One of the great things about photography is the abundance of resources and equipment catered to sharpening your skills. With so many options, however, buying equipment can sometimes get a bit overwhelming, especially for those who are just starting out on their journey to being a photographer.
Where to start?
When getting into photography, you may want to take a moment to reflect on a few simple questions and concepts devoted to identifying what type of photographer you aspire to be. This will help you save lots of time and money by starting out with the correct essentials.
To make things easier, we’ve come up with a few simple questions to help you narrow down your interests, your level of devotion, and what to buy within your budget.
What’s your inspiration?
First and foremost, discover what inspires you! Getting creative with your photography is much easier when you enjoy what you are photographing!
If you enjoy being around people and you are outgoing for instance, you may want to consider portraiture. Portraiture can be a lot of fun if you are an outgoing person because you get to meet lots of great people and learn a lot about them.
A great portrait photograph tells a story about the person you are photographing, and this can be exceptionally rewarding once you have acquired the skills to pull this off. Portraiture also has a wide range of applications including (but not limited to): senior portraits, weddings, and fashion. This could be a great route if you are considering photography as a profession.
If you are like me (the adventurous type), then you may want to consider landscape photography.
I personally find this to be the most satisfying type of photography because it allows me to slow down and appreciate my surroundings. As a landscape photographer, I have the privilege of recording beautiful places accompanied by stunning conditions.
Landscape photography can be very technical – it often requires lots of planning and a little bit of luck. Some landscape photographs have required me to revisit the same scene hundreds of times before I captured the shot I was looking for and I love the rush I get when all my hard work and planning finally pays off.
Still Life Photography
If landscapes and portraiture aren’t really your thing, then maybe you’re looking for still life photography.
This is a great place to start for someone with OCD tendencies since still life often requires you to stage your subject and your studio light – which inherently requires an incredible attention for detail.
Still life photography is also a great way to get into advertising and e-commerce photography, naturally. There are lots of gigs for freelancers in product photography.
Find your niche!
I covered some of the broadest categories of photography, however, there are countless specialized niches and categories that overlap (portrait landscapes, anybody?).
The point is, there is a photography niche for everyone. The earlier you discover your niche the better off you are because you aren’t wasting your money on the wrong equipment, and you’ll be putting more of your time and efforts into something you were meant to be good at.
How far do you want to take it?
Now that you have a better idea of what type of photography interests you, take some time to consider your level of devotion. Is photography something you want to consider as a hobby, or is it something you want as a profession?
There’s no black and white answer to this question. Consider that most professional photographers (including myself) start out as hobbyists before they decide photography is something they want to do full time.
As a disclaimer, becoming a professional photographer is exceptionally difficult and it can be cost-prohibitive. I generally encourage beginners to try photography as a hobby before thinking about pursuing it further. It’s important to know which side of the fence you are on, so you can make sure you are getting equipment tailored to fit your needs.
Save money on camera equipment!
On that subject, you’re jumping into an expensive hobby. Not trying to scare you away, but it’s important to consider your budget. How much are you willing to put in? Do want it to be an investment that will pay itself off, or one just for your own pleasure?
Or, use a tool you already have – your smartphone.
“The best camera is the one you have with you.” That’s sage advice. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new camera, use the thousand-dollar camera you have in your pocket already!
Most recent phones have cameras better than top of the line camera models from 5 years ago. Take advantage of that. Learn how to use editing software and maybe grab a couple of lenses to step up your game.
If you like challenge, you might even try your skills and luck with a few contests and giveaways. It sounds crazy, however, I won a professional camera bundle from an Instagram contest sponsored by Sony and The Photo Society. If I can do it, anyone can.
Viewbug is also a great resource for contests. You’ve got nothing to lose for trying!
Do you have any tips for helping new photographers jump into this rewarding hobby? Are you one of those new people who need a bit more advice? Hit us up in the comments below!