What photography lessons have you learned over the years that you wished you knew starting out? In this guest post, Miki Baram, the Head of Wix Photography, shares 10 pieces of advice we all wished we knew sooner.
Photography is an exciting industry to be in. No two days are ever the same and rarely, if ever, do you meet a photographer that isn’t amazingly passionate about what they do. But, like mastering any skill, becoming a brilliant photographer takes practice and starting out can be tricky.
You need to understand the variables, nuances and intricacies of all manner of disciplines, but doing so is fundamental to how your skills develop.
From understanding your subject matter and how it works with the lens to having the right equipment and marketing yourself to secure business, there is a lot to take in and understand. However, invest the time and you’ll see progress in the shape of better photos.
Through the Wix Pro Gallery, we have worked with some of the best photographers around the world, and to help you develop your skills we’ve compiled a short list of their learnings and insights…
1. Always Check Camera Settings
The original and the best. It’s something every photographer has done at some point. Taken a ton of images on a shoot only to latterly realise you had the camera on the wrong setting. Whatever the shoot, whatever the location, make sure you check your settings. It should be a hygiene factor every time you pick the camera up.
2. Aim for the Eyes
The eyes have it, especially when taking a human portrait. By focussing here, it creates a great photo composition, framing the entire shot around the part of the face that is arguably the most important. Chances are, if you get the eyes right in pictures of people, your photo will be a success.
3. Plan for the Location
Probably the biggest variable in photography, locations change from shoot to shoot and each one needs taking on its own merits. Think about what to expect in terms of lighting, weather, permanent structures, moving backgrounds, heights, angles and make sure you go prepared with your equipment remembering the old adage, “It is better to be looking at it, than looking for it.”
4. Always have your portfolio in mind
It will be the first thing people judge you on when looking to hire you so make sure you are always revisiting what your best work is and what would make a client want to buy your services.
5. Make sure you tell a story
Regardless of what or where you are shooting, it is your duty to bring the story to life using the environment around you. Use the light, angle, features, colours and tone to interpret the situation as the person responsible for capturing a unique and magical moment in time.
6. Know Your Lights
Whatever the picture, whatever the subject, whatever the location, lighting can make or break a picture. Whatever happens, you have to know the science of lights and understand which light is best for which style. Near or far lights, natural or enhanced, diffused or reflected – you’ll need to know their impact to make conscious choices as a professional and an artist.
7. Keep your website fresh
What you do with the images is as much a part of being a photographer as taking them in the first place. In today’s world driven by SEO and online search, how you structure, set-up and refresh your content is critical.
So, whether you’re snapping a couple on their special day or jet setting around the world as a travel photographer, you need a photography website designed to display your best work.
8. People are important
If you’re shooting portrait photography, be sure to make the subject feel comfortable. The camera can be intimidating to many people, and part of the challenges as a good photographer is making sure the people in your shoot feel relaxed enough to be themselves and shine for your picture.
9. Embrace social
People like sharing special moments, and a beautifully taken picture is no different. There’s something about a photo that not only captures the subject but the whole emotion, and moment behind it. Look through any social feed and you would see a profession shot stand out, usually with the higher social engagement to match.
10. Just keep shooting
It’s great to follow the advice of experienced photographers. There’s much to learn from the time and effort they have invested in making mistakes and in perfecting their skills.
But ultimately, your biggest progress as a photographer will come from your own experience. To develop an intuitive technique and a unique style, try to shoot every day and challenge yourself to shoot in new and unfamiliar environments.