horrible. Do not attempt to mimic other photographers; your own style will soon be recognizable. The priority should be to enhance the photo rather than creating a distinct look to your photos. Set yourself apart by your perspective, not your presets.

4. Educate yourself anyway you can.
Conduct research, watch tutorials, read books–do anything and everything you can to educate yourself. You will not improve without becoming familiar with the rules of photography. There are things that are vital to a photographer that you cannot learn if you do not education. I believe the most helpful form of education is other photographers, asking a direct question can often be easier than learning things you may never need. However, there are very few things that I have not used to further my skills as a photographer.

3. Take things step by step–including equipment!
Starting with cheap equipment does not determine anything. Often times I found myself comparing my camera model with the superior model my peers had. However, that doesn’t determine your skill. Each camera teaches you something new. My Canon 1200D only has 3 fps (frames per second). Through the slower fps I was able to develop critical timing skills. Each camera is capable of teaching you an abundance of things. An upgrade is not necessary until the camera hinders your skill level.

2. Figure out what works best for you.
There is not one way to learn about photography. You do not have to know everything about photography. There is also nothing wrong with conducting research before ever picking up your camera. When I learned manual mode, I played with the settings until the images came out good. I had no idea which settings did what until a couple months after shooting in manual mode. However, it is what worked for me.

1. The only way you will get better is through failure.
When I was starting my photography journey, I was faced with a conflict. There were 50 bad shots behind every good shot. However, I found myself slowly improving. Do not be discouraged when your skill is questioned. Experiments are not always successful. You will try, and you will fail. It’s okay. Try again until you succeed. Photography will test your patience, and it will test your persistence. Keep it up, and it will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.

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