Start photography as a hobby has never been so easy thanks to the technology currently available and amount of information we have. But what is the best way of getting into photography?
Maybe you just want to capture better photos of your holiday, your family, or you’re looking for something to do in your free time. There are several resources online that teach you how to get sharper images or various photography techniques and even I have written on this blog a few of those guides. Not a lot of tutorials explain how to start as a photography hobbyist and I decided to put together this list of things you can do to start with photography.
1. Start with your phone
Have you heard the saying “The best camera is the one you have with you”?
Well, you have the most powerful camera you can think of in your pocket. Your phone.People often get caught up buying the latest photo gear and spending a lot of money. Please don't make that mistake. Don't buy a camera if you want to start photography as a hobby. You already have one. It's your phone.Click To Tweet
Today’s smartphones are fantastic devices for taking photos. Their hardware and software are so advanced and easy to use that no matter your level of experience with tech tools, it will be very easy to start snapping away.
You have it always with you and it delivers sharp and detailed enough photos that are better than a lot of point and shoot cameras on the market today. You can start using your default phone camera and if you feel like you want to “play” with something a bit more advanced you can download a third party app like Lightroom Mobile and have a go with some of the basics concepts of photography like exposure, depth of field, ISO how to manually focus end so forth”
2. Learn photography basics
Learn the rules of composition first. In the beginning, with your phone or your camera you’ll shoot in auto mode almost all the time.
Before jumping into camera settings or dealing with complex technicalities, learn how to compose your shots.
Learn how light affects a photo.
What is the best time of the day to take photos?
How to position your subjects in your composition so that your final image is compelling and worth sharing?
There’s no camera, lens or device that will compose a great photo for you. Photography in the end is a creative process that makes us express ourselves and our personal style.
If like me you love learning, getting into photography will be such a cool experience. There’s a lot to learn and many of the main concepts are also very straightforward that you’ll get efficient in no time.
These two articles I’ve written can help you grasping the basics concepts. Find them here:
11 Cool Photography tips and Techniques for beginners
Rules of composition in landscape photography
Obviously do not hesitate to contact me if you need some free advice, I’m happy to help!
3. Choose the right gear
So you’ve started snapping with your smartphone, a couple of months went by and you also started getting confident with how to compose your shots.
You see the world in a different way now and you’ve also become familiar with terms like depth of field, RAW, exposure and son on.
So you’ve decided that photography is for you and you want to make it your hobby.
Alright then now it’s time to talk about photography gear.
First of all don’t make the mistake of buying all at once. Seriously don’t waste your money.
If you started taking photos with your phone and learned the basics of composition and light manipulation you want to start using a proper camera I get it.
But as a hobbyist photographer there’s no reason to spend thousands of dollars in gear you don’t know yet how to use at their full potential. Don’t trust people that say that if you buy expensive stuff they will be like an investment, they will last longer etc.
You are starting photography and just switching from using a smartphone to a DSLR or Mirrorless camera.
I’ll say it again, don’t make the mistake of entering the world of expensive cameras so early.
You can obviously do whatever you want with your money, but for example why not saving your money for a trip for example?
Ultimately photos are made also by great locations.
4. Learn a photo editing software
Mobile editing is the first step to take if you want to improve your pictures.
Download an app like Snapseed and start editing in your smartphone. Snapseed is an unbelievably powerful editing app. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife and it has everything you need to begin your post-production.
You can start cropping your images, learning how to straighten the horizon line then practice with exposure to fix you under or over exposed image.
Adjust the highlights and shadows to make make the bright tones brighter and dark tone darker. This will give you a great control on the contrast.
Get familiar with curves to tweak highlights, shadows and midtones.
Then jump on saturation. Saturation affects the intensity of you colors. Make sure to not overdo it!
Use the spot healing tool to remove impurities or distractive small elements on your image.
You will find that when you make the leap to a professional tool on your computer such as Lightroom for example, you’ll find yourself being familiar with many of the functionalities available.
If you want to learn more about how to use Lightroom, I’ve posted an article. Find it here How to edit photos in Lightroom
“Repetition is the mother of all learning”.
You don’t have the limit of being told what to do by a client.
You’re a hobbyist so you can take your photos. This is a big thing since you can experiment with basically any style of photography you like.
Long exposure, HDR, landscape photography, portrait, adventure photography. Shoot at different hours of the day to see how with different light you obtain different results. You can experiment by creating small projects for yourself. For example I remember doing a mini challenge of taking a photo a day for a month. You can also join communities and get to know other photographers like you and start working on something together, pushing each other to improve and exchanging information. Make it fun!
Bonus tip: share your photos
Don’t forget that your experience is much more enjoyable if you show your photo to others.
It can be to your friends or family, but today we can benefit from the power of Social Media, so why not sharing your work on platforms like Instagram or 500px? It’s your mini portfolio. You can show your first steps to others and keep track of your progress will be very rewarding.
Photography changes your lifestyle, waking up early or staying out late to catch unique lighting becomes the standard in your life. Take it into account.
Also, take it easy. You don’t need to be perfect. It’s not a challenge and you need to enjoy it.
It’s a hobby remember?
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