The whole world of photography can seem a bit daunting when you’re starting off as a beginner photographer. With all the different kinds of cameras and lenses and strange abbreviated terms, it’s easy to feel lost and very confused. I mean you just wanted to learn how to take great pictures, right? Like any other skill, photography is one that takes time to learn and master! Take advantage of the many resources out there like books and, of course, the good old internet. Here are 10 tips for a beginner photographer!
1. Know When To Use A Tripod
Having a tripod is very important for any beginner photographer, but you want to know when to use it. Tripods can make a big difference in your photographs for a number of reasons. Obviously, the tripod works to stabilize your camera so you can get sharper photos. This works very well for landscape, architectural, still life, etc. kind of photos. However, if you’re looking to photographer more candid and in-the-moment style photos then trying to set up your tripod for all your shots will slow you down significantly. You’ll likely miss great photo opportunities because of it. If you’re a beginner photographer you don’t need to jump and get the most expensive tripod that’s available. For the most part, just a well-made one that won’t fall apart and has the right height-adjustment settings and such will do you just fine.
2. Keep Your Batteries Charged
This may seem like an extremely obvious tip for a beginner photographer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget about your batteries. When you’re out taking pictures, your focus isn’t going to be on how charged your battery is. More likely, you’ll be focused on the pictures you’re taking and how to get the best ones possible. Before you head out for practice or to a specific location for some photos, make it a habit of regularly checking both your batteries and your memory cards. Ideally, you want a backup of both a battery and a memory card for a worst-case scenario. You don’t want to drive all the way out to some location only to find you can’t do anything because your batteries are dead!
3. Meet Other Photographers!
It can be really beneficial for any beginner photographer to connect with other photographers. Veteran photographers can share their insight and tips of their own from their own experiences from photography. You might even get lucky and find some very generous people who would donate to you some of their old, unused equipment that would really give you a step up! Even just finding some online forums where you could virtually meet other photographers would be really helpful.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
As with any skill, photography is one that requires lots of practice! You can only learn so much as a beginner photographer from books and online resources. Especially when you get a new camera, it can take some time and practice to get used to the features and layout of different camera models. You want to know how to change shutter speeds, ISO, or any other camera aspect without missing a photo op! Even if you’re just sitting on your couch watching tv you can be fumbling around through your camera settings and learning how to better navigate it.
5. Be Careful of Zoom
One thing that is important to remember as a beginner photographer is to be careful of zoom. On one hand, it can be a great way to increase the size of a subject when you can’t get any closer physically. However, the key part of that is “can’t get any closer physically.” Basically every time you’ll want to get in closer to your subject as opposed to zooming to preserve the quality of the photo. It also helps you better fill the frame of photos making them better quality overall, for the most part. Essentially, it usually comes down to a judgment call but you should try to avoid zooming if you don’t have to.
6. Rule of Thirds for Balanced Photos
A very important “rule” to remember as a beginner photographer is the “rule of thirds.” For this, you’ll need to imagine that your photo (as seen through the viewfinder or screen) is split into a 3×3 of boxes. Through this, you’ll see how the picture is split into “thirds” depending on if you look at it horizontally or vertically. The idea with the rule of thirds is to help you frame photos better with keeping in mind what “section” the subject of your picture is in. It can help you balance photos as well as strategically placing your subject so that the overall picture is more visually appealing. It’s a fairly complicated subject but also very important so here’s a good breakdown if you’re still confused.
7. Keep Your Lens Clean
It’s very important for both beginner photographers and veterans to keep their camera lenses clean. For the most part, there can be a slight amount of dust on camera lenses and they won’t impact the photos at all. But you want to watch out for old fingerprints from accidentally touching the lens and such. It’s very worth it to invest in a lens cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth to carry in your photography bag just in case.
8. Prevent Blurry Pictures by Matching Shutter Sped to the Lens’ Focal Length
This is more of a very technical tip for beginner photographers but it’s also very important. Once you start getting into the complexities of photography that come from having multiple cameras and different-lengthed lenses then you need to better watch your chosen shutter speed. You want to match your shutter speed to the lens’s focal length in order to prevent blurry pictures. For example, if you have a 200mm lens then you need to use at least a 1/200 sec shutter speed to keep your image sharp and clean.
9. Use Your Flash Correctly
Similar to the tip on using the zoom, you’ll want to be careful about how you use the camera flash. As a beginner photographer, remember that you don’t want to use your built-in camera flash as a primary light source for most pictures. Doing so can end up with bad shadowing and overall low-quality pictures. Perhaps some style of photography may depend on that kind of primary light from a flash, but for the most part, it’s best to avoid it. A time when you’ll want to use your flash is if you’re taking a picture but the sunlight is casting some bad shadows across your subject. That way your flash can help act as a “fill” for light in the picture.
10. Utilize Burst Mode for Unpredictable Subjects
As a beginner photographer, you may find yourself endlessly taking pictures of the same thing just hoping to catch your subject in a candid moment or for a totally clear picture. If trying to photograph live subjects like people or animals then it can be very helpful to use burst mode on your camera. That way you can have your camera continuously capture photos as you hold down your shutter button and follow your subject!
Have any additional tips for a beginner photographer? Share them in the comments below?
Featured Image Source: Photo by Natashia Shukla on Unsplash
I have a passion for helping others and see journalism as a great way to reach and impact many people. Born in Texas but raised in the San Francisco Bay Area! Then with a short detour in Boulder, Colorado to get my bachelor's in Journalism with a minor in political science. I'm a determined, motivated individual striving to make a difference in this world. I have hopes to play a role in the continued development of journalism and in maximizing efforts to inform and inspire the public. Check out my articles on Society19!