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I think sometimes we get caught up in the notion that you have to have a ton of artistic talent in order to be a photographer.
That might sound crazy, but I'm not alone in that thinking...
Here's why: though some people can just grab a camera and start taking amazing photos, others have to work at it.
In the video above, Manny Ortiz talks about this very topic, and uses his own experience as a photographer to illustrate the point that talent isn't everything.
In fact, as Manny points out in the video, you don't need any talent at all.
But what you do need is a drive to learn, practice, and work your butt off. If you can do that, you can overcome a lack of innate photography talent.
Manny picked up a camera (an entry-level a Canon EOS Rebel T3i) five years ago, having never had a camera before in his life nor having an interest in photography at all up to that point.
He began learning how to use his camera by watching YouTube videos from DigitalRev TV. From there, he kept finding new things to try and new ways to learn, and now he's a full-time photographer with over 82,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel where he puts out weekly photography videos.
Here's a few things Manny found to be helpful in his photography journey.
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Don't Compare Yourself to Others
It's one thing to admire the work of others or find inspiration in the work of more experienced photographers, but what you don't want to do is compare your photos to other people's photos.
If you start comparing yourself to others, you'll only end up being disappointed. That is, there aren't many people that can just pick up a camera and start taking professional-level photos in short order.
By comparing yourself to more experienced photographers, you're setting yourself up for failure because they have more knowledge, more skills, and more experience than you do.
Instead, compare your current work to past work, and examine how you've improved with time. That should give you the encouragement you need to keep moving forward.
Take Advantage of Photography Resources to Learn More
As Manny points out in his video, YouTube is a fantastic resource for beginner photographers.
There are thousands and thousands of videos on everything from how to use your camera to composition tips to how to shoot in manual mode and everything in between.
And, of course, YouTube is free, so you have access to all these resources without spending a dime. That'll come in handy down the road as you learn more and grow out of your current gear and need to put your money towards buying a better camera, better lenses, and so forth.
There are plenty of other free or low-cost photography resources out there as well. We've got thousands of free articles here on PhotographyTalk, you can take a class on Lynda or Udemy, and the chances are good that there are free or inexpensive classes offered in your area as part of a community program.
The point is that you don't have to enroll in expensive classes at a college or university to learn how to be a photographer!
Editor's Tip: Motivate yourself by seeing what your photos would look like as fine art.
Practice All the Time
Becoming a better photographer really hinges on practicing your craft.
Just like an Olympian trains for years and years before they get a chance to compete, you'll need to put in years and years of practice and effort before you become a great photographer.
Even if you're just taking still-life photos of things in your house, set aside time every single day to have your camera in your hand to take some photos.
As a related point, you need to have your camera with you at all times.
These days, that usually means having your smartphone on you, which is a great learning tool for the basics of photography.
But try to have your "real" camera with you as much as possible as well.
Shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera gives you the chance to learn how to use advanced shooting modes like aperture priority or shutter priority, and eventually learn how to shoot in manual mode.
That's not to mention the need to learn how to use different lenses, too.
So, the moral of the story is this - if you work hard and commit yourself to working hard, you can learn anything in photography. That includes the technical stuff like understanding the exposure triangle, the artistic stuff like composition, and everything in between.
With that said, grab your camera, head outside, and start practicing!