205 Things for Photographers to Think About

· 4.April.2018

Being a photographer can be very rewarding, but at times it can be tough to get motivated and keep up the positive mindset we need.

From newbies to seasoned pros, we all have our challenges. Currently, I am having a bit of a tough time working out my next few steps so I made a big list of stuff that might be interesting to get my mind ticking and get my mojo back. There are some simple things, some quotes I like and some things that I need to work on.  Have a read and let us know your thoughts: did we miss something out, do you have a favourite saying or simple bit of advice that has helped you? Leave a comment below.

Here is a list of some of the things I have put together to provoke some thought.

  1. Photography is fun. Keep it fun.
  2. Think thrice, Shoot Once.
  3. Keep things simple – If you over complicate things it normally makes things worse.
  4. If you can use a tripod, do. They will help pretty much everything.
  5. Share your work in new places.
  6. Use HDR carefully.
  7. Shoot what you love.
  8. Having a camera does not make you a photographer.
  9. Better cameras don’t make better photographers.
  10. Take images that show how you feel, not how you see.
  11. Don’t work for free, but that does not mean you have to always be paid with money.
  12. Learn about colour theory.
  13. You are not paid for your images, you are paid for your vision.
  14. Most of your time is going to be spent on a computer doing admin – that’s normal.
  15. Master the basics before anything else.
  16. Photography is my therapy.
  17. Shoot square formats.
  18. A lot times you have your frame very much in mind and you’re waiting for things to fall in place.’ -Vincent Laforet

  19. Photoshop is not part of the photography process.
  20. Shoot what you want, not what you think other people want you to.
  21. Not everyone is going to like you, or your work. Which is OK & normal.
  22. When you are photographing something, mark your personal ideas into the images. Make it your image.
  23. Don’t worry about the technical while shooting. The technical is part of the practice and prep.
  24. Good lighting is not an option – its a requirement.
  25. Not every shoot is going to be good. Aim for 10 new portfolio images a year.
  26. Take fewer images. Travel more and see more. Put more time into what you are photographing over how you are.
  27. Restrict your creative options before you leave the house. Go with a plan a stick with it.
  28. Don’t let your frame count get close to 999 999 while out shooting – it can be a tricky pain to solve on location.
  29. Flying? Don’t have a long lens attached to the camera
  30. Less gear is always better – for any situation. Take what you need, but not your entire kit all the time.
  31. Wacom tablets are worth their weight in gold.
  32. Invest in a good desk, chair, & screen.
  33. Install good lighting in your workspace. (We love Philips Hue)
  34. ‘I have always avoided photographing in the studio. A woman does not spend her life sitting or standing in front of a seamless white paper background. Although it makes my life more complicated, I prefer to take my camera out into the street… and places that are out of bounds for photographers have always had a special attraction for me.’ – Helmut Newton

  35. Download and use the Fujifilm App.
  36. ‘Print more. Whatever the amount you currently print – double it’ – DKP
  37. Try analog film, you will be amazed how much it makes you think. Use film already, ace – shoot more.
  38. Learn to take criticism, none of us are perfect.
  39. Learn to teach. Whatever you think you know, someone else knows less – share your knowledge.
  40. Crop an old image and find a new story.
  41. Read more. Whatever you think you know, someone else knows more.
  42. Travel more. Whatever your genre, learning about the world will help you learn about your subjects.
  43. Context is king – always, all the time.
  44. Arrive early, leave late. Be flexible with your time.
  45. Never rush away from a shoot, you never know what can happen.
  46. ‘People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’ – Simon Sinek

  47. People don’t like cameras – treat people like people not props.
  48. Ask questions, then ask more questions.
  49. Learn your camera, learn how to shoot in new ways.
  50. Go shooting with your least used lens. Try to get the best out of it.
  51. Do a project about something you know nothing about.
  52. Photograph something for a friend.
  53. Create a triptych of the primary colours.
  54. Sell a print – (This one will make you happy).
  55. ‘If you Dream it, you can do it’  -Walt Disney.

  56. Do a year-long project – say something with your work.
  57. Rent your dream camera & go play with all the toys. It can be quite fun to see what’s out there.
  58. Rent first, buy later.
  59. Set goals, long term and short term.
  60. Lists, write lists, lots of lists.
  61. The answer almost always comes down to this: It’s hard.
  62. Write 5 things about 5 photographers you admire.

    Image by Perrfect Pawtraits

  63. “If you rest, you rust.” – Helen Hayes.

  64. Get out of your comfort zone – do something your friends would not expect.
  65. Photography is about you just as much as your subjects – Invest in yourself.
  66. Your mental mindset can make or break a shoot. Never shoot angry.
  67. Keep your firmware up to date at all times.
  68. Cold weather is bad for battery packs – keep them warm by storing them in inside pockets.
  69. Keep your camera dry, plastic ziplock bags and silicone gel packs are handy on very damp days or locations.
  70. Never point a camera directly into the sun, you will hurt your eye & sensor.
  71. The airport X-Ray – won’t hurt your digital camera, but be careful with the film.
  72. Put a full battery and empty card in your camera BEFORE you leave the house/studio.
  73. Take the battery out the camera if you are flying.
  74. Have a ‘full’ battery bag and a spare bag for empty’s to avoid confusion on a shoot.
  75. The Peli 1510 & 1535 air are the biggest cases you can carry onto a plane & the safest way to do so.
  76. ‘Value is not determined by those who set the price… it is set by those who choose to pay it’ – Simon Sinek.

  77. Choose to be happy, don’t choose to be negative.
  78. Shooting on a set with a number of people – colour code ALL your gear & cables.
  79. Spare AAs for your flash are always a very good idea.
  80. Ensure all your kit is insured.
  81. Lens wraps are great for keeping your kit safe, just as much as an old pair of socks.
  82. On a location – be discreet with your camera gear. A locked Peli case and a re-useable tye-wrap can be a good idea.
  83. Gaffer tape is amazing – dayglo gaff is pure genius. 
  84. ‘A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor’ – Unkown.

  85. Pack all your batteries then pack an extra one.
  86. Time is more valuable than money or gear.
  87. A skillful assistant is the best thing a photographer can have.
  88. Always check the weather from at least 29 different sources, then plan for anything.
  89. Let other people find their own paths and let yourself follow your own.
  90. Always take an extra mars bar, you can always share if you don’t eat it.
  91. Even if you only want the JPEG – shoot RAW too. Storage is cheap.
  92. Clean cameras last longer.
  93. Be selective with your time – time is something you never get back.**
  94. Teaching someone something will always teach you something too.
  95. Get off the beaten path, and create your own.**
  96. ‘There are 5000 ways to take a picture of a rock.’ – DKP

  97. Picture your picture before you create your photograph.
  98. You ARE going to suck at being your own boss**
  99. You will have a breakdown at some point: Research Mid Life Crisis & Identity Problems
  100. Read books, read blogs, watch videos & talk to humans (occasionally…)
  101. Praise and criticism are both as useful, in context.
  102. Review your old work: learn from your mistakes and shape your future.
  103. Avoid camera straps – the camera is in your hand or in your bag.
  104. Take a spare SD card everywhere, always.
  105. Lens caps – are useful, don’t lose them.
  106. A £10 filter will protect a £5000 lens.
  107. Test your instincts – prove to yourself you got this.
  108. Trust your instincts – be confident, go with your gut.
  109. Get a few camera bags – they are all different and your needs will change often.
  110. Hard cases are vital when traveling on planes – never check in your camera gear.
  111. Nothing is ever constant, no idea is ever dead, the light is never the same.
  112. Everyone needs a mentor, they don’t have to be an artist.
  113. There is no such thing as bad weather.
  114. ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.’ – Herb Nestler

  115. Learn about yourself – Learn what you like and what you don’t like.
  116. Never miss a deadline. The best form of respect is to get things done well and on time.*
  117. Never waste anyone’s time. Respect the value of other people’s time.*
  118. Be a connector. Bring people together who will find each other valuable and helpful.*
  119. Focus on quality, not quantity. Make what you do count by giving yourself to the people or causes that are most important to you.*
  120. ‘The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.’ Socrates

    Image by Perrfect Pawtraits

  121. ‘It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.’ – Paul Caponigro

  122. Learn about your subjects. Talk to people, engage them in conversation & photograph the result.
  123. Experiment with different cameras & lenses – something will click into place.
  124. Learn the exposure triangle inside out. It is a core element.
  125. Try shooting tethered to a big screen – it will slow you down and make you really look.
  126. Shoot location, shoot a person, then shoot the person in the location.
  127. Clean up your website, portfolio weekly.
  128. Find a workflow that works for you – don’t just copy other people****
  129. Use negative space, use shape and shadow – use everything you know and love.
  130. ‘A good photograph is knowing where to stand.’ – Ansel Adams

  131. Your Fujifilm is a tough camera… take it everywhere. There is no point you buying it and leaving it at home.
  132. Customise your settings. Put the controls where you want them.
  133. Learn from people, don’t copy them. Find your own style.
  134. Like Landscape photography? Learn Geography as well as Photography. Find a deeper knowledge of your subject.
  135. Know your shutter type – mechanical or electronic. Learn what they do and how to get the most out your camera
  136. ‘Q’ Stands for quick. Use the Q menu to get to your important settings and know where they are.
  137. Film Simulation modes & colour filters. Acros is purely amazing.
  138. Manual Focus, back button focus plus Arcos preview & colour focus peaking looks great and lets you shoot fast.
  139. Set up Geo-tagging on your camera via your phone app to mark locations.
  140. Use the display preview settings – get your horizon lines straight.
  141. Take suntan cream and hat – be prepared for the elements.
  142. Any shutter speed slower than 1/30th of a second needs a tripod**** (or a very steady hand)
  143. OIS is not an esacpe to having bad camera technique.
  144. Avoid the mid-day sun.
  145. The fastest way to improve an image? Learn to straighten your verticals in Lightroom.
  146. Don’t compare Megapixels – it’s not that important.
  147. That’s a really sharp photo – is NOT a compliment.
  148. Focus on the eyes – It’s an old one – but still worth thinking about.
  149. Learn to change the size of your focus point.
  150. “Fulfill the assignment first. I aim to please, probably to a fault. This is not a strategy I’d recommend to the next photographer, because it can curtail one’s own creative impulses. As a solution, photographers sometimes shoot two variations of a picture: one for the client that addresses the assignment and one for themselves that floats their boat.” ― Gregory Heisler

  151. Photographing people: master these lighting types Rembrandt, Butterfly & Split.
  152. Avoid lighting people from below the eye line. It very very rarely works as a key light.
  153. Learn about soft light and hard light – how to make them, how to use them and most key – when to use them.
  154. Use the electronic shutter – if you have one, create some awesome low depth in bright light.
  155. Use your lens hood – they are more important than you think.
  156. Set the correct date & time on your camera
  157. Add your contact & copyright details to the camera’s exif data
  158. Shoot the colour profile you edit in. sRGB or AdobeRGB.
  159. Never use your camera to exploit someone.
  160. Learn about key lights, fill lights, highlights and character lighting.
  161. Learn everything about light – how it works, how moves, how it changes and everything there is.
  162. Be happy with your progress.
  163. Learn about perspective – Learn about horizon lines, leading lines and centered images.
  164. Document your serial numbers for insurance and personal records.
  165. The less technology we have to worry about, the more of the emotional and substance we can engineer in.
  166. Photography: It’s a constantly shifting balance of technology and emotion.
  167. Things that affect light: Size of the source, Power of source & Distance to subject.
  168. “The more curious we are the more creative we become.” – David DuChemin

  169. Shooting on the streets? – be prepared to explain yourself & know your rights. ***
  170. Always carry a business card.
  171. Respect personal privacy. Treat people as you like to be treated. ***
  172. Be aware of where you are and the cultural differences and leave people alone that want to be. ***
  173. Sharpness is a bourgeois concept to a few – and there is nothing wrong with that.
  174. Own your own photography. Be connected to all of your work.
  175. Try new compositions – experiment.
  176. Google the Golden Ratio & the Fibonacci curve.
  177. Simple image are great. Try to have just one major focal point in an image.
  178. The number 3 is the best number for everything, (yet 42 is the answer).
  179. Learn to read a histogram.
  180. Watch movies – learn how motion works and why the still image has so much power.
  181. Never trust your LCD.
  182. Calibrate your home screen and avoid old laptop screens.
  183. The distance between where you are now and the path you think you should be on is probably smaller than you think it is’ – Chase Jarvis

  184. A good pair of boots can be the difference between getting the shot and not.
  185. Grain is good and bad – it’s all about context.
  186. Own a fast 35 or 50 lens. The XF35 1.4 is the best lens I have ever put on my X-Pro2 and X-Pro.
  187. Get comfy with high ISO – it’s not as bad as you think.
  188. There is a correct exposure then the right exposure.****
  189. The best thing you can do is the right thing, the second best thing you can do is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
  190. The rule of thirds is a rule you should stick too, at least 87% of the time.
  191. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, do some research too.
  192. Macro photography is a whole ton of fun.
  193. Film V’s Digital is a silly argument. They are both fun.
  194. If it’s not backed up twice, it’s not backed up at all.
  195. Having a ‘blacked out’ or ‘taped’ camera does not make you invisible.
  196. Frame and hang your work.
  197. Learn about ‘3 point lighting’.
  198. Composition. = Focal elements, Structure & Balance.
  199. ISO is not linked to exposure but is linked to the exposure triangle.
  200. Shutter speed controls motion. Aperture controls structure
  201. Use contrast to create Focal Elements.
  202. Learn how geometry can help. Symmetry, guiding lines and repetition in regards to composition.
  203. Any structure in an image is better than nothing. For Example – Rule of thirds, Golden ratio, Pyramid, Full Frame & Symmetry.
  204. Be chilled, be fun, be confident and do what you do.
  205. A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind. – Albert Einstein

Image by Perrfect Pawtraits