Photography as a hobby is on the rise. Many keen photographers have been influenced by the ready availability of a camera on their smart devices, and have since progressed to purchasing a professional camera and all the gear. Photography is not necessarily a rich man’s hobby. Although truly great equipment comes at a cost, technology has improved, and the cost has come down which has made photography accessible for all.

When I first bought myself a professional quality camera, I was basically only used to using my smartphone to capture pictures. But I very quickly learned about the nuances, techniques and subtle refinements which can be applied to make a good photographer, a great one.

I have received some great feedback from fellow photographers since starting professionally about six months ago, and I have picked up so much already. Here’s the top five things I have learned about photography so far:

1. Reality Goes Way Beyond Perfection

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Many of us are searching for perfection in all aspects of our lives, from our relationships, to the food we eat and the clothes we wear. But in reality, perfection remains un-obtainable, it is actually the imperfections of the world that bring individuality, and ultimately awareness.

When you start out as a photographer, you will most likely be looking for that perfect capture, particularly in Dubai. There are so many attractive people and modern architecture which can be visually stunning. But then everyone else is taking pictures of all that too, it’s very quickly become a watered down and commonplace subject matter. The best photographers in Dubai are those that are capturing the streets, the labourers and road workers, the (limited) wildlife and the desert and mountains. Think outside the box, and let go of the search for perfection in your work and do something real.

Photography should speak to those who are viewing it. Most of the mainstream photography over here says nothing to me about my life, and that is where it lets itself down.

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2. Focus on the Intricacies and Detail

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When a photographer sees a beautiful beach or a tall building, they see it in a different way than a regular person. The photographer sees the detail of it. If it’s a beach they will see the pattern of the waves, the boat or the ship sailing from afar. They see everything in detail, and they capture it so that the world can see it the way they saw it.

This attitude eventually becomes part of life too, once you learn to appreciate the finer details and intricacies of your subject matter, you will apply this to other areas of your life. It’s all about about looking beyond what you can actually see.

3. Take Loads, Use One

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One of the biggest things to do is literally take hundreds of shots using different settings and exposures, testing what works best for your taste and style. I constantly take shots, you never know when you could get something which could end up being a once in a lifetime capture. It’s not like you’re wasting film or processing time. We are digital now.

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4. Everything is Unique in its Own Way

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Everything a photographer encounters must be viewed as extremely valuable in terms of their own creative world. Learn to see things differently and appreciate their value, regardless of whether the subject matter is a diamond or a piece of driftwood. Soon, you will find you see the beauty and value of everything you come across with a camera, and this will make you become a better and more insightful photographer.

5. Patience is a Virtue

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It can take a long time to get the perfect shot. It involves a lot of walking, some waiting around and an awful lot of enthusiasm for the craft. I love the fact that when I leave my house in the morning with my camera, I never know what I might end up coming back with later in the day. So although to some it may seem boring standing in the same position for hours waiting, when what you’re waiting for could literally be the most amazing moment ever captured on camera, it kind of makes it worthwhile.