3 Things I Wish I Had Learned in a Photography Class

September 30, 2022
Written by
Bailey Fortenbaugh & Yosuke Shingu
Published on
October 19, 2022

What they don’t tell you about photography

If you’re new to photography, hi there! We were new once too. If you’re just getting started as a photography freelancer or starting to get more serious about photography, this blog is for you. These are three things you should know that they don’t teach you in photography classes.

1. Find inspiration and examples and save them to your phone.

Let’s say you’re going to a shoot for a restaurant client. Before you go, ask your client if they have any example photos they’d like to emulate and gather a few of your own to have with you. Why is this helpful? Having examples with you allows you to streamline your process. You can use the photos at the shoot to make sure you, the client, and the vision are all coming together. You can also use them to make sure your photos are coming out the way you want them to. 

Another tip here is to save photos and imagery from your client's website or social media. This way you can make sure you’re able to keep up with their existing look and take photos that will work with the content they already have.

2. Show the client your photos throughout the shoot.

If this is one of your first photoshoots, you might be nervous about getting everything right. One way you can do this is by actively showing your client the photos as you’re taking them. 

Instead of uploading hundreds of photos to dropbox, emailing them off, and hoping the client likes them, you can communicate with the client during the shoot and avoid making mistakes in the first place. All you have to do is ask if they like the photos. This helps you with a few things:

  1. You wait less time for client approval in the end.
  2. The client can make corrections and requests before it’s too late.
  3. You save yourself time and your client money by avoiding a reshoot.
  4. You can explain why some ideas can and can’t happen.

For example on that last point, I was doing a shoot for a client at their bar. They envisioned this beautiful shot of an empty bar that was elegant and simple. Instead of dropping the ball, I explained that we couldn’t get the shot because the bar was busy during the shoot and offered alternative ideas instead. Save the headache and communicate while you’re there!

3. Take way more photos than you think you need.

When you’re starting out or working with a new client, you may not have a good idea of what they like or want out of a photo shoot. Do they like wide or close-up shots? Can you take more photos than they ask for? Do you have any creative freedom? In the beginning, the answer is likely unclear to these questions. My advice? Shoot as much as you can and get the practice. One mistake photography rookies always make is not taking enough photos. Out of every 100 pictures you take, you’ll be lucky to get 5 that are usable. Don’t be afraid to shoot way more than you need and try things outside of your instructions. As you get better, you’ll be more efficient and give clients more options.

People love options, so adding your own touches and trying new things can give them ideas they may not have thought of. Being creative and innovative is a great way to lock in a client’s loyalty and keep getting booked for photo shoots. This is one of the best ways to grow your photography business.


When you’re just getting started as a photographer, your focus should be all about learning and growing. Use your time wisely to get more practice while staying efficient.

We hope this blog helps you save time and money at your next photoshoot. Keep an eye out for more blogs like this, and be sure to check out the video this blog is based on: 3 Tips I Wish I Knew in Photography Class.

Thanks for reading, and good luck at your next shoot.

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