You may not have the best camera in the world or the fastest lens. But if you dare to call yourself a photographer, you have to forge your own path. There are people out there selling classes and advice–and these people are often the ones who say you always need the newest and best gear. Sometimes they have good intentions, but oftentimes, they have a profit motive. While a class occasionally is good, you have to forge your own path. Working with what you have can be your best teacher.
Stop, Smell The Flower, Now Take A Picture Of It!
Don’t let people tell you what to shoot. If you want to take a picture of a cat or a flower, do it. Confront what you like as a photographer. Whatever your passion, it is okay to include it in your photography. Just don’t limit yourself to that one subject. Explore all the styles of photograph you can, as well as subjects.
Master The Basics
If you don’t master the basics in photography, there is no path to forge. If you are creating bad images, no one is going to care or take time to look at them. Knowing the basics can improve your image creation, even on a cell phone. Properly composing an image and understanding the exposure triangle should be second nature. Master the basics then you can create art, your way.
Pick The Tools That Are Right For You
Prime or zoom lenses? DSLR or M4/3 cameras? The right gear is what you can work with. There are a bunch of comparisons stating which gear is the best. You have to try out everything to learn what’s best for you. There is a lot of different gear and opinions on that gear. You have to take time out and go to a camera store or rent the gear you you want to try. Deciding for yourself will help you not buy gear that you will not use.
Hone Your Tools To Hone Your Craft
A good way to forge your own path is not having to constantly think about your tools. Caring for your camera gear should become a ritual. Something you always do without thought. When you care for your tools they are never an issue. If you don’t sharpen your knife, it will not slice correctly. If you don’t clean your camera it will have spots and ruin your images.
Only Take A Class If You Need To
Classes can be good for your photography. Reading is good as well. Many of the great photographers never actually took a class, but they did eventually write books though. They took the trial and error approach. Classes can be expensive. They can cost as much as a new lens or a trip to a new location. When deciding on a class, ask yourself, “Is it something I can teach myself?” Teaching yourself can help you develop your own style and find a new way to do things. You may not get things right at first but you will develop your own ways of doing things.
Take a chance and try something new. This can be fun and educational. Getting your hands dirty and experimenting is part of the DNA of photography. With the basics mastered and your gear taken care of, you can play any way you want. Different lens combinations show you new ways to see. Using an ultra-wide lens on a photo walk can give you a new perspective on a city. Using a telephoto lens on a nature walk can help you see things you could never get close to.