Becoming a photographer requires a passion for the arts and science. The technical side of capturing an image is the science but the artistic side is where your creative soul lives. Today’s cameras make it easier than ever to get started in photography.
But there’s a lot more to photography than putting your camera on auto and firing away. It takes a combination of ingredients to become competent let alone professional. Follow these steps to get started:
Study Basic Photography: Familiarize yourself with camera settings, exposure, composition, and lighting techniques. And choose the right gear for your budget. Invest in a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a portrait-friendly lens, like a prime lens (50mm, 85mm) or a zoom lens with a wide aperture.
Most new photographers struggle the most with lighting. It’s what separates the pros from the amateurs. Learn about different lighting setups, such as natural light, artificial lighting, and studio lighting. Also, get proficient with your strobe outdoors as well as indoors in order to take your photography to the next level.
Practice with friends, family, or even self-portraits to gain experience in directing and posing subjects. Do not practice with real jobs, paid or not! If things go wrong you risk getting a bad reputation.
Pay attention to background, framing, and positioning to create visually appealing portraits. Avoid distracting backgrounds or put them completely out of focus using a shallow f-stop. This is where your prime lenses with the 2.8 type f-stop really pays off.
Learn basic photo editing using software like Adobe Lightroom or other editing apps to enhance your portraits. This is the workflow of almost every professional photographer and by learning this you’ll be able to speak the same language when you need help.
Get inspired by looking at the work of renowned portrait photographers to gain inspiration and learn new techniques. The PPA Loan and Showcase Books are excellent resources for inspiration available thru Marathon Press.
The old saying of the more you do the better you get? That is true with photography as well. The more you shoot, the more you’ll improve. You won’t have to think about the adjustments you need to make on your camera or where to find that. Practice consistently to refine your skills.
Share your work with others, join photography communities, and seek constructive criticism to grow as a photographer. Everyone was a beginner at one time and photographers are a sharing and caring group. They will be happy to help you. And thru this, you’ll find a mentor who you admire and relate to their photography the most.
Be Patient: Mastering portrait photography takes time and effort. Be persistent in your learning journey. Schedule time in your day to devote to learning. By doing this you’ll grow at a rapid pace.
Here’s a great video to help you learn more about photography!