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7 Tips Every Photographer Should Know

Photography. The art or practice of taking and processing photographs.

Oh my gosh, this can be so overwhelming! I know when I started out I thought I would never be able to achieve the images I wanted. Even now there are some days that I still wonder if I can get there. But, every day and every time I photograph I get a little bit closer to achieving that goal. Here’s some simple advice to encourage you not to give up and to keep working towards the images you want to capture.

1. Don’t rush to buy the most expensive equipment.

Many people think that you need the best of the best to get great images, but you don’t. Expensive equipment won’t get you anywhere if you don’t know how to use it. Learn the basics of what you want to achieve before spending thousands of dollars on lenses and equipment that you may never even use. 

2. Don’t compare yourself to others.

I found this bit of advice extremely important for my own well-being! Of course, I love looking at other people's work and admiring the beauty in what they have created, but I could not compare myself to them. They were in a setting or situation much different than my own and so I could only compare myself to what I was doing yesterday. And slowly but surely I was able to see my own growth and realize that I was becoming closer to the people I admired and those who inspired me.

3. Make sure your plate isn't always full.

If you try to do too much at once you can get overwhelmed or discouraged. Well, at least I did! I would make goals in my calendar of things that I wanted to try to master.  For example: natural light, reflectors, external flash, dark spaces, low lit rooms, etc. I would take these one at a time and figure out what worked for me and what did not. This was fun for me to do and challenging all at the same time.

4. Learn how to use your camera.

Explore your shooting modes. Take your camera off of auto. This may be the most frustrating part and there will be a lot of trial and error, that, I can promise you! This part was not easy for me; it did not come naturally and may be one reason why I choose at this time not to mentor others. I took local college courses and had a few personal mentors that would graciously help me get to the goals I was setting for myself. If you have the time I recommend looking into courses such as this and/or find local photographers who run workshops and provide hands on teaching.

5. Experiment with lighting.

At sunrise and sunset the light is beautiful and full of color. No matter what your subject, sunrise and sunset are wonderful and ideal times to take photos. It's the kind of light that I love because it is soft and eliminates shadows, squinting and sun spots. I am the polar opposite of a morning person so I religiously shoot at sunset. I do own a reflector but have never used it. I have learned how to photograph my clients using the light around me and posing them accordingly. I do not discourage you from using one and/or learning to use one, it can help create beautiful images on backlit subjects. I can almost guarantee that you will be more pleased with these images than if they were shot in the afternoon with the sun right above you.

6. Realize your strengths and set yourself up for success.

It’s totally ok to not be good at something. As beginners I think we want to take on the world, photograph everything, and master it all! I was completely fine with realizing that certain situations just weren’t for me.   I enjoyed taking on the candid moments at weddings and watching families interact with each other. This is what I wanted to do. And I love my job.

7. Invest time in post processing.

As time goes on this will become faster and easier. Programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop will take your images to the next level. You won't be sorry you pulled all-nighters watching YouTube videos on how to correct images that you may have otherwise deleted. As you get more comfortable with your settings and your SOOC images aren't so bad to begin with this will be the fun part of photography. Seeing your final images and having your clients or family love you for them is priceless.

Have fun!

I know I am not the only person who looks forward to going to work. I absolutely love what I do and look forward to every session I have! Luckily, I have 3 precious daughters who also enjoy being in front of the camera even when I am just watching them do everyday things. I feel so blessed that I am able to capture my own kids and everyone who trusts me to do so for them!  Follow Kelley on Facebook or visit her website!


Images edited from top to bottom with: HoneyDew (main image), Faded Linen, Matte B&W, Rainforest, Freesia, Film Noir, Pink Mist and Clean and Bright

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