10 Simple Beginner Photography Tips
As a beginner, I convinced myself I needed to shoot in full manual, and my photos needed to look a particular way. I’ve been guilty of not following the advice below which stunted my growth as a photographer; I saw a tremendous improvement when I finally set aside my pride and followed these simple tips. Whether you are brand new to photography or looking for a refresher, these beginner photography tips and techniques are sure to put you on the path to success.
1. You Don’t Need Expensive Equipment
I used a point and shoot cameras for years before I bought my first DSLR. And you know what? People have bought images from that old camera. Expensive camera gear does not make you a better photographer; improved skill makes you a better photographer. When you’re learning photography from scratch, it is more helpful to learn your camera’s functions and use them to its limits than it is to acquire new equipment. Digital cameras are capable of more than we give them credit for and are a low-cost introduction to beginner photography.
2. Your Photos Will Suck – Get Over It
As I have learned to accept that there will always be better photographers than me, my confidence as a photographer has improved. I’ve come to terms with the fact that you can excel in one style of photography but fall short of your vision in another; that doesn’t make you a lousy photographer. Practice your weaknesses to improve your skill and don’t let a few terrible photos discourage you.
3. Take Your Camera Everywhere
The best way to learn the art photography is to shoot every day, so take your camera with you everywhere you go. Always having your camera at your disposal is the best way to develop your photographer’s eye and you’ll be surprised at what photo opportunities you find when you’re actively searching. I use this adorable, nondescript camera bag that looks like an average purse to keep my equipment safe and organized when I’m on the go.
4. Learn Basic Composition Techniques
While photography is not a science and photography “rules” should not be applied like there is an exact formula; basic composition rules are great ideas for beginners to get started.
5. Don’t Be Ashamed Of Auto Mode
The idea that pro photographers use manual settings full time is a myth. The camera does a darn good job at determining the best setting in most cases and is a great way for beginners to learn the basics. Rather than frantically trying to figure out manual settings at the moment and subsequently missing a shot, don’t be afraid to use auto mode. Later you can study the settings the camera picked and try to understand why the camera picked those settings – eventually you’ll learn how to adjust those settings to better suit your needs.
6. Don’t Spray And Pray
I encourage shooting from different angles or trying out different settings, which may result in an abundance of photos, but be intentional. Don’t blindly shoot a hundred photos and hope that one of them comes out. The spray and pray method doesn’t challenge you to improve your skills and poorly composed photos or inadequate settings don’t get better in higher quantities. Review your photos in playback mode and make the necessary adjustments until you’ve reached perfection. There’s a big difference between taking a lot of photos with intentional changes and hoping for the best.
7. Zoom In On the Photos In Playback Mode
Speaking of reviewing your photos, zoom in on the focal point to check for the correct focus and lighting. The lack of detail on such a tiny screen is deceptive and leads you to believe you have the perfect photo only to find the image has camera shake after viewing the image on a bigger screen. Magnifying the image in playback mode is a simple technique that provides more detail and all but guarantees you’ll walk away with quality photos.
8. It’s Ok To Edit Your Photos
If someone has told you real photographers don’t need to edit their photos, they don’t know what they are talking about. Every professional photo has been edited to some degree. Photoshop allows photographers to seamlessly blend multiple photos and Lightroom enables photographers to edit in bulk. Don’t think for one minute we won’t take advantage of this. Photography is an art you can make it your own, it doesn’t matter how little or how much you edited your photos.
9. Look At Other People’s Photos
You gain inspiration from looking at other people’s work. When you feel uninspired, look at other people’s photos to spark new ideas; evaluate the composition, lighting, and other elements you like and think about how you could give the photo your own flair.
10. Break Down Photography
Masting new skills in photography takes time and won’t happen over night. One simple beginner photography tip is to break the components of photography down into manageable pieces and make a concerted effort to master a single aspect of photography at a time.