8 Things I Wish I Had Known As A New Photographer

young woman taking a photo with her iPhone

As a new photographer, I was overwhelmed with all of the things I wanted to learn how to do.

I would see so many great photographers online and in person, and I wanted to do everything they were doing.

Photography is a great hobby that can turn into an amazing creative outlet or even bring in money.

Today, I wanted to share with you some things I wish I had known when I started getting serious about learning photography.

I hope that by telling you these things, you can move along the photography path faster and more efficiently than I did.

8 Things I Wish I Had Known As A New Photographer

1. It is going to take lots of practice and time.

Photography is not something you can just learn in a weekend. Of course, you can pick up a camera and take pictures anytime. But to really learn the art and craft of photography, it will take much longer than that.

That means it will probably take years of learning and practicing what you learn over and over again to feel like you’ve really got it. At least, it did for me.

2. Equipment doesn’t matter that much.

In the beginning, you just need a camera. Any camera. An iPhone, point and shoot or DSLR will do. Of course, if you want to learn how to shoot in manual, you will need a DSLR, but at first you just need to practice with whatever camera you have available.

Then once you reach the limits of that camera, move up to the next model. You don’t need the fanciest camera available when you start. You won’t even know how to use it properly, so it will probably just frustrate you more. Start with what you have and move up from there.

3. I don’t work well with others.

When I first started photography, I photographed my kids all day long. So naturally, I thought I wanted to be a family or portrait photographer.

Then I shot some family photos for free (or cheap) and realized that I didn’t like shooting people. They frustrated me to no end. I didn’t like scheduling, posing, making kids try to smile, etc.

I liked to do my own thing on my own time. That is one of the reasons landscape photography suits me so well.

4. Don’t go overboard on editing

You should be editing your photos. Especially if you are shooting with a DSLR. Editing helps you put your best foot forward on each photo.

But don’t go crazy with the editing. At first, I tried too many actions and presets. My photos were crazy!

Simple editing to adjust the basics (exposure, highlights, shadows, white balance, etc.) are enough to make you photos look awesome!

5. Take constructive criticism

It is nice to hear your mom and other relatives say how great your photos are. It feels good.

But let’s face it. They will say that about just about any photo that is in focus with a cute kid in it.

Once you feel like you have a basic grasp on photography, you should look for places ( is a great place) to get constructive criticism from actual photographers.

They will see things in your photos to fix that your family and friends never will. These things can be hard to hear at first, but they will help you grow so much quicker than hiding and hoping for the best.

So swallow your pride and don’t get made when you hear things that might hurt. It is one of the best ways to get better.

woman looking into a vintage camera outside

6. Keep continuing your education

Continued learning is so important when you are trying to master anything, and photography is no exception.

There are so many great places to learn photography online, free and paid.

Check out this blog post for some ideas of where to start —> Top 4 Best Online Photo Classes for New Photographers.

7. Learn manual mode

Getting out of auto mode and learning how to shoot in manual mode has made the biggest impact on my photography.

You just can’t do everything you want in auto mode. You will want to be able to adjust settings to get your vision just right.

To learn more about manual mode, check out this blog post —> 6 Reasons Why You Should Learn Manual Mode in Photography.

8. Learn to see the light

Light is the most important element of photography and it can take awhile to learn how to see it properly.

Increase the light in your photos and you increase the quality almost immediately.

Start with natural light, as it is the easiest to see. Then try using artificial light as fill or in darker spaces.

Photography literally means drawing with light in Greek, so being able to manipulate light is essential.

I hope these tips have encouraged you on your photography journey. I wish I had known them at the beginning of my journey.

Photography can be hard and frustrating and overwhelming. But that’s ok. Just keep practicing and you will improve greatly over time.

It’s worth it. I promise.

new photographer pin

What do you wish you had known about photography when you started? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!

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