If you've decided that photography is the career for you, then why not learn from some of the best in the industry? We've teamed up with The Photography Show – taking place in March at Birmingham's NEC – to speak to 16 leading photographers, from the legendary Tom Stoddart and talented Melanie East to Paul Sanders and Dan Rubin, asking them for little snippets of wisdom that have helped them in their own successful careers.
They don't just share tips on improving your overall photography; they also reveal some helpful insights on what it takes to become a professional photographer. Read on to discover new ways to boost your camera skills and life behind a lens...
1. Dan Rubin
"Search out the places tourists often ignore, from shop fronts to alleyways, or views of touristic places that people don’t usually pay attention to. Every side street, alleyway, corner shop, and residential area has nuggets of beauty waiting to be discovered, and those images show things most people will overlook."
"While there are many great editing apps available, two of my favourites are Snapseed and VSCO Cam – both free and available for iOS and Android."
2. William Reavell
"Top tip for the mobile photographer, Instagrammer or blogger – The phone lens is wide angle so close up pictures of food can look distorted. Either use that for effect or pull back and make sure the camera angle creates a good composition."
3. Melanie East
"Photography is nothing without light."
4. Emma Drabble
"The camera must be like a paintbrush in your hand, that you can illustrate and enhance a narrative with. Photography is being an witness for the other people who cannot be there to see it for themselves. To capture the narrative of a situation with passion and with all the light, love and life that also existed in just one shot."
5. Vicki Churchill
"We all see the world differently, seek to find your vision and don't ever be fooled into thinking you know everything. Photography is akin to mindfulness. It teaches us to be present, to focus on the moment, and to see things from new perspectives."
6. Adam Bronkhorst
"It’s all about the end image. So don’t get hung up on the technicalities, don’t worry about the equipment, don’t think about your skill level. Just concern yourself with that final image and is it good enough. I’ve seen great images taken by completely inexperienced people with basic equipment and no understanding of the technical side of things. They’ve just captured the moment, the emotion, an amazing composition or shown me something that I haven’t seen before. And in the same way I’ve seen dull, boring, unimaginative images, captured by seasoned pros with top of the range kit."
7. Paul Sanders
"Tip for students: Don't let anyone tell you that you can't achieve what you want."
8. Steve Walton
"Work to themes, projects or within genres. Examples could be architecture, travel documentary or street photography. Use hashtags, tags and links wisely to expand your outreach and increase your number of followers."
9. Stephen Perry
"Many students want to be fashion photographers but unless you live and breathe fashion, this is a very tricky genre to be successful and make money. Try and work with a photographer who covers different genres and you will see a broader spectrum of work before you decide to specialise in one thing. Speak to commissioning editors and art buyers when you are building a portfolio as to what they are looking for in a photographer's work. But ultimately be passionate and believe in what you are doing so it has to be a personal quest."
10. Gagan Sadana
"In street photography, you have to be intuitive in gauging the vibes and the body language of your subjects, so as to not be intrusive, but still getting a picture that captures the essence of the moment being shot."
11. Tony Worobiec
"Find the best professional photographer in the field you intend to follow and persuade him/her to take you on as an apprentice. Not only will you learn a great deal, but more importantly you will gain invaluable contacts."
12. Brett Florens
"If I was entering the market now, I would concentrate on my business skills first. A course on running a business is essential to have a successful, sustainable career. There are so many talented photographers out there that are struggling financially because of their marketing or business strategies.
"It is also very important for photographers to develop their own style that will attract a client that appreciates the individuality of the photographer. Take an introspective journey to identify your trigger of fascination and amplify that trait to create a brand that is authentically you."
13. Tim Booth
"Tip for Instagrammers: You’re probably not producing technically fabulous images given the medium, so concentrate on telling a story. Engage your audience with a picture that has narrative above everything else."
14. Tom Stoddart
"Good pictures are made with the head, heart and feet. Use them!"
15. Jonas Borg
"Be persistent and patient. Don't be shy of photographic jobs, assignments or clients that might not be ‘your style’. The more work one does, the more work one gets. Word of mouth spreads quickly. Whatever your photography subject, dare to go close."
16. David Cleland
"Experiment! I actually love to experiment with different lenses by forcing myself to shoot at one focal length for a month, no matter what the subject is. It can be a challenge and it is definitely one way to get to know the capabilities of a lens."
If you enjoyed reading these tips, then you can also hear from all of the above photographers who will be speaking at The Photography Show from 19th March 2016 at Birmingham's NEC. Check out the speaker lineup and book your tickets at www.photographyshow.com. Creative Boom readers are able to use the code 'CBTPS16' for a £3 discount off adult entry tickets.