a beginner photographer

Photography for Beginners – Getting Started Guide

Getting started as a photographer is one of the best, and sometimes the most overwhelming parts of photography. Photography for beginners is a challenge and a joy ride both. Though the idea that you “don’t know what you are doing” can sometimes end up limiting your perspective.

So I decided to jot down this list, taking a walk down memory lane, recounting the many ways I got started as a photographer approximately 9 years ago. These are simple notes which anyone can pick up and follow, even if you have never held a camera in your hand.

Your DSLR Is Your Dragon

While photography doesn’t necessarily mean working with a DSLR, they do cause more confusion than creativity in the beginning. I have seen many a friend struggle with a shiny new DSLR, barely managing to wrap it around their necks & getting one decent click in a day. Consider your DSLR to be like your dragon 🙂 Instead of thinking that you need to learn how to handle it, think of it as you need to train it to do what you want it to do!

Don’t Compare Yourself with The Pros

Don’t compare yourself with the pros and trash your photographs. It is only natural to want to emulate people whose work you like, but it’s a journey, not a high jump. I have seen many beginners trash some of their most creative work because it is “not like the photographs they liked”. You may not be able to immediately create what you want, but you might end up creating something else, which is pretty awesome too. Trashing your own work is nothing glorious or admirable. Criticism, irrespective of who it is for, never does any good.

photography for beginners
Bridge in Rishikesh, UP, India

Go For a Walk

Too often people keep waiting for the “right occasion” to take pictures. You don’t need any special occasion, any special invitation or any special location to take good pictures. Photography starts where you are – now. You can always step out of your house, and your comfort zone, go for a walk, and click what captures your fancy!

Do It For the Right Reasons

Simply said – don’t try to learn photography to show off! It is one of the stupidest things people do. Before even they can learn how to hold a camera, they want to show off their camera & their “photography skills.” It never works, ever. People know a pro from a con 🙂 If you are trying to learn this art for any reason other than a pure love, passion and curiosity for it, you need to rewire your ideas & restart.

It’s Child’s Play

If you take it way too seriously, you end up killing the fun in the craft. Don’t think of it as “making photographs.” Think of it as playing with your camera (or mobile phone camera). When you think of it as play, there is no competition, no good or bad, no rules, and no rewards. You are just having fun, like a little kid drawing half-crazy stick figures of his parents, and feeling proud of it. Nothing’s right or wrong, everything is fun!

Don’t Try to Ingest Jargon

Too many newbies love to hog up jargon in the hope of improving their skills. Doesn’t work. Photography is not an engineering stream or a scientific research experiment. Technical stuff will not take you further than “understanding photography.” But understanding something is not the same thing as creating it yourself. Intellectual knowledge amounts to zilch when it comes to photography. If you have been told otherwise, you need to unlearn it. Take the numbers as an aid, not something to achieve perfection with. Jargon is also just words for something you see. It is not something that makes a good photograph.

Don’t Give Up!

Above all, don’t give up! It often takes one a 100 shots to get that one shot exactly the way you wanted. But in the end, it is worth it. And it doesn’t feel like “work”, it feels like winning a game! Giving up on this is like giving up on a part of you that wants to go out there and live life! 🙂

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