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10 Things I wish I knew when starting photography

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Aug 11

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  1. The importance of understanding the camera and exposure.
    1. Knowing how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO interact
    2. The camera doesn’t see what you see
    3. All those numbers are pretty important
  2. No man is an island
    1. This is not something you want to do alone
    2. A great opportunity to bring new people into your life
    3. Be good to everyone you meet
  3. You are nothing without emotion
    1. If you want someone to connect with an image, aim for emotion
    2. Be emotional with your subject
    3. You are not just the person who clicks the shutter
  4. Click with Purpose
    1. Know what you want out of a photo before taking it
    2. Think about composition, color, etc
    3. The camera is an eye – it IS the viewer
  5. The better you can see the end image, the better you can create it
    1. Anything becomes easier when you see the end result
    2. Sketch, paint, diagram, sing, act, color, be the photo
  6. Fancy lights are fun, natural light is freeing.
    1. Light is light
    2. Your brain can only handle so much, let it focus on your subject
  7. It is more about the lens than the camera
    1. Camera bodies come out all the time
    2. Good lenses last
  8. Photography is expensive
    1. It is as expensive as you make it
    2. Don’t let cost get in your way
    3. Buy more expensive equipment when you outgrow the old
  9. Your images are a reflection of yourself
    1. You are in all of your images
    2. Be true to yourself
  10. As a hobby or as a profession, do what you love.
    1. Love is the most powerful force in the universe
    2. It is instantly recognized, and impossible to fake.
  • TB

    Haha.. “Woah! Screen Saver” 

  • Edward Frazier

    Well said!

  • Cassius

    whats your views on the amount of images a person gets? i feel as if i spend a lot of hours on a single images just to hear “is there more?”  i wanna see more… id shoot enough images for an idea but it just seems like the models always wants more images from me after i spend a massive amount of hours photoshopping an image how do i avoid this issue or at least fix it? 

  • erikakay


  • Canan

    Good stuff!

    Aaron, how do you handle people and friends and friends of friends who expect you to take pictures of them for free?
    I have experienced that a lot since I started ph. Colleagues at work and friends e.g. come along with wishes and seem to completely ignore ( not all of them, but the most) that I am not ONLY doing this for fun, but also aim secure my financials.

    I really need an professional advice on this. 
    Thanks so much!


  • Stef

    Hey, still waiting for a Phlearn Pro Levitation Episode!!!! :-)

    would love t. Maybe in two part. The Shooting and the Photoshop!!!

  • Fabian Güiza

    Great episode Aaron. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Greg Brave

    Very good episode! All the things that you said are spot on. I think that one of the important things that you didn’t mention is persistence and not giving up. Unless you are a very very talented person, you won’t “get it right” the first time (or the second or the third), so you have to keep on it and believe in yourself. As long as you love what you’re doing of course!

  • Alex Kemsley

    I’m only 15, and one thing I desperately want to know is: 
    Did you struggle financially as most artists do, and if so, how long for?

  • Lazer333


  • Steffen Lund

    You mention that you never takes a picture without knowing what you do in Photoshop afterwards. What about in the beginning? I don’t have a lot of experience in Photoshop so I think its hard to know, what i wanna do about before i shoot the actual picture. Any advices on that?

  • Travelphotography

    Me too that would be great, mostly I get people asking for my photos emailed to them so they can get them printed on to canvas themselves, even though they know I have a website that sells them on Canvas

  • Anonymous

    Totally Alex, it is something that I have to work on every day. I spend a lot of time working with business etc. Get a good support system while starting out, live inexpensively and work a lot!

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree Greg, it takes A LOT of work

  • Anonymous

    I don’t go to my friend the dentist and ask for free dentures. If you WANT to do it for free, by all means do it. If you see it as work, you shouldn’t have a problem charging people. This is a great topic. If you put value on your work, so will other people.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Cassius, Agree on something ahead of time. My models get one image. They know that before our shoot. In the end you have to decide who the shoot is for. You? Client? Friend? Model? Cater the shoot accordingly.

  • Dunja Zupanic

    Love is very powerful thing, but i think you need vision and passion for everything you do in life…i wish i knew all of that before i started taking photos…but it’s never to late, right? :)
    I have question for you Aaron: can you show as how you make camera raw conversion in ps? Think it will be nice to see your way. :)

  • Cornflake Couture

    I agreed with everything you said Aaron.  Another thing I would add (you did sort of allude to) which I learned personally whilst doing my 365 last year, is Don’t be all things to all men.  It SO EASY to read lots of photography magazines and browse Flickr streams and think- I’ll try that, I’ll try that, I’ll try that.  Now its great to experiment but eventually you end up with a body of work that looks like it was made by 10 different people.  Now some would argue thats not a bad thing, but I disagree- I like artists to have ‘a style’ I don’t want to go and see Magritte and it looks like a Mondrian.  The same with music, how many times do American Idol judges say to contestants ”I just don’t know what kind of artist you are”.  Its about having the love, the passion and the drive- but understanding who you are and what you want to say.  I realised all my Flickr favourites were styles of photography I would never make because thats not the kind of artist I am  And it stopped me even trying because I know i could never create their kind of images.  I appreciate their style but I’m working on what makes me tick and pushing my energies that way.  Interestingly it does free your photography right up because you have more vision of what will and wont work for you and you dont waste time chasing shots that wont work for you.

  • Paul Liebrand

    Completely agree.

  • Ben

    “If your camera is better than you…”
    I love it! That’s SOOOO true! If you don’t know your camera inside and out, you probably don’t need a new one yet. 

  • Weedrunkglasgowman

    I have nothing but respect for those who manage to do this professionally,to bust your buns to bring bread to the table through nothing more than a a hunk of plastic and alloy and a tremendous amount of imagination and vision.

  • Fran

    Good Shiz right here.:) thank you for the tips Aaron.:) I’m sure it’ll all be useful someday.:)

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