If you have finally decided to buy a camera "of the good ones", if you do nothing but receive praise for the photos you take with your mobile phone and hang in Instagram, if you were always attracted to photography but never dared to seriously get involved with it ... If you are in any of these cases perhaps you should know a series of important questions that no one usually tells who is ready to enter the exciting, but also complex, world of photography.
Things that a newbie doesn't usually know and that, maybe, they can throw you back when you've already bought an expensive late-model reflex. Things that might make you think that this wasn't your thing and that it was enough to take snapshots without further ambitions and go from complicating your life by learning what is the diaphragm, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, hyperfocal distance ...
In short, things that you don't usually know until you get fully involved in learning photography and you'll surely appreciate that we tell you so that it's easier for you to decide whether to move forward or take a step back. These are the things that someone who wants to start in photography should know before anything else and probably nobody has told you.
Photography is not easy to learn
Hitting the camera button is a very simple act, but what's behind it, if you really want to learn photography, is much more complicated. If you enter this world you will have to learn a lot of concepts that may at first sound like Chinese. Did you know that using a diaphragm ƒ1.4 enters much more light to the lens than using a ƒ22 despite the fact that the number itself is higher? Lousy, isn't it?
Most cameras offer automatic shooting modes that usually give good results but when learning photography is not forbidden to use them is that we should use the manual modes. Keep in mind that what it is about is knowing the art of capturing light so that we, and not the camera, have total control over the images, knowing exactly what we want to achieve and how to do it. And this requires a long learning process.
Mastering the technique is not enough
Of course, in addition to knowing the technique, in photography there is an artistic part that is surely more important and that takes even longer to master. We are talking about learning to compose (i.e. to know how to distribute effectively the elements in the frame), to know how to interpret the changing conditions of light that you can find in a scene, or to educate our eye to be able to tell a story and transmit emotions with our photographs. This is something that is not easily achieved. How is it done? Studying and practicing.
Time is needed to achieve good results
The camera is a tool that requires many hours of learning and practice to be able to squeeze it. A good comparison would be that anyone can drive a car after licensing, but only with a lot of practice and experience is prepared to drive a racing car.
In short, it takes a certain degree of experience to get photos at the height of those we saw in that exhibition. First you have to learn to master the technique, then practice a lot and accustom your eye to looking at things differently. Besides, if that wasn't enough, we also need time to master our camera.
The team is not everything
I'm sure you've heard more than one of you say (or even you've told someone yourself) that "clear with that camera you'll be able to". Well, you can't be more wrong. Think that the camera does not cut heads, the photographer cuts them. So no matter how good a camera you have, if you don't have a good pulse or you're denied when it comes to composing an image, the result will surely be bad no matter how good the camera is.
Not to mention that the better it is, the harder it will be to dominate (a point we'll talk about later), because it's clear to you that the creative part will always be more important than the technique and the team. This explains why with a "simple" mobile you can get excellent images or that it is more important to be in the right place at the right time than the team you have.
You don't necessarily need a reflex.
In line with the previous point, it is common to see that people buy a DSLR camera without having much idea of photography, especially since these types of cameras began to have very affordable prices. Well, you can imagine that our next tip is no, you don't need to buy a SLR.
The temptation to buy a camera "like that of the professionals" may be great, but it is not the same to want something as to need it. Thus, getting a camera of this type can be a waste of money depending on your aspirations, and surely a smaller camera, such as one without a mirror, will not only offer you everything you need but will be more comfortable and practical without you losing performance or having to crush your neck and back carrying a heavy reflex.
So, our advice is that you study well what you need and you do with a model according to your knowledge, the destination you are going to give the photos, the importance you give to the size and weight of the camera and, of course, the budget you have.
Photography is an expensive hobby
You may think that starting in photography consists of buying a good camera and little more, that yes, it is an expensive thing but you pay it and that's it. But no, if you really want to get into this discipline, prepare the hammer to break the piggy bank. A basic equipment is enough in principle but very soon you will see that you need more things, especially if you want to devote yourself to some type of more specialized photography such as nature photography, macro photography or astrophotography.
Lenses, a tripod, a flash, filters... There is always something new and useful to add to our equipment and, in general, photographic equipment and accessories are not exactly cheap. And if nothing happens to you, you can be sure that the on-call manufacturer will produce a new camera model that replaces yours and gives you long teeth much sooner than you expected. Not to mention how expensive it is to travel, if you want to photograph faraway countries, or how expensive it is to repair a digital camera or lens if it breaks down.
Good photographic equipment bulges... and weighs
We've made progress before by saying that you may not need a SLR, not least because a smaller camera is more comfortable to carry. A complete camera system consists of a lot of items, including a camera (or cameras), lenses, tripod, flash, filters, and many other things that can cause you to have to carry, for example, five kilos of material.
This is one of the reasons why some professionals are moving to the mirror-less format, which with smaller, lighter equipment is much more comfortable to wear, especially when you have to carry the equipment all day for work or because you are travelling.
You have to learn how to process the photos
Photography is a process that goes beyond taking images. It is not enough to take the photos, then you have to do a later work with them to reach the final result, a work that becomes more important the more we advance in the knowledge of photography. And it is that a simple amateur normally will shoot in automatic and JPEG format with what will obtain some images already finished that do not need more (which does not mean that they are good).
But if you enter the world of photography you will have to make the photos in RAW and with it surely you will obtain some images that need obligatorily a processing to become really good through some program of edition of photography. Of course shooting in RAW is not mandatory but highly recommended, both for maximum quality and, important, to learn.
Don't trust praise on social networks
As we said in the introduction, today it is not uncommon for someone to create a good photographer because of what people say on social networks. And maybe it is, the problem is that you can't trust these comments because those who make them are not usually photographers and therefore their opinion is not critical enough. Moreover, praise does not help to improve, which critics do.
That's why you shouldn't trust what they say about your photos on social networks. Just because your family or friends at Instagram like your photos doesn't mean you can make a living from it. If you want to know other people's opinions about your photos, look for them in other places like groups or photography forums where people with advanced knowledge come and who will have no problem praising you or criticizing you if you deserve it.
There'll always be someone better than you
This may hurt you but you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of people who take pictures and do them very well. You may think that your photos are very good or that the idea you had for that shot has never occurred to anyone before. Well, I'm sorry to say that surely your photos are not so good and that yes, someone probably already did what you thought was so original.
Moral? Look at lots of photos, browse photo pages and forums, read as many books on the subject as you can and go to exhibitions in or around your city, learn from all of them and create your own style.
Digital photo and chemical photo are different worlds
Surely if you start in photography you will do it directly in digital format, but maybe you will opt for the revival of chemical photography, maybe because you are attracted to vintage maybe because you want to take advantage of your father's old analog camera. Well, in that case you should know that digital photography and chemical photography are two quite different worlds.
The photographic technique doesn't change much, and the bases are the same, but for example the lenses of a reel camera don't usually work for a digital one, and if you're lucky and they do it it's very possible that it's by modifying its focal length. And of course in the subject of developing nothing to see what it takes to get the chemical photos, compared to digital processing through software tools.
In short, as we have already told you, photography is an exciting field in which you are always learning. There are thousands of aspects to develop and it is impossible to say that you have already learned everything about photography. In addition, there is always some style or trend that becomes fashionable or some kind of different trick to get not know what result. Not to mention our own creative capacity as photographers that has no limits and, therefore, has a great attraction to allow us to be always evolving and learn and practice new things.
We assure you that if you start and you are constant the fruits will come almost without you noticing, but it is better that you are warned of what awaits you. Above all, remember that photography is a continuous learning process that requires effort and practice, but we assure you that it is worth it.