Photography, now more than ever, is becoming the art of the people. Back in the day, getting into photography had such a steep barrier to entry. Only the rich and the professionals had cameras in the 1950s. That all changed with companies like Kodak and Polaroid giving the ability to capture moments in an instant to the masses. Nowadays, there it has become even more democratized. Where certain aesthetics took a Herculean effort, we now have digital enhancement and smartphones. If you want to learn photography, you can enroll in a fancy university. But honestly, you can teach yourself. If you’re reading this, you already have the proper resources at your fingertips. Here are some ways you can be a self-taught and thriving photographer.
Social media photography is, despite what people want to say, good photography. The difference is in the aesthetics and themes. The smartphone you have in your hand is more powerful than nearly every camera in the past. Using it right can make all the difference. Using your smartphone for professional pics is not unheard of at all. Ask any photographer that’s been in the game for a few years. They’ll tell you that the majority of us are so used to the smartphone camera that people’s guards are down almost instantly. This makes for more honest expression and, in the end, a better picture.
The very basics can be found online. There are countless tutorials in every language that can be found here. Everything from how to hold your camera to how you can adjust the settings to the environment to working with presets for editing. Most people who get into photography just keep it on “auto”, and you know what? A lot of professionals do too. But if you want to get the most out of your camera, without relying on the internal software to get the right shot, you can check out one of the thousands of tutorials on your phone.
If you want to learn how to get good at photography, get an old film camera. It’s not to posture as some hipster that adores the aesthetic of at least 3 generations prior. Old cameras are unforgiving. They don’t help you adjust your technique on the fly as modern cameras do. They’re full of knobs and buttons and switches that ultimately have been replaced by a touch screen. On top of that, you’re not going to know you messed up until you develop the film. These days, you’ll probably have to do that on your own. It’s a lost skill that not many possess. But if you take up the practice, the reward and patience will surely pay off.
Photography is for everyone. No longer do we have to rely on the plastic disposable cameras or the extremely expensive blogger mirrorless ones. We have a decent camera in our pocket. Our introduction to the world of professional and professional-style photography doesn’t start when we shell out the cash. It starts when we use what we have available. A skill is a skill. Building it doesn’t have to break the bank.