Photography tips for beginners: Turning your hobby into your profession

As you know I recently visited the Philippines, which was a great opportunity to test my new camera purchase, the Sony A5100. In this latest post I also decided to catch up with my good friend Minyahil (or Min as I know him), a London-based portraits and events photographer. We discuss how he got into photography and he also shares his top photography tips for beginners.

Being a novice photographer I can honestly say I don’t know much about the different settings and functions on a camera. And I often shoot in automatic mode! So for me, one of the great things about the Sony A5100, is that it comes with a great range of pre-set shoot functions. But I still want to learn how to make the most of my new camera and try to understand the basics of photography. I reached out to Min as he is one of the few people that have managed to turn their hobby into a profession. So I thought I would share Min’s tips here with you too.

Photo by: Minyahil Giorgis via http://www.giorgismedia.com/

What’s your top tip for buying a new camera?

MG: It’s a simple one – spend your money on lenses, lenses, lenses!

How can beginners learn all the different functions like aperture, ISO, etc?

MG: My top tip would be to photograph everything in almost every mode. For example maybe today you shoot everything in aperture priority then maybe tomorrow you shoot everything at ISO 100. And then you quickly start to discover what those settings actually mean and how they work.

Photo by: Minyahil Giorgis via http://www.giorgismedia.com/

What are the best tools for beginner photographers?

MG: As a beginner photographer the best tools that you have access to, are your imagination, the internet and other photographers.

Cameras, lenses and lighting are all key things that can come later. But understanding composition, understanding what makes you want to photograph and understanding what makes something interesting is really one of the best tools you can have.

Photo by: Minyahil Giorgis via http://www.giorgismedia.com/

So how did you actually get into photography?

MG: Well it kind of snuck up on me. I studied Theatre Arts at university and as part of my course we had to do both the theoretical and the practical side. During my second year, I was a stage manager in one of the productions and so I needed to make sure I documented everything from start to finish. This included all of the rehearsals, the set designs and even all the meetings we had.

I didn’t have a camera at that point so I wanted to make sure I could invest in a nice little camera that I could carry with me easily. I also had just purchased my very own Mac for the first time and that had iPhoto on it. So after a bit of research I came across a small Samsung point and shoot camera. I think it was about six megapixels which I bought from amazon for around £90. Because I didn’t have to pay for printing my photos, I just kept on taking pictures of everything and putting them in iPhoto. Before I knew it I was hooked. Soon after I then bought my first digital SLR – a Sony Alpha a 100.

Ultimately, I think it was the perfect combination of having a great camera and a great computer that allowed me to discover this passion I had for taking pictures.

What type of photography inspires you the most?

MG: I think if I had to choose, it would have to be theatre. It’s challenging and allows me to work with new people. It also enables me to see a variety of creative and interesting shows made by talented and imaginative people.

Theatre photography also keeps me on my toes, because I don’t want to stage things. I want to react to the story and the show as it happens. I also enjoy the challenge of adapting to the very quickly changing lighting states and the usually maddening lowlight nature of theatre photography.

Are there any trends in photography we can expect to see?

MG: Photography is going through its biggest change since we had the digital revolution over a decade ago. We are now witnessing both the birth and evolution of smart phone photography. These small devices are able to create stunning images, and because those devices are on you all the time, it’s so easy to quickly snap a picture when you come across something inspiring.

Essentially it makes photography less intimidating and also more accessible. Meaning more and more people create beautiful and unique images. The amount of images on websites and newspapers and social media almost triples with every passing year.

And even despite having a DSLR and access to a range of lenses that help me create amazing images that I love. The camera that I take the most amount of images on is my smart phone, simply because it’s on me all the time. There are also some really great apps that help me to enhance my images. So where my DSLR would require me to have to connect to the computer import my images, edit my images and then share. With my smart phone I can do all of that within the space of a few minutes when my DSLR would probably take an hour or more.


You can find out more about Min and his work over on his website at www.giorgismedia.com or over on his instagram @giorgis_Media

Are you also a beginner photographer like me? Have your own tips to share? Or maybe a question for Min? Leave a comment below or tweet me at @arcasela x

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