Photography as a Hobby: Getting Started

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Photography is an incredibly fun hobby to have, allowing you to capture any moment in time. It gives you the ability to express yourself creatively, and the potential is practically unlimited in what you can do. However, getting started in photography can be a daunting task, with the plethora of information out there. What equipment do you need? Where should you take photos? What should you take photos of? Well, the answer to all of these are quite simple, so let’s help you begin your journey into the world of photography.

The first thing you need to understand is that you DON’T need the most expensive equipment when starting out. Yes, there are some amazing cameras out there capable of taking incredible photos. However, let’s save those for those professionals, and stick to what can help you develop those photography skills. Taking a quality photo doesn’t require you to have the best of the best. In fact, modern smartphones are capable of taking amazing photos, so don’t worry too much about what camera you’ll be using (for now).

The best part about photography is you can do it anywhere. So a good rule of thumb is to carry your camera wherever you go. You’ll never know when the perfect shot will come your way, and you’ll be bummed when you don’t have your camera to capture that moment. That’s one of the beautiful things about photography, and the spontaneity keeps it exciting.

When it comes to what photos you’ll be taking, find what inspires you. Take a minute to evaluate what you love. Do you love to explore new places? Do you love people? Do you want to capture action-filled scenes? Identifying what inspires you will allow you to better understand where you should focus your learning. Another thing to remember is to not box yourself in and only take photos of fairly conventional objects. Try to let your creativity flow, and get crafty with what you shoot.

When taking photos, you’ll want to learn how to utilize light. Lighting is an absolutely essential characteristic in shooting a quality photo. When shooting, watch how lights comes in from different angles. Notice how light affects a photo when coming from behind the subject versus in front. Try taking that same photo with lighting coming in from the sides, and see how it changes the composure of the photo. Understanding this aspect of photography will help you utilize your lighting to its fullest potential, allowing you to capture amazing photos.

Shelly Cooper, a local family photographer, says the importance of understanding your background, as well as utilizing your light, is what makes a quality photo. She says, “Be attentive to your background, ask about every object, line, color: Does this distract or enhance what I am trying to focus on?”. Once you begin to take notice on how these aspects can affect a photo, you’ll be able to truly capture some amazing photographs. She went on, “Think of it like you’re making photographs, not taking pictures”. By doing this, it allows you to express yourself through your art, and you will begin to develop your own unique style.

When starting a new hobby, it is often beneficial to join a community of like-minded hobbyists, and photography is no different. There are numerous photography communities out there where you can post your shots, get critiques on your photos, ask questions to other fellow photographers, and all sorts of other things. This is a great way to get support and continue to gain traction and experience in your photography. Instagram is a great social media platform to start posting your photography to, and can allow you to expand your network. The photography subreddit is another great online community to join.

Getting started in photography can be scary at first, but in the end, all it takes is the will to get out there and experiment. You’ll never know where it might take you, so don’t be afraid to begin!

Avid writer and reader with a curious mind, I'm always looking to get the most out of life! Follow me on Twitter @whatsaschoon

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