Photography advice for my younger self

I was looking through some of my older photos taken with digital cameras before 2005, and boy were they bad. From the perspective of subject, composition, focal length, lighting, etc, they were pretty bad.

I also noticed how few photos I took. How was I going to get any better if I hardly ever photographed anything? I spent more effort acquiring gear than I did taking pictures.

And technically, they were also pretty bad. Old digital cameras (tiny sensor cameras, back then I couldn’t justify buying an APS-C digital camera, and full-frame digital didn’t exist or was insanely expensive) were pretty awful compared to modern digital cameras.

But if I had any advice for my old self, it would be:

1. Take lots and lots of pictures. Every week, as many as possible, of as many different subjects as possible.

2. Look at a lot of photos taken by other people, and learn to distinguish the good from the crappy pictures, because if you can’t identify those qualities in other people’s photos, then you probably can’t make your own good pictures. (But don’t tell someone who posts a crappy picture how crappy it is, that just gets people pissed off and doesn’t help you.)

3. Don’t worry about whether the quality of your gear is good or bad. Until you spend at least a year or two taking a lot of photos, you won’t take any good photos anyway, so it doesn’t matter if they have digital noise or aren’t sharp or have low resolution. A lousy photo taken with the best gear is still a lousy photo.

Especially don’t worry about gear in 2017. Even the cheapest Canon DSLR that sells for less than $400 has far better quality than 35mm film.

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