My top 9 photography tips (Part II)
November 2, 2015
I always think that I need another class or book. Although helpful, you won’t learn any of it if you don’t get your camera out and use it. Take pictures every day (or at least every weekend), process them, and post them. They don’t do you any good sitting on your computer. Even if you think that you don’t really know what you are doing. That’s ok, just do it anyway. The more familiar you become with your camera and your software, the more sense the classes and books will make.
If you need inspiration, there are many project/shooting ideas out there, just google "photography projects" or follow the link above to one that I found.
According to Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” So let’s get cracking – we have a long way to go before we get to our best!
Local photography clubs can be a good way to network with local photographers, but now the best way to reach the global photography community is online. There is a plethora of sites that allow you to converse, ask questions, get feedback on your work, enter contests – all of which help you improve and get your work out there.
Instagram Find photography related groups for the best opportunities and inspiration. I found a few articles listing the best photographers to follow, and that’s how I started. Here’s one example for food photography. Instagram is a great tool for both inspiration and exposure.
Pinterest I just started using Pinterest and am really enjoying it! It’s a great place to post your work, inspiration, and ideas for future projects. There is a great class on Creative Live called Unlock the Power of Pinterest. I think there is a lot of potential to get your work out there through Pinterest, that I have just started to figure out. Stay tuned…
500px This site has different options, with the basic being free. 500px offers fantastic networking opportunities, if you join and participate in the groups. I am just starting to do this (the basic, free option), so I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.
FlickrThis one I haven’t tried yet. It’s one of the oldest photography posting/networking sites, but I opted to start with the others first. If anyone has feedback to offer on Flickr, make sure to comment below.
Besides networking and inspiration, Instagram also gives us a great opportunity for practicing our iPhoneography
With any new project or venture, it is crucial to stay organized to maintain sanity. I do that with Evernote. It’s a fabulous tool that links across all your devices (computer, ipad, phone) and is free for the basic service (which is all I have ever had). With Evernote, I easily create notes, checklists, screen captures for ideas for future projects or blogs, current shoot lists, recipes, household to-do’s, etc. Then you organize your notes into notebooks, similar to folders on your computer (or if you are old-school, in a file-drawer).
Of course if you are like me, you can’t always remember your highly organized system of notebooks, and what you put where. So there is always the search feature which brings me right where I need to go, every time.
Jonathan Gayman wrote a fabulous 3-part blog post on Evernote for Photographers. I highly recommend this if you are one of those people who like everything in its place, but aren’t always great at getting them there.
My current Evernote notebooks. I will be reorganizing since reading Jonathan's post. Updated notebooks coming soon!
Finally! I had no idea I could be so long-winded (ok I actually did have some idea).
At some point as a photographer, you have to have a portfolio to show your work. Today that means a website. I researched the options out there - Photoshelter, Squarespace, 500px, Zenfolio, Format. Based on factors I can’t even remember (and hearing some of Creative Live instructors say they used it and liked it), I chose SmugMug. So far I have been pleased with look, functionality, and customer service. It’s not easy to create the exact site you want – none of them really are from what I hear. But any time I can’t figure out how to do exactly what I want, I contact the support team (they are called Heroes – don’t judge) and can either chat live, or get an almost immediate email response. Like I said I can’t complain, and am going into my second year with them.
It can be a little overwhelming to get started, so I highly recommend a video tutorial that I found. Ryan Oakley walks you through step-by-step on getting your website up and running in 90 minutes. It’s a great place to start, and then you can customize it more to your taste later. Well, there it is. My highlights of the research that I have done…so far.
After countless hours of sitting in front of my computer with coffee in hand (and sometimes icecream, I won't lie), this is a compilation of what I have learned. I would love your input on what you have learned and continue to discover every day, so please comment below!