So you're thinking about getting into photography. Maybe it has been your lifelong dream, maybe it's your latest passion, or maybe you're thinking about trying out a new hobby. No matter the reason for your interest, what can you do now to get into photography?
- Notice your surroundings. Do you see things around you that you think would make a great picture? Do you notice interesting details, things that make you want to get out a camera and capture what you're seeing? If you're not already noticing these things, then start. Look around you with your “photographer” eyes and start to see things from the perspective of “How could I make this an amazing photograph?”
- Get a camera! This might seem obvious, but you really can't get into photography without a camera. Does it have to be the newest, greatest, most expensive thing out there? Absolutely not! Especially when you are starting out, the most important thing is that you have a camera. It doesn't have to be anything fancy – even the camera on your phone will work while you're just getting started until you can move up to something a bit more sophisticated. (When you're ready to purchase some photography gear, we have a great page with recommendations.)
- Look at photos for inspiration. There are some really incredible photos out there. Take a look at photography by people like James Neeley, Dave Black, Galen Rowell, and Eliot Porter (these are just a few – there are so many out there!) and see if their work inspires anything in you. Spend some time just browsing photos on flickr and see what speaks to you. The more you see of other good photography, the more you will begin to notice things around you that speak to you.
- Read about photography. There are so many photography articles on the internet – all you have to do is do a quick Google search and you'll find more resources than you know what to do with. Looking for a place to start? Read this article Jim wrote about 22 Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Photography Forever. Join a photography mailing list (ours is here). Follow a photography blog. Subscribe to some photography podcasts (we have one here, and we love this one and this one as well). The more information you absorb the better off you'll be when you get out there and take pictures.
- Take a photography class. There are a lot of things you can learn on your own, but sometimes the best way to get into photography is to take some classes (here's a link to our classes if you're looking for a place to start – we have classes on everything from beginning to lighting to post processing). Learn about your camera. Learn about exposure, composition, lighting, editing – anything that interests you about photography. There's a ton to learn about and taking a class from an experienced photographer can do wonders for your understanding and skills.
- Practice, practice, practice! You're never going to get any better at photography without getting out there and actually taking pictures. One of the best things you can do is go take pictures without any pressure. Have 15 minutes? Grab your camera and go take some pictures. Walk down the street and take a few pictures of things that strike you as interesting. You're not looking for anything fantastic – you just need to get out there and take photos!
Don't pressure yourself to be a fantastic photographer right away. For most of us, that simply isn't the way it works. Just like everything worthwhile in life, photography takes practice. But you can do it – all you need to do is get started!