Education for passionate photographers who want to grow their business to a full-time thriving career
If you haven’t figured this out yet, photography is an expensive hobby. With the cost of camera bodies, lenses, cards, lighting equipment, that little camera you received for Christmas can turn into $5,000 worth of gear in the blink of an eye.
I know this is going to sound cliché, but don’t think that owning the latest and greatest pro equipment will turn your photos into award winners over night. We firmly believe that life should be lived debt-free and that goes for our business as well. I learned the fundamentals of photography using a Crop sensor Nikon D80 with a 18-135mm kit lens.
If you still have the urge to get add to your gear bag, may we suggest renting equipment and trying it out first. As you gain experience and perhaps niche down in which genre of photography you wish to pursue, you may come to realize you don’t need a 300mm lens to shoot weddings and you prefer something lighter and more versatile.
One final thought – the fundamentals are the same in every DSLR camera and every lens, so don’t add to your gear collection until you’ve taken the next two suggestions.
There are three settings in each camera which determine the photo outcome. These items are the building blocks of photography.
Knowing where and how to change these three settings in your camera is key to beginning to understand photography as well as taking great photos. Experiment with modifying each of these independently to get a feel and understanding how each of these effect items such as brightness, sharpness, and depth of field. Knowing the exposure triangle already puts you ahead of most point and shoot or cellphone photographers.
Once you have a good understanding of the exposure triangle, you’re ready to move away from that auto setting. Most DSLRs have options for priority modes:
Shutter Priority – You manually set the shutter speed you want for your photo and the camera will set the aperture and ISO to get a properly exposed photo.
Aperture Priority – You manually set the aperture you want for your photo and the camera will see the shutter speed and ISO to get a properly exposed photo.
Finally, once you feel you have mastered the exposure triangle, make the biggest pro jump by upgrading your skills by shooting in manual. Manual mode allows you to set the shutter, aperture, and ISO all independently, giving you the most control over the look and feel of your photos.
Continue to fuel your passion for photography by following other photographers. Instagram is our favorite go-to social media spot for this. If there is a photography niche you love best, follow the top photographers in that genre. Even be so bold as to follow very specific topics such as #beachphotography or #blackandwhiteinspo. There is so much that can be learned by observing things such as posing, composition, and editing styles.
While there are many benefits of higher education, many successful photographers did not graduate from college with a degree in photography. Self-Education and mentorship can be equally as effective as time in a classroom. The fundamentals and “rules” of photography haven’t changed in over a century, but if you are wanting to take your hobby into a career, things such as editing software, technology, and marketing change at warp speed. We find it extremely important to stay up to date on all things photography by continually educating ourselves in the field.
There are a variety of free and paid resources available in today’s wide informational world. Podcasts, YouTube, Master Classes, and memberships, can all play a part in making you and your future business successful. More specifically aligning yourself with a mentor who is further along in their photography journey can be unbelievably beneficial so long as you are willing to be open to suggestions and feedback.
We all started the same way in our photography journey. Having an inquisitive mind and a willingness to learn can skyrocket your understanding of photography and starting a business. Call upon your mentor or your favorite photography Facebook groups to help answer that question you had about getting that perfect blurry background or how to increase engagement on your social media accounts. Surround yourself with those who want to see you succeed rather than see you as their competition. This brings us to our next topic.
Don’t compare Chapter 1 of your journey to someone else’s Chapter 10. We believe everyone has the same potential to succeed, while also recognizing everyone’s definition of success can be wildly different. Knowing what you want out of photography is a great first step. If you are happy just knowing the basics, you can take great photos of your kids and that’s what fills you, GREAT! If you want to quit your 9-5 job and build a 6 figure luxury business, also GREAT! The best part of your journey is getting to determine your own personal definition of success.
Education for Creatives is a membership community for passion photographers who are ready to begin or grow their business to a full-time thriving career.