July 31, 2018

Advice for New Photographers: Part 1

Posted in: For Photographers

Shooting and Editing Tips

When I first started my photography business over 7 years ago, I was clueless.  I didn’t even know if photography was something I wanted to pursue as a career or if it would be just a hobby.  These were the days that you actually had to figure things out on your own without help from social media.  This was before Instagram, Pinterest, and Rising Tide Society.  I didn’t have Facebook groups or a community of photographers to help me along my journey.  I relied on Google, YouTube, blogs, and the rare moments when I ran into another photographer and they would actually talk to me.  Community over competition was pretty much non-existent among photographers in my area.  My hope is that this small collection of information will help you get your photography business going at a faster rate than I did.

This week I will focus on tips for shooting and editing.  There is SO much I could tell you, but here are some of the basics I wish I had known when I first started.

1. Buy a 50mm lens

I wish someone had told me to get a 50mm lens when I first started!  I shot way too long without it and it’s so cheap, you can’t afford NOT to have one.  The photos are sharp and you get some nice bokeh that you can’t get with the kit lens that comes with your camera.  Here is my recommended 50mm lens for Nikon to get you started.

2. Shoot with a full frame camera

Again, I didn’t know there were different types of cameras – crop sensors and full frames.  I started out with a crop sensor and when I saw the images I shot with a full frame, my mind was blown!  Image quality is better with a full frame camera and and ISO performance is better, which means you can get great images in low light situations.  Here is the one I use that I LOVE!

3. Shoot RAW and shoot in manual

I’m embarrassed to admit that I shot in jpeg on auto when I first started.  I didn’t know there was another way until I started researching how to make my photos look better.  When you shoot in auto mode, your camera decides what settings to use and sometimes it can result in blurry or grainy photos.  When you shoot in manual mode, you have complete control over the aperture (f-stop), ISO, shutter speed, and white balance.  You are smarter than your camera, so go ahead and practice shooting in manual.  Don’t be scared of shooting in RAW – I promise it is a thousand times better than jpeg and easier to edit.  The files are larger and will provide a higher quality product to your clients.

4. Edit in Lightroom

If you’re shooting in RAW, you have to use certain programs to read and edit the files.  Photoshop was pretty popular when I first started, but I hated it.  I started out not even editing my photos, but when I did start editing, I used a program called Picasa and “upgraded” to iPhoto when I bought my Macbook.  I have used Lightroom for a while now and I am thankful for its magic every time I use it!  I still don’t use Photoshop and I would never recommend it for editing entire weddings or sessions because it is way more complicated and slower than Lightroom.

5. Backup batteries

I thought cameras were invincible.  I had already photographed a few weddings and long events, but I neglected to think of one thing – battery life.  My camera battery had always lasted all day and I never thought to get a backup battery.  That is, until I shot an indoor wedding that required a lot of flash and my battery started dying during the ceremony!  Thankfully, a guest had the same camera and graciously agreed to loan me her battery for the rest of the wedding.  Even though it saved the day, I was embarrassed that a guest had the same camera and that I was not prepared.  I did two things after that day – bought backup batteries and started saving up for a better camera.

This was a very condensed version of everything I could tell you on this topic, so if you have any questions about shooting or editing please feel free to comment below or email me at hello@ashleybrookephoto.com!

Be sure to come back next Tuesday for Part 2!  I will be sharing a few of my favorite business tips to help you get your business to the next level and help you avoid some business mistakes.

To see all my recommended products, click here.  Just so you know, links in this blog post are affiliate links.
  1. Stephanie pegues says:

    Great tips! I still need help😂

  2. Jan Hulsey says:

    Ashley, you are so gracious with your advice and not worried about competition but would rather help someone. That is rare! Madison has a new camera and I suggested she check with you to see if you had classes to help people or she could pay you for one on one advice. She loves editing so I know this blog will help her. Thanks so much for sharing!!
    Jan Hulsey

    • Ashley Mason says:

      Thank you so much! I’m always happy to help others succeed. I would absolutely love to work with Madison!

  3. Stephanie H says:

    Can you teach me to use mine too? We got it when Hughes was born and I am still clueless!

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