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How can you be a successful photographer? What materials should you buy to start off?

Hi! I am going to school for arts for Graphic Design and Photography so I would like to know some helpful hints to start off as a good photographer onto a great one. #art #graphic-design #photography

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Stephen’s Answer

In regards to your question of how to become a good photographer and what materials you need to buy attacked the materials question first obviously were talking about a digital camera these days and I would suggest for a numerous reasons cost Mobility options a zoom lens that has the range of let's say 20 to 200 millimeter Zoom range somewhere that neighborhood what that's going to do is going to allow you to just have one lens to carry around and it's going to increase the chances of you having your camera with you all the time versus a bag full of various lenses fixed focal-length lenses you going to need a flash unit and as far as how to become one it's have photography become part of your life and see things in the usual way from different angles and also study the Masters always look for opportunities and keep it creative mind thank you

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Bob’s Answer

Probably the most important thing as a photographer is to know how light works and how shadows fall. Shine a flashlight on different shaped objects and look at the object closely. Can you see detail? Learn how to compose effectively (tons of material available). If you plan on working with people, learn some basic poses and try them yourself. If you learn to pick out patterns, and how light falls a photo career will be that much rewarding.


In the beginning you don't need a lot of toys (camera equipment). Do your research into a mid level camera that you can grow into along with a reasonably sharp lens. Talk with other photographers and spend some time actually working alongside a photographer if possible. Go to low cost meet and greet meetings for photography if they are in your area; you can gain quite a bit of insight while there.

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Helen’s Answer

You can work in a studio and buy a camera to start off with

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David’s Answer

Well, I would suggest you start off by buying a camera. A used DSLR and an 18-55 mm zoom lens. That lens is only a suggestion to get you going. Then you better find a book on photography that explains how a camera works. Michael Freeman is my favorite photo author and I would start with his complete book on digital photography. Freeman gives lots of examples and explains how and why the image was captured. You could use your local library to study books on photography and photographic works so you see what images people think are great. If you have access to the internet, there is a great deal of free informational videos and sites to help you learn. That's a good start.

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Dennis’s Answer

Due to the financial state of the photography industry, I can no longer encourage anyone to pursue it as a career. It can be a rewarding hobby, however, so buy a reasonably good 35mm camera (most now are better than adequate) and study the best photographs and art work you can find. Then practice, practice, practice and if you turn out to be an incredible photographic genius and have a good instinct for business, ignore what I said above and go for it.

Thank you comment icon I will second this: the competitiveness of entry-level photography has made it more of a bonus skill towards another job (Graphic Design) than a primary skill employers seek. I bounced through many art schools, never finished my photography degree. My best advice is to interview and evaluate the curriculum before entering. I'd say I wasted a year at one school because the college, professor and students treated photography like a lesser art and so the syllabus was bad, the education was bad and the results students made were not only bad but encouraged with good grades. Other schools went the opposite and were so deep into technique that lessons in marketing, communications, portfolio development, etc. were non-existent. Christopher McCool
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