Tips

How to Start a Photography Project

Here’s a quick video on how to get going on starting a photography project. As an event photographer, I find that working on personal projects have given me balance in my work life.

So how do you start a photography project?

The most difficult part of starting a photography project is the first step. But we often over-intellectualize things. We have a desire to fully understand what it is we are trying to explore with our work prior to even beginning. This, unfortunately, has the effect of causing anxiety because we quite literally do not have access at a conscious level to what we want to express.

My belief is that although art can be derived from the intellect, what spurs a creative process is a visceral response to something. We often have much more awareness in our subconscious than we do in our intellect. The process of artistic expression is an exploration of that awareness; it is this process that leads to a conscious understanding.

I KNOW THAT WAS TOTALLY WORDY

So put more simply:

Imagine you were given the task of sculpting something complex out of clay. Now imagine if you were asked to do it entirely in your mind. Every detail decided upon, before you even begin. Good luck.

This would be no small task. Not only would it require more bandwidth than you have available, but there comes a clarity when you dive into something hands on and work intuitively. Starting a photography project would be no different.

I hope this helps you on your creative journey as a photographer!

5 Beginner Photography Mistakes

Beginner Mistakes Photographers Make (5 things)

1. The first mistake people often make is looking at what other photographers are doing.

First, I want to say that This can actually do some good: Looking at the work of others can be a good way to get inspiration and to raise your standard of what is possible.

So, what’s the problem?

When everyone looks at what other photographers are doing, their work all starts to look the same. This is obviously something you should avoid. Rather, you should find a way to Be authentic: Figure out what you want to say and do it your own way. Find your inspiration where no one else is looking. Do not limit yourself to what your contemporaries are doing.

My recommendation is to Look at the classic masters of photography for inspiration or even completely different genres of art. You might think that the best way to this is by searching online, but the best way to find what you’re looking for is by checking out old books. I recommend hitting your library and used bookstores up. I personally have a secret spot I buy photography books all the time from for as little as 6 dollars

2. The second beginner photography mistake is thinking that gear matters.

If you think better gear will make you a better photographer you’re wrong. If you're thinking ,“I could do this or that that someone else is doing if I just had that lens or whatever, you're making excuses for not shooting. IF ANYTHING limitations make you a better photographer. It forces you to find creative solutions and to work harder.

Back in the day when I had the original Canon 5d, I did not upgrade to the 5dii. I worked with the limitations of the 5d classic and it arguably made me a better photographer. It sucked in low light, so i had to learn clever ways to use my strobes. Its autofocus and burst rate was slow so my timing had to be spot on. By the time the 5diii came out its lowlight performance and focus system was a game changer but to this day I wonder if my timing was better shooting with a 5d original.

The last three examples are all closely related

3. The third mistake photographers make is not respecting the craft.

I’m not just talking about neglecting the technical stuff like shutter speed and aperture. I’m talking about the concepts behind it all so that you’re not memorizing or mimicking set techniques. You should drive toward having a deep understanding of the art form- its past and its historical context.

4. The Fourth mistake people make is not having a photography teacher.

Most people need a teacher. In my experience there are very few who can read a book or watch

youtube and repeat what they’ve learned. I’m not saying you need to go to school or mentor under a photographer, but if you’re not truly able to teach yourself you need a teacher. I did photography all throughout high school and college and to be honest I didn't learn much but at least I had a foundation. Afterward I mostly taught myself, but when I decided to start shooting professionally i didn't have the arrogance to think I knew everything there was to know. Regrettably I started off by shooting weddings as a second shooter and that experience was incredibly valuable. It doesnt matter where you get your education from but if you can't be self taught you need a teacher.

5. The Fifth mistake photographers make lacking life experience.

Without life experience, it can be difficult to make meaningful art.

So:

Go live your life.

Get inspired AND NOT BY LOOKING AT OTHER PEOPLE'S WORK.

Find your voice

Go on a journey! And most importantly...

Introspect!

Building a Photography Kit- Advice for Noobs

I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos

YOUTUBE

Instagram | @retrograding https://www.instagram.com/retrograding/

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mikmilman/

www.mikmilman.com

Advanced Event Photography Tips You've Never Heard

 

Advanced Event Photography Tips You've Never Heard

Pre-select your focal point

Rather than waiting for the viewfinder to reach your eye, consider where the point of focus will be and use your camera’s focus point controller to set it. Keep in mind, this will require you to develop the vision required to conceive your composition prior to seeing what you will see in you viewfinder. With practice this becomes intuitive. You will find yourself automatically adjusting your focus point.

Shoot with both eyes

performer at adobe max


While one eye frames your shot, use your other eye to monitor the action.
Doing so improves your timing as you’re no longer viewing what’s in front of you through the tunnel of your viewfinder. Additionally you are able to monitor the space for other potential images.

Read the room

happy skaters


Follow the energy. This is not hocus pocus. Do not overthink it. Follow the energy for more interesting candids.

Predict smiles

smiling skater

Have you learned to follow the energy? Good. Now it's time to predict a smile.
watch the eyes and anticipate the pause

Time your shot ahead of the peak of action

Your motor skills has a delay. Your camera has a delay from the moment you press the shutter button and the moment it makes an image, albeit small. Experiment with timing your image just before the peak of action to counteract that delay.
 

Nick Offerman at Adobe Max

How to Get Good at Photography

 

How to get good at photography. The following are tips I have accumulated from over 10 years experience teaching and shooting professionally.  

1. Always be working on SOMETHING. This can be a technique, a style, it can be shooting in low light. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IT IS. Just always be working on something. Don't get complacent. If you’re going into a job or personal project or just doing some travel photography, go into it thinking to yourself: “WHAT DO I WANT TO WORK ON TODAY”

2. Keep a Journal. This one layers onto the idea of always working on something. My advice: go into a job, a shoot, or project with an idea of what you want to achieve. Afterward journal what worked? What didn't? But this is important: YOU MUST DO THIS WITH KINDNESS. What does this mean? Remove the ego and do not limit yourself to what did not work. Be kind to yourself and ask, what went well and WHY?

3. TAKE A CLASS OR FIND A MENTOR Some people can go it alone but most cannot. It doesn't mean that they're not talented, just that that is not how they learn.

4. LOSE YOUR EGO Try to get honest feedback from your peers and DO NOT rely on social media feedback. I swear to you, my least interesting photos are the ones that get the most likes. The images that perform the best are not necessarily you’re best In the case of instagram the images that are successful are the equivalent of junk food that gives you that blunt sugar salt and fat fix. THERE IS NO SUBTLETY

5. GO OUT AND SHOOT How do you get good at Soccer? You play soccer. How do you get good at photography? You take photos.