Stacey Hill has some very good points in this article over at Digital Photography School.
Beginning photographers get a lot of information on how to use a DSLR, what kind of lenses to buy, how to set up the lighting etc. But there are some things no-one ever mentions – perhaps because for most advanced photographers these are more obvious and they don’t realize these things may come as a surprise for beginners.
Photography is hard to learn
Your camera is a marvel of modern technology and science, with lots of buttons and dials, and all sorts of fancy features. To have control over how it creates your images, you need to learn how to use it with some level of skill. Then there is the art side of the equation; composition, framing, mood, telling a story. So, many new concepts and ideas to learn, both technical and creative.
Dropping $3500 on a fancy new DLSR and lens doesn’t make you a capable photographer, any more than buying a set of chef knives makes you a Michelin starred chef. Your camera is a tool, which needs thousands of hours of time invested into learning how to use it. If you aren’t prepared to read books, watch videos, and go out again and again to shoot, then your rate of improvement will be minimal.
Photography is an expensive exercise
It starts with the really expensive bits, the camera body and the lens. Before long you will want more lenses. A camera bag is necessary to carry it all. A tripod to hold it still. Filters for long exposure shots. Wireless remotes, flash or other lighting gear, the list goes on. There is always something new and shiny to spend money on.
Don’t forget things like decent footwear and outdoor clothes. Gas and accommodation costs for travelling locally, plus fees to get into parks also need to be accounted for. Travelling overseas is a luxury for many people. Don’t forget insurance too. It all adds up to a lot of money.
It takes a long time to get competent
When you first get your camera gear it’s exciting and fun, so you take lots of pictures. Eventually you may get frustrated at how your images look, compared to those seen online, and one of two things will happen. The most likely outcome is that you give up because it’s too hard. The alternative option is you work even harder at learning your craft, you read more books, maybe join a club, or attend some workshops.
Social Media is not your friend
When you first start sharing your images, your friends and family will like them. That’s because they like you and want good things for you. Getting likes is an instant form of gratification that can be addictive.
The problem with social media is that most of the people viewing your images are not photographers. They cannot give you useful technical advice or critique on your images, the kind to help you improve. If all you want is to get the most likes, then that will have an impact on how you learn and grow as a photographer.
Gear doesn’t matter at all
Composition, framing, creative or artistic imagery, all elements that you, the photographer, bring to the image. It could be shot with your phone or the latest DSLR on the market, but without the creative input, your image may be missing that critical ingredient. Being in the right place at the right time (e.g. sunrise or sunset) or travelling to exotic locations, climbing a mountain, driving for hours to be in just the right spot, these are all things you have to do to capture the image.
Source: Digital Photography School