Photography is a form of art that is easy to get started in but difficult to master. It used to be much harder to get into photography, but with the advent of camera-phones and simplified picture editing through filters, the entry level of photography has never been easier. This doesn’t mean that you can take a few photos of your grandkids playing little league and call yourself a photographer. Like any art, there is a bit of preparation and perfecting of the form that goes along with it. If you want to pick up this worthwhile hobby, there are a few things you should do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your effort and energy.

Learn a Little About the Craft

You wouldn’t begin woodworking without learning how to carve or cycling without knowing how to ride a bike, right? There are many different concepts to understand and master if you want to become an excellent photographer. For example, there’ll be mechanical aspects to learn, like the aperture of the lens or the depth of field for a photo. Then, there are artistic considerations to account for, like using the golden ratio or rule of thirds to guide your picture-taking. There are also the many ways you can use light, both natural and artificial, to improve your photos. At first, these may seem daunting, but that’s what makes photography such an interesting and impressive artform.

There are many different concepts to understand and master if you want to become an excellent photographer.

You can begin your educational journey by reading free online guides that explain many of these concepts or even take a professional online class that builds your knowledge of photography and concepts from the ground up. If you’re lucky enough, though, we suggest taking an in-person class, attending a photography workshop, or joining a local photography club or camera club. Each will give you the chance to learn about these core concepts while receiving real-time advice and feedback on your work.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

When you’re first getting started in photography, don’t be afraid to experiment. This can manifest in many different ways. Take all kinds of pictures when the opportunity or inspiration strikes you. Try out some portraits of the family at a get together. Are you at a sporting event? Take an action shot of your grandkid scoring the winning goal in their soccer game. Taking a hike? Snap a picture of the valley below you, bathed in the light of the golden hour. Photography works well with many different hobbies, so you can always be ready to try out a new picture!

Depending on the camera equipment, a different lens can completely change how a photo looks.

At the same time, it can also mean trying different types of camera equipment or settings. Depending on the camera equipment you have, a different lens can completely change how a photo looks as a final product. Or, you can try a different aperture, depth of field, or shutter speed. The best way to learn what works for you is to try many different things and never be afraid to experiment when you’re first starting out.

Pick a Style That Speaks to You

Once you’ve tried out a few different photography styles, it’s likely worth your time to pick one that you really enjoy and focus on it. Focusing on one style of photography in particular, allows you to work on the many intricacies of each style, eventually creating photographic style that is definitively your own. Developing your own style of photography is the ultimate goal of this hobby, much like any form of art, but choosing a certain subject of photography or theme is a seed that can eventually grow into your personal style.

Developing your own style of photography is the ultimate goal of this hobby.

Finding a particular theme or style of photography also helps you to narrow down the type of equipment you may eventually pick up. You won’t need the same type of camera lens for portrait photography as you would live-action photographs. Even though they seem very similar, you wouldn’t need the same type of equipment for wildlife photography as you would landscapes. While there are a few bits of equipment that most beginners should invest in, picking an individual focus or two can help you narrow down the equipment you need and save money on things you ultimately won’t need.

Upgrade Your Equipment Steadily

We touched on this in the last section, but there is a lot of equipment that can go along with mastering photography. Generally, your skill as a photographer is more important than the equipment you have, but the right gear can be important to realizing your artistic vision. This doesn’t mean you should run out and buy the best camera available and twenty different lenses. In fact, you may already have the best camera for beginners right in your pocket or purse. Over the last few generations, phone cameras have been getting incredibly intuitive and powerful. When you’re first starting out, the camera your phone has is great because you already have it, you can edit on the phone, and it’s very easy to use. This allows you to get the hang of the basics of photography before getting too far into the nitty-gritty.

We suggest testing out how much you enjoy photography with your phone’s camera since you already have it.

That said, while phone cameras continue to improve, they still haven’t surpassed DSLR cameras for those who want to make photography a serious hobby. We suggest testing out how much you enjoy photography with your phone’s camera since you already have it. Once you fall in love with the hobby, then it’s time to start with the more expensive equipment. Start with a well-reviewed, moderately priced camera and some of the equipment suggested for beginners. You don’t need to buy it all right away; just work on building up your collection as needed.

Have Fun!

Most importantly, when you’re first getting into photography, make sure you’re having fun. If you’re forcing yourself to take photos because you want to enjoy it, you’re only going to end up hating it. Ultimately, a hobby should be fun and enriching for you. If it’s not, stop for a while and try another hobby. This is why we suggest sticking with your phone’s camera while you’re figuring out how serious you want to be with photography. That way, if you end up stopping, you haven’t sunk a lot of money into a hobby you didn’t end up pursuing.

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Photography is an art form that can be enriching and worth sticking with. Once you get the hang of it and start developing a style, you’ll find that every day offers a chance to create art. Every sight you see becomes a canvas. All it takes is a little practice and a little patience, and you can turn everyday life into works of art.