I want to preface this by saying that I am by no means the ultimate standard or professional to end all discussion on a subject or whatnot. What I can say is that in the months of the grind, I have learned some valuable things that I often wish someone would have taught me earlier...

So! Without any further delay, here is a list of some of the things that are, *in my opinion*, some of the best things a beginner can learn when entering the photography biz...

First off; Learn Manual Mode.

If you don't know how to operate your camera in full manual, I don't think you fully understand the capabilities of your gear and yourself in regards to light manipulation and much more. This step will require you to learn about and really understand the exposure triangle and how to balance these functions to shoot in different conditions.

Next is an obvious, Practice Practice Practice!

Let's be real, starting off in Manual for the first while is gonna feel overly complex and maybe even make you wish you could just switch back into Auto and snap away, but trust me when I say to KEEP MOVING THROUGH MANUAL. Force yourself to keep going even when you get back from your first shoot to realize that all the photos were WAY over (or under) exposed and are virtually useless. Even then, experiencing that will help you in learning how your camera is working and how you need to tell it what to do!

And that brings me to a few tech-y things too; Shoot in RAW!!

One of the easiest switches you can make in your shooting is just to change the format in which the camera records the picture information. Switch from jpeg to RAW and you will have so much more info so that inevitably when you bomb your first few manual shoots, you can still recover some of what you shot because they are in the fuller and better RAW format.

Also, when editing (and just TRUST ME HERE>) Do NOT use Vingette.

Again, just trust me, even if you think it looks better that way, you will very likely look back and think you were crazy for ever doing so. Don't use it, and whats more, try out removing the natural vingetting that occurs due to some lens issues in camera by selecting the "enable lens corrections."

Something that made all the difference for me was ditching that kit lens and getting a 50mm.

Just do it. Bite the bullet (which is actually the tiniest bullet ever as a 50mm is one of the most money savvy lenses out there...) and get into a learners lens that will teach you so much more than the funky lens that came with your prosumer DSLR.

Of course another bit to remember is Never Stop Learning!

There are lots of free resources all around the web you can utilize to learn and grow within your art.

A couple last thoughts for you, if you are wanting to create a business doing this, waste no time and make sure to legalize and track everything starting at the VERY beginning. Even for portfolio building shoots make sure to have a clear and legal contract signed.

And perhaps the most important thing I can say (and something I still have trouble taking to heart,) remember, "Comparison is the enemy of creation." It is easy to look at others around on social media who've been in the business for years and compare your work to theirs. DON"T DO IT. You are learning. You are growing. The only person you should compare yourself too is the person you used to be. Look how far you've come and remember all you faced to get here. Your work has value, you have value. Just keep shooting and you will reach your goals.


{November 17th, 2019} Not my first ever photo, of course. I was a hobbiest ever since highschool and had a DSLR for a long time. However, this was one of the first shots I took after coming home with my new D750 and 50mm lens. I took it all out of its packaging and set my camera to manual, grabbed my baby girl and headed out on a walk to learn some manual mode!-- Here is one of those images. (Shot in jpeg because I didn't know better and unedited because I hadn't bought Lightroom yet...) Wow.

& Now...

{June 15th, 2020} Not only does this photo so beautifully show how much I've learned and improved on shooting and editing, it also shows just how much my baby girl grew up in 7 months! The funny thing about this art is that the more I learn and shoot, the more I realize I have to improve still! I love what I do and can't wait to grow even more.