Beginners Guide to Killing It in Photography

Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to make more money, take better photos of your surroundings, or just explore a new art form, photography is one of the best skills to learn. As a beginner, you will continually improve upon your initial work—especially considering even professional photographers can take bad photos.

So why is photography such an important and valuable skill for development, and what does a beginner have to do to start mastering the craft?

Why Photography Is Such a Good Skill

Let’s start by exploring some of the reasons why photography is such a valuable skill:

Approachability. Photography isn’t necessarily “hard,” despite some technical complexities. All it takes is a decent camera and an environment conducive to photography to start taking some interesting photos.

Practical Value. Knowing how to take good photos is a valuable skill to have if you want to take good snapshots of your friend’s wedding, capture a moment on vacation, or just remember a special event you’re attending.

Environmental appreciation. Learning to look through a photographer’s eyes can help you appreciate the design and beauty of your environment, as well, drawing your attention to things you might not have otherwise considered.

Career potential. Photography is a good way to make some extra money with freelance work, and looks good on most resumes.

How to Become a Master

Like with any skill, it’s unrealistic to expect mastery after only a few days or weeks, but if you use these strategies and tricks, you could greatly increase your photography prowess:

Take a class. Photography classes are less expensive than you think, and are relatively easy to find. In the span of a few hours, you’ll learn enough of the basics to approach your work more confidently and start practicing. In the span of a few weeks, you’ll have all the fundamentals you need to truly start perfecting your craft.

Invest in the right equipment. You should also invest in the right equipment. A good camera will allow you to take better pictures, and will also make the photography practice more enjoyable—which is important if you want to keep practicing consistently. You may also want to invest in a tripod, an external flash, and other equipment.

Take photos everywhere. Take your camera everywhere you go because there may be the opportunity to get a perfect shot. Take photos of both the familiar and the unfamiliar, and in different lighting settings. Like any other skill, your photography abilities will improve with practice, so the more photos you take, the faster this skill will develop.

Ignore the screen. Most beginners are tempted to rely on their camera’s digital screen when taking a photograph, to make sure they’re framing it correctly. However, you may be able to get a clearer vision of your subject and take better photos if you learn to take them without relying on the screen.

Experiment. Don’t let yourself get too comfortable with any one setting, subject, or style. Try to experiment with different variables, and expose yourself to new practices you might otherwise neglect. Discovering new things is one of the best ways to learn—and it might be a shortcut to finding your perfect style.

Work with people better than you. If you’re a beginner photographer and you’re only working with other beginners, you might not be challenged enough to continue advancing. Spend some time tracking down and working with photographers who greatly exceed your current skill level; they’ll be able to inspire you, and teach you things you may not have ever considered.

If you follow these practical tips and opportunities for improvement, it won’t be long before you’ve moved up to a higher level. It takes years to become a true master, but with enough practice and a commitment to getting better, everyone has a shot to become one.

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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