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by Martin Gommel (translated from his original German version of this article).
Since I found photography two and a half years ago I have learned different things which I would like to share with you today. These lessons have made me richer and I hope that you will find them refreshing and inspiring on your journey with the camera, too.
1. Never do photography to become a rock-star.
2. Enjoy what you are shooting.
3. Prepare well for your shooting, realizing that your battery isn’t charge when you’re setting up for that sunrise shoot is too late!
4. Always take one warm garment more than you actually need with you
5. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions while you are shooting
6. Set goals you can achieve
7. Write tips about photography, because writing is also learning
8. Never go shooting without a tripod
9. Be pleased with the little successes
10. Build relationships with potential photo buddies
11. Watch the place you want to shoot first with your heart… and then with the camera
12. Always stay calm
13. Know that you tend to overestimate yourself
14. Perspective is the killer
15. Dedicate yourself to photography, but never browbeat yourself too much
16. Take part in a photography community
17. Keep your camera clean
18. Never compare yourself to others in a better or worse context
19. Find your own style of photography
20. Try to compose more and to hit the shutter less
21. Seek out and learn to accept critique on your images
22. Do something different to recover creativity
23. Get inspiration from the work of other photographers
24. Criticize honestly but respectfully
25. Get feedback from your lady
26. Don’t copy other photographer’s style
27. Be bold
28. Take care of the golden ratio
29. 10mm rocks!
30. Take self portraits
31. Read books about photography
32. To give a landscape photograph the extra boost, integrate a person (maybe yourself)
33. Every shooting situation is different than you expect
34. Pay attention to s-curves and lines
35. Always shoot in RAW
36. Keep your sensor clean, so you can save some work cleaning your image in post production
37. Discover the things you think are beautiful
38. It takes time to become a good photographer
39. The best equipment is that what you have now
40. You can’t take photographs of everything
41. Break the rules of photography knowingly, but not your camera 😉
42. Pay attention to the different way that light falls on different parts of your scene
43. The eye moves to the point of contrast
44. Clouds increase the atmosphere of a landscape
45. Start a photoblog
46. Accept praise and say “thank you”
47. ‘Nice Shot’ is not a very useful comment to write
48. ‘Amazing!’ isn’t useful either. Try to describe specifically what you like or don’t like about an image.
49. You are not your camera
50. Ask a question at the end of your comment on a photo to get a ping-pong conversation with the photographer
51. Do a review of your archives on a regular basis, the longer you photograph – the more diamonds are hidden there
52. Always clarify what the eyecatcher (focal point) will be in your image
53. No image is better than a bad one
54. Everyone has to start little
55. Your opinion about photography is important!
56. Leave a funny but thoughtful comment
57. Speak about your experiences with your photo buddies
58. Limit your photograph to the substance
59. Participate in Photo contests
60. Post processing = Optimizing your image to the best result
61. Shoot exposure latitudes as often as possible
62. Use photomatix as seldom as possible, HDR’s always have a synthetic flavor
63. Always remember what brought you to photography
64. Never shoot a person who doesn’t want to be photographed – ask permission
65. Always turn arround, sometimes the better image is behind you
66. It’s who’s behind the camera, not the camera
67. Mistakes are allowed! The more mistakes you make, the more you learn!
68. If you have an idea and immediately you think : No, this is not going to work – Do it anyway. When in doubt – always shoot.
69. Understand and look to your histograms while shooting. It delivers very important information about your image
70. Know your camera, because searching the menu button in the night is time you don’t want to waste
71. Shoot as often as possible
72. Believe in yourself
73. Don’t be afraid of getting dirty
74. Pay attention to qualitiy in your image
75. Your photographs are a personal map of your psyche
76. Re-check your ISO-Settings. It’s aweful to detect the wrong settings on your screen.
77. Be thankful for long and thoughtful comments on your images
78. Never trust your LCD. Normally it is brighter and sharper as the original image.
79. Provide for enough disc space, because it’s cheap and you will need it.
80. Learn to enjoy beautful moments when you don’t have a camera with you.
81. Always arrive at least half an hour earlier before sunrise / sundown, composing in a hurry is a bad thing.
82. Try to amplify your mental and physical limits. Takes some extra shots when you think “it’s enough”
83. Pay attention to structures in the sky and wait until they fit into structures in the foreground
84. Visit the same place as often as possible. Light never shows the same mountain.
85. Print your images in big size. You will love it.
86. Calibrate your monitor. Working with a monitor that is not accurate is like being together with someone you can’t trust. It always ends badly.
87. Don’t think about what others may say about your image. If you like it, it’s worth publishing.
88. Never address reproaches to yourself. Learn from your mistakes and look forward, not backward.
89. Fight your laziness! Creativitiy comes after discipline.
90. Ask yourself : What do you want to express in your images ?
91. Always try to think outside the box, collect new ideas about photographs you could do and ask yourself : Why not?
92. Search for a mentor.
93. Photography is never a waste of time.
94. Every community has it’s downsides. Don’t leave it out of an emotional response.
95. There will always be people who will not like what you are doing.
96. Henri Cartier-Bresson was right when he said that “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
97. A better camera doesn’t guarantee better images.
98. Always have printing in mind when you postprocess your images.
99. Photography is fair: You gain publicity with the quality of your images. Unless the images are stolen, there is no way of cheating yourself higher.
100. Write a 100 things list
Do you have learned something that I didn’t mention? I would be glad if you let me know it as a comment, so I can learn from you!
Update: Martin has added 20 More Lessons that He’s Learned About Photography here.