6 Tips For The Beginner Photographer or Videographer - TréCreative Tips&Tricks
We both remember the time in our life when we each bought our first DLSR camera. I was about to graduate from high schoool and just wanted a really nice DSLR to document all the camp adventures I would be going on. I literally knew nothing how to compose a photo properly, what certain settings meant, or even how to use lightroom. My parents were a bit skeptical, as they rightfully should have been. Five hundred dollars for an eighteen-year-old was a lot of money especially since I just wanted it for my own personal pleasure! Stephen's first camera purchase was much nicer than mine. He was a sophomore in college studying Film Production at Biola University during our "long distance days". As he was studying film and media arts, and intended on using his major. You can imagine it was pretty important he had his own camera instead of constantly having to rent one from the media department. During his Christmas break, he began selling anything and everything around the house that could make him money. He sold his old drum set, old cell phones, books, basically anything lying around that he no longer used, he sold on craigslist or eBay. So you could say thanks to internet, Stephen was able to afford his first DSLR camera, a Canon 60D.
Since starting TréCreative almost 5 years ago as two college students, we've been asked my many hobbyist and professional photographers about our start. Even last week, I met up with one of my best friends who is just now getting into photography as her creative outlet. The question or questions we hear over and over is where should I start, what gear should I buy? What education should I invest in, or what would you tell yourself if you could do it all over again? It made us think about what we would have liked to tell ourselves back then, knowing what we do now. So today we're sharing our thoughts to the new photographer (or videographer). Whether you just love taking photos of your family and want to learn more about composing the perfect image. To the aspiring filmmaker, or photographer, this Tips&Tricks blog post is for you!
- Find Contentment in the Process - No one becomes a pro at knowing their camera or proper editing overnight. This process can take years to hone into your skill and style. To this day, both Stephen and I are still learning new camera techniques new editing tweaks, always with the intent of becoming better artists. This takes time. You have to allow yourself to experiment and "play" when learning about photography and videography. If you were to look at our first blog post ever, you would see major inconsistency in styles and editing, but to us, that was totally okay then. We were allowing ourselves to experiment, ask questions, see what worked and what didn't work. You don't need to be afraid of failure, failure is what makes an artist stronger! Face fear and failure up front and lean into it!
- Practice Practice Practice - Stephen became an extremely fast editor because he was put in a situation where he had to learn how to problem solve and create good high-quality content fast while working as the camp videographer, making weekly highlight films. For me, during those three summers of first owning my camera, I brought it with me everywhere! By the second day in, my campers were completely used to me packing my camera around and snapping photos of them. I would document anything and everything. I would learn one skill, try to improve it, and then find another skill to try and master. Never underestimate the power of practice. I took photos of my cat, my mom, we asked our friends to model for us. We were hungry to improve and become better! If you take one thing from this blog post it's this. Every time you pick up your camera you are improving, all you have to do is keep picking it up.
- You'll Never Arrive - Coming from that last encouraging point, this may sound really harsh, but it's so true! Just when you think you've mastered how to do something a new software will come out, new gear, or a new way of marketing that you'll want to learn. No matter what stage you are in, whether you're just starting out or have been in business for over ten years, there will always be something more that you'll be striving for. This is also true in life. This goes back to finding contentment in the process and being okay right where you're at. We're big believers in the "hustle", working hard is important. But don't let whatever passion or job you're running after take over everything. I'm the worst at this, so I'm totally preaching to the choir. The number of weddings we book, how much money we make, or the magazine our work gets featured in doesn't define us. We are all in process and should continue cheering for each other every step of the way!
- Capture What You Love - Photography and videography is such a fun creative outlet. Find a niche that you love to capture and try to run after that. Realize that capturing a person, place or thing through photography can be a big blessing to someone. Photo and video is that one thing that people can look back over and over again, that can bring them back to a special moment or remember a loved one who is no longer here. These are tools and gifts we can use them to bless others, let's do it!
- Do What Works For You - If you start researching, you'll quickly find many photographers and videographers do things differently. Each educator has core principles they believe in that have worked well for them. The way Stephen and I learned our craft may not be the same way you'll want to learn your craft and that's totally okay. The beauty about learning is that you get to pick and choose. Find what works for you and continue doing that. Don't feel like you have to learn a certain skill the same way someone else did. Take the good and leave the negative behind! If you're looking for where to learn online, we recommend Creative Live, Lynda, and even YouTube (just search what you want to learn). There's also some super helpful Facebook groups like the Rising Tide Society group or more specific ones for whatever niche you're into.
- Gear Doesn't Matter (as much as you think it does) - One of the common lies we always see beginners believe is that better (more expensive) gear will make them a better artist. The fact is, camera gear is just a tool. It's what you do with those tools and how you learn to use them that makes great art. I think back to Stephen in his days of being a camp videographer. The first year there, the camp supplied some pretty lame "home video-esque" handi-cams to shoot the camp videos on. While most people would settle for what they were given, Stephen made the most of the camera, he dove deep into the manual and figured out some hidden features on how to acheive some shallow depth of field effects for a more cinematic look. He went to the hardware store and built stabilizer rigs and sliders to make his shots even more creative and dynamic. Cameras are constantly evolving and having the latest and greatest stuff is fun, but totally not needed when you're starting out. Often the best camera you have is the one you already have, the one you're familiar with and that gets the job done. This could even be as simple as your iPhone! Whatever camera you have, truly take the time to master it, push it to the limits. You'll know when you've outgrown it and it's time to upgrade, but until then, get creative with what you have.