photography tips from liz brown

Photo by Alyssa Leicht

Photo by Alyssa Leicht

Liz Brown does most of the photography that you see here on the site and there's a reason why. Beyond her obvious talent, Liz cares for people and her photography style is almost hospitable in nature, creating a warmth that talent alone can't make happen.

I respect Liz so much and I've asked her to share a few tips on photography. In true Liz Brown fashion, the advice you'll find below applies to both art and life. Thanks for sharing, Liz! Be sure to check out her blog here. And if you need some pictures anytime soon, she's a good pick. 

I've decided that I hate the term "beginners." It's so subjective and puts newcomers in a box, making creativity more of a hierarchy than a process. While a newcomer's skill may not be as developed, their taste and perspective are often ridiculously refreshing in the best way possible. 

To give you a brief background on my life and art, I started shooting in 2009 and bought my first SLR in March 2010. I shot my first show in April of that year (more on that later) and have been faking it 'til I make it ever since. And I've never taken a photography class, guys! Most of the things I've learned have been through trial and error, asking Google, or talking with fellow photographers.

I'm going to tell you the best advice I've been given from other folks. Deal?

  • "Choose to see."

Sarah McCullough sees beauty everywhere. In people. In places. I believe surrounding yourself with people who see the world in that way is one of the best things that you can do for your art.

"Always wear boots."

Justin Meyer recommended that I always wear boots when shooting and that little piece of advice has been immensely helpful. You never know when you'll have to climb over or through something. Plus, investing in a high-quality pair of boots is never a bad idea (my favorite right now are Redwings.) 

  • Give people chances they may not deserve. 

The only reason I'm shooting today is because Josh Bowman, August Burns Red's tour manager, gave me a photo pass. I asked him naive questions like "what do I wear?" and "where do I pick up my pass?" and he was gracious and helpful and never treated me like a nuisance. He took a chance on me and I want to be the sort of person who does the same for others.

  • Make time for people and allow for interruptions. 

My friend Austin is one of the kindest humans you'll ever meet. I ran into him a couple months ago at a local coffee shop and even though he was in the middle of editing, he invited me to sit with him and showed me how his editing process worked. I sat with him for nearly an hour! Who does that?! The kindest humans. 

  •  The best camera is the one that you have.

This one I learned from my friend Emma. All of her Instagram pictures are taken on an iPhone and they're really, really good. She has such a natural eye for photography. I read somewhere that the best camera is the one you have with you. I think that's true. I shot with a D3000 (starter SLR) for about five years before upgrading to something more.

I'm a firm believer that photography is 80% lighting and 20% camera. Oh, and getting people comfortable in front of the camera, too. Basically, equipment isn't everything. 

Finally, take your camera everywhere. It's the fastest way to learn! Also, find someone you respect as an artist and ask them if you can follow them around for a day. Ask them a lot of questions and be okay with sounding dumb (you never sound as dumb as you think you do.)

And also keep in mind: none of us really know what we're doing, even though it may seem like we do online. Keep learning, you've got this!