Everyone can take a photo, but being a photographer is more than just owning a camera (or a smartphone) and clicking the button. There is a path to cross between being a camera owner to being a photographer. So, if you're looking to turn your creative hobby into serious work, or even a successful career, I will explain what it takes to become a photographer step-by-step.
Bear in mind that every photographer ventured on this road differently. Some have always had the eye for photography, and others "learned to see" by taking classes and even fully-fledged degrees. However, whichever path any of them took, there is one thing they all have in common. They took lots and lots of photos. There is no more constructive way to learn photography than the trial-and-error method, in addition to retaining all the basics of it, of course.
Here are the steps you should take to push your photography skill to the next level.
Get the knowledge
There is a well of knowledge online about everything there possibly is to know about the craft. However, keep in mind that you will have to learn from scratch to understand its basic principles. There is just no other way around it.
Learning about your camera and the principles of photography will open up your eyes in a whole different way. In addition, trying out your knowledge in practice will allow your confidence to grow.
How will you know you're ready? Once you've covered these basics:
- You have no problem shooting on Manual Mode of exposure.
- You understand all the concepts of ISO, shutter speed, and apertures.
- Your camera became sort of integrated with your body.
- You pretty much know where all the buttons and settings are without directly looking at your camera.
- Your framing and composition are automatic.
Keep in mind that it will take some time to train your eye to look through the viewfinder. So, exercise on this even when you don't have your camera with you.
Buy your equipment and develop all the necessary skills
This one here is essential since you need a camera to practice and develop your skill. When picking out a camera, you should think about the type of photography you want to do, what kinds of subjects or objects you plan to shoot.
That said, there are several essential tools that every photographer needs. Those are quality cameras, portable lighting, props, specialty lenses, and backdrops.
Once you have your camera, learn to work with it. Every photographer should know each of the settings and how they operate. The same goes for digital symbols and error messages.
You will also have to learn how to operate editing software. If you have the chance, take some photography classes. I assure you, that won't hurt. There are tons of online courses from which you can gain much knowledge.
Research the art
If you're into being a full-blown artist, I recommend thoroughly researching the principles of aesthetic and important photography concepts. This way, you will be able to develop your skill profile and get many new ideas. In addition, learning about your passion will open up your creativity channels.
Get social and turn to digital art publications, magazines, and social media to grasp current trends.
Take as many pictures as possible
While you're learning, practice as much as you can. Take as many pictures as possible, even if you're never planning to put them in your portfolio. This is the time to gain valuable experience, which is vital in getting to know your equipment. Finally, taking as many pictures as possible is a fundamental step on the path to becoming a professional photographer.
Also, playing with various settings and filters is incredibly fun. For any passionate photographer, playing with light is one of the most exciting parts of the whole ordeal. If you want to try something really cool, try improvising a rim using gaffer tape to block the light. You can also use gaff tape to add a different dimension to your subjects' eyes when doing portraits. Finally, if you're into nature, you can use gaffer tape to narrow down what your subject does until you get the perfect shot. This trick is ideal for capturing wildlife.
Discover your niche
If you still haven't chosen your style, taking lots of pictures will help you determine preferences and what you like to shoot the most. Of course, take what you love and have a talent for into consideration, but if you're looking to make money taking photos, look at the latest trends also.
Art is fantastic; there is a well-spring of styles and methods you can explore. Moreover, you can find your own and gift the world with something completely unique.
Build a portfolio
If you're thinking of going into professional waters, you cannot do so without building a solid portfolio. There is one rule that really applies here; less is more. Take from eight to twelve pictures at most. Keep in mind that the couple looking for a wedding photographer has no time to look at dozens of your photos.
Deciding which photos to put in your portfolio can be a bit challenging, but you can also ask your people for advice.
Making a website and building a solid social presence is another great way to become a professional photographer. The Digital era has given so many opportunities to aspiring artists, so use them to your advantage. Good luck!