How to Get Into Photography
As a photographer, I often get asked about how I got into the industry, how I educated myself, how I decided to pursue the brands I currently use, etc. And people are constantly asking for resources for themselves. In this post, I’m going to tell you about my experience and advice on how to pursue photography using one of my favorite companies, Adorama. Adorama is a one-stop destination whether you want to explore camera options to rent or buy, for educational resources, and for inspiration.
If you ask my parents, my passion for photography stemmed from my childhood. I always had to have my hands on the newest camera gear, I was always the one taking pictures, etc. I think I owe the influence to my Father since he’s into photography and cameras as well. It’s certainly been a journey with photography. I first started taking it seriously in my high school photography class, where I shot on a 35mm camera and developed my images in our dark room. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time with a Sony A9, and I have to say I am so impressed with how far DSLRs have come. I think I’ve converted to being a full-time Sony shooter and I’m pretty excited about that.
How to Get into Photography
This is a question I am asked at least a few times a week. My best advice is to decide what you are most passionate and excited about. What is it about photography that you love? What types of photography inspire you? If you’re on Instagram, take a look at the imagery there and see what it is you follow and engage with most – that may help you decide!
Next, I recommend that you rent some cameras to try out. Do your research, Adorama can help you there. They have every camera worth renting. My personal favorites (from least expensive to most expensive) are the Sony a7R ii and the Sony A9. I find these to be the best because of their photo and video quality as well as size. They are both mirrorless options, and if you’re into travel photography like me, you’ll want a camera that’s easy to travel with.
Don’t forget you’ll need to rent lenses as well. My go-to’s are the 35mm and the 24-70mm. The latter is better if you want to be able to cover a bit more range in focal length. The 35mm is my favorite focal length. All the photos you see in this post have been shot with the A9 and the 35mm that I have linked to here.
Now that you’ve decided what you want to shoot, and what you’re going to use to capture it. You need to feel confident about your ability to use the camera you’re renting. I suggest taking a class to help you learn more. Workshops are the best for educating yourself. You’re in the hands of a professional, so you have the opportunity to ask one on one questions based on your experience. You also get to learn from others who participate, so it’s likely you’ll share many of the same questions. If you’re local to the New York area, Adorama offers in-person workshops, most of which are free to attend, especially the intro level classes.
My next recommendation is to get out and shoot. There’s nothing that will help you learn better than to actually get comfortable shooting with your gear. I have found that the more and more time I spend shooting things (including types of photography that I am not comfortable with) the better off I become. It’s all about feeling comfortable with your camera and your subject, whether the subject is a person, a landscape, an animal, etc. If you take interest in working with people, grab a friend or two and go on a photo adventure. They can be your subjects! Bonus if they are into photography too, because then you can use each other as subjects for your photos. It’s really helpful to be the model as well because you will learn some of the nuances of how to pose, and if you are working with people as your subjects, you will become even better at teaching them how to pose since you’ve experienced it too.
How to Go from Hobbyist to Professional Level Work
Many of you that message me mention that you have the basic experience but you want to take your work to the next level. I have a couple recommendations that really have made an impact for me on taking my work from hobbyist to pro.
First and foremost – get extremely comfortable with your gear. You really need to be familiar with the camera you shoot with. I used to shoot with a well-known brand and it’s been an interest of mine to pursue a switch to Sony because of their camera quality and size, which is a huge factor for someone who travels as much as I do. Since providing me with the opportunity to try out Sony, I can say there’s one thing that stands out that helps me make the transition that I haven’t experienced before – the Sony a9 feels just as intuitive as my old camera. And for me, feeling 100% comfortable with the gear in my hand is key. The camera has to feel intuitive like it’s an extension of my hand. The A9 does a phenomenal job of that. The placement of all the buttons and knobs feels organic, and the experience and quality of the finished product are by far some of the best I’ve seen.
Secondly, you need to feel comfortable with editing! 50% of my ability to produce a great photo lies in the gear I am using and my ability to compose the shot. The other 50% lies in my confidence and ability to edit to my liking. I primarily edit with Photoshop and Lightroom, and if you check out the Adorama Learning Center, you’ll find content to help with editing specifically for both platforms.
Why Inspiration is Important
One of the most important things I’ve realized over the years is to stay inspired. Inspiration gives you an awakening. You may already be a photographer who feels that you’re not experiencing any growth. Inspiration is what people turn to help them progress, and feel re-invigorated. Adorama asked 13 photographers what they do to help feel inspired. This post is definitely worth the read. I find it interesting to hear what inspires others as it’s usually different than what inspires me.
How I feel Inspired…
My personal choice of inspiration is Instagram + travel photography on my own. In particular, I like to take my camera and go explore somewhere on my own. I follow many accounts I love (whether it be their aesthetic or focus), and these serve as inspiration for me. I often find that these accounts have a few main elements that stand out – color choice/editing style and type of content such as place or destination.
During a recent trip to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, I took my Sony A9 out to explore Tulum. I was on a trip with other people but had the opportunity to spend a day doing something different than the rest. Tulum had always been on my short list, and prior to this trip, I only had the opportunity to spend an afternoon there for a friend’s wedding weekend, so I was pretty excited to be able to head down there for the day with no agenda other than to just explore and shoot (my absolute favorite!!!)
I cannot stress enough the inspiration that comes from getting out and going to shoot, especially when you are excited about the gear you are using. The photos you’ve seen throughout this article come from my use of the Sony A9 and the Zeiss 35mm lens. I am also changing up my editing style a bit, something that comes with new inspiration. And it’s nice to find a new aesthetic I am enjoying. Inspiration will help you get new ideas. Adorama’s Instagram also offers photo inspiration from a wealth of talented photographers.
I hope you found this article resourceful on how to take your photography to the next level. I really felt that I had plateaued in my work and using the Sony A9 has really made me feel differently about taking my travel photography to the next level. Using the resources Adorama provides, you can experience new gear, learn new tips and tricks from professional photographers, and become inspired to bring your vision to life. Often times people feel intimidated about getting into photography or wanting to improve their current ability. Having an all-in-one resource to help get you comfortable is key to advancement. I advise you to try Adorama for your rentals, purchases, and learning experiences. It has helped me tremendously, so much so that I decided I want to shift my entire kit to Sony because of my experience with the A9.
I'd love to hear from you about your experience. If you have any comments or questions, leave them below!
This post is written in partnership with Adorama, however, all opinions are my own.