Learn Photography with Scott Hayne

You want your photography to reflect your distinct style.

Here, you’ll find photography tips to help your succeed in becoming a better photographer. Some of these tips are relatively simple. But, they can make a big difference in your growth as a photographer and the results you’ll get from your work.

For those looking to gain an edge in a competitive and artful business, I’ve also woven in advice that I’ve learned through my own experience as a professional photographer.

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What’s the best advice for someone wanting to learn photography?

You’re ready to dive into the exciting world of photography? Great! It’s loads of fun but there’s work involved too, so be prepared. The fun begins with actually shooting and developing your style.

Start by developing confidence in how you shoot and develop a style that’s unique to you. Trusting your eye, and creating your own photographic niche, rather than following “the pack”, will set you apart from others. Soon, your images will be recognized as yours and not just an image anybody could shoot. My advice: take some creative risks, get out there and make your mark!

Create a Style That’s Uniquely Yours

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What’s the best camera to start out on?

The best camera for you is the one that you will use. Really, it’s that simple! If you have a $10,000 camera but you don’t use it….it’s an expensive doorstop. On the other hand, if you have a camera-phone and use it all the time, you’re way ahead of the guy with the doorstop.

If you want to get the best quality shots and have an unlimited potential to expand your photography, then I would stick with the big-boys: Canon or Nikon.

Canon’s Rebel series or Nikon’s 3000 series will allow you to use all of their lenses and they have all the features of their top of the line cameras.

Spend your money on the lenses. A good lens can last a lifetime, but cameras become obsolete very quickly much like computers.

A basic camera setup will vary depending on your photography interests. It’s best to learn photography on a DSLR. DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex camera. It mimics the usability of a film camera with interchangeable lenses, the technology is digital. Needless to say, digital technology allows you to manipulate your images like never before. Take a look at our digital composites gallery, and see what I mean.

The flexibility of the DSLR allows you to add items to your camera as your photography grows. The lenses should cover the ranges of 24mm up to 200mm. An external flash will help in dimly lit situations as well.

Keep in mind that you should be editing your images as a final touch so you will need a computer and software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Remember, if you have the right gear but don’t use it – it’s worthless. Get shootin’!

DSLR, Photoshop and Lightroom Help You Explore Your Creativity

What are the best methods to learn photography?

Learning photography can be an exciting and eye-opening (literally!) experience. The more you shoot, the more your photography will develop. I am still evolving my style even now, 30 years after I picked up my first camera.

Looking back at your previous work will help you evaluate and track your progress. You must shoot and shoot often – that is key. Shoot and evaluate. Learn photography by doing. I believe it’s the most effective way of improve your skill fast.

Are you ready to take your photography to the next level? If so, take a look at our downloadable digital photography courses and live workshops at NoRulesWorkshop.com.

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I’m a beginning photographer and I need to know where to start; advice?

You’re in the right place – on our website looking for advice! There’s so much information available online that it can be overwhelming. Don’t be discouraged that you can’t figure it all out right away. Start by understanding your equipment. Add techniques as you become more confident with your equipment.

Small bites at a time and you’ll soon discover that becoming a photographer is a cinch! A great start is photographing your friends and family but treating them like a “real” photoshoot – recommend clothing, pose them, present their images to them online or on a television.

You’ll be creating a portfolio and making mistakes on them rather than a paying client. By the time a real shoot comes around you’ll be polished and professional.

For beginning photographers, as well as seasoned, sign up for our newsletter where you’ll get photography tips sent right to your mailbox as well as upcoming studio events such as seminars, and workshops.

I’m an experienced photographer looking for an edge; any advice?

Be a leader! Many photographers want to their work to be like someone elses; they want to shoot like another photographer. It totally trumps your own personal style.

There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by amazing photographers; weave their style in with yours rather than throwing away your unique vision. Wouldn’t you rather be the one doing the inspiring?

Try out the latest technology or at least read about it since this industry evolves so fast you can be left behind in a very short amount of time. You’ve made it this far don’t stop now!

What photography seminars are best?

There are many workshops and seminars available for photographers ranging from very basic to very complex. What works best for you is a decision you will need to make based on your skill level and expertise.

Discover where you struggle and and find a photography workshop to help with that. Want to try out a new style of photography? A guided, hands-on workshop is an outstanding place to explore. You can even participate in live interactive workshops at Creativelive.com.

There are national conventions such as WPPI and Imaging USA that also present hundreds of workshops over a week period. Of course, we present our No Rules Workshops here at our studio and around the country covering the very basic operation of the camera to studio and outdoor lighting along with business and marketing seminars. Come check us out at NoRulesWorkshop.com !

Do you need a photography degree to be a successful photographer?

A formal degree can help you learn photography. At the same time it can be a hindrance to some photographers. There certainly is no need to have a degree to be a successful professional photographer -I don’t have one!

Highly specialized photography such as medical, forensic, and astro or micro-photography may require some formal education.

The more creative sides of photography such as fashion, wedding and portraiture certainly don’t require any formal degree. As a matter of fact, I believe that educators getting involved in the creative process can stifle the budding artist and frustrate them rather than inspire them.

How much does photography success depend on talent vs. learned skills?

The age-old battle of talent vs. knowledge is particularly applicable to photographers. There does not need to be a battle between the two since they work hand in hand.

Talent without the knowledge on how to express your photographic vision is a useless venture. Conversely, a photographer that has all the tools and knowledge but lacks the talent to use them effectively can be especially frustrating; especially analytical person when they see other photographers accomplishing beautiful work with less.

You cannot rely on one or the other. Instead you should always look for new ways to learn photography skills that help you express what your raw talent thirsts for – creative expression.

What’s something that you wish you knew starting out that took you a while to learn?

While photography is always a learning process with new technology and techniques coming out practically daily it is sometimes tough to keep up.

One thing that took me too long to learn is shooting what sells. As a professional photographer we need to take off our hobbyist hat and really focus on taking photos that we know our clients will love.

As a casual photographer we usually shoot everything multiple times hoping to get just the right one. As a pro, I learned much too late that it saves time, money and helps your bottom line when you take your shot, make it a winner and move on!

Wasting time during the shoot photographing images that I may even love yet I know the client will not purchase is a tough lesson to learn. As an artist, we sometimes have tough pills to swallow and this was a big one!

If mom wants a picture of Suzy smiling at the camera….forget the crazy cool shot and just get her the shot you know she’ll love (then do the cool stuff for you if you have time!)

What’s the typical day of a professional photographer?

A photographer’s life is an exciting but busy life that can have you meeting amazing people or hiking mountains miles away from anybody! Our day starts early with newborn photoshoots scheduled in the morning and wedding consults in the afternoon. After school the seniors come in for their senior portraits.

Our shooting day is done when the sun goes down unless a studio shoot has been scheduled. The work is just beginning though as all those images need to be stored and backed up.

Editing and sorting images is always done in our “down” time where we can spend all day just doing that. For every hour you spend behind the camera there is two that is spend behind the computer. Welcome to DIGITAL photography!

Scott Hayne is a professional photographer living in Norfolk, Virginia. He and his photographer wife, Adina, teach photography workshops and seminars throughout the US, and travel throughout the world as destination photographers.