What is the subject of photography

Hard facts about photography for beginners

Photography is one of the most popular hobbies of our time. Benefiting from the fact that the smartphone now takes really great photos and is always ready to hand. But even good to professional digital photo equipment no longer costs huge sums of money. With cameras from the lower or middle price segment, professional photos are definitely feasible.

And with these facts about photography, which every beginner should know, the hobby is twice as much fun!

Photography facts for beginners

Being an amateur is not a bad thing!

There is nothing bad or negative about being an amateur in photography at all. That doesn't mean you have less talent or take worse photos than a professional photographer. Quite often the opposite is the case. Again and again you hear the sentence “I'm only an amateur, I can't take as good photos as a professional.” - That is, to put it very carefully, bullshit!

We know some professional photographers and we don't want to trade with them!

What does a normal professional photographer do? Most of the time he takes photos that he needs to take for a client. He can of course use his own creativity, but still has to deliver photos that his customers like. The whole thing then often happens under time constraints and financial pressure. Because let's not kid ourselves, normal professional photographers tend not to be wealthy people. With a few prominent exceptions, professionals would often have to turn every penny twice.

In addition, there is the pressure of ancillary costs, social security, taxes, rent for a studio, costs for equipment. That adds up and the pressure of delivering photos for customers grows.

The above probably applies to the mass of professional photographers. The few professionals who can live from their highly creative work, from their photographic art, are rather the exception.

We hobby photographers, on the other hand, can take all the time in the world. We can photograph whatever we feel like doing. We can develop our own style without restrictions, we can edit photos as we like. We are free!

Quite a few top photographers we know are not professionals, but simply amateurs who passionately take their photos.

Hence, there is absolutely nothing negative for me in just being an amateur.

There is no trick!

"Tell me the trick you used to take this great photo."

Do you know this sentence? We have heard it countless times. And the answer is mostly sobering because there is no “trick”.

Because good photos are often the result of years of practice. Before the great photo there were countless junk photos, masses of deleted attempts. To do this, you develop further, the style changes over time.

Photography can be learned - and we're not talking about the technical side by that. With a lot of time and practice, you start to see your surroundings differently at some point. You can recognize colors, lines, patterns and then implement them photographically. But even after years of practice, it doesn't always work. Even today we still produce a lot of photos that simply “don't work”.

So maybe you can say the trick is: practice, experiment, learn from mistakes - and do it again and again.

Learning photography is time consuming

Modern cameras are little technological marvels, with lots of fun little buttons, knobs and dials. All possible and also impossible effects can be used with the cameras.

Unfortunately, it is not enough to buy a camera for several thousand euros and lenses for even more money to automatically take good photos. Without understanding what the camera is actually doing, it's just a waste of money. You are also not a star chef just because you buy a 1000-euro kitchen knife set.

Definitely invest time to understand the photography and the technology behind it. Aperture, focal length, exposure times, ISO - such terms, their meaning and effects on the photos simply have to be right. Then there are things like image composition, mood, understanding light, lines - the creative and artistic aspects of photography.

Sit down and read books, watch great tutorials on YouTube, go to photo exhibitions - learn! Get to know your camera, try it out and experiment with it for hours. You will quickly notice how the photos are getting better and better and the photos correspond to your ideas and are no longer random products. But that doesn't happen overnight - it takes time. Nah, wrong, actually this process never ends.

Learn from other photographers

We ourselves have learned a lot from other photographers. It is completely secondary whether they were professional or hobby photographers - as already written above.

Check out photos from other photographers. The internet offers countless possibilities for this. Often you will also find the camera settings with which the photos were taken with the pictures in the descriptions.

Go to photo exhibitions and talk to the photographers there. Especially at smaller, local exhibitions, you can meet the photographers and talk to them about their work.

Goes on tour with other photographers. There are tons of photo groups in the social media or photo forums, for all sorts of topics, where groups meet again and again for joint excursions. Take the opportunity and ask the other photographers for tips, watch them at work, exchange ideas with other newcomers.

Patience - a must have in photography

Patience and perseverance - nothing works in photography without these two virtues.

The perfect motif just isn't waiting for you. You have to wait for the motive. But that's such a thing, especially when it comes to photography when traveling. If you are only in one place for one day, you will probably not be able to take the top photo with the perfect lighting mood, as you have seen it from a local photographer on the Internet. Because this local has probably been waiting for this one moment for weeks or months and in the meantime has taken countless "normal" photos of the great landscape.

Of course you can also be lucky, no question about it. We have already photographed Monument Valley with dark rain clouds, which is not an everyday sight there. Or a fantastic sunset over Los Angeles with crazy clouds and colors in the sky. But those were just moments of happiness and we hadn't planned these recordings beforehand, because that would certainly have gone wrong.

Therefore, when you travel, take what you can get. Of course, you can also capture special moments while traveling. But remember, photographing a sunrise means getting up long before sunrise (often).

You have more time at home. You want to photograph the perfect lighting mood for a local motif or a special animal photo in the zoo. Then take a lot of time to make several attempts. That is just part of it and also makes up a large part of the fascination with photography.

More gear doesn't make better photos

We love testing new equipment and playing around with it. It's fun and exciting, no question about it. But does it improve our photos? In most cases the answer is no.

Good photos come from the heart and the eye of the photographer and not from the wallet!

The equipment is "just" a tool to maybe make the photos a little better technically. Often, however, these are only the smallest details, such as blurring at the edges, that no normal viewer will notice. Especially not with 1000 pixels wide of the pictures here on the Internet.

Still, it can make sense to spend some money. But then maybe not in the bulk, in even more equipment. It is often better to invest in a good quality and decent lens than to spend the money on 3 mediocre lenses.

With every purchase, we meanwhile think about what added value the new device will bring me. Do we maybe need a faster lens to be able to take better photos in dark surroundings? Do we need more focal length to be able to photograph animals that are even further away? Are we missing something to be able to take pictures that we cannot take with the previous equipment? If these questions can be answered with yes, then we will specifically buy additional equipment.

The answer is very often no. Because the added value of the new device would simply not be available.

Take an example, focal length. A longer focal length is always a great thing in animal photos. At the moment we're on the road with 400mm, on the crop that's 600mm. In between we had tried something bigger, we gave in to the allure of buying. It was 600mm, so 900mm on the crop. But it quickly turned out that this focal length was simply impractical for us. Too heavy, hardly to hold out of hand and always running around with the monopod or the tripod, that was too annoying for us. So back to the 400mm. And when we need to get closer, we just cut a picture. With 24 megapixels, there is enough reserve for this.

For us, that was a completely unnecessary investment. In the meantime we refrain from giving in to the want-to-have virus and prefer to look for useful additions to our equipment.

Photography is an expensive hobby

While we say above that more gear doesn't make better photos, photography is still an expensive hobby.

Good camera bodies, lenses are not bargains. There are also other things such as a tripod, a good photo backpack, possibly an external flash, various lens filters, batteries, memory cards. The list could go on for a long time, but we'll break off here.

We also had to quickly learn that buying cheap often means buying twice. This is especially true for memory cards and tripods. Here it is really worth spending a few euros more to have cards or stable tripods faster.

Camera equipment is heavy

Especially if you rely on digital SLR cameras, together with high-quality lenses, you are aware that there is a lot of weight involved. 5 kilograms or more in a photo backpack are now not uncommon.

Modern system cameras are a little lighter there, but development continues and the cameras are getting bigger and heavier. And really high-quality lenses for system cameras are not much lighter than for DSLR cameras.

And all this equipment, all the weight, you have to lug around with you when traveling or on a photo trip. If you don't want that, look around for more compact and lighter systems. Here a bridge camera or the four-third system is interesting, which are much lighter.

Respect when taking photos

The temple cat

Please be respectful when taking photos. Respect for other people, for places and things that should be photographed. Respect the local environment, don't climb or walk anywhere where it's not allowed, just to get the “best” photo. Please especially respect the customs and traditions in other countries and cultures that are foreign to you. This also includes finding out about it beforehand.

Do not prevent other tourists or photographers from taking photos. Just because you might have a better camera doesn't mean you have the right to disparage other tourists with their compact cameras or smartphones. These people have the same right to their photo!

Talk to the people you might want to photograph. At the latest after the photo. Eye contact or a wink is often enough. Especially in distant countries, especially in Asia, people are often happy when they are photographed and can then see the photo. We have only had positive experiences there.

You might be wondering about this paragraph? You do not believe what we “were allowed” to experience from our travels. Perhaps we will occasionally make our own contribution on the topic.

Photo editing is a tool

For us, photo editing is a tool, the digital photo lab. In the past, in analog times, many photographers developed their photos in their own darkroom. It would never have occurred to them to have their pictures developed in a large mass laboratory.

So for us today, Lightroom is our little darkroom. We want to develop our photos ourselves and not leave this to any algorithm in the camera.

But one thing should be clear, photo editing does not save broken photos. If a photo is technically defective (blurred, out of focus), even the best program will not help. If a photo is a catastrophe in terms of its composition, no photo editing will save it.

Photo editing is a great tool for developing good photos. Your own style and creativity can also be lived out with photo editing. Photo editing is not a tool to turn bad photos into good photos.

Do you have any questions or further facts for beginners? Then feel free to write us a comment under this post.