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New Photographer? | The top 10 things I've learned

I've only owned my photography business (Amy Fewell Photography) for 15 months, but I constantly get emails, facebook messages, and phone calls from people asking me for advice on lighting, pricing, and just how to jump start their journey to becoming a professional photographer.

So, I've decided to put some of my top suggestions here! If you have questions or comments (especially other photographers, please feel free to ADD!), please feel free to comment below so that other photographers can see your advice!

First and foremost, learn how to shoot in manual. You'll thank yourself later. It might take 4-6 weeks to understand it, but taking this time to learn is worth it.


1. Invest in a good photo editing program -- and no, it doesn't have to be the most expensive. I use Photoshop Elements 10. It works perfectly and gets the job done (for now).

2. Shoot your photos in RAW, not jpeg. When you shoot a photo in jpeg, it automatically corrects and changes the colors for you, it also compresses the photo. When you shoot in RAW, it doesn't compress photos, it allows you to tweak the exposure and colors, etc. And it only compresses one time -- that is when you save your final edited photo as a jpeg.

3. Always watermark your photos if you are posting them online -- even something as simple as just typing your name on the photo. Make it clear and visible but not intrusive.

4. Never place your client in direct sunlight during the day. It's best to take photos in open patches of shade when it is extremely sunny. The best time to take photos is in the early morning or evening (dawn or dusk) as the sun is going down and is lower in the sky. If you take photos during the day, it's better to have overcast.

5. If taking a photo in a shady place (or even not in a shady place), make sure the sun is behind or to the side of your client. It makes your photos more vibrant!

6. Take full body photos, but if you want a close up of someones face etc, make sure you  move your body closer. Dont always count on the cropping tool in PS to do the work for you.

7. Candid moments are the best moments -- but don't forget to get a few posed photos as well.

8. Be open to client suggestions, but don't forget to give them direction. Don't expect them to automatically know where to sit etc. (I still have difficulty with this!)

9. Set up a facebook page and website ( is a good free and popular site for photogs). Even if you just share it with family and friends in the beginning, it gets your name out there and gives you somewhere to put your photos for your porfolio.

10. Have fun.  Loosen up. And remember that your clients are probably just as nervous as you are ;)

Other things to consider:
Learn your camera, front and back, side to side. Every button, every screen menu....everything.
Shoot to print, but don't be afraid to edit.
Don't over edit.
Learn your 'style'. Vintage? Classic? Journalistic? And stick to it. That doesn't mean you can't switch it up. But be unique, it's what sets you apart.
Learn from other photographers (good and bad), and don't be afraid to ask your photographer friends for help.
Use family and friends as practice. Take every chance you can get to understand and learn how to manipulate light, props, and clients.
When taking a photo of people, make sure your focus point is over one of their eyes (normally the eye closest to you), or else you'll get a lot of blurry faces.

Happy shooting!! 


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