50 Important Things You Need To Know As An Aspiring Photographer

Twenty20 / savannahcondon
Twenty20 / savannahcondon

1. White backgrounds make the subject feel free and lighter.

2. Black backgrounds hold the subject in and make the subject feel more anchored.

3. 50mm lenses are “normal,” but that only refers to its depth perspective, not its field of view, so you’re absolutely correct in feeling like it’s a telephoto.

4. 35mm is considered “wide angle,” but it’s actually not wide enough to give you dynamic images.

5. Solution: use 28mm or 24mm. This is not cheating, it’s understanding that only this wide of a lens is capable of recreating the effect of what you see with your eyes (which is awesome shit) in a 2D medium.

6. The difference between 28mm and 24mm is huge.

7. Don’t go into photography school thinking that you’ll: a) learn everything you’ll ever need to know – that will never happen in any department of life b) become absolutely amazing/rich/famous immediately after.

8. Don’t chase the fame, don’t chase the women.

9. Intern forever.

10. Buy Christmas gifts, send cards, remember birthdays, smile, say hi, know when to speak up, know when to shut up.

11. Be good, be fast — the main reason we’ve switched to digital is not because of quality (film still kicks ass) – it’s because it’s fast. if you’re still working as slow as you’re working on film, you’re fired.

12. Give the clients what they want first, then do your own thing (similar to getting good grades so your parents will let you go out and wreak havoc on the weekends).

13. Learn French and smoke cigarettes.

14. People will always say your idea has been done before, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you haven’t done it.

15. The amount of “likes” you get on Instagram/Facebook is not a good indicator of how good your pictures are.

16. Get used to showing your work, and as often as possible. The critiques will hurt, but other people will always be able to spot something you may have overlooked…having said that, only rely on those you trust.

17. Don’t wait til it’s perfect to show your work.

18. Bring your body into the work, ideas don’t just come from the brain.

19. Think outside. Work inside.

20. Get a day job and keep it. You’ll get the same amount of work done anyway (Parkinson’s Law).

21. Invest in photobooks.

22. If 21 doesn’t work, go to bookstores and libraries often. Never stop looking.

23. When going to photo exhibits/book signings talk to everyone BUT the photographer.

24. Start a blog NOW.

25. Have a business card to give out.

26. Talent is unreliable, keep working – persistence persists.

27. Learn how to shoot, develop, and print b&w film.

28. Then do the same for color film.

29. Then do medium format photography.

30. Then do large format photography.

31. Shoot from the hip.

32. Embrace the mistakes.

33. Import + backup files immediately after shoot and format cards – avoids confusion.

34. Do the same with batteries.

35. Invest in a Mirror RAID hard drive.

36. Use time capsule.

37. Have a thumb drive on your keychain.

38. Always have a point-and-shoot camera on you.

39. If you’re going to direct, direct.

40. Shoot outdoors in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

41. Shoot indoors during the Winter.

42. Having a photoshoot with someone is like taking someone on a date.

43. It’s not how good you are, it’s how likable you are. Because it’s really just about who you know.

44. Master Photoshop, but use it as little as possible.

45. The eye is easily fooled.

46. If you don’t know anything about the history photography, at least know these names: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Ansel Adams, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon.

47. Shallow depth of field is overrated.

48. Strobes are overrated.

49. Don’t go to art school.

50. Put your camera down and live your life.

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