cover photo: “Vintage Photo Camera and camera film roll” by Bogdan Dreava.

If you’re anything like me, then you tend to learn things the hard way—through personal experience. I’ve learned that life will continue to present you with the same lesson until you learn it.

We took to Twitter to ask 500px followers: What’s the best photography advice you wish you knew when you were a beginner? The 500px community jumped at the opportunity to share their photography wisdom.

The advice we received covered countless aspects of photography, from gear to composition—as well as just some good old words of wisdom. Read on for some great tips.

1. “Always shoot in RAW.” Shooting in jpeg will result in smaller files, but it also significantly decreases the quality of your photo when it comes to post-processing.

READ: Petapixel‘s great article RAW vs. JPEG: An Ultimate Guide in case you’re still not convinced.

2. “Master Your Light” …without light, you don’t have a photo.

WATCH: Ibarionex Perello’s “Light and Setting” video. I can listen to him talk about photography for hours. Check out Ibarionex’s podcast, “The Candid Frame” for some of the best photography conversations you’ll hear.

3. “Back up.” This is one lesson you definitely don’t want to learn the hard way.

READ: Fstoppers Bulletproof Backup Strategies For Digital Photographers.

4.”Resist the temptation of putting watermark on your images.” This might be controversial, but I totally agree that watermarks are over.

READ: Jenna Martin‘s article Dear New Photographer—it’s full of insightful advice, including why watermarks should be avoided.

5. “Print your work!” Get those photos off of your screen and enjoy them IRL.

READ: Eric Stowell’s gear guide for The Best Printers, Ink, and Paper for Photographers.

6. “Choosing people like Tony Northrup & Chelsea Northrup to teach me (via Videos and books) instead of learning the hard way.” There are more resources than ever to learn photography.

WATCH: Tony & Chelsea Northrup’s great video, “7 Mistakes Photographers Make.”

7.”You don’t need to spend a lot to produce beautiful pictures.” There will always be newer, better gear, but don’t let that get you down.

READ: Crappy Gear, Amazing Photos: Using An Old Canon PowerShot to Capture Dreamy Landscapes by Meagan V. Blazier.

8. Composition is key…

READ: The Rule of Thirds in Real Life: 21 Perfectly-Composed Photos on ISO.

9. “Always have your camera.” It may seem obvious, but how many times have you found yourself wishing you had your camera?

10. “The best camera is the one you have with you.” Chase Jarvis wrote an entire book about this.

WATCH: Chase Jarvis’s video:

And once you get past the technical aspects of photography, it all comes down to you…

What’s the best photography advice you wish you knew when you were a beginner? Share your advice with ISO and the 500px community in the comments section below.