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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Photography

Boudoir photography can be an intimidating art form to take up. Not to mention that learning photography alongside it makes for an even steeper hill to climb. With this in mind here are 8 things I wish I knew at the start of my own journey into photography. Note, these are not in any particular order.

  1. Gear Matters

  2. There is a lot to Learn

  3. It Can be Expensive to Start

  4. Developing your Style Takes Time

  5. Check your Settings

  6. Lightroom isn’t your Only Option

  7. Find your Cameras highest ISO

  8. Seek Outside Opinions

Gear Matters

A popular saying in the photography community is, “Gear doesn’t matter.” I call bull shit. Gear isn’t everything, but it does matter. While I’m not going to say you need all top-of-the-line gear. I will say spending a little extra upfront for gear that helps you get the results you want is well worth the money.

For example, my old Nikon d3300 was a good little camera. But, it doesn’t compare to a Sony a6600 or my Canon EOS RP when it comes to being beginner friendly thanks to the eye auto focus, electronic viewfinder, and auto ISO.

There is a lot to Learn

When viewing photography from the outside it can seem like a simple art to learn. It’s not until you get into it though that you begin to learn just how deep of a topic it truly is. After 5 years, I am still learning new things, both with photography and boudoir. Not to mention relearning things I have forgotten when I haven’t picked up my camera for a few months.

It Can Be Expensive to Get Started

Photography is an expensive hobby to get into. Note, I’m specifically talking about going with an actual camera and not using your cell phone. I’m not knocking cell phones. They can get you some good images. However, if you want to get serious about boudoir, or photography in general, you are going to want an actual camera. You will also need a few other things to go with that camera. At a bare minimum for beginners I recommend the following when getting into boudoir photography.

  • Camera Body

  • A Good Fast Lens

  • Memory Card(s)

  • Extra Battery

  • Camera Strap

Add all of those up and it can start to get pricey depending on what model of camera and lenses you choose to go with. If you want to see the cameras and lenses I recommend, you can check out my Camera Buying Guide.

Developing Your Style Takes Times

Everyone wants to find their style. That way of shooting that says this is my art. However, it takes time to figure that out. Chances are you won’t come away from your first shoot having found it. Some photographers take years to find their style. If you are looking for some guidance check out the article I did on that subject here.

Check Your Settings

Always be checking your settings! The number of times I have picked up my camera and started shooting with the wrong settings are numerous. Most of the time the culprit was my aperture, but my shutter speed would take its turn every now and then too as would my ISO. Thankfully, I was able to salvage some of those photos in post processing. Some good times to check your settings include:

  • When you first pick up the camera to shoot.

  • Anytime you switch poses.

  • When you switch outfits.

Checking your settings will become second nature to you after a while, but the sooner you can build that habit the better.

Lightroom isn’t your Only Option

When I first started photography I thought Lightroom was the only option. It was the dominant program I saw photographers using when I would watch editing tutorials on YouTube. However, there are other options. One that I have talked about before is Darktable. Which is the open source version of Lightroom. Another program I’ve seen and has impressed me is Luminar Neo. My suggestion is to do some research and pick the best program for you.

Find Your Cameras Highest ISO

Every camera is different. And every photographer has a different view on what level of noise is acceptable. Taking the time to experiment with your camera's noise levels to figure out the highest ISO that you are happy with will save you a lot of headaches later on, for my old Nikon d3300 it was 800 and for my Canon RP it's 3200. I had a number of photos that weren’t usable because I didn’t know the highest ISO I would tolerate from my camera.

Seek Outside Opinions

When you are first starting it can be hard to critique your own work. This is where seeking an outside opinion can be a big help. There are places online for you to post your work if you are comfortable with it, such as 500px or Flickr. However, if you don’t want to be posting your boudoir photos all over the internet, then you have one option. Get in direct contact with a photographer who can help you.

A lot of photographers offer coaching sessions where they give you feedback on your photos and this is an excellent way to help you get better with your photography while keeping your pictures private. I’ve done this myself on a limited basis for people who wanted help with a particular issue, such as editing. I’ve also looked at their portfolios and simply gave them a second opinion just to give them confidence that they were on the right track. If you would like me to help you just use the Contact page at the top to send me a message.

Final Thoughts

These are 8 tips I wish I knew when first getting started in photography. Of all of these tips I would say that getting outside opinion was the one that helped me progress the most with my photography.

One last thing. If you are enjoying this blog and wish to support the work I do here, consider using the Buy me a Coffee button at the bottom of the page to make a one time donation to show your appreciation.

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