Don’t you agree that everybody has dreams, hobbies, aspirations, and passion for achieving something they believe in? I think that they do, at least that is what I believe in. One such hobby of mine is photography. The next question that comes to my mind is how to become a photographer?
Yes, you heard me right. Whenever we try something new or decide to indulge in a certain activity, we always ask ourselves, “What, how, where, when, and why.”
Still, wondering what I mean? Let me simplify it for you.
What is Photography?
How to become a Photographer?
Where do I learn Photography?
When is the right time to learn Photography?
Why should I learn Photography?
These are a few of the fundamental questions that came into my mind right before I took up Photography. It is not wrong to question yourself before taking up something new as it simplifies your work and defines purpose as to why you have opted to choose that path.
All of us photographers learned differently and under different circumstances. Some of them just kept clicking pictures for the fun of it. In contrast, some of them took classes online or read through journals and other reading material, and a few others took up professional degrees in Photography.
In my case, I would say I just happened to be lucky. I was privileged to hold a camera at an early age of ten. There was just something about it that clicked. It has been a fantastic experience throughout, starting with all blurry and shaky images to elegant, InFocus, and eye captivating photos.
But not everybody is lucky to start early. I was a part of many events, clubs, and groups, which gave me immense exposure, guidance, and feedback on how to improve my shots as time went by.
Here I am with a Step by Step Guide on How to become a Photographer. It will help you get started, choose your camera, and get the most of it, get the perfect shot that you have always wanted, and challenge yourself to become better.
How to Become a Photographer: Getting Started
The very first step is knowing the evolution of cameras. The next step would be buying and setting up your camera. The many buttons on the camera can often get you overwhelmed. It is always essential to take the first step. Keeping the camera operation manual handy is the key to knowing your camera and the basic exposures and compositions to get the right shot.
Practice makes Perfect
The next crucial step in photography is practice. Just like any other form of art, photography requires practice. These days there are opportunities for novice photographers to be apprentices of seasoned professional photographers from whom they can learn and hone their skill set in photography. This would include multiple assignments exposing them to different moments and circumstances, giving them the perfect foundation.
The other way is to keep clicking more and more pictures. As the term says, practice makes perfect, continuous experimentation with the camera will help perfect a shot. By referring, shots from earlier one will be able to track the progress and improvement. During the entire process, mistakes will be made. But that is the beauty of it. Learning from the mistakes makes you a better photographer and teaches you how to avoid obstacles and perfect a shot.
Master the Photography Fundamentals
They say, ” A camera is as good as the photographer behind it,” yes, you heard it right. A camera without a photographer is just a camera like any other. Getting comfortable with your camera is the key here. Knowing your camera in and out gets you prepared to surmount any challenge in front of you. That would mean knowing the right ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to get you the desired image.
Take more Pictures
After a while, you are no more a novice. You happen to be an amateur photographer. Along the way you have gained more and more experience which helps you decide what you need. You can start calling the shots now. But only this time you are clicking better and elegant shots.
Knowledge, tips and tricks is vital here, by memorizing the fundamentals, you would often question yourself if you are taking the right path. That is where experience counts. As you continue clicking more and more photographs, you start gaining control over the fundamentals to get that perfect shot repeatedly. In the end it is all about patience and control, get this right and you are on your way getting the best everytime.
How to Become a Good Photographer?
The end goal of a photographer is to deliver his or her best with every assignment or challenge that they take up. The very first goal is to master how to take clear and infocus shots, which then brings us to lighting.
Did you know? The term photography comes from the Greek roots, also known as write with light. When the fundamentals of photography are mastered, the very next aspect is the lighting. For every scenario, the lighting changes.
Take, for example, a studio lighting setup and an outdoor set up. Both of these are settings on extremes. In a studio set up, you would need lighting setups and external flash whereas in an outdoor set up you would need to have control on the exposure, aperture, and shutter speed. But to do all of this you need to be aware of the capability and limitations of the camera. It would require you to experiment and test your camera to the extremes in order to get the most of it.
Taking tutorials and classes online will give a basic understanding on how to work with the lighting and external flash. Some of the takeaways from the courses would be:
- How the angle of flash affects your shots.
- What would be the right ISO, exposure and shutter speed.
- How the additional lighting would help beautify the image.
Find your Focus
When I say find your focus, I am not talking about the focal point of the photograph. I am talking about a niche. A niche is a subdomain in photography. We have at least fifty different niches in photography. There are a wide variety of options to choose from. While exploring different options is good, it is best advised to stick to a specific niche so that you can master the style.
The best way to scale yourself up in a specific niche would be by considering what you have to offer.Niches can also be chosen based on the problems the public faces or provide a solution where there is less or none. Confused? Let me simplify it for you.
There are many Portrait photographers in your locality, but there is not a single event photographer. You can take it up and provide a solution for it. Scaling up also gets easier as there is less competition, and you are well sought after.
Working on a niche keeps you focussed and helps you hone your skills easily as you have shifted your focus from many to one, thus playing an essential role in helping you scale up.
Just like how a cupcake without frosting is incomplete, it is the same with photography as well. Post-processing helps in many ways, such as increasing the sharpness, contrast, brightness, making the picture more presentable.
The most common tools used in photography are Photoshop and Lightroom. It takes some time to understand and use these tools, but once you get the hang of it, there is no turning back. Say hello to elegant and fantastic pictures.
Learn the basics and then take it a notch up and use it to enhance the images and see the difference for yourself. You will be amazed by the result.
Now that you are done with your appetizer and main course, it is time for the desert. Any field without feedback is incomplete. It takes great courage to listen to someone offering criticism or feedback on something you have worked on for a long time.
But what you must know is that feedback is like closure. It is a closure to something you started in the first place. Studies have shown that people who are open to feedback are more likely to succeed than those who do not accept feedback. Interact with fellow photographers and mentors and see what they feel about your work. Participate in competitions and challenge yourself every time and see the benefits it will reap for you.
Develop a Portfolio and Create Social Presence
The time to exhibit your talent and those hours tirelessly spent learning photography has finally come. It isn’t easy to get a gig without experience. You may be experienced, but how are you going to convince someone to grant you a gig without proof of your work? That is where all the photos you have clicked will save your ass.
The easy way to go about this would be to establish yourself on social media to show your work to the public or even the client for that matter. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest are the commonly used sites today.
Some of your clients can be your friends as well. Offer your services at a minimal rate. It will be a win-win scenario as it will help you get content you require to build your portfolio, and in turn, you are helping out a friend as well.
Creating a blog with everything together would also be a plus making it easier for your client to find all your work under a single roof.
Develop a Business Strategy
Wondering what a business strategy is? It is the idea of putting your expertise together and monetizing it. Understand your style and relate to it accordingly. Having excellent photography skills is the first step to a successful career in photography.
Research on how you can build a brand around yourself to showcase your photography. Seek help from fellow photographers who are in a similar line of business and gain insights on how to move forward.
Analyze yourself, your strengths, and the time and money spent to get you where you are today. Accordingly, make a portfolio and come up with inexpensive pricing and what are the possible perks your clients would get if they choose you.
Despite all of this, if you are stuck and need help, reach out for help and advice specific to photography and the style you wish to pursue.
Photography is an evergreen subject. It involves continuous learning and experimentation. Look for ways to optimize your work and hone your skills as you take up on assignments. Each assignment has its own perks and challenges. But the way you choose to go about it is what matters in the end.
Rekindle that passion in you now and then and never let it wither. Finally, it is the passion and dedication that is going to take you places.
Keep Calm and Shoot On.