Photography 101 - 5 Tips To Getting Started

I don't claim to know it all when it comes to photography, but I love it more than most things in life and I've had a few people come to me recently with questions. So I thought it would be helpful to share some tips with you. First, I'll share a little background on how I got into photography. I started shooting when I was in high school after my dad gave me his 35mm film camera before a family vacation to Idaho. Some of the photos I took on that trip are still my favorite to date. I am very inspired by nature and I've always loved being outdoors. With the help of my parents I hired a local art teacher at a different high school to teach me the basics because my small private school didn't have any classes. I learned a lot of fundamentals during this one on one time. I considered going to an art school briefly, but decided against it. Throughout college I worked as the photo editor for my school's newspaper. This allowed me to photograph a wide range of subjects and become very versatile. During this time I realized that photography was something I could actually do for a living. It was hard for me to narrow down what I liked to shoot. But after an internship to Nashville last summer, I discovered a passion for working with musicians and in the fashion industry. This is something I never expected to happen. I hate putting myself into a category as an artist and I will always be happy just being behind a camera. I know I can use my passion for landscapes and sports photography into what I am doing now. Ok enough about me, here are a few pointers. Feel free to email me questions and comment below if this has been helpful.

1. Know your camera. That's right, learn how to use it! It may sound dorky but read the manual. Make sure you can shoot on manual mode. Anyone can buy a nice camera these days, put it on auto and snap decent photos. You will instantly have an advantage if you know how to shoot on other modes then auto. Lastly, we all do it out of habit, but don't rely on your LCD screen after every few shots. This will break up the flow, which is why it's important to know your camera and your settings for different situations. 

2. Get to know your subject. Whether your shooting a live concert, landscape, sports game or a look book for a clothing brand, do research and learn what makes what your subject unique.

3. Make people feel comfortable! Don't whip out your camera right away and start snapping. Talk with the person (or people) before hand and get to know them. This will help everyone feel relaxed and at ease...which will translate well in photos. Be encouraging. Continually give genuine positive feedback while your shooting. 

4. Learn from everything. At times, you may be placed in a unfamiliar, complex situation. Don't freak out, learn from it! Evaluate your shots and get feed back from other creatives. Ask other seasoned photographers if you can shadow them on a shoot. Don't be afraid to contact others. If you've been shooting for two months or ten years there will always be new things you can learn from others. 

5. Don't give up! Even when you've really messed things up, it will be ok. If you feel inadequate, defeated or just darn confused - keep pressing forward. Everyone, even the greatest photographers have moments of doubt. The difference between you and other people will be your motivation level. Evaluate the situation you're in and keep going. It takes time, patience and a lot of hustling to reach your goals.   

christina_cernik