To nip this in the bud before we get into this blog too deeply, I’ll say that I am not, by profession, a photographer. Do I enjoy taking photos and capturing the world around me–certainly–I love it in fact. By trade, I am a radiologist, but I am more than that. I am a lover of literature, a lover of music (particularly jazz), and, of course, someone who can appreciate the natural beauty around me at any given time.
Because I only somewhat recently began photography as a hobby, I don’t have years of experience, a $10,000 camera or a box full of equipment that accompanies me everywhere I go. What I do have is passion and appreciation for the world–which is all you need (in addition, of course, to a camera) to get started.
You Don’t Need Professional Equipment
This holds particularly true when you’re just beginning. If you want to start photographing the world around you, why not start with a no-cost option: the phone that’s probably in your pocket right now. New smartphones that have become almost ubiquitous around the world give everyone the opportunity to become an amateur photographer. The cameras are often adequate for beginners and can actually take surprisingly good photos!
Not Every Shot Will Be Perfect
When you’re just beginning a new hobby it’s not uncommon to find that perhaps you’re not quite as good at it as you’d hoped. But fear not, even the best photographers don’t get every shot perfectly. In fact, a good number of my own photographs have come out not quite as crisp or clear as I’d liked, sometimes the framing is a bit off, and sometimes the shot is just a complete wash. Don’t fret if your first shots come out looking sloppy and ugly–after all, “sucking at something is just the first step to being sort of good at something.”
Photograph Whatever You Want
Right now, you aren’t a professional photographer. No one is paying you to go outside and snap shots of your home, the countryside, or the view from the top of your apartment building. Considering this, you should be taking some liberties with what you’re photographing. Take photos of whoever, whatever and wherever you want. As your style and skills develop you’ll narrow your focus and find your niche, but for now, do whatever you’d like.
Use Social Media
Right now I post most of the photos I take on one of a couple of social media properties that I have, and I highly recommend you do the same. Posting pictures to social websites like 500Px and Flickr allow your work to be seen by hundreds to thousands of people at will. These properties are also great for receiving feedback from peers who may have suggestions or critics for you!
Experiment and Find What You Like
If (or when) you do decide to invest in a dedicated camera for your new hobby it’s going to take some getting used to. The best way to get acquainted with your camera and your unique style is simply to experiment, Try different shutter speeds, higher exposure, different f-stops and so on and find out what shots come out best with what settings. If you prefer taking wider shots find the settings that allow you to truly capture the beauty of what’s around you.