Photography tips for beginners!
This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
I am no stranger to being a beginner. I spent hours and hours learning how to be a good photographer. Growing a photography business is incredibly hard in and of itself, let alone learning the skill of photography & learning how to make your clients comfortable in the photos.
Here I will give you some tips and tricks that I wish I would have gotten from photographers when I was starting out.
When I was starting photography I would spend so much time watching videos about posing and learning what poses worked for different sized people. It truly is an art form. Being able to make people look there best takes an eye and it takes practice.
The best way to begin learning how to pose people is simply working with people. When I started I posted on my facebook groups and other places that I was doing shoots for $25.
I've heard many photographers advise against this because you are "degrading" your work and your time. But honestly, when you are beginning there isn't much degrading about it.
Being able to work with actual people and giving them the expectation in the beginning that you are learning is important.
I then suggest you spend TIME on Pinterest. Looking through other photographers albums and getting ideas to inspire you is important. I would screenshot poses I wanted to try and then do them!
I will still do this when I am feeling a little off. Seeing others photos and poses can help me to spark my own creativity.
Write them in notes, screenshot them, write them on your hand!! Just make sure you are creating a list, because as time goes on you will add to this list and then you'll have so many poses you won't ever run out!
Get comfortable with people
My go to move when taking photos of people is starting with small talk. I mainly specialize in couples photography and wedding photography so I will ask where they met and ask about their story.
Small talk is easy with anyone. Just like with any other job creating rapport with someone helps them to feel more comfortable with talking with you and will in turn help them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Some things I also usually tell my clients is "it's completely normal to not feel comfortable in front of the camera". I also assure them that I will be taking control of all the posing so they won't have to worry about it. Taking some of that pressure off them makes your job a lot easier.
Sometimes when my couples are having an especially hard time getting comfortable in front of the camera I will give them prompts to do in order to loosen up.
- whisper something into her/his ear in a sexy voice.
- kiss her non-stop all over her face
- walk toward me holding hands and bumming hips
- everyone look at the person who is the funniest
- everyone look at the person who is most likely to burp at the dinner table.
- everyone act like you caught mom and dad kissing! ( usually I have the parents kiss for this one)
Getting the clients to loosen up creates those magical photos where people are laughing and having a genuinely good time. This also brings clients back over and over again because the photos were painless with you!
Learn how to edit in lightroom!!
This one seems redundant because I'm sure everyone tells you that editing is more than half the battle, but it's true it is. Being able to edit is one of the biggest things a photographer can learn.
Photoshop isn't quite as important and I would dabble in it a little because as you get better at editing somethings that you can do in photoshop are incredible, but if you're new I would stick to Lightroom.
When you are learning lightroom, I would simply practice with it. I spent hours and hours watching youtube videos that really didn't show me much. I invested in a course that taught me more in 30 minutes than all those hours of youtube.
What I learned was people are pretty vague when they don't make any money off of you, so investing is more worth it than wasting your time. In the beginning, businesses take money to start but by the end and with a lot of hard work they are worth it.
This one honestly took me forever to figure out. A lot of photographers sell there presets, but one thing you need to know that I wish I would have known is that, when a photographer makes presets they make them to cater to the settings they use on their camera.
For instance, some photographers shoot dark to capture more detail and other shoot brighter. It's just a personal preference. I don't sell my presets because I know they work exactly right for me and my photos.
I did however spend way too much money on presets that all ended up not working in the way I wanted them too and I ended up changing almost everything about them.
I recommend buying India Earls preset package, Honey. I bought that preset and it changed my life. Not only does it come with tons of videos explaining lightroom *so it helps in the above mentioned tip* but it also was a preset that could be changed to fit your own needs.
Honestly, cannot recommend it enough. When I spent the time to understand what I wanted from a preset with India's help I truly found my preset that I still use.
Get a harness!!!!
Hahaha, this one is more or less a joke...but is it?
I spent a year doing photography before I bought a harness and man do I wish I would have got one sooner! It changed my necks life forever. I would get awful headaches just from the pressure of my camera on my neck & after switching to a harness I will never go back.
The weight of my camera is put on my shoulders now instead of my neck. Although this is usually a super expensive thing you can get them for relatively inexpensive. This is the one I bought and have used for the past year and a half, and I love it!
There are also these other less expensive options that would work great!
For my final tip in this blog, is to buy a fixed lens. I know it is so easy to just shoot with the lens that your camera comes with but fixed lenses have so much better quality. There are also so many cheaper options.
When I say fixed lens, I mean a lens that doesn't zoom in and out. Making this small change will change your portrait photo game!
Not only did it rapidly enhance my photos but it also helped me get more creative. You can't just zoom out, you have to move and get a different angle.
I would start with something like the "nifty fifty" if you don't have a ton of money to spend. I got mine for $250 from Best Buy!
Obviously if you don't have the money to do so, save up until you can! But there are tons of places you can buy them used, just make sure to do your research and make sure there isn't anything wrong with them.
IF you have a little more to spend I would look into getting a 35mm f/1.4. These numbers have to do with the distance and the aperture of your lens.
If you want more info on those things go read my other blog posts on the basics of manual photography linked here!
Photography comes down to being a one man show that handles almost everything a normal business has multiple people to help with! That's why I'm here to answer your questions and to be support through starting a small business.
I hope that some of these tips you can apply and see how they work. These are just beginner steps but I know that overtime practicing these steps helps you become a well trained photographer.
Make sure to comment with any questions & if you have any specific questions feel free to email me!