You will find many people taking pictures with their cameras, but that doesn’t make them a photographer. Not even a hobbyist. Because to pursue photography as a hobby requires more than just a cell phone. It takes a higher level of inspiration, passion, and interest combined with at least some basic knowledge, skills, and techniques. So if you are just starting with photography, remember that this hobby grows with leaps and bounds.
Once you begin chasing wonderful subjects, you will be captivated. The photography universe will engulf you, and you can count on it to change your lifestyle. But be prepared as it demands time as well as effort. You should be willing to wake up early or stay out late to attain unique shoots with perfect lighting.
Photography as a hobby
Photography shouldn’t just become your hobby but also a routine part of life. You will not only capture images with your camera lens but will have to analyze them with the creative lens fitted inside you. You will have to assess how lit they are and imagine how to recreate them as at first, and there will be numerous re-shoots. There would be a lot of reverse engineering required, which we believe is a powerful way of improving your work and expanding your horizons. But don’t let it overwhelm you as we have simplified things for you!
So if you are a keen shooter and are planning to get really ‘into’ photography and take it as a serious hobby, then you have come to the right place. From the right amount of inspiration to an ample dose of passion and creativity complemented by a vast amount of information and potential tips, we have compiled everything for you.
We have done this because we are enthusiast photographers ourselves and want to make things easier for all aspiring photographers. We welcome aboard all those who wish to embark upon this beautiful journey with open arms filled with experiences that we share freely. So jumping onto the bandwagon of photography headfirst and awaken the right side of the brain to ignite creativity. Hold on tight as this roller coaster ride begins and expedites your growth:
Meet any photographer, and they will tell you that there is no single road for entering the world of photography. And indeed it’s true because there are many ways to kick start this hobby. The photography journey is not some mythological science which requires a series of inputs. It’s an art that is learned gradually. But even art has some minimum requirements. So you cannot just begin shooting in the air with the camera. You at least need the basics which include:
- A dollop of Passion
- A tinge of Inspiration
- The right gear
- A spoonful of Creativity
- And loads of will power and determination
Inspiration and Passion
You cannot start a hobby which you have no interest in, or else you are bound to fail. Every hobby requires some sort of dedication and drive, which is fueled by passion and inspiration. The same is for photography. There should be a certain aspect of photography which attracts you. Maybe you want to pursue it because you love capturing memories, or maybe you got mesmerized by somebody else’s work.
It can be anything from glorifying dawn and towering landscape to beautiful emotions and enthralling wildlife, which ignites the fire inside you. Maybe you have a mentor or an idol who you wish to follow. There has to be a story behind holding the camera. The stronger the desire, the more captivating the results will be.
The starting Gear
Once you are pretty sure about diving in, the next thing you need to start focusing on is a good camera. You are very lucky because today we have a lot of options to choose from. If you already have a camera, the no issues as the best camera is the one that you have with you because you are compatible with it. You will have no issues synchronizing with it, and you can begin your hobby without any cost.
But if you don’t already own a camera, choose a good one because a camera can be expensive and a wrong decision can make photography a hassle for you. So if you have limited funds, the key to avoiding spending too much money is to make the purchase right the first time. Or else you will find yourself leapfrogging from one camera to another, and your pocket will be empty in no time. Moreover, if your budget is very limited, instead of going for expensive DSLRs, you can go for mid-pro mirrorless cameras, which are not very costly.
Not only can they deliver professional, high-quality images, but they are also very lightweight. If you want to go one step further, we will advise you to get a fast fifty. In our opinion, there is no better lens than the 50mm as its fast aperture will not only help you to tackle low light scenes but will also help you to control depth of field, unlike any kit lens. Just remember, before buying any camera or lens, read the specifications thoroughly and ensure that they fit your preferred type of photography.
Know Your Camera Inside Out
Whichever camera and lens you choose, the most important thing after purchasing it is to learn how to use them well. Even an expensive camera will not help you master photography if you fail to utilize its features. So the best way to improve your skills is not to use a heavy-duty gear but to use a gear which you understand well. It doesn’t matter if the tools at your disposal are not high-end; what matters is how experienced you are with them.
You should be able to function smoothly with and know with your eyes closed, which buttons to push. You shouldn’t hesitate when making technical choices and feel free to approach your gear as a master rather than an amateur. Your camera can become your greatest strength if you know how to spin the dials and control settings within a blink of an eye. This will give you the advantage of clicking shots within a spur of a moment.
So even if photography is just a hobby for you, there is no harm in learning every setting, control option, and feature of your camera. In this way, the camera becomes an extension of your eyes, and photography becomes a personal and wonderful experience. So it might seem boring but do spend some quality time reading the camera’s manual. It is one of the simplest ways to get acquainted.
Another great way to know your camera inside out is by shooting with it every day. In this way, you can dig deeper and deeper, experiment with different settings, and discover hidden features. Looking back, our advice to you is – marry your photography kits.
As we have spoken about knowing your camera well, the best way to do so is to experiment with manual control. If you want to make the most out of the hard-earned bucks you spent on the gear, then get over your fear. Stop relying on automatic settings and go full manual. Do not hesitate to scale unknown territory because no one is stopping you. It is your camera, your photographs, and your experience.
Make the most out of it by spending more of your time adjusting the camera functions and features on your own. This not only makes you more competent but also increases your confidence. Start working with the element of the exposure triangle individually at first. These are Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed. Then move on to unifying them. Mark our words, controlling them isn’t as hard as it sounds.
They may seem too technical now, but with time you can master them. All the manual efforts eventually pay off, and you will be able to see the results in your photos. This manual adjusting of settings will open up a whole new world for you. It will change the way you perceive photography as hordes of creative possibilities will welcome you. You will be able to twerk the setting in any way you want to attain varying image outputs.
We know manual requires going the extra mile, but nothing good has ever come the easy way. So if you wish for images with breathtaking backgrounds and spectacular composition which stands out, then going manual is the right path.
Skip the Stops and Set the basics first
Whether you go for manual or automatic settings, you have to grasp some basic first. To take mind-blowing photographs, you will have to first understand what makes and breaks a good photograph.
You will have to learn at least the primary elements which affect exposure. No, you don’t have to worry about learning the exposure scale mathematically and measure the stops of light. All this stuff is a waste of time for beginners. What you only need to focus on is how to maintain exposure by using its three components called aperture, shutter speed, and sensitivity. You don’t have to perfect them, and rather you need to learn how to use them to your advantage.
The quicker you start experimenting with exposure, the sooner you will transit from a button presser to an artist. We know it’s not very easy to fit all this technical knowledge in your brain, but by just venturing outside the automatic exposure mode, you will learn a lot.
With practice learning, you can excel at anything from metering to exposure and focus. Once you can handle the nuances of exposure, you are turning the exposure process upside down and envisioning an outcome for the photo. You can learn to handle backlighting, creative exposure, and many more scenarios than the camera can handle on its own. Our advice for learning basics is to learn how to control one individual factor at a time.
For example, try to understand ISO and its impact on image quality first. Then branch out to learning shutter speed and then move on to controlling aperture. This way, you can decently consider the visual outcomes of all these settings and will be able to combine them at the end well and jumping into full manual exposure modes.
Moreover, there are other basics to grasp as well, such as making people pose, identifying photographic moments, making the subject feel comfortable, etc. Additionally, there is one more crucial factor other than exposure, which needs to be learned, and that is external light.
Therefore, a photographer needs to assess good lighting. No matter for what purpose the image is taken for, if there isn’t ample light, the camera will fail to reflect what the eyes see. You, as a photographer, should know which source of light to depend on if you prefer ambient light then learn how to use diffused sunlight and existing indoor light to your advantage by positioning your subject in a manipulative manner.
This way, you can give your photos an extraordinary touch and feel without having to invest is expensive access to light modifiers, slave flashes, etc. Truly you don’t need any expensive additional gear at this stage. A few props will do well, such as reflectors and filters. The good thing is that they are not very costly, and some of them you can DYI as well. The only thing important is to “read” the direction of light so that you can manipulate it manually.
Indeed, this vital skill will help you in the creation of beautiful highlights, silhouettes, and deep shadows within a scene.
See Julia Fletcher‘s YouTube video to get another point of view about starting with photography:
Where to test your performance?
You can easily measure your growth not only by analyzing the changes in your images but also by testing them on various platforms. Even though you are pursuing photography as a hobby, uploading photos on photography platforms such as Shutterstock and Dreamstime wouldn’t do you any harm.
It will only do you good because you will be able to judge your competency by presenting your skills to the public. This showcasing of your work will help you identify your areas of both strengths and weaknesses as the public eye will scrutinize your work and provide you valuable feedback. Not only that, you can even monetize your hobby as many photography platforms allow you to earn royalties on your images.
Choosing the right location and the right time
Every photographer has some preferences; for example, some choose nighttime over day time while others go for natural beauty over an urban lifestyle. It is not our position to tell you what to pursue, but our advice is not to sit idle. Make the most use of your camera as you cannot capture good images while sitting at home. At least, in the beginning, don’t wait for the right location or the right time, just take your camera everywhere.
You never know when the right moment will come by. So always be prepared. We do advise beginners to start during day time as it is much easier and don’t wait for natural beauty only as urban scenes are easier to come by, and they have the beauty of their own as well!
As we all look back onto our careers, we wish somebody has made things this easy for us. We learned the hard way, but we don’t want you to struggle. We hope that these tips make you a keen and serious hobbyist who captures life with the same zeal and enthusiasm that we have.
We hope that this hobby shapes your life, the way it has shaped ours, and may it be a positive force that changes your perspective on life!