professional photographer

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.


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.


Go live your life.


Find your voice

Go on a journey! And most importantly...


Shooting Detail Shots with a 400mm Lens

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


Instagram | @retrograding

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Avoid Photography Burnout!

When you shoot as many events as I do, it is important to develop strategies to prevent burn out. In this video I share a few.


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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


Instagram | @retrograding

Facebook |