6 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Photography

A photos below are from 2014 or earlier.

  1. KEEP YOUR FILES ORGANIZED- This has been something I’ve done a decent job of since 2014. But I wish I had started much earlier. All my files from the time I started photography up until late 2013 are scattered all over hard drives or just completely lost. Making all these photos is pointless if you can’t easily find them when you need them.

  2. Style isn’t something you “do”- I used to think you could just wake up in the morning and say…”This is my photography style”. But I now realize style develops when you express your natural creativity rather then replicating something you see. Obviously inspiration plays a part in creativity but the key is to mix these inspiration into your own ideas and thoughts.

  3. You’re never actually good- I looked at being “good” at photography like it was a finish-line. I now see that being good at something is completely relative to how you define “good”. This definition should constantly be evolving as you grow creativity. Yes the photography I make now is better then two years ago, and two years before that. But there is never an end to how I can define “good” and “better”. Photography is a constant pursuit that should grow with you and it’s a mistake to ever think you reach completion.

  4. Constant Repetition is how you get better.- There was a time when I would only pick up my camera once or twice a week, and always wondered why my photography didn’t come close to the photographers I looked up too. I would watch videos, tutorials, and study others and it helped some but not as much as I thought it would. It wasn't until I became completely obsessed with photography that my pictures actually got better. I would make photos every single day while I was at Georgia State University between classes, photographing everything I could. I took every free job I could. And sure enough my photography started to get better. I continue to this in my photography to this day. I see the biggest break throughs in my work when I am pushing myself to create as much as possible. Regardless of the result.

  5. Be present- To this day I have my issues with this but I’ve gotten better. A roll of film has a finite number of potential photos and you need to pick those images wisely. You’re spending hard earned money to buy that film and you don’t want to go to waste. Modern digital photography is the complete opposite of this. Massive memory cards that can hold 3000 jpegs and if you don’t like something.. you can delete it on the spot and start over. I found that when I started making pictures I would just shoot mindless-ly at times because I had no limitations. Rather then setting this image up properly I would just make 100 different versions and pick which is best later. As my skill began to improve I would find myself on shoots just going through the motions and doing this same thing. I wasn’t being present with the photo I was making. My best photos are always when I stop for a second, take a breath, and give real thought into what I'm trying to say and do with the photo I'm making. Being present is important in your life and equally as important when you are creating.

  6. Your favorite pictures usually mean nothing to other people- When I go through my hard drives of photos the ones that always stop my scrolling are the photos that take me back to a moment. These are usually images that mean nothing to anyone else. A simple photo of my grandparents garage or my family dog from when I was in high school. When making photos it is easy to get locked into the idea of making the best craziest images you can while neglecting the simple moments that will mean something to you later in life. This is still something I have a tough time with now and I'm always striving to capture more of my everyday life.