Photography as a Craft
Photography is truly a craft. Just like knitting, crocheting, embroidery, calligraphy, or any other craft – it takes time to learn the skills of your craft. I’ve learned a lot since I got into photography seven years ago. I started learning just for fun, then spent a few years photographing portraits and weddings, and now I use photography for my blog and Instagram. Looking at the way photography and social media are so intertwined today, I realized that there’s a lot of things no one tells you about photography:
1. Lighting is everything.
A lot of people think photography is all about the camera (which is an important part), but really photography is all about lighting. Even without a camera in hand, a good photographer will be able to scan their environment and understand the lighting. This means they know how to use lighting to their advantage to take great photos. Start to learn the best spots for lighting inside your house, like where you get the best bright, natural light. Go outside and take photos at different times of day and see how the sun impacts each image. Once you understand lighting, you’ll begin to see how you can create photos with it.
2. You don’t need the latest technology.
If your equipment is less than five years old, it’s just fine. There will always be something better out there, but for the most part – you’ll be able to take beautiful, Instagram-worthy photos with any camera or phone even if it’s a few years old.
3. Your equipment doesn’t matter… if you don’t know what you’re doing with it.*
You can have the fanciest camera in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use it. Giving someone knitting needles doesn’t make them a knitter. They have a lot to learn and a long ways to go. Photography is the same way. The camera doesn’t make the photographer. Learning and growing in your craft is what makes you good at it, not your equipment.
*Once you DO know what you’re doing, your equipment DOES matter. And it can make a huge difference when you have a great camera, lens, and editing skills (but not unless you know how to use it!)
4. Candid photos aren’t actually candid.
In the world of social media, almost everything is curated. A lot of times, candid photos are staged. That doesn’t make them any less beautiful, but it’s important to remember because it takes a lot of practice to learn how to create a great candid photo.
5. You can’t fix a bad photo, even with editing.
Editing should always enhance photos. Editing can take a good photo and make it great, but no amount of editing can take a bad photo and make it good. If the lighting is terrible, or your photo is blurry… there’s no amount of editing that can solve it. Instead of trying to figure out how to edit photos, spend your time learning lighting and how to create great photos.