The most common question I hear asked at lectures is "My son/daughter/niece/nephew/third-cousin-once-removed wants to be a photographer. Do you have any advice for how to get started?". And most times the advice is "Don't quite your day job."... Care for more advice? Read on!
1. Shoot every day. Sounds like a no-brainer but people often forget that in order to capture a great image you need to be so familiar with your equipment that control comes by second nature. The camera should be an extension of your eye, not a bunch of knobs & buttons you need to think about setting every time you see something pretty.
2. Don't jump on the band wagon and buy all the latest & greatest equipment. Find a kit you like & stick with it. Upgrade as things break rather than when the camera company launches something new & more money will stay in your pocket.
3. Study everything you can get your hands on. Books by the masters, websites, magazines, billboards, calendars, greeting cards. Make a note of what you like then deconstruct the image for composition, light and technique. Challenge yourself to think how you would shoot those images differently.
4. Get a business degree. Images don't sell themselves and anyone who thinks they are going to be able to spend all day taking photos while someone else markets them is delusional. A solid business background will give you the tools you need to succeed.
5. Don't be afraid to ask. Ask for internships, ask for critiques, ask people to shoot with you. The worst they can say is no.
6. Don't let one person's opinion get you down. Art is subjective. No one liked pointillism or the Rite of Spring when they were first introduced. Now they are both classics because people were brave enough not to let criticism get them down.
7. Cull mercilessly and do it early. Keep your portfolio tight and clean and easy to navigate. It's no fun trying to sort through 100,000 images looking for a half remembered photograph.
8. Never stop learning.
-- Post From My iPhone