If you are just starting out on your photography journey, you have come to the right place. I know its daunting, so much to learn, so many variables to contend with etc etc. These are my top 5 tips to give you the best experience possible, and fast track your growth. This should definitely get you on the right tracks to ripping off those amateur arm bands!
There's that old saying "You don't know until you try". Very true saying, and it goes for photography as well. There are so many great genres out there, its worth experimenting with all of them. Find out which one you like the most.
Ultimately, it is better to specialise in one genre. Don't worry about that. Just do what you enjoy. You will naturally gravitate to a genre over time. Even something you wouldn't necessarily see yourself doing. Give it a go. What have you got to lose?
Then on-top of that, learning about other genres can ultimately help you with the genre you decide to pursue. For example if ultimately you did specialise in portraiture, learning about landscape photography is going to help with backdrops massively. Not to mention, you will be learning more and more about camera settings etc.
This feeds into my previous point. Find some photographers work that inspires you. Look across all genres, and take notes. This may help you to try a genre you haven't done before. There are so many great photographers out there. It won't be hard to come across some that inspire you. Take a look at some major publications like Magnum or National Geographic. Theres always fantastic work there.
I have to mention not to copy these people, a lot of people do that. Not cool! There is a big difference between taking inspiration and copying. Find your own path, craft your own style. Maybe one day people will be taking inspiration from you.
Don't Let People Deter You
Everyone has an opinion, especially nowadays in the era of social media. Some criticism is valuable and can help you grow. Some criticism is just unnecessary, that kind of criticism you want to block straight away. Of course it's hard to distinguish between sometimes, sometimes not.
Just remember, whatever the critic might be saying, they are critiquing your photo, not you as a person. Honest opinions can be very valuable, I mean people do pay to have focus groups. Over time you will learn what kind of criticism is helpful and what is not.
Whatever you do, don't take it to heart. Take it on board, and grow from it. Everyone makes mistakes, how you respond to those mistakes, is what will make you into the photographer you will become.
Buy the Right Gear
You will definitely need a camera that shoots both in RAW and manual to get your photography to the next level. Here is a link to a blog I wrote about this before.
A tripod is a necessary and very useful investment to make too. Here is a link to a blog I wrote about this before.
Last, but certainly not least is lenses. I would invest in lenses before cameras. They will make more of a difference to your photo quality and your options (focal length). So what I'm saying is -
Budget Camera with Good Lenses > Expensive Camera with Budget Lenses.
You can always transfer your high quality lenses over to your new camera too (in most cases, do your research to make sure).
Here are some useful links for more info on lenses to buy-
Practice Makes Perfect
Like any skill, the more you pursue, and work on your craft the better you will become. Photography is no different. Nothing really beats going out and taking photos. The theory side of it is very important too, both go hand in hand. It's quite comparable to learning the guitar. If you sit and play every night, you will get a lot better, and if you are learning the theory side too that will just amplify your progress.
So yeah, whenever you get some free time go out and learn the craft. You will learn so much from your mistakes, so like I said before; don't be afraid to make them. When the wins start coming in, it will make all the setbacks worth it.
Thank you for reading, feel free to take a look at some of my other blog posts here they may also be useful. I have a photography group with an amazing community, and lots of learning content, perfect for people starting out. Join that here.