Hindsight is such a beautiful thing! Here are 6 things I wish I could go back in time and say to my younger self when I was starting out in photography.
Always back up photos Itís one of those chores that you are always tempted to Ďdo tomorrowí, but stop putting it off! Taking half hour to backup your photo library is a hundred times better than losing months or years worth of photographs within a matter of seconds. I once relied on a laptop to store everything for me, and one day it tragically died, taking all my work with it. As useful as technology can be, it can also ruin your day, very quickly!
These days, USBs are so cheap. There are also websites such as Flickr, Photobucket and Google Drive that are easy to use and perfect for hoarding your photos.
Make networking a priority The old saying Ďitís not what you know, itís who you knowí is definitely true. Networking with like-minded creatives is not only great fun, but can also be hugely beneficial in the long run, especially if you are creating a career in photography.
At university, I was in a class of 24 other photographers, all from different corners of the globe. We inspired each other, and all shared ideas, opinions and constructive criticism. Even to this day, efforts are made to keep in touch and we remain valuable contacts for each other, despite us being spread across numerous countries. You can read interviews with a few of them here.
Donít be afraid of criticism When you are first - nervously! - starting out in photography, it can be hard to take criticism on board, and easy to see it as a knockdown.
Although photography is a wonderfully creative discipline, there are technical Ďrulesí and guidelines that, once mastered, will improve your photography massively. Receiving feedback on your work, especially for free, is invaluable, and vital for your skills to grow.
Itís ok to be rejected! As (incredibly successful) photojournalist Natalie Naccache shared with us, everyone is rejected at one point or another. Sometimes it can be for the best, other times itís simply a sign that you need to get out there and do a little more practice. Did you know that JK Rowling was told no by publishers before she eventually found her huge break? There are plenty of opportunities out there, itís just about finding the right one for you.
Resist spending big
Sure, it can be tempting to go all out and buy the latest Canon SLR with all prime lenses, but it will not make you a better photographer. I highly recommend for everyone to start with a really basic camera that has manual settings, and one versatile lens. This will allow you to focus purely on the shots that you take, and take everything step by step. If you later decide photography isnít for you, then you wonít need to worry about remortgaging your house to cover your equipment costs. Once you feel settled into photography and know your strengths, you can slowly build up your stash, with kit that suits your style.
Have fun looking back on early work Much like giggling at photos of yourself from ten years ago, itís great fun to marvel at what you considered to be photographic masterpieces when you first started out.
Itís so rewarding to look back and see how much you have learned! Itís pretty much impossible to get progressively worse at photography, so keep yourself motivated and keep capturing images as much as you can. Set yourself goals and daily/weekly/monthly challenges. Before you know it, youíll have built up an impressive portfolio.