In Nashville this past weekend, we had a lot of first-time photographers.
And the truth is, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes.
I remember the very first photo workshop I attended (back before we started running workshops ourselves here in the Great Escape Publishing). And I remember what it felt like when everyone in the class showed up with a monstrous SLR camera with a big lens and I showed up with a skimpy point-and-shoot that fit in my pocket.
I remember feeling inferior to my classmates because my equipment was inferior. And I remember feeling out of my league because I assumed the people sitting next to me knew more than me (and they did because I knew nothing back then).
Today, things are different.
I’m different — I’ve learned a lot from the professionals that teach at our live photo workshops and expeditions…
Technology is different — point-and-shoot cameras today are capable of taking magazine-quality photographs…
And the market is different — most publications accept digital images now instead of slides and transparencies and microstock agencies have changed the face of who is capable of selling their photos as stock.
Still, I could tell several attendees in Nashville were just as scared as I was when I attended my first event. I didn’t know the difference between aperture and ISO. And I’d never even heard of an f-stop.
So I reassured them. As did professional photographer, Rich Wagner…
“Technology has finally come so far that we can trust our equipment to make decisions for us now,” he said.
“Putting your camera on its Automatic setting isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s liberating. Learning all the bells and whistles on your camera will certainly help you become a better photographer. And learning how to manipulate your camera settings to adjust for changes in light will certainly set you apart from other amateurs. But when you’re first starting out, trust your equipment. Today’s cameras will most likely calculate the right exposure without much manipulation from you. You don’t have to master everything right away. You can start taking great pictures today and learn all that other stuff as you go.”
I agree. I shot for two years with a point-and-shoot before graduating to an entry-level SLR and then just this past year to something even nicer. You don’t have to jump in with both feet at the starting gate.
And sure there’s a learning curve with photography just as there is with everything else. But I didn’t sit down with my camera manual and try to memorize the relationships between this and that while also trying to figure out what I could adjust when to get the image I wanted.
No. I took things much slower than that. And if you go back through the six years of e-letter articles archived on our website, you’ll see that I wrote about my growth as it evolved – first an article on composition… then, something on exposure and f-stops… then maybe a piece or two on lenses and equipment upgrades.
I told the attendees in Nashville that I’d collect these articles together in one place so that they could follow along with the progression and learn things themselves, one step at a time.
I told them I’d put together a sort of “photography for beginners” guide to help them start where they are today and gradually work their way to more sophisticated equipment and more sophisticated shooting styles. All while selling their photos along the way. Because it IS possible to sell your photos without any formal photo training. And without expensive equipment.
So since I made this offer to them, I’ll make the same offer to you…
If you would like me to send you those articles in the order in which I learned them, you can put your name on this list here and I’ll be glad to pass the articles on photography for beginners along.
It’ll take me another week or so to collect everything together and fill in the holes with explanations of what you might need to know in between. But I’ll pass along the best tips for getting started if you’re just now getting started yourself as soon as I get it all together.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]