So you’ve been dabbling in photography. You’re the GO TO friend to snap photos at picnics. You’re considering trying it professionally or as a serious hobby but you have no clue where to start.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I truly do not believe that you need any formal photography education to become a photographer. It is truly an art and a skill that you can develop with practice and dedication.
Starting an actual business is a whole other story, and can be as easy or as difficult as you decide to make it.
Let’s chat basic steps.
- Purchase a DSLR camera. I start with a Canon Rebel, and to this day I am a Canon loyalist. I honestly do not subscribe to the fights between camera systems because I believe good photography has much more to do with the photographer than the gear.
Here is a Canon Rebel starter kit that will get the job done. I recommend grabbing a 50MM lens once it is in your budget. You can start lower end, or invest a bit more.
- Learn the fundamentals of photography and start shooting in manual mode off the bat. Auto anything is going to become a crutch that you genuinely don’t need, and will hinder you creatively. Check out CreativeLive.com for great virtual classes.
- Practice, practice, practice. If you want to photograph people, schedule practice sessions with any family and friends that are willing. Photograph them in different lighting situations, at various times of day. Get comfortable with shooting in manual. Practice editing in Adobe Lightroom. Find your personal style.
- If you are starting a business, find a mentor. But listen, never email a seasoned professional and ask for free education. Be completely comfortable with your abilities before reaching out to become a wedding second shooter, and if you need a business mentor, be prepared to pay. A “cup of coffee to pick your brain” is no longer standard practice.
- Don’t buy things that you don’t need. Repeat after me: “I do not need the most expensive gear, presets, or software, I need to practice”. Find the good light and you’ll be well on your way.
Photograph anything and everything (in manual) as much as possible. Know that everyone starts somewhere, and Google is your best friend.