• Leah Stankus

A Beginners Guide on How to Start Photography

1.Get a DSLR Camera and start shooting EVERYTHING. 

When you start out, let me tell you that you do not need a $1000 camera, to begin with. Most likely, you will be overwhelmed if you do this. Remember, everyone starts somewhere. I started with a Canon 60D that I got off of Poshmark.. yes, Poshmark for a couple of hundred dollars. So if you have a camera, you got a few years ago that perfectly okay to start with. 

Okay, now let's get to the second point- start shooting everything. I mean it your dog, family, friends, self-portraits, anything that will get in front of your camera just practice. Practicing on different things can help you learn lighting, practice editing, help you pick your niche, and soo much more. 

( The first photo to the left is my FIRST ever photoshoot with my camera the second to the left is one of my senior shoots I did in the fall soo 2 years later lots of improvement)

2. Learn to shoot in Manual. 

That's right I said it ditch the "auto setting" and I mean THROW IT IN THE TRASH. Flip your camera into the manual setting and start practicing changing your ISO, testing out different apertures, shooting in RAW ( always shoot in RAW), and other aspects of your camera.

This is such a vital part of learning photography is learning the camera and camera settings you are shooting on. This leads to my next point of teaching yourself with the help of others. 

3. Reach out to other photographers, Google, Youtube (Educate Yourself). 

There is SO MUCH free education online in today's world- USE IT. It's not embarrassing to youtube things and admit you don't know something. I will let you know a seceret.. everyone does it. Heck, I still youtube something if I'm unsure. I remember starting I reached out to photographers I admired - asking questions, and some would answer some maybe not, but that's okay. I reached out to this photographer Megan, who was in college like me and doing photography, so I instantly felt like we connected- she helped me soo much with camera settings, presets, etc. A few months later, I invested in a mentorship with her so I could learn more from her, and I believe this helped my business and photography so much. So I encourage you to google things, watch youtube videos each night, listen to podcasts, invest in mentorships- I promise the hustle worth it. 

4.Practice Editing ( Lightroom, Photoshop) 

I remember the first shoot I ever did once I got my little Poshmark used camera in the mail. I edited the photos with vsco.. yes, the app VSCO. My friend Taylor and I were so proud of the photos- like we thought this camera made me an instant pro. I honestly recall one of us saying like " omg the background it's blurry.. these are SO GOOD." A few weeks later, I downloaded the lightroom and started learning how to use the system ( thanks youtube). I then bought my first presets and from there has been a full learning process, but everyone goes through this- so just practice. 

Lightroom is a complete GAME CHANGER as you can see- I took the big light fixture out because I thought it was a distraction, brightened up the photo, and warmed the skin tone.

5.Learn Lighting

This is CRITICAL. The shots you are going to get from shooting at 12:00 mid-day and "golden-hour" will be completely different. This is why photography is just a lot of practice, so you can challenge and test yourself in different lighting situations. My favorite times to shoot are sunrise ( 30 minutes after the sun comes up in the morning) the light is super soft, and the light flares that show up are beautiful for photos. Also, one hour before sunset or also known as " golden hour, " which is AMAZING FOR PHOTOS. The light right before sunset is just beautiful and golden for any photoshoot. 

All of these shoots were done right before sunset so you get that super creamy and warm which I LOVE.

6.Have Fun!!!

The most important thing to do during this entire experience is to have fun and remember this is a growing /learning experience. Try not to be apart of the comparison game and compare yourself to other creatives- remember they used to be exactly where you are today. Be kind to yourself- you got this. 

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