Photographs are a great way to share memories, tell stories and celebrate life’s moments. There are many reasons to learn photography, whether you’re a new mother looking for ways to capture your baby’s growth, want to create Instagram photos, or plan a trip to beautiful locations with lots of photo opportunities. Your smartphone camera might feel intimidating if you are new to DSLRs or if your smartphone is not used to taking photos. We have the perfect guide for beginners if this is you. We will help you learn about photography basics and share some of our top photography tips with beginners.
Understanding how your equipment works are essential before you start taking photos. It is essential to understand the mechanics and features of your camera, whether it’s a point-and-shoot, smartphone or DSLR.
Understanding how to adjust the shutter speed, aperture and turn off the auto flash can make or break your final shots. For phone-based photography basics, it is best to consult your camera manual.
Camera Features For Beginners
- Grid mode and viewfinder: You can use the viewfinder for helping to strategize your photo’s composition. Grid mode is a useful planning grid that appears on the screen.
- Zoom While it is generally advised to avoid zooming as it reduces the quality of photos, it is important to understand both the limitations and the benefits of your zoom.
- Focus Most cameras have autofocus. However, you will need to learn how to manually change this setting once you are comfortable with other aspects of photography. This will allow you to take visually more interesting photos.
- Colour Balance To ensure that your photos aren’t in unattractive colours, adjust your colour balance settings based on the lighting.
- Aperture Set your aperture to control the light in your images better.
- Shutter Speed If you use a fast shutter speed, your images will appear dark. Too slow, and they will look blurry. Find a balance.
- Flash Although most photographers prefer to use external light sources, it is important to know the basics of your flash.
- Manual Mode (and other modes): Modes like sport, portrait, landscape, and others allow you to adjust for your subject automatically. You will have more control over your photography if you take your settings out of automatic.
- Light Balance/Exposure This can be adjusted based on the amount of light you would like in your images before you take them.
- ISO: The ISO (or your camera’s sensitivity to light) will determine how much photo grain appears on your images.
- Histogram A histogram is a graphic representation of the colour values displayed on your camera. When shooting, make sure these values are correct.
- JPEG vs These file types determine how much memory you have and how advanced your editing will be after the shoot. RAW is the more popular file type so bring extra memory cards
Photography Equipment for Beginners
- Camera Body (or phone camera): The camera body you choose must capture the image size you need and have any other features that you consider essential. If you need to adjust your exposure or depth of field, you might not need a point and shoot.
- Lenses (and Cover): Lenses come in many shapes and sizes. They are a better long-term investment than cameras bodies and last for a longer time. Make sure you spend time choosing the best lens for your needs.
- Tripod: Tripods should be strong, reliable, and light. For photographers who shake their hands, this is a very important investment.
- External Light: Exterior lights can be used to remove harsh shadows from your subject. These lights are a great investment for portrait photographers.
- External Hard Disk: It is crucial to have a reliable way to store your photos. Do not wait for all of your hard work to be erased before you get one.
- Memory cards: Always keep at least two memory cards in your camera bag. This way, if you have to delete images to make room for other photos, it won’t take too much time.
- Your bag/carrying gear: Your bag and other carrying gear should not be too heavy to prevent you from travelling between locations.
- Lens and camera cleaning supplies: A dirty lens can reduce photo quality. Dirt can cause damage to your lens in the worst case. Make sure you have proper cleaning supplies.
- Rechargeable Battery: Additional batteries allow you to keep your photoshoot running for longer and are ideal for long-distance trips.
After you have taken the time to learn about your equipment, it is time to practice. Start by looking for examples of photographers that inspire you, and then plan the type of photography you would like to do. You can save your favourite examples of photos and use them to help you plan your photoshoot locations. Once you are done, follow the steps below.
How to Photograph
- Find photo inspiration by researching.
- Check the manual of your camera.
- It is important to understand the language. For more information, refer to our glossary of photography terms.
- Set up your equipment at your chosen location.
- Make sure you frame your photo through the lens and ensure that the light and colors balance.
- Take care when you are using your camera.
- Take your time.
- You should take many photos and not check every one of them as you take them.
- Edit your photos post photoshoot.
- Keep practising!
Photography Tips for Beginners
Photography tips and tricks can improve your photography skills and help you reach the next level. Check out these photography tips for beginners:
Basic Tips for Photography
- Get close. Zoom reduces photo quality but not your feet. For a better shot, move closer to your subject as long as you are safe.
- Every day is a practice. Photography is no exception to the rule of practice. Start taking photos.
- Make sure your lighting is even. Poor lighting can seriously impact the appearance of your photo. Ensure you have an external light source available and that your photo shoot is scheduled for the right time.
- Be aware of composition. The arrangement of visual elements is the key to telling your story.
- Make sure your batteries are charged. Dead batteries can stop a photoshoot from going ahead.
- Determine your field of interest. What distance is your subject from you? Are you clear on your subject? These questions are all about your focus and depth.
- Look out for the golden hour. This is when the natural light becomes even and diffused. This occurs two hours after sunset or two hours before sunrise.
- Follow the rule of threes. This will allow you to compose your photo so that there is nothing in the centre of it or framed in an uninteresting way. This trick requires your subject or composition to be filled in on at least two of the three grid lines.
- Try out filters. You can make your photo stand out and add a unique touch. For more information, check out our guide on the best photo filters apps.
- Learn how you can work with motion. Check out our guide to taking action photos.
- Edit your photos. After a photo shoot, make sure you edit your favourite photos. This is often the final step that will make them stand out as finished projects. For more information, see our guide to the best photo editing software.
- Keep your photos organized. These digital scrapbooking tips can help you make sure that nothing is lost.
Nature Photography Tips
- Keep your eyes on the prize. Sometimes, a new angle can make your photograph instantly more appealing.
- Try micro or macro photography. Photography is a great way to appreciate the small things in life. Do not be afraid to get close and personal.
- Don’t overpack equipment. Weight is the only thing that can slow you down in your efforts. Before you set out, think about whether you will need a third lens or a heavyweight tripod.
- Make a plan. Get more travel photography tips from our hub.
Portrait Photography Tips
- Pay attention to your background. Bunny ears in your background are a sure way to ruin a portrait photo shoot.
- Be sure to check your exposure. Your subject should never be under-or overexposed in the photo. You could lose key features. This should be done before you start.
- Have your subject be relaxed. An upset subject will show in the photo. To help them feel at ease, have a conversation or distract them between photos.
- Include some variation. Variation is important, whether it’s changing the scenery, their outfit, or both. Interesting photos are always better than plain photos.
- Stay organized for family portraits. When you’re going to a family photo session, many things must be connected. To get the best possible photo result, keep everyone on the same page.
Photography Classes for Beginners
A photography class is a great way to improve your skills and practice. You can take these classes online from your own home, and they come at various prices. These classes are available in a variety of locations.
- Online Courses
- Courses at Community College
- Private Instructor-led Courses
- Community and Civic Center Courses
- Camera Store Programs
- Clubs in your area
Photography blogs for beginners
Photoblogs are like photography classes. You can learn your skills at your own pace. You can focus on one aspect of photography, such as wildlife or portraits, or you can diversify your knowledge and learn all the trades. You’ll find new posts every month, regardless of your skill level, as you grow as a photographer. Below are some of our top photography blogs for beginners:
- Shutterfly Photo Content Hub
- Borrowlenses Blog
- Digital Photography School
- DIY Photography