Famous Photographers: 100 Things We Wish We Knew Starting Out

Here are 100 tips from our friends in the still photography world.

“Don’t be afraid of lighting and flashguns – have fun with the gear.” – Sam Barker

“Sports photographers tend to use longer lenses, so one of the first lessons can sometimes be learning how to hold and support the camera correctly, ensuring the lens is properly supported. Students tend to rely on general autofocus [AF] too much, so I show them how to set specific AF points for each type of sport, or how to change the speed of the refocusing on their camera. Modern SLRs try to make the process easy, but can end up making it harder to get good sports shots if the AF is on the wrong setting, so we turn off VR (vibration reduction) and other widgets to eradicate the guesswork, and also discuss when it can be best to focus manually instead.” – Mark Pain

“I use the 35-70mm focal length more than any other, and I avoid overuse of wide-angle lenses, which are often the culprit in identikit landscape shots. I think my subject matter changes a lot more than other photographers’, and I use a variety of lenses to extend character and dynamics.” – David Clapp

“Don’t overdo Neutral Density and polarising filters, as they can look gimmicky.” – Fran Halsall

“I know from my training as a classical musician that technical mastery opens the door to artistic freedom; you can’t concentrate on the bigger issues like catching the best-quality light and achieving good, balanced compositions if you are constantly wondering which f-stop to use. I think of my camera in the same way I think of my musical instrument: it’s no good wondering what the buttons are for when you’re on stage and the pressure is on…” – Simon Butterworth

“Buy the best gear you can afford; you’ll save money in the long run.” – Simon Butterworth

“Don’t rely on long lenses – they create distance between you and your subject.” – Lorenzo Agius

“Buy the best possible lens you can afford. I find Nikons are the sharpest, with colour and contrast clarity.” – John McMurtrie

“The most important piece of advice I could offer is simply to take all your lenses out of your bag when you get home. Take off the front and back lens caps and let them thaw out for a few hours. If you leave them on they’ll get condensation in them and mildew can grow on the glass.” – Dan Carr on shooting in cold conditions (via Photography Week)

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