10 Things I Did Right As A Beginner Photographer

At the beginning of the month I wrote a blog post telling admitting my top 10 mistakes as a beginner photographer.  Now let's go through my list of Ten Things I Did Right As A Beginner Photographer.

Minneapolis Child Photographer


10) Educated myself
     Even before I bought my first DSLR I began the process of learning everything I could about photography.  I learned what ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture meant.  I learned that to create the type of photos I wanted to create I had to shoot in manual mode.  I learned to shoot in RAW before I even had a camera capable of doing so.  All of this education was invaluable for easing the transition from point-and-shoot to full manual DSLR shooting.

9) Learned to control light rather than work around it
     As I progressed I realized that my shots weren't looking so different than they'd looked before.  The reason was that I was not utilizing light, but rather seeing it as the master that was unchangeable. While I didn't master off camera lighting for quite some time I was able to use windows, refrigerator light, light from my iPad, etc to create some dramatic lighting.

Twin Cities Family Photography

8) Learned to connect with clients and take authority in a shoot
     When I first started shooting for family and friends I learned real quick that people need to be directed.  Otherwise you get uncomfortable smiles and awkward, stiff poses.  So what did I do?  Delved right back into learning mode and studied posing and communicating with clients.  The more confident and in control you seem (even if you're shaking like a leaf on the inside) the more faith people will have in you and the more relaxed they will be.

7) Get rid of the “mom goggles”
     As I mentioned in my "10 things I did wrong" post when I first started out I saved every image and every RAW file.  There's a saying that I heard somewhere ( I can't remember where or else I'd credit the person because it's brilliant) that says, "The better you get at photography the less photographs you have."  This is absolutely the truth because as you train your eye you begin to see errors in your shooting that you can't overlook.  Slight missed focus?  Delete.  Cut off fingertips?  Delete.  



6) Learned to use Lightroom and Photoshop beyond a preset or action
     I think it was about two months into shooting that I calmed down on the actions and presets.  I selected my favorite preset, loaded into an image, and went down the row of settings in the development module to learn exactly what that preset was doing to my images.  Now I knew what that weird green haze was and how to tone it down.  This made a WORLD of difference!

5) Joined Clickin Moms
     I am in no way sponsored by the organization but I will promote it everywhere.  It's that good.  Rather than a community of people who criticize and banter back and forth it's a community of people (men and women) who are supportive and endlessly helpful.  I've taken so many of their online educational courses and have never been disappointed.  Check them out at Clickin Moms.


High School Senior Photography

4) Built a network of photography friends
     Right away I began meeting people and becoming acquainted with others who were passionate about photography.  If I have a question or need a recommendation of a good place to shoot I can ask any number of my photography friends and get the information I need.  We challenge each other creatively and keep each other motivated. 

3) Asked for constructive criticism
     Part of growing is learning.  Part of learning is listening.  Even though it's hard to hear less than stellar things about something that you are so emotionally invested in it's crucial to your growth as a photographer.  I remember the first time I had the guts to post an image that I was really proud of to ask for criticism and I didn't get the response I expected I was crushed.  But I was quickly able to see that what they told me was nothing less than the truth.  And when I recreated the image at a later date I was much more proud of my second image than my first one.  The key to this is to ask for constructive criticism from a person or group whose opinion you respect and also who won't just blow smoke for fear of offending you.  You'll never evolve if you surround yourself with people who don't challenge you to be better.


Twin Cities Photographers

2) Edit every day
     I don't know a single professional photographer or serious hobbyist who does not enhance their images through post processing.  Especially if you shoot in RAW your images just aren't ready for anything straight out of the camera.  Editing every day (or at least six days a week) has been crucial for me in developing my own style.  I rarely sit on images and always edit before I go to bed.  

1) Shoot every single day
      If I had to attribute my growth to a single thing it would be this.  I shoot EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Not a day goes by that I don't pick up my camera and use it.  Sometimes it's just a quick snap out my window and other times it's a full studio setup.  I've been doing this since October 1st of 2014 and have no plans to stop. 


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