Roughly 10 months ago I picked up a DSLR & said; "Alright let's take this seriously." Since then Paulo & I have seen an exponential growth in our skills & not just with the camera. We have seen growth in our photography, editing, social media marketing, writing & film making.
Taking our passions seriously has been the greatest decision of our lives. We are yet to call this our full time job but it is only a matter of time until our passion becomes our life & we spend our days traveling this beautiful world and capturing content that will inspire & motivate others.
Photography can be a gateway to a life of passion and adventure but it is not easy as a beginner. You are going to take a load of SH*T photo's before you start seeing any real progress it is important to remember that all great things only happen with sh*t loads of hard work.
In this blog we cover 5 mistakes most beginner photographers make & how to fix them.
TIP 001 - CHECK YOUR SETTINGS
As you start to gain some confidence in your photography you will begin to experience this little thing called complacency. Complacency is basically your Ego telling you that you are awesome and you don't need to worry about the basics.
Don't Listen to Your Ego!
Always check your settings are what you want them to be before you go out filming or photographing. Check that your image quality is set to RAW, adjust your ISO, Shutter Speed & Aperture & change your White Balance to match the conditions.
If you are filming then make sure you have the right picture style selected and ensure that your shutter speeds & frame rates are set the way you want them. As you get more advanced with your photography the number of settings you need to check will increase.
Check your settings & don't disregard the basics. Your ego may f*ck that 'shot of a lifetime' up completely.
Relevant - A Beginners Guide to Photography
TIP 002 - INVEST IN EDITING SOFTWARE
Pay the money and purchase a subscription to adobe Lightroom & if you can afford it then add on Photoshop. Editing software will take your photos from nice to great. Editing is also an incredibly enjoyable part of photography which gives you a much deeper understanding of composition, exposure & the basic rules of photography.
When it comes to editing software nothing quite compares to Adobe Creative Cloud. If photography is your main focus then Lightroom is all you need to get started, photoshop will however offer you greater control.
If you want to add elements to your images, create surreal scenes or combine elements from multiple images then lock in Photoshop. "Don't forget the film makers Jacques!"
Of course, of course! If film making is your jam then you are going to have to spend a little more and invest in Adobe Premier Pro. If you want to add effects & really get creative with your films then After Effects is a great addition. For those of you thinking, 'F*ck that's expensive!' Try start out with I-Movie, Movavi, PowerDirector or Final Cut Pro.
If you love your new found passion for photography then invest in editing software.
TIP 003 - TAKE YOUR TRIPOD EVERYWHERE
Straight up! I hate setting up the tripod!
I am way more into run and gun shooting & Paulo is the same but I am actively trying to change how I feel about our tripod. Using a Tripod will hands down result in better images.
You know all those incredible landscape shots you see on NatGeo? Or those perfectly crisp portraits? Don't forget those amazing waterfall shots that make the water look like silk as it falls all the way down just to land next to a gorgeous bikini glad beauty with a behind that clearly suggests she squats.
Tripods will give you the chance to really experiment with your camera's settings and help you get the crispest, juiciest image possible. Tripods will also allow you to explore the world of long exposures & astro photography.
Film makers - tripods are also a must for you when it comes to capturing the perfect still shots for your next travel film.
It's annoying AF but take your tripod everywhere!
TIP 004 - PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HISTOGRAM
What the f*ck is a Histogram?
Great question and you can find out by checking out this blog - Everything you need to know about Photography. Click on Expand your photography with these tools & you will jump straight to the section on Histograms.
Briefly a Histogram allows you to see how well exposed your image is, if it is over-exposed (too many highlights) then the pixels will be mostly to the right. An Under-exposed image (too many shadows) will show more pixels to the left. The perfect exposure will be a bit like a bell curve.
Just remember that the perfect bell curve is not always going to be the aim of your exposure. Use the Histogram as a guide to indicate how close you are getting to your desired exposure.
Some of you may be thinking - 'Why would I check the Histogram when I can just check the LCD image or EV meter and adjust if I need to. Well, your LCD screen displays images nothing like how they appear on your editing software so don't trust what you see on the LCD.
The EV meter (Exposure Value Meter) is no where near as accurate as a Histogram. And, depending on the metering mode/focus mode you have selected it will not give an accurate reading for the whole image.
Learn to use your Histogram and rely on its wisdom.
TIP 005 - NOT MOVING aka Being Lazy
So you have just taken an absolute banger of an image, the model in your photo looks stunning and that waterfall looks silky smooth. Great! Apart from the drink bottle lying to the left of Patricia's foot & the half eaten sandwich in her hand. Oh and not to mention you have literally no foreground.
When it comes to photography patience is key and a care for the art you are trying to create. Take the time to remove things from your image that just distract attention from what you really want the viewer to see.
Look around you and try to find unique angles to shoot from, crazy ferns to shoot through, lines that you can use to draw attention to your subject. The best photos you see on Instagram are generally number 68 in a series of 100 attempts.
Don't be lazy learn to Move things, subjects & yourself.
Now for the most important tip of all... Get out everyday and shoot something new! Learn to suck because sucking a little less each day is what makes you great!
Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques.