Last week we shared a few things about photography that beginners don’t want to hear about their new hobby.
Hold on tight, because there’s four more things to think about as you dive into the fun and exciting world of photography!
You Need the Right Gear
That kit lens that came with your camera isn’t going to cut it if you want to take true macro photos. Want to photograph wildlife at long distances? You’ll need a lens for that too. If you want to get into studio work, you’ll need lighting, softboxes, and backgrounds, just to name a few essential items. Though your starter kit will go a long way as you learn photography, there will come a point when you need to start filling out your collection of gear such that you can better pursue the types of photography you want to pursue.
Then Again, Gear Doesn’t Matter
Of course, having all the nicest, fanciest photography gear in the world isn’t going to make you a good photographer. Time spent learning the fundamentals - lighting, exposure, framing, and composition, for example - will be what has the greatest impact on the quality of the images you create. In fact, you can create better photos with your smartphone if you practice the technical and creative aspects of photography than you will if you just go buy the most expensive gear you can find and jump in without learning how to be a photographer.
The point is that experience is key if you want to become a better photographer. Sure, incredible gear will help, but at the end of the day, photography is about a commitment to learning, and that will take time.
Gear is Heavy
Granted, not everyone loads all their gear into a backpack or camera bag and lugs it around all day. But even just transferring things from your house to the car can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve gone the way of packing ALL your gear for every shoot. Even if you don’t take all your gear, by the time you load up your bag with a DSLR, a couple of lenses, filters, a lens cleaning kit, a tripod, a tripod head, and other basics, you’re looking at carrying at least 8-10 pounds. That might not sound like a lot, but after a few hours, it can be a killer.
The moral of the story? Pack smart and pack light. If you have three lenses, take two. If you won’t be needing your tripod, don’t take it or take a small travel tripod. Do what you can to limit the load you carry and your back, neck, and shoulders will be thankful.
Prepare to Lose Sleep
Many photography pursuits require early mornings or late nights: landscapes, astrophotography, and travel photography come immediately to mind. Obviously, it’s hard to photograph a sunrise unless you’re up before the sun is. You won’t be able to document wildlife without some early mornings as well. Whatever your photographic pursuits, it’s one thing to use your skills and knowledge to take a great picture at 9 am. It’s another thing to do it at 4:30 am in a sleep-deprived state.
At the end of the day, photography is a challenge to be sure. But man is it worth it! The early mornings and late nights, the heavy loads to carry, the time spent learning techniques and skills, and the array of gear that’s needed to take quality photos are a small price to pay for the rewards of creating compelling images that last a lifetime. You may not want to hear that photography is hard, but the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to meet the challenges of this most rewarding endeavor.