I know there are a million “photography tips for beginners” posts out there, but when I started, I didn’t find many of them useful.
The thing with me is that I understand everything better if I fail it a couple of times, and this may be the case for you too. Let’s just say I’m not the one to learn from other people’s mistakes.
But what I would have found very useful, was a very short and easy to understand blog about just the basics. If you’re just starting you don’t need to worry about more than just setting the camera and shooting.
The chances of getting it right the first time are very small, but as long as you keep practicing, everything is going to be alright. Anyway, because I tend to talk a lot about this, I’m just going to go ahead and give you my list of photography tips for beginners.
1. F-king Rule Of Thirds
Ok. When I started, this “rule of thirds” completely f****d me up, because all the explanations I got were very vague. So after I played a little with it, I discovered what it was about.
Your camera has a grid you can keep on your screen at all times. Well, if you use the 3-by-3 grid, make sure your subject stands where two of those lines intersect. Just that. As easy as it is, some explanations can confuse you (or maybe I’m a little too clueless).
2. Don’t Shoot On Auto
No, it’s not hard to set your camera right, and shooting on auto won’t give you any authentic shots. There are three basic controls you need to master. There’s the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. If you’re shooting with a mirrorless camera it should be very easy for you to set everything up the way you want it (when you realize what you want).
When it comes to DSLRs you may have a problem. You’re going to take a lot of “test shots” before you manage to get it right.
Happily, in a couple of days (for me at least) you’ll figure the settings depending on the light you have and basically get everything done super fast.
3. Keep ISO As Small As Possible
This is something I kept hearing, as my brother has been a photographer for over 10 years. Whenever I asked about photography, he always mentioned that I needed a small ISO.
With professional cameras (which usually go for thousands of dollars) this is not a big problem, but when we are talking about entry or mid level cameras you really need to pay attention to this.
A high ISO value means that your shot won’t have the best quality. Your photos will have a lot of noise and editing is going to be a real pain in the a**, of course, if the photo is usable.
4. Don’t Invest In Gear
Everybody says this, and yet, many people believe that they need overly expensive gear to take amazing shots. Of course, that’s not the case. I’ve seen incredible photos taken with a phone and very bad photos taken with expensive cameras.
So before you invest, make sure you know all there is to know. Maybe photography is just not for you, and you may want to keep it basic.
There are some things you will have a hard time doing with a stock lens, but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible.
5. Shoot In Daylight
You’re a beginner, you don’t have a studio, and the lights in your house won’t help you a lot. Instead of buying gear(see previous point) shoot near a window during the day, or outside.
I’m spending as much time as I can outside, especially after the big lockdown, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
Besides the fact that there’s always something to photograph (if you have the imagination for it), you will get to learn the settings in different types of light. You may get shadows you need to cancel with the flash, you may have a s**t ton of sunlight to play with, or maybe it’s a little to dark outside and you need to improvise.
6. Shoot As Much As You Can
Learning has a process in general and it requires practice. If you take the time to shoot a couple of hours every day and you pay attention to what you do, you will learn very fast everything you need to do to create a great picture.
Besides that, check out other photographers. It’s perfectly fine to find inspiration and it’s perfectly ok to ask someone when you have doubts.
Author: ANDREEA JUGANARU. Passionate photographer.