Guest Post: Avoid Being a ‘Wanna-Be’ Photographer

H o w   t o   A v o i d   b e i n g   a   ‘ W a n n a – b e ‘   P h o t o g r a p h e r  

Hey, I’m Amanda, and I blog over at Living in Another Language. I love miss Bonnie Rose, and I’m constantly stalking her blog to see what new and exciting things she’s up to. Including her sweet photography skills.
Speaking of photography, is it just me, or is everyone out there claiming to be a photographer? —>CHEESIEST transition line EVER<—
If you think photography is in your blood, and all you see during big events are great picture opportunities, you are most likely considering becoming a photographer.
Due to the recent boom of picture snapping junkies (hey….I include myself in this category), the trick is to find something that makes you stand out in a crowd. What are your specialties-what do you like to shoot? Stick to what your passionate about. What you see, what interests you, what you envision in a shot DIRECTLY relates to what the final picture turns out to be.
I’m definitely not a professional. I spent the last 4 years going to photography classes, learning my ol’ Canon Rebel xsi like the back of my hand, reading photo tips, tricks, and tutorials online, until I couldn’t do anymore. Once my husband saw how passionate I was for photography he bought me my first real camera. A Canon 5D Mark II. I still drool whenever I see it’s name (granted now I’m using some of that saliva to drool over the Mark III). It was a late birthday/Christmas gift, and even after 7 months I STILL feel like I’ve barely tapped into it.
So how exactly do you go about becoming a ‘credible’ photographer and not just a ‘wanna-be’ (cause Lord knows we all hate that)? Fake it ’til you make it. Um wait. I seriously just gave that advice? No wait. Let me explain. Do your research. Study great photographers. WHY are their images so intriguing? Why will people pay thousands of dollars for a photo session with said photographer? Try to mimic the way they do things (OK this does NOT mean being a copycat. Mimic the camera angles, the lighting, the photo filters). See what you feel most comfortable with.
Also spend some time learning about post-photography editing. You may have scored the perfect shot, but even the most fantastic photo can be completely ruined by post-photography editing. I’ve pulled a few of my photos from throughout the years (mainly 2005-2009) that have been completely ruined by editing them wrong. Have a good laugh or head shake. My pain is your gain. Consider these the DONT’S of photo editing.
1. First of all, this is a SUPER old picture from 2005. I had just gone on a trip to Peru, and didn’t necessarily like this photo because I looked a little tired. So I edited the CRAP out of it.  TIP: If you don’t like a picture, scrap it, or don’t TRY to make it better by editing. Odds are it’ll still look bad.  This photo is over-saturated, over-exposed, and my teeth are overly whitened (why, just WHY). Along with WHO KNOWS what else.
2. The vignette  look. I have plenty of prime examples of this, but 99.9% of them were too embarrassing to show. If you’re wanting to make it in the photography world, stay away from vignetting as much as possible! I honestly believe it makes the photos look a little tacky. I’ve seen some photographers do great things with it, but leave it to those who know how to use it. :) I should also note that there are lenses out there that have a natural vignette to them. I currently own a Canon 28-105mm, and the sucker vignettes like none other. I have to go into Camera Raw to get it out of there. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it does nothing for my photo. The photo above demonstrates the dreaded black corners, as well as the over-exposed, bright (I need some sunglasses) look.
3. I suppose if you find yourself in an exposing ‘saloon girl’ dress, two guns in hand, and sitting pretty for a western photo shoot, you may expect your prints to come out with a sepia tone. After all, that is the old time look. However if you’re out with your girlfriends for a little masquerade party, you’re most likely wanting to keep it current. Maybe at the time I thought the sepia was classy. It just looks out of place…and rather…old. 
4. Selective coloring is a downright NO. just no. I’m not sure what else should be said about it, but it’s not in right now. It’s a fad that went out of style in 2004 (Ironically the year this picture was taken).
5. Don’t change the colors of the photo too much. I understand I was making the picture look like I was really chillin’ with Obama…but seriously? The photo looks terrible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little photo filtering. Or even color tinting a black and white. But when you do ALL of it at the same time? Your photo looks something like this. It’s as if your editing program threw up all over the picture! Stay away my friends.
6. Ok, this isn’t an editing error, it’s a picture taking error. Why? Well…what’s the purpose of this photo? What’s the focus? What am I supposed to be drawn toward? Don’t take pictures just to take them. Have a reason…trust me, your camera, computer, and tired eyes (from filtering through the good pictures and bad pictures) will thank you.
Ok. Now on to the good part. After learning from my past mistakes, I have licked my wounds and started over. The remaining photos below are the result.
Here are a few of my favorite photos I’ve taken in the last few months, and an explanation why I chose to edit them the way I did.
1. To be honest, I almost ditched this one. The exposure was all sorts of funky and I couldn’t get it to lighten the way I wanted without washing the details out. That’s when I decided to go the opposite way. Why not darken the photo and play on the natural highlighted parts from the sun? It didn’t take me very long to get it the way I wanted. I also applied a VSCO setting in RAW to get the faded yellowy effect.
2. I am all about experimenting with my camera and learning new things. I have about 5 hours to myself on Saturdays (the husband is out teaching), and I use some of that time practicing my love for photography. Unfortunately living in South Korea I don’t have many friends (aka photo subjects). I have loved the challenge to practice my skills on MYSELF! I recently did a tutorial on taking professional looking self-portraits here. 
I have this particular photo in both the black and white and color. I chose black in white due to the ‘mystery’ in the shot. It adds more of a timeless quailty to the photo and brings more focus to my face ( I was wearing a neon purple shirt which could be a little distracting).
3.I love this shot I took just down the road at Hakdong Beach. I love the way the sun is climbing down the mountain towards the beach. I love the old concrete dock. I love the wave breaking over the strange pebbles that overtake the beach. I didn’t have to do much to this photo: I increased the saturation and brought up the shadows a bit.703542_590600356149_105682454_o
4. To tell you the truth, I used a VSCO setting for this photo and did absolutely nothing else. If you haven’t played around with VSCO you’re missing out! When I first got it, I spent HOURS seeing what all the different settings did to my photos. I love how this setting not only added a warm color throughout the picture, but it added a soft fade which works really good with all the contrasting details, bringing the photo together. It also probably helped that the background of the Boseong green tea field was breathtakingly beautiful.
5. This is yet another self-photograph inspired by the natural light that was shining through my window. I decided on the soft sepia look instead of straight-laced black and white because it brought a warmth and intrigue the black and white didn’t. You’ll notice I didn’t dig too deep into sepia (like the #3 DONT above), because I didn’t want this photo to scream ‘antique!’
 6. This scenery at Seoraksan National Park, South Korea was breathtaking. I wanted to add this photo to the guest posting to show you the slight vignetting effect my lens has. I decided to leave it, because it somehow works with the photo, drawing you towards the center. For this photo I brought up the highlights, added some saturation, and a slight fade.
Well readers, thank you for sticking with me through my good times and bad (literally). If you’d like to see more of my recent work as well as discover what it’s like to live in South Korea as an expat, drop by my blog! I am constantly posting all sorts of weird things I discover on a daily basis, as well as any sort of domestic tips I’ve learned to make my life easier over here.
You can also check out my TwitterFacebook, and Bloglovin’! Please leave me a comment so I know you dropped by. :)
  • A Girl in Cornwall

    Great tips! I’m guilty of making some of these same editing mistakes when I was just starting out, too!

    One thing I can add on the technical side for DSLR novices: It’s all about the lens!! DSLR bodies are all basically the same (though I drool every time I see the words “Canon 5D Mark III”, too), and if you’re concerned about cost you can get an affordable DSLR body and splurge a bit on the lenses. For Canon, look for the L series lenses. They’re sturdier and made with materials to create a better quality image. I love the larger aperture range for the amazing depth-of-field you get!

    • Amanda Grove

      Lenses! I couldn’t agree more! I am absolutely IN LOVE with my 5mm 1.4. I use that thing for 80% of my pictures! I need to get a new zoom lens though, mine isn’t the greatest. I agree with the Mark III thing! especially with its low lighting capabilities. GAH! A friend of mine did a nightscape comparison between the II and the III and the results were crazy! Also, the range of focal points in the III are awesome. Someday, maybe someday. :)

      Amanda | Living in Another Language

    • Bonnie Rose

      Oh yes. I use Nikon, what when I upgraded from the D200 to the D700 I was just amazing at how great it was in low light situations. I didnt know what I did without it. Unfortunately I’m back down to just the D200 again so I’m learning what I did do before it. But definitely hoping to replace the D700 or get a D800 or maybe make the switch the Canon.

  • Gab

    Great tips, Amanda! At this point I am still one of those wannabe photographers but I’m really trying to learn the tricks of the trade. I’ve read a couple of photography books and I try to pin point what I love about the photos my favorite photographers take. I lack the time to actually practice though. So here’s to more practice time!


    • Amanda Grove

      I love that you’re doing your research! One of the best things you can do for learning the art of photography. Practice time. I know what you’re saying. I need TONS more myself! Thanks for reading. :)

      -Amanda | Living in Another Language

  • Amanda

    Love the tips! I am definitely still learning. I love taking pictures, and I guess I fall into that category of wanna be. But it’s really fun! I’m going to check out your article on self-portraits!

    • Amanda Grove

      Thanks Amanda! Never stop learning or giving up on the amazing art of photography. :) Thanks for your comment!

      -Amanda | Living in Another Language

  • Lauren

    great advice and great photos at the end!

  • Laila’s Charming Pieces

    Hello, I’m your newest follower. Such a sweet and encouraging blog, I am glad I came across your site! :)) Beautiful photo’s :)

  • Bonnie Rose

    After being in relationship with Benson for five years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the Madurai, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before two days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful Dr Madurai who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the Dr Madurai, his email you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

  • Bonnie Rose

    I have been rejected by my husband after 8 years of marriage just because another woman, and he left me and the kid to suffer. One day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his email address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my husband back. I believed him because of his polite approach and sincerity and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back because i am now happy with my husband.

  • Bonnie Rose

    Hello I am Samantha Justin from USA; I am here to fulfill my promise to Dr. Dele that if he helps me get back my boyfriend and job that I will tell the whole world about him and it’s done. 😉

    I almost went crazy when my boyfriend left me for another girl last month because she is more romantic than I am until I met my childhood friend whom introduces me to Dr.Dele because he help her Mom to get back her Dad. I narrated my problem to him about how my boyfriend left me and also how I needed to get a job. He only said to me that I have come to the right place where I will be getting my heart desire without any negative effect. He told me what i need to do and after it was been done, In the next 2 days, My boyfriend called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me before and I was called for interview in my desired company were I have been dreaming to work.

    I am so happy and overwhelmed that i have to tell this to the entire world to contact Dr. Dele for any relationship problem, though you might find it hard to believe, but I must tell you that this man is genuine, I tested him and confirmed at last. This is his email:

  • James

    Be careful here nobody can help you here or even suggest how you can get your ex or love back,any testimonies of most spell caster here must be ignore.because most of them are scam i mean real scam which i was a victim and i got ripped of thousands of dollars because i was so anxious to get my wife back after she left me for over 2 years with my 7 years old son jerry,i have applied to 7 different spell caster here and all to no avail they all ask for same thing send your name your ex name address and picture phone number etc which i did over and over again and most of them were from west Africa until i saw a post about mama Anita spell and i decided to gave her my last trail.she ask me four things my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and $180 and said my ex will come back in 24hours, i have paid over $3000 on spell casting and courier and nothing have work for me after 3 days i was thinking about how much i have lost so far so i said let me give her a try so i called her again and send my real name,my ex and my ex mother name and the $180 because i swear it was my last try so i was waiting as she told me to wait till next day and i could not sleep that night because i really love my wife and want her back at 9pm that day i saw my wife on line on face book and she said hi at first i was shock because she never talk with me for the past a year and 9 month now i did not reply again she said are you there? i quickly reply yes and she said can we see tomorrow i said yes and she went off-line i was confused i try to chat her again but she was no more on line i could not sleep that night as i was wondering what she is going to say, by the next morning she gave me a miss call i decided not to call back as i was still on shock again she call and i pick she said can we see after work today i said yes so she end the call immediately i got off work she call me and we meet and now we are back again i call mama anita the next day thanking her for what she has done in fact i still call her and thank her as my life was not complete without my wife please be careful here i have been scam thousands of dollars if you want a true love spell then contact mama Anita (