100 Tips From A Professional Photographer

Here's a list of tips, advice, rules and other things to know about photography from Eric Kim, a street photographer who also holds photography workshop classes. I think the gist of it is to keep taking pictures always.

Here's the full list:

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn't mean that they're a good photographer. 2. Always shoot in RAW. Always. 3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer. 4. Photo editing is an art in itself 5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time. 6. Macro photography isn't for everybody. 7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps. 8. Go outside & shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums. 9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph. 10. Film isn't better than digital. 11. Digital isn't better than film. 12. There is no "magic" camera or lens. 13. Better lenses don't give you better photos. 14. Spend less time looking at other people's work and more time shooting your own. 15. Don't take your DSLR to parties. 16. Girls dig photographers. 17. Making your photos b/w doesn't automatically make them "artsy" 18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you "photoshop" your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the "digital darkroom". 19. You don't need to take a photo of everything. 20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none. 21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap. 22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better. 23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur. 24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting. 25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography. 26. Tape up any logos on your camera with black gaffers tape- it brings a lot less attention to you. 27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight. 28. The more photos you take, the better you get. 29. Don't be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures. 30. Only show your best photos. 31. A point-and-shoot is still a camera. 32. Join an online photography forum. 33. Critique the works of others. 34. Think before you shoot. 35. A good photo shouldn't require explanation (although background information often adds to an image). * 36. Alcohol and photography do not mix well. 37. Draw inspiration from other photographers but never worship them. 38. Grain is beautiful. 39. Ditch the photo backpack and get a messenger bag. It makes getting your lenses and camera a whole lot easier. 40. Simplicity is key. 41. The definition of photography is: "painting with light." Use light in your favour. 42. Find your style of photography and stick with it. 43. Having a second monitor is the best thing ever for photo processing. 44. Silver EFEX pro is the best b/w converter. 45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere. 46. Never let photography get in the way of enjoying life. 47. Don't pamper your camera. Use and abuse it. 48. Take straight photos. 49. Shoot with confidence. 50. Photography and juxtaposition are best friends. 51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy. 52. Give your photos to friends. 53. Give them to strangers. 54. Don't forget to frame them. 55. Costco prints are cheap and look great. 56. Go out and take photos with (a) friend(s). 57. Join a photo club or start one for yourself. 58. Photos make great presents. 59. Taking photos of strangers is thrilling. 60. Candid>Posed. 61. Natural light is the best light. 62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best "walk-around" focal length. 63. Don't be afraid to bump up your ISO when necessary. 64. You don't need to always bring a tripod with you everywhere you go (hell, I don't even own one). 65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose. 66. Shooting photos of homeless people in an attempt to be "artsy" is exploitation. 67. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations. 68. Photos are always more interesting with the human element included. 69. You can't "photoshop" bad images into good ones. 70. Nowadays everybody is a photographer. 71. You don't need to fly to Paris to get good photos; the best photo opportunities are in your backyard. 72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons. 73. Cameras as tools, not toys. 74. In terms of composition, photography and painting aren't much different. 75. Photography isn't a hobby- it's a lifestyle. 76. Make photos, not excuses. 77. Be original in your photography. Don't try to copy the style of others. 78. The best photographs tell stories that begs the viewer for more. 79. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention. 80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography. 81. Good self-portraits are harder to take than they seem. 82. Laughter always draws out peoples' true character in a photograph. 83. Don't look suspicious when taking photos- blend in with the environment. 84. Landscape photography can become dull after a while. 85. Have fun while taking photos. 86. Never delete any of your photos. 87. Be respectful when taking photos of people or places. 88. When taking candid photos of people in the street, it is easier to use a wide-angle than a telephoto lens. 89. Travel and photography are the perfect pair. 90. Learn how to read a histogram. 91. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one. 92. Don't be afraid to take photos in the rain. 93. Learn how to enjoy the moment, rather than relentlessly trying to capture the perfect picture of it. 94. Never take photos on an empty stomach. 95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your photography. 96. Never hoard your photographic insight- share it with the world. 97. Never stop taking photos 98. Photography is more than simply taking photos, it is a philosophy of life 99. Capture the decisive moment 100. Write your own list.

Not sure if I agree with number 36, though. [Eric Kim Photography via Apartment Therapy]

Image: lightpoet/Shutterstock



    I agree with #36. Leaving disposable cameras on your wedding reception tables is a great idea ... unless and until there are still some shots left by the time people get really drunk.

    ... I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

      I saw a post somewhere a few years ago by a couple who, instead of doing this - because they WILL get hijacked by the drunks and/or well-meaning-but-incompetents - specifically gave the cameras to all the kids at the reception and gave them scavenger-hunt style things to try and capture - two people hugging, someone laughing, three/four/five people talking, one person looking at the sky/ceiling, the bride and groom kissing etc.

      Apparently this worked brilliantly, and they got a ton of usable shots out of it.

    Now we can see why he's good ,the main ones I like are about the just do it and do with what you have !
    I do miss my little Olympus fe12,(I gave It to someone to give them the bug) it was a good snapper that made you work at it without being hard to carry :)

    photography not a hobby? well.... it just is! it's like sex. sure some people do it professionally and it is their lifestyle and even an identity for them. for the great majority of us, it's a HOBBY :)

    great list, but 45 contradicts 15.

      Not if you take a point&shoot to parties.

        I take my DSLR to parties. People have actually come to expect it these days. They count on me to take some good quality shots. I'm happy with that too because I'm a complete wallflower and photography gives me an excuse not to have to chitchat too much.

          Same here! Always have been 'the photograper' since I got my first 110 instamatic in 7th Grade! Until all these cheap digital cameras and camera phones. *sigh*

    #101: Never ever digital zoom

      Never own a camera with digital zoom ;)

    15 and 45 clash, so I guess rule 101 is to own more than one camera?

      He said DSLR on 15, 45 is just camera meaning phone or point and shoot may suffice.

    Sure, he's a pro and I'm not, but half of these are lame or repeated points.

    Don't agree with #7 - lens hoods protect your lens also and give you better quality to boot (rather than dropping the quality like UV filters often do). The rest is good.


        Tell me more about UV filters affecting quality. I seriously like them as a scratch protector.

        Lens hood =/= lens cap... I think he was making your point for you...

    "Film photographers look then take. Digital photographers take then look."
    Best advice I found.

    "42. Find your style of photography and stick with it."
    do not be a slave to your own style (cant remember who said that) but its all about experimenting or u start repeating your self at some stage :(

    60. Candid>Posed.

    Most important rule....

    #86: Within reason, surely. Some photos are beyond salvage.

    Don’t take your DSLR to parties, really hard these days if you have a phone.

      Forget that last one, I was pointing out that a camera is with most people, most of the time.

    He forgot "f8 and be there".

    And 'there' really means 'closer'.

    Isn't this list a bit old...?

    Anyways, #30 is probably one of the most important rules for anyone to remember. My Dad always said that the difference between a good photographer and a bad photographer is that a good photographer doesn't show his bad photos. Spot on.

    For anyone thinking that alcohol makes you take better photos - you're cheating yourself. What you need is to learn how to think more creatively. Stop using alcohol as a crutch, learn something, and be more creative all the time.

    A pretty high ratio of good advice in my opinion.

    "13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos." This makes no sense and is complete rubbish. If the quality of lenses don't matter, then why do people shoot with expensive lenses? Are you saying pros should just stick with their iphone cameras because having a better lens won't change the outcome of the captured image? That is ridiculous. Lens, sensor and the human eye behind the camera ALL EQUALLY contribute to creating and capturing a photograph.

    The title of this should be renamed to "100 opinions from a professional photographer".

      The professionals also know how to employ higher-end lenses. What ever gave you the idea they were anything but opinions?

    This is hardly extciing technology it's just 2 cameras bolted together, the same as it's ever been. Most of us could probably knock up something functionally equivalent with a couple of cheap point-and-shoots, a bit of gash wiring to trigger them from the same button, and a roll of gaffer tape.The interesting question is, as always, how are we going to view this stuff? Does this thing have a 3D display on the back or something?

    Some off the best photos were taken on glass plates with hand ground lenses
    So even plastic cameras are higher quality
    Just shoot and shoot you will get better

    Not sure I agree with #65. I've been taught to always expose to the right. More data is captured at the higher light level.

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