Kai’s photography tips for newbies: where to start and how to improve your photography
If you’re new to photography, this world can seem overwhelming and confusing. This video from Kai Wong talks straight to the point and it’s a great guideline for newbies who don’t know where to start. It will help you sort things out, but maybe more importantly – it’s a great guideline for improving your photography and raising it on a new level.
First of all, it’s important for newbies to overcome the lack of confidence, and then the lack of skill. I remember how much it took me to create a Flickr account and start publishing my work; it really is tough to start exposing yourself to the public. But keep in mind that photography is a learning experience both for professionals and noobs.
The joy of photography is in exposing yourself to new stuff all the time. By photographing new things you’re constantly adapting and thus – learning new skills. And if you still feel a bit confused where to begin and how to improve, here are the tips from Kai:
Photography isn’t just the time you spend taking photos, it also includes the time before and after it. So, make sure to prepare for your shots.
Explore locations, both on Google Maps and on your feet. Browse through other photographer’s pages on Flickr and Instagram, get inspired, and then go out there and shoot.
2. Gear matters
You need decent gear for decent shots. No matter how much I believe that the gear doesn’t matter, it does help you achieve a higher quality of photos and gives you more options. You can get interesting photos on a potato camera, but the quality won’t be good enough.
On the other hand, don’t rush in into buying too much gear, it will only complicate things. A decent DSLR/mirrorless and a lens will do just fine for a start, and you’ll upgrade as you learn.
What I must add is that you don’t need to put your photography on hold if you can’t afford a mirrorless or DSLR camera. Your phone or a compact camera will be just fine for practicing composition skills and training yourself to start noticing interesting subjects.
3. Copy others and you’ll learn faster
The line between inspiration and imitation is very thin, and nobody likes copycats. Still, you sometimes need to copy others. It’s not cool to sell the copied stuff, but copying for the sake of learning is completely legit. When you see the photo you like, you’ll learn a lot by trying to replicate it. You’ll understand what camera settings, light, composition, and editing style are necessary to achieve a certain result, and that’s a lot of new knowledge.
4. Shoot more of the same subject
The beauty of digital photography is that you can take far more shots until you get the best one. This doesn’t mean you should click lie crazy, without thinking. But, you can take multiple shots with different settings and see what changes. Also, you can photograph the same subject in a variety of ways, which will give you more options and allow you to see which one works best.
After taking the shots, remember that you should have many photos, but few keepers. Even the film photographers did it, and even the iconic ones would shoot a full roll of film to choose one image to sell or print. You can google contact sheets of iconic photographers and see for yourself.
Finally, criticize your own work. Be realistic and choose carefully which images to publish. Remember not to be hard on yourself if you take mediocre shots. The thing is that even more advanced and professional photographers take these kinds of shots – they just don’t publish them.
5. Carry your camera everywhere
If you have bought a camera, don’t let it collect dust. After all, why did you buy it in the first place? If you find carrying a DSLR tiring, you can get a mirrorless or a compact camera. Although, frankly, it’s not hard to get used to carrying a DSLR, and you can turn any bag into a camera bag.
6. Auto is fine
Most photographers rant about people who use Auto settings, but as a newbie, you shouldn’t let it worry you. You can learn from using Auto settings, as you’ll see the EXIF info and understand the settings better.
7. Learn the rules… and then forget about them
There are a lot of rules and conventions in photography. Learn them … and then learn how to break them. Braking the rules can create interesting shots, but it’s good to know which learn you broke and why.
If you’re a newbie, I hope this video and article got things a bit clearer for you and inspired you to develop further. It’s not easy to be new at something, but it’s fun as long as you learn and discover new things.
[How to Improve Your Photography for Noobs | Kai Wong]
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.