100 Photography Tips

Started Sep 28, 2017 | Discussions thread
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JonathanCaliber Forum Member • Posts: 99
100 Photography Tips

I thought I'd share the insights I've had and tips I've picked up while learning this stuff. I hope it can help people who are as lost as I was when I first started.

#1. Always shoot in RAW. Always.

#2. If you didn't get the focus you didn't get the shot.

#3. Don't shoot wide open unless you have to.

#4. Photography is a lifestyle. Take pictures all week long.

#5. The more pictures you take, the better you get.

#6. There will always be someone better than you. Focus on YOUR next step.

#7. Amateurs compare methods. Professionals compare results.

#8. Assist other photographers with their shoots as often as you can. The objective perspective is invaluable in evaluating your own blind spots.

#9. You are as only as good as you are consistent.

#10. The easiest way to fix a boring shot is to get down low, get up high, or get in close.

#11. Good photos spark an emotion. Ask yourself which one THIS photo sparks.

#12. Associate with other photographers, IN REAL LIFE.

#13. Browsing other photographer's work is like salt on food - a pinch wakes up your taste buds, a pound gives you indigestion.

#14. The less gear you carry, the more you will enjoy your shoots.

#15. Creativity springs from limitation. Throw away a crutch and discover new ways to get your shots.

#16. Shoot what you love. It shows.

#17. Black & White does not turn a bad photo into art.

#18. Edit your best photos twice. Go crazy the first time, then start all over again.

#19. Get it right IN the camera. The more fixing you do in post, the more you bleed overall quality.

#20. When shooting friends, check out their Facebook photos first. You'll find the angles and poses they think they look best in.

#21. You shouldn't hit the shutter button again unless something has changed.

#22. Talking to your models while shooting opens up a range of candid facial expressions.

#23. Don't talk up your photos. Don't talk down your photos. Post your best pictures and move on.

#24. Don't delete your old shoots. It's very motivating to be able to look back and see how far you've come.

#25. A professional's portfolio should NEVER contain an image with a focus problem.

#26. Don't publish multiple poses from the same basic photo, and don't publish different edits of the same photo. Variety is the hallmark of a confident photographer.

#27. Positive reviews from previous clients are extremely important for freelance photographers. Get them whenever you can and put them where potential clients can see them.

#28. Experimenting with other types of photography is an excellent way to improve your overall craft. Try product photography or wildlife shoots.

#29. Great glass on a cheap camera always beats cheap glass on a great camera.

#30. Rent lenses often. It's great for practice, experimentation, and consumer research.

#31. For drama, you don't need more light, you need less.

#32. Clients hire photographers to capture what stock photos can't - THEM. Focus on what makes their business unique.

#33. Facebook is the best networking tool a photographer has.

#34. Whenever you're struck by a photo you see, ask yourself why.

#35. Beginner photographers should shoot their friends. The relaxed atmosphere helps both parties create a great shot.

#36. The right photo for your client is the one your clients like the best - no matter what your refined senses may find offensive.

#37. There's more to contrast than just increasing it. Many photos are better off with the default range or a compressed range.

#38. Don't post your photos until you've gone to bed, woken up the next day, and had another look at them. You'll see new things.

#39. Drop your images into a slideshow of images from photographers you look up to and watch it. It'll provide invaluable insight to where you are as a photographer.

#40. Meet your models before you shoot them.

#41. Whenever you see glass in your environment, see if you can't put your model behind it.

#42. Whenever you see water in your environment, see if you can't reflect your model in it.

#43. The way various shots from the same shoot interplay with each other is an art in and of itself. Play with consistencies and contrasts.

#44. If you don't know all the features on your camera blindfolded, you don't need a better camera yet.

#45. Image is important to photographers in more ways than one. Dress well. Your website, your selfies, and your business cards should all be treated as extensions of your art.

#46. Try exactly replicating an image you admire. You'll learn a lot about lighting, posing, and focal lengths through reverse engineering another's work.

#47. Don't be afraid of hard light. Just place it well.

#48. Your portfolio images should have "stopping power." The great images are the ones that make people stop for a moment.

#49. Listen to music that matches the mood of your shoot both while driving to the shoot and while editing it. You'll find your photos naturally have more zest.

#50. Use your DSLR to do what smartphones can't do. Shallow DoF. Off-camera flash. Extremely wide and narrow focal lengths. Very slow shutter speeds.

#51. The best thing you can put in your bokeh is lights, especially colored lights.

#52. For a standard headshot, always shoot from eye level.

#53. Less is more. Don't post bad photos just to fluff up a shoot.

#54. Theme your shoots. Do an 80's look. Go for a painterly style. Make it look like a 40's noir film. Dress the model to match.

#55. Take one element in your scene and throw it way out of whack (angle, subject, pose, prop) then frame and light around it for a compelling photo.

#56. Place your umbrella sandbags on the foot that the wind is trying to lift. This means your sandbags should point into the wind.

#57. Always schedule casual shoots where you have plenty of room to fail.

#58. Don't watermark your images. Put your contact info in the metadata.

#59. Do not send huge images by text or email to potential clients.

#60. Keep a pre-shoot checklist that you look at before you grab your gear and head out the door - batteries charged, SD cards slotted, lenses cleaned, and camera settings set back to defaults.

#61. Scout and shoot your locations before you bring your model to them. A photo that's already compelling without a model will be even better with one.

#62. Watching another photographer edit, or having another photographer watch you edit, is a great way to up your post-processing game.

#63. Treat your smartphone like a DSLR. Download a camera app that lets you control the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, shoot in RAW, and cloud sync. You'll stay razor-sharp on your photo skills.

#67. When posting your photos on social media, it's best to write as little as possible. Let the images do the talking. Narration kills imagination.

#68. You don't choose your signature style. It gradually develops as you shoot what excites you the most.

#69. Be spontaneous in your experimentation but consistent in your publication. Your followers follow you because they have some idea of what kind of photos you take.

#70. Every photographer, no matter how famous or respected, sucked as much as you do at one point in time.

#71. Creatives don't get paid for what they do the same. They get paid for what they do different. If nobody else is doing what you're doing, you're on the right track. Refine, refine, refine.

#72. Compositions may be flat, lighting can be unflattering, and exposure might be off, but nothing, NOTHING, is more painful to look at than a overly retouched photo. Don't do it.

#73. Followers come all at once. Don't get discouraged by the quiet period when you first start uploading your work - just always remember to stick to your standards.

#74. Leaving slight imperfections in your photo, such as skin blemishes and stray hairs, can help to ground it in reality - especially when other aspects of the photo are fantastical.

#75. People tend to be more compelled by photos of people that actually exist. Unless you are a Picasso with the stylus, use Photoshop to keep the image down to earth, instead of shooting it into space.

#76. For every fix you do in post, ask yourself if this could have been avoided by simply being a better photographer in the first place.

#77. Every photo is naturally trying to go somewhere. Help it along.

#78. Professionals know the importance of proper skin tone. Amateurs routinely overlook it.

#79. In the beginning, it's better to continue doing unpaid work until you're well past the point you could have been charging for it. The extra experience and networking is a priceless career investment.

#80. How do big clients quickly spot amateurs? Pros have insurance. Amateurs do not.

#81. Word-of-mouth is your greatest ally when you're starting. See how you can help with your new DSLR. Shoot graduations, your uncle's Camaro build, your friend's fledgling business. Charge nothing.

#82. Always carry business cards. Make sure they are tastefully designed.

#83. Pack a fold-up poncho in your bag in case your model gets caught in the rain.

#84. You should be able to fit all the gear you need for a basic shoot into one bag that you can just grab and shoot with anytime. One. Bag.

#85. Always bring one more battery than you think you need.

#86. An entry-level DSLR and a 50mm prime are all you need to trade punches with the big boys if you know how to use them.

#87. Don't buy a brand name flash until you really need one. $40 will get you a beater that is much more easy and fun to use than a multi-menu Gameboy of a flash.

#88. Caught in hard sun with no diffuser? Use it as a backlight. Use any available walls as big reflectors. Or get into the shade.

#89. 90% of all lighting accessories can be made for half the price from your local Wal-Mart. Don't Fong yourself over. Check the Tupperware and fabric aisles first.

#90. Shooting with un-flared umbrellas pointed into the wind can still provide flash diffusion on a stormy day.

#91. Nothing limits a photographer more than his assumptions.

#92. Your umbrellas will fall over. Don't put anything on them you can't afford to replace.

#93. When you send a friend their portraits, wait to see which shots they post to social media. Think twice about posting shots they deliberately excluded.

#94. Most people are very self-conscious about having their photo taken. Always take great care when posting their photos to a public channel, or showing them an unflattering shot during a shoot.

#95. All models, professional or not, thrive on positive verbal feedback during a shoot. You can't compliment your models enough while snapping away.

#96. Every shot should tell a story, big or small.

#97. The best camera is the one you have with you.

#98. Playing ambient music during a shoot, even just on your phone, generally has a greatly relaxing effect on your model.

#99. Take pictures of street photographers that are doing street photography. It confuses the hell out of them.

#100. If you're not enjoying your photography, you're not doing it right.

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