What is Something You Wish Someone Had Told You When You Started Learning About Photography?

learned in photography

Every month I am going to ask a question on Facebook and share your answers here! You guys have such great insight and information! Here are a few of the answers.

What is something you wish someone had told you when you started learning about photography?

That it was going to take a lot longer than I expected it should to learn all the concepts!!!
-Andrea Fuller-Tate

That you’re able to change the focus point! I didn’t figure it out for a looong time!
Hope Turcotte

To trash the kit lens and get a fast prime!
-Kelly Johnsen

That learning more would be so addicting.
-Detta Owens

Get ready to be broke!
Allison Ferguson

To put your focus point on the eye. I can’t tell you how many pictures didn’t turn out in the beginning because I let my camera choose the focus.
Melissa Noste

Definitely read your manual! And try to only take on one concept at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed and frustrated.
-Danielle Mcllory

That once you get into it, it’s gonna cost a lot!
Janell Hughes

Just because the lens goes down to 1.4 or 1.8 doesn’t mean that’s where you need to always shoot. I got a ton of bad photos that way…lesson learned, though.
-Katie Malcolm

To never stop clicking… no matter how bored, uninspired, frustrated, etc I became.
-Janna Babb

My husband bugged me for YEARS to get a tripod! Now I don’t go anywhere without it!
Quad Dean

Learn aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Your creativity will skyrocket once you learn how to really use your instrument.
-Jennifer Graves

That the journey would be a series of hills, valleys, and plateaus. Work hard, pray hard.
Kim Cunningham

Relax. Look for inspiration, and not comparison.
-Karissa King

Three things- 1-To do a 365— and to use it to look back on, reflect and grow. I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t do it, and since I know I have so much more to learn, I’m doing a second year of it. 2- Don’t always shoot with your aperture wide open– just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should! 3- Find a friend who is also into photography and shoot together- you’ll learn so much more and push yourself even further
Dana Elyse

To appreciate where you are on your own path and quit looking from side to side at what everyone else is doing. Enjoy your own journey and stay to true to your own artistic vision!
-Carla Scuzzo

That holiday cards would never be the same.
-Meghan Stewart

I could never figure out the blurry backgrounds in photos, I had no idea about f-stops.
Jennifer Ostrander

I wish I knew that the best shots usually don’t happen within the first two shots and it’s not a bad thing to take lots of pictures of one thing until you’re happy with the result. I mean, think about it, the worlds best photographers don’t set up all their equipment just to press the shutter button once and then leave.
Carmen McDermott

That it’s not about just getting a good picture, it’s about capturing something that no one else can and letting it shine!
-Juanita Snodgrass

It’s not about having the best lenses or camera. It is about having the knowledge to rock what you’ve got. Invest time and money in learning before buying excess “stuff”.
Kim Young

Get your white balance right in camera saves a whole lot of post editing
-Hayley Thompson

‎1-That no matter how well you know your camera and use it properly you pictures aren’t going to look like the pros until you learn to edit. 2- that RAW can give you a lot more options and flexibility during post processing.
-Emily Malmgren

Al Servo focusing – I shoot lots of sports and this one was really changed the game.
-Kimberly Keber

A problem I had when first starting, and still continue to have is putting the camera down when you know the”perfect” shot is not there. I want to keep trying which can wear out clients, and family. I see myself doing it more with family. I want that perfect Christmases shot with the big camera, or photos at the park. Sometimes we need to stop being mamarazzi, and just be moment.
Tara Bryant

That its addictive!
-Ashley Maple

Did we miss something you wish you had known starting out?? Tell us in the comment section!!

  • February 24, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    It takes time and a lot of hard work. And learn your camera before you decide to go pro. No sense in being paid for not knowing how to use your equipment.

  • February 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Love this post. I was nodding yes to all of them. So much fun to read!

  • February 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    What a fun post for photographers in any stage! I found myself nodding in agreement with all of these:)

  • February 24, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Made me laugh! My addition would be that I wish someone had told me about “open shade” and not to be afraid to turn my flash off :)

  • Calista
    February 24, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Excellent. There are so many things, like checking your settings before shooting. Lower apertures make those fuzzy backgrounds. The fuzzy backgrounds are called “bokeh” :). If a picture looks too magical to be true, it’s been photoshopped – don’t kill yourself trying to achieve that look. You know, little things that make BIG differences.

    • February 24, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      I agree about the “too magical to be true” bit! I wish someone had told me they are all retouched. Oh, and the bokeh. Yep. Love it.

  • February 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    To take pictures of everything you do, because you don’t know what the next day will bring, and what God will take away from your family!

  • February 24, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I’m so glad I found this blog! I love this post. So many of the comments had me nodding in agreement and smiling because I’ve “been there!” What would I say? Be patient with yourself. It’s okay to be a hobbyist. Do it for love. (I know that’s three things, but here’s another!) Take your camera everywhere!

  • February 25, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Like everyone else, I ended up saying yes to everything that is listed! I wish I knew that (1) how addicting it can be; (2) external hard drives can be your best friend; (3) ALWAYS back-up files – i learned the hard way on this one, luckily they were just my practice shots…:)

  • February 25, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    Things I wish I had known:
    1) I can’t know it all at once
    2) Don’t compare myself to others
    3) A good prime is my best friend
    4)RAW…. all the way!
    and I just learned about in camera WB.

  • February 25, 2012 at 5:13 AM

    I can relate to so many of these. For some reason I thought I responded to this question, but my brain is not functioning at 100%.

    I finally ordered my test prints and am really excited to start ordering prints from an actual lab.

  • I hear it all the time now (and even say from time to time) but I wish someone would have told me that…

    it’s the photographer, not the camera or lens

    • Courtney
      February 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Very true!!

  • February 26, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Lens. Foucus, light setting. ect… so many stuff still need learn.

  • February 26, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    I wish someone had told me “when the tick-mark is on 0, you’ve set your exposure” right away! I had the hardest time with learning my light meter and it took 3 classes and 4 books later for someone to finally confirm, oh yes… make sure you get the tick mark to “0.” !!! ha ha.

    Photography can get CRAZY expensive. Don’t feel like you have to buy the most expensive glass / camera right away to take better photos. Become confident shooting in manual and using natural light – using what you can afford as you build your skill. Super $$$$ lenses won’t do any good if you don’t know the basics. Take pictures all the time! Practice, practice, practice. :)

    • March 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      I had that same issue with the exposure!!! No one anywhere ever explained what “getting correct exposure” meant or how to get it! I’m not sure where I finally learned about it (probably online), but it was a HUGE “aha!”

  • February 26, 2012 at 8:22 AM

    Great thoughts! I was definitely nodding in agreement to many of the points. Right now, I think I wish I’d known that I would need to be more patient with myself and slow down. I’m just dying to take every class and read every book and buy every piece of new equipment and be as good as so-and-so, but I don’t have the time for that right now. Patience!

    • January 8, 2014 at 3:30 PM

      Slow down! Take a breath… don’t let someone else “drive” the pace of the shoot.

      I shoot mostly animals, so boredom is my friend. Once people stop messing with their animals and just relax, the animal gets bored and then starts looking around at things – and giving their most genuine, natural expression. Those few minutes of waiting, and bada-bing it’s exactly what you were looking for.

  • February 27, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    What a great post!! It really made me smile reading this! Photography is so addictive and you just never ever stop learning! :)

    • Courtney
      February 27, 2012 at 8:07 PM

      Hey Cassandra! Thanks for stopping by! How is your sweet little angel doing?? I can just image all the wonderful images you are getting of her! Yes, photography is super addicting :O)

  • February 27, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Oh Courtney I wish I could say that I was getting great images of her haha! At the moment I am just trying to stay awake – and sane!!! She is a little angel though and I am loving every minute!! I will post some photos of her soon cause of course I think she is super cute!!! :)

    • Courtney
      March 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      I can just image with a newborn. I know I had little motivation to take photos when my little two were first born. I’m hoping with this next one to find some motivation. Can’t wait to see them but until then just snuggle your sweetie and get some rest :O)

  • Ashlee Rae
    March 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Wow! These tips are awesome! So many things to learn when you are first starting out. Taking one thing at a time is something that I need to put to practice. I know that I want to do it all at once, and that is just not possible. JUST getting out of Auto mode have put my pictures at a whole other level that I cannot wait to get to. There are tons of things to do w/ photography and your pics. This is not just a “snap and that’s it” process. All this takes time, and the more we continue doing something that we love, the better we shall be. :)

    Thanks for all the tips Ladies! xx

  • Daniela
    August 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I wish someone had told me that if you really love photography you shouldnt hesitate at all just GO FOR IT, you will love it more each day, that you dont need the most expensive camera and lens to start learning, that it is ok to buy used equipment, that I could have purchsed a body and added a prime lens with no need for the kit lens, that shooting in manual becomes addicting and you never go back to auto, that you will always continue to learn, that there is a lot of information and great blogs like this one to help you learn and improve.

  • June 2, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Go big or go home!! I had the $$ to buy the camera I wanted when it first came out,(Nikon D800E or even better! I won a 5k jackpot and decided I wanted to do photography.. Great timing! Well 1 year later I’m more advanced than I’m sure some people thought.. I was ready for an upgrade a long time ago..(I started with the D7000 and even then people said it was too much for a beginner!my a$$) lol

  • November 25, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    I really enjoyed your comments, this is my 3 camera , looking forward to one that has more distance, I live in the country & see lots wildlife & want to share more.

  • Donna
    January 8, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    How to change the focal point from what the camera is focusing on vs. my eye.

  • Tom
    January 8, 2014 at 3:45 PM


    I wish I had known enough to only buy high quality Prime Len’s of 2.8 or less aperture, and
    maybe put a few more bucks into the body…I started with a D-5000 which is a nice body.

    I have since added a Nikon D-600….which I really love…

    I have to admit, event more expensive, I have enjoyed the path in learning and it makes me really
    appreciate good equipment and when I do nail a great photo that please’s “ME”..



  • Chelsea
    January 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    I wish someone would have told me “No, you won’t be the first professional photographer to shoot entirely on Auto mode. You will try Manual mode…you will love it. It will be hard. It will be worth it.” :)

  • January 8, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    LIGHTING-LIGHTING-LIGHTING….. there’s never enough talk about studio lighting
    and POSES…. a variety of poses….
    Photoshop and Lightroom- these are the things I wished had been taught to me early on…
    The things the others mentioned as well are great too…

  • January 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Manual focus is worth it and your camera will let you know when whatever you are focusing on is in focus. You run the risk of things not being in focus but isn’t it important to try?

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