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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Photography

1. Master Manual Mode

Shooting in manual mode allows you to become more creative as you grow. Taking the extra time to learn about shutter speed, aperture and ISO is the golden key to having a creative impact in the photography world. If you're just starting out and don't know what these terms mean yet, don't let that stop you from creating.

ISO 100, 50mm, f/22, 30 sec


Controlling your shutter speed allows you to capture motion in more creative ways. Slowing down your shutter speed allows you to capture the motion blur within your subjects. Have you ever seen those beautiful city shots with trails of light, or waterfalls with smooth flowing water? Setting your camera in a low shutter speed allows you to capture that. Here are some tips that have helped me create long exposure photographs.

  1. Invest in a good tripod! I've been using this tripod for a year now and It gets the job done

  2. Set a 10 second timer! Without setting a timer you risk moving the camera, and creating a blurry image.

  3. Start at the lowest exposure! Starting at the lowest exposure (30 seconds) saves you a lot of time because if it's too slow it's easier to work your way down.


ISO 250, 50mm, f/5.0, 500s

Aperture allows you to add dimension in your images by controlling the depth of field. Aperture can allow you to capture your subject with a blurred background. For this image, I put the focus on the subject and created a blur effect with the background, and the foreground in front of her. Another way to use aperture would be to set your camera settings to f/22 or lower to create a sharp photo from the nearby foreground to the horizon in the distance.


Last but not least we have ISO. The ISO setting is one of the three elements used to control the exposure in your images. In simple terms it allows you to brighten or darken the image. You'll notice that as you increase your ISO the image will get brighter. This is where a high ISO will come in handy in a dark environment. However, raising your ISO does effect a few things.

  1. High ISO = more grain

  2. You should only raise your ISO when you're unable to brighten the image through the shutter speed or aperture

  3. Don't forget that using a longer shutter speed will create a blurry image of you subject!

2. Mistakes Build You Into A Better Artist

When I first started shooting manual I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I'd have to make phone calls to my friend Jonas daily every time I had a question (which was a lot). When I first started I did a session with an old friend. My ISO was set over 4000 during the daytime. As you can probably imagine the images were extremely grainy. Even though it was a mistake at the time, it allowed me to learn and do better at my next session.

3. Shoot in RAW!

Let's pretend JPEG does't exist. JPEG compresses your image, and loses some of your data which doesn't help when editing in post. RAW files allow you to produce high quality images, and bring back the extra details. To this day I'll come across images where the sky is completely white. Shooting in RAW has allowed me to bring back the highlights and the details in the sky (colors/clouds).

Shooting RAW allowed me to bring back the details in the sky during post.

4. Create Presets

Have you ever wondered how photographers are able to get the same look throughout all of their images? It's because they created a preset through LRC (Lightroom Classic) or Photoshop.

How to Create a Preset:

  1. Select a photo, and click the edit icon

  2. adjust the editing controls to create the style you want

  3. Click the preset button below the Edit panel

  4. Click the three dots and choose create preset

  5. You'll be able to name and choose groups for your presets

5. Listen to Critiques

I can't say this enough please listen to constructive criticism. It's hard hearing the negative critiques but this allows you to apply the information to what you create next. Allowing yourself to be open to feedback from other creatives, will allow yourself to think critically about the future work you create. Take what you learn from each critique and apply it to your next photoshoot.

6. Don't Stick to One Genre

The keys to success is in diversity. If you decide to turn your hobby into a career, one genre of photography will not benefit you. Allowing yourself to step out of your comfort zone and try new things will gain you more experience; and put you one step further into mastering manual mode.

7. Mini Sessions

What is a mini session? In simple terms it's a smaller (cheaper) version of a full session. Here are some tips on how mini sessions will not only benefit the client but also benefit you.

Mini sessions are a great portfolio builder!

You'll be able to use the images from your mini sessions to add to your website, and advertise full sessions.

Create Time Slots!

Pick one day out of the week to schedule your mini sessions. Create X amount of time slots, and cross them out on social media once a slot is filled to gain more interaction, and bookings.

Offer Clients an Upgrade!

After clients see the beautiful images you captures they'll want to purchase more. Always provide your clients will the option to upgrade to a full package.

8. Stop Low Balling Your Business

Always advocate for yourself as a small business owner and demanding what you're worth in your pricing. The right clients, the ones who are willing to pay for your services are out there.

9. Use Pic-Time!

What is Pic-Time? It's an online gallery system used by professional photographers to provide digital images to their clients. Ever since I switched to Pic-Time I've been able to send out portrait galleries, wedding galleries, child birth galleries, and more! Not only do they offer an online gallery service but they provide a store for your clients to purchase prints. Not sold yet? Pic-Time is all about supporting photographers and they allow you to create your own photo product pricing. You profit everything, and they only take 8% of your sales each time (less than a lot of other online galleries/websites). I know you're probably wondering "Well, how much is this going to cost me?" I have good news: Pic-Time starts off with a free service, with the option to upgrade your account starting at $17.99 a month. Now, I know you're probably thinking I'm getting paid to tell you all of these things but unfortunately I'm not. I'm glad I switched because not only can I create client galleries but I can also create my own art gallery and sell my own prints as fine art pieces!

10. It's Okay to Have Mental Breaks

As a creative it can be mentally exhausting keeping up with social media, marketing, websites, editing and more. Please don't burn yourself out. Allow yourself enough time to get the job done. I have days where I don't feel like picking up my camera and that's okay. Don't forget to enjoy your life too.

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