10 things I wish I knew sooner…

by Christopher Foltz

As photographers or amateurs like myself, we remember the times when we first started doing this and we knew little. I am sure like myself, we read articles, magazines, blogs, etc to figure out what we could, maybe even took courses. Well for myself I was self-taught and am still learning what my style is. As I think back to this time last year, looking at my older shots, I am like wow, I wish I knew what I know now. We are always learning, but sometimes even the simplest concept doesn’t come until later. These are the ten things I wish I knew a year ago, that I know now:

1.) Just because it looks in focus on the LCD, does not mean that it is completely sharp. Take your time and steady the camera, image stabilization only goes so far.
2.) Shoot in Raw, but first understand what Raw is and how to process it.
3.) You don’t always have to think big, some of the simplest shots can inspire you.
4.) Shoot what you love, not what you think everyone else wants to see.
5.) Don’t be afraid to go back and re-shoot a shot you did before. We are always learning, there might be a perspective you missed, maybe the weather changed, etc.
6.) Learn how much light really does affect the shot, don’t just have the idea that it seems like I have enough light, if not I have a flash.
7.) Simply Think. It is really more than just point and shoot, look around, get down on the ground, climb up on something, there is always more.
8.) Get a 50mm (or 35mm if on an APS-C Sensor). These two lens taught me more about moving myself then playing with a zoom. I love my 35mm and my 50mm.
9.) The sharpest aperture on a lens is not the smallest one. Wow did this take me the longest time to learn, I always had it in my mind that f22 was the best, yeah how wrong was I.
10.) Don’t expect to be perfect, some people are going to love it, some are going to hate, heck even once in awhile the shot you love, very few will like. Don’t get frustrated, we are all different, enjoy it!

A little pre-Valentine’s Day shot, one of the 100 5ft hearts along Chicago’s Michigan Ave celebrating February’s National Heart Month.


I know you have heard most of these before, but it never hurts to be reminded. Hope everyone enjoys the weekend, and if you are in the Midwest, don’t freeze to death.