Yorkshire Photo Walks
Make Photography your Resolution Every photograph is a new discovery.
Tom's Top Ten Tips for Beginners in Photography. Photography is a great hobby. You may think I am a little biassed, owning a photography teaching business but the figures don't lie! Believe it or not, over 10 million people in the UK would class themselves as an amateur photographer. That equates to the entire population of Greece! The joy we receive from creating a good shot that others admire is addictive. However, the thought of making our mark on such a vast and saturated medium can be daunting. In this article I will outline my top 10 tips for newcomers to the wonderful world of photography. In 1994, when I was just 6 years of age, I was handed a disposable camera in order to take my first ever photograph at the beautiful Yorkshire location, Bolton Abbey. Little did I know at the time, twenty years later, I would be forging a career as a professional photographer. A lot happened during that time, including the shift from film to digital and the influx of smart-phones and social media. Today everyone has access to a camera, it wouldn’t surprise me if many children have now taken a few memory cards worth of photographs by the age of 6, never mind a single notch on a roll of film. The question is, how can newcomers make their impact? If I was handed a smart-phone today in order to take my first ever photograph, how would I approach it differently to 24 years ago? Well, my honest answer would probably be, not that differently. That is because, although technology changes, we don't, we still take the same sort of photographs, just with improved machines. Which leads me onto my first top tip...
1. DON'T LET TECHNOLOGY BAFFLE YOU - When we buy our first camera we are often baffled by technical jargon spouted by a sales assistant. Before you go into a shop do a bit of research. A great place to go to find an honest review of equipment is Ken Rockwell (see link right), an American photographer that, like a Yorkshire person, calls a spade a spade. Only then go into a shop and explain exactly what you would like. 2. BUDGET FOR LENSES - Don't get drawn in by more mega-pixels at the expense of better optics. Lenses are often overlooked when buying a camera, however, they are the most important aspect. Kit lenses sell because they are often put into a deal when you buy a camera. This might appear like it is saving you a few pennies but kit lenses can often be clunky and poor quality, hence why they are sold off cheaply. Leave a little of your budget aside, buy a decent lens and build on your collection over time, when you have a better idea of what you need. 3. READ THE MANUAL STEP BY STEP - We all learn differently so if you are one of these people who can pick up a manual and learn everything off by heart, ignore me. Most of us struggle with camera manuals, confused by lots of small print and ambiguous diagrams. My tip is to take it with you the first few times you go out and only look at it if you struggle with something, that way you learn practically. 4. TRY NOT TO RUN BEFORE YOU CAN WALK - The great French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said "Your first 1000 photographs are your worst." Don't expect miracles straight away. Get to know how your camera works first, then you can concentrate on the pretty stuff. 5. LOOK AT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING & HAVE DONE - When I started taking photography seriously I was asked by a course tutor, who are your influences? My response was 'I don't have any influences, I like to be individual.' His next question was, how do you know you are being individual without knowing what others are doing? Looking at other people's photographs is an integral part of the learning process. Flickr, Instagram and Google Images amongst others are great resources. Find out what you like and ask yourself how can I do this better? 6. JOIN A PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP - There are so many groups across Yorkshire offering photography talks, competitions and friendly advice these days. Have a look at the Yorkshire Photographic Union's list of clubs and societies near you. Being able to bounce ideas and chat to people about the hobby you love is a great way to find new inspiration and have a great sociable time. 7. START A PROJECT - Once you get to know your camera, a project can be a great way of channelling your creativity. Many people can get side tracked and get stuck in a rut of photographing the same things over and over again. Set yourself a challenge, be strict with yourself and you will be amazed with what you will see, find and photograph. Our article '10 Creative Project Ideas' (see picture link right), would be a great starting point. 8. SHARE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS - I am sure I'm not alone in having box upon box of photographs gathering dust in the loft. In the age of digital the equivalent is hard-drive upon external hard-drive of images we simply forget about. The beauty of social media is that we can share photographs with other like minded photographers. Showing others what you are producing will not only gain you recognition, it will also build your confidence, like by like. 9. ENTER A COMPETITION - This is something everyone is wary of, mainly because, when you take something seriously, criticism and rejection for hard work isn't easy to take. If I had a pound for every time I have spoken to someone unhappy with a judge's comments, I would be a millionaire! Why then should I suggest such torment for beginners? Well, by entering competitions, getting used to critiques and fall backs will make you a better photographer. You've just got to think, with each rejection you are closer to success! 10. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BAD DAY FOR TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS - I have heard phrase 'I'm not taking my camera today, the conditions aren't right,' many times. One of my favourite sayings is; 'there are no such things as bad conditions for photography, just lazy photographers.' As long as there is light, there is a photograph. If it is dull or rainy you might have to work a bit harder to find it but, believe me, it is there! Get out in all conditions, experiment and you will be amazed what you can find.