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If you’re worried about how to get good at photography fast, Pat Kay has a great video for you. In it, he goes over 20 essential tips for beginners. Some of these tips are practical, some of them are theoretical, but all of them will help you reach your ultimate goal of being a phenomenal photographer.
I’m only going to highlight a few tips here, so you’ll need to watch the full video in order to learn as much as you can.
Focus Your Energy
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As Pat points out, it is generally agreed that 70% of photography is about what is in a photo, 20% of photography is about how you take a photo, and 10% of photography is about how you edit a photo.
So, if you’re learning how to get good at photography, then it doesn’t make much sense for you to put all of your energy into learning how to edit or learning how to use your gear, since those two things combined are only about 30% of photography. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to focus your energy on finding and working with fascinating subjects.
I especially love beginner photography tips that prevent photographers from falling into gear acquisition syndrome and this first tip from Pat does just that.
Identify Your Personal Taste
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One easy way to learn how to get better at photography is to learn what you like. Think about it like this. People who consider themselves “foodies” do so because they have focused on finding and trying as many different types of food as they can find. They did so in order to refine their palate.
Now, think about doing the same thing, but with photography. You need to study as many professional photographers as you possibly can in order to refine your photographic palate. You’ll never like your own photography if you don’t know what kind of photography you like.
Don’t Just Rely on Photography for Inspiration
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While studying other photographers can help you to refine your photographic taste, in order to really learn how to get good at photography, you need to look to other art mediums for inspiration.
Perhaps you’ve always been drawn to Quinten Tarantino movies. A big part of that is likely the way that his scenes are shot. You can study them and try to replicate them in your stills photography.
Maybe you aren’t the biggest movie buff, but you’ve always been a fan of Van Gogh’s paintings. Have you ever thought about incorporating the same really bright colors that Van Gogh uses in your photography?
There are millions of photographers in the world, so you need to find out what makes your vision unique and try to showcase that through your work.
Learn and Use the Exposure Triangle
I know that this article is filled with photography tips for beginners, so you may be wondering what the exposure triangle is. Don’t worry. It’s super easy.
The exposure triangle is an easy way to visualize the way that your camera takes a picture. The exposure triangle includes ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, which are all three manual controls that you have on your camera.
You need to understand what each of these controls do, but moreover you need to understand how to change these settings on your camera. It will take a while to form that muscle memory, but it is absolutely necessary to be able to change any of these settings without even looking at your camera if you really want to learn how to get good at photography.
Make sure that you learn the shutter speed first, then the aperture, and finally the ISO. You can do so in this tutorial.
Keep Taking Photographs
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One of the most important ways to learn how to get good at photography is to learn how to persevere. Unfortunately, photography is one of those crafts that really just take years to perfect. Most photographers don’t really hit a good stride until they’ve been photographing for two, three, or even five years.
Of course, this is a bit disheartening for most beginner photographers to hear because you want to be great right away. Or, you at least want to feel like you’re great right away. And, honestly, I had a lot more self-confidence than I probably should have when I first started, but it helped to keep me on track.
No matter what, if you’re going to learn how to get good at photography, you need to keep taking photos.
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No matter what type of photography you ultimately decide you want to pursue, there are going to be a whole subset of skills that you need. So, when you’re first starting out and pursuing all types of photography niches in order to learn what you like, you’re going to have dozens of skills that you need to learn.
Since most of these skills are going to require constant practice, Pat recommends that you break these skills down into week-long endeavors. So, you focus on learning one new skill every week for months. Practicing just one per week will allow you to understand it fully by the time the week is up.
When you’re learning how to get good at photography, you’re also learning how to keep a calendar.
Keep a Photo’s Purpose In Mind
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The only way that you can convey a photo’s purpose to your audience is through the subject of that photo. It’s why almost all of the most famous photographs in the world are either photos with human or animal subjects.
When you’re taking a photo, the subject of the photo should be the absolute first thing you’re thinking about. You can worry about all of the other parts of a photo, like its composition or its lighting, afterwards.
photo by kmatija via iStock
Really what all of these easy photography tips boil down to is the fact that you have to be okay making mistakes.
What this means in practice is that you have to consciously break rules, do things that make you uncomfortable, and generally try not to create any photography habits (outside of always taking photos).
The best way to learn how to get good at photography is to be okay with the learning process.