The 10 Things we Wish we Knew About Photography Sooner!

Photography is a world that is ever-changing. There are always new things to learn, and new technologies to master. But each of us, as we become more skilled in the craft, realises that the way we do things, or the beliefs we have about photography, have been different.

So here’s a list of 10 things we wished we had known when we started in photography to help us find our feet faster!

1) Using the Histogram

For 99% of people starting in photography, they won’t even know what the Histogram is, or if they do, they won’t use it. And why would they? Modern cameras have a nice little LCD display that will show you what’s in your frame so you can see your picture before you take it. Right?

Well, not really! The problem with the LCD display of a camera is that is it made up of many small lights. These lights are not reactive; so if you look at a picture in dark surroundings, the image will appear bright. But if you look at that same picture on your screen when it’s sunny outside, the picture will look dark.

You cannot, always, properly judge the exposure of your image using the LCD screen, because it will never accurately depict the final image.

2) Tripods

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You’ll probably have seen the advice to use a tripod in your photography hundreds of times by now. And for good reason; not always, but, in many situations, a stable camera on a tripod is going to a must or will improve your images.

But so many people start out with cheap and very light tripods, which is not always helping in achieving a sharp image.

It’s understandable to want to try and save money, but choosing a light / cheap tripod can actually sacrifice the sharpness you’re actually trying to using using a tripod.

A lot of cheaper tripods are made from cheap/light materials and aren’t very stable. This means they are still prone to movement when you take your image, even if you use the timer because of winds and other environmental factors.

Because of their cheap construction, budget tripods also tend to break much easier, meaning many photographers end up upgrading to more robust tripods in the future anyway.

If you’re serious about photography, invest the money in a good quality tripod that you’ll only need to buy once. Please let us know if you need any help in choosing a steady tripod.

3) Photography is all About Composition and Light!

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The two most important aspects to photography are composition and light. If you keep those two things in mind with each picture you take, you won’t go far wrong.

While starting out, observing the golden rules of composition will keep you going for a lot of your images. But as you grow as a photographer, and better understand the basic “rules” of photography, you’ll be better equipped to start breaking the rules and capturing more interesting images by experimenting with your composition and light in unconventional ways.

4) Exposure Compensation

We’ve talked about how important light is to your images, and one of the ways to maximise the light available to you, is by using Exposure Compensation.

Your camera does not necessarily reproduce what you see with the naked eye; there are things you have to do to make your image match what you’re seeing as best as possible.

By experimenting with the exposure value of your images, allowing more or less light into the lens of your camera, you have the chance to obtain a much better balanced exposure. Do it and see what the results are.

5) Off-Camera Flashes

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As we’ll talk about below, light is one of the most, if not THE most important part of photography, and using the flash is one of the quickest ways to introduce more light into your images.

The problem with the in-built flash on most cameras is that it fires straight forward and doesn’t provide very interesting light on your subject.

This is where off-camera flash comes in. By using a separate flash, it allows you to change the position of your flash, which creates much more dynamic and interesting light for your photos.

6) Using Photoshop is NOT cheating!

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There’s a thought among many new photographers that using Photoshop to enhance your images is somehow cheating, or wrong. This probably comes from the program’s use in the fashion industry to alter the physical look of models, resulting in a backlash. But Photoshop is not your enemy.

It can, and should be used on each of your images so that you can make the best out of the information captured.

You’ll know that the image your capture on your camera almost never looks like what you see with your own eyes. Photoshop can help bridge this gap by adjusting some of the parameters to create a more authentic image, or adjusting other things such as contrast to highlight your subject in a more dramatic way. This is not cheating, this is just a way to balance, enhance and improve your photographs and a way to achieve the actually image you had in mind. This is part of the creative process and should not be underestimated.

7) Don’t Buy More Equipment Until You Have To.

We’ve all been tempted to buy more expensive equipment than we are not ready for, hoping to be able to achieve better, more vivid and sharper photographs.

However, many people they dons’t really understand what exactly photography is about before they start buying more advanced/expensive equipment. You’d be surprised at how far you can get with just your entry DSLR and a comprehensive knowledge of how it works!

8) Never “Erase All Images On Your Card.

When you’re finished with a set of images and want to make space on your SD card, avoid the “Erase All Images” option in your camera’s settings. Doing this doesn’t actually remove all that data completely, and keeping it on the card can sometimes cause issues that can be very frustrating.

Instead, choose the option to “Format” the card when you are finished with all the images on it. This option completely removes the data and reorganises the folder structure, which will help prevent errors!

9) Use a Reflector.

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Another tip on light! If you don’t have access to a range of light sources to light your model with, you can use a reflector to bounce the light available back onto your model on a part other than your source is illuminating.

This can help create much more dynamic images on a lower budget than some heavy portable sources if light.

10) Using Neutral Density Filters.

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There are two types of Neutral Density filters that can really improve your images: Neutral Density Filters and Neutral Density Graduated Filters.

Natural Density Filters allow you to capture images with a much longer exposure time than is normally possible. These filters are perfect for capturing scenes with a lot of movement, such as bodies of water or clouds.

Neutral Density Graduated Filters can be used to help balance the range of light in your image, which is particularly useful when you have an image with very dark shadows contrasting with other bright elements (like the sky). These filters allow you to capture an image that shows as much detail as possible in some part of the image!

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and would love to know what you wish you had known when you were first getting started.

Let us know in the comments!