1. Don't spend loads of money on gear
One widely held belief among beginner photographers is that the only way to get excellent quality photographs, is to spend thousands of dollars on expensive gear. This is fundamentally not true and the absolute biggest factor, bar none is skill, end of story. Many beginner photographers will go out and spend thousands of dollars of all sorts of gadgets and lenses that they will never need in the belief that it will lead to those gorgeous images you see in the magazines. Photography is a very expensive hobby so its very worth spending you money wisely.
It can be super tempting to just go crazy on Amazon or at your nearest store, but you really can achieve a huge amount with an entry level DSLR and a 17-50mm kit lens. My advice is to just wait and once you get a feel for the types of things you like to shoot, you can invest in the gear you need far more wisely.
Landscapes: Invest in a decent wide angle and a tripod.
Portraits: How about a flash and a couple of decent primes.
Wildlife: A decent, fast telephoto lens.
Also its important to remember, that a cheap camera with an expensive lens will always give you better results than an expensive camera with a cheap lens.
INVEST IN GOOD GLASS!
2. Start shooting in RAW
I won't go into to much about the technicalities of RAW, but if you are not aware, RAW is basically your digital negative. Its all the raw data that the camera recorded at the time the photo was taken in one file. It is unprocessed however meaning that you need to edit the file using a software package such as Photoshop before exporting it, where as a JPEG is a processed image where all of the processing is done by the camera. Editing software such as Photoshop will allow you to get the exact look you want for your photos and this is a core skill for all photographers.
If you are not doing so already you should set you're camera to wither RAW or RAW+JPEG, the latter of which will save a raw file and a processed JPEG for you every time you take a photo. RAW files are much larger than JPEG, so you will fill up your memory card a little faster, but the control you will have and the resulting image quality in your final products is FAR superior.
3. Start practicing photo editing
I like to think that there are three big rabbit holes in photography. Taking pictures, editing pictures and printing pictures. Usually taking pictures if the first step most people take in their photography careers, shortly followed by editing. Although your camera may produce lovely images straight away, if you really want to achieve professional looking images, and apply your own creative stamp on your work, getting to grips with processing software is absolutely vital.
Photo editing an be as simple as correcting exposure and framing, or as complex as exposure and focus stacking, but either way your work will benefit.
Although there are many different software packages to chose from, by far the most common is Adobe Lightroom and of course Photoshop, yearly subscriptions are around $100 depending on your country, but honestly if you buy one thing this year, make it a really good photo editing package.
4. Read, watch and practice!!!!
This is by far the most simple and obvious tip anyone can give. The best way to learn is to practice as much as you can, and learn as much as you can. YouTube is a fantastic tool for beginner photographers with and there are many blogs and guides out on the internet aimed at armatures, all of which can be accessed for FREE!!!!!
Consuming as much information as you can and just getting out there and taking photos is the most guaranteed way to learn photography.
And thats all! I hope this is a little bit helpful, and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or email directly!
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