These photography tips and tricks are to be used as a beginner photography tutorial. These 7 top tips for beginner photographers will lead you to success with your DSLR camera.
Tips for Beginner Photographers
Are you a beginner photographer looking to learn some basic tips to progress your craft? Perhaps you are simply a photography enthusiast who just wants to get better at your hobby. Well these Tips for Beginner Photographers will, hopefully, increase your knowledge and desire of photography!
1 – Learn Composition
Composition in photography is the way elements are visually arranged in your picture. There are many ways to do this and many of them are simple ways to enhance your capturing skills. Here are a few examples:
- Filling the Frame
- Rule of Thirds
When you take photos, sometimes you just really want to keep things as simple as possible. For this, we want to focus on one specific subject and eliminate anything else that could distract from the primary focus.
Are you taking a picture of a person? Maybe you want to capture his or her facial expressions? Or perhaps you are photographing a scene to record a message. You want to focus on the element in that photo that really captures that message.
Filling the Frame
This takes simplification to the next level. Here we are zooming in even more to capture details that are not noticeable from a distance. This eliminates nearly every distracting background characteristic to achieve this result. Background doesn’t have to be eliminated entirely, a little background can lend more character to your image. With people, this technique also helps capture the mood of the individual more than any other method. To fill the frame, you can simply zoom in with your lens or come closer to the image.
Rule of Thirds
Finally, the basic principle with rule of thirds is that an image can be separated into 9 parts – a grid. The idea is to place the central focus of your photo around the four corners of the middle square on the grid. The viewer of the image will then have a more natural perspective of the focus of the photo.
The seagull in the picture is the subject of the shot and is aligned mostly in the center grid. Mild emphasis is added to the background to showcase perspective.
Like with the seagull, sometimes we don’t want to put an image directly in the center. By putting it off-center a bit, we can create a unique perspective that might grant focus to some other cool characteristics of the photo.
In this example, focus is given on not only the beach chairs, but the ocean. By placing the chairs slightly off the grid, it allows us to get more of the ocean in the shot.
When you take a picture, think about where you want your main focus to be. Also, maybe there are multiple points of interest in the photo? Take this into consideration and you will ensure that whatever you are capturing will catch the viewer’s attention.
2 – Holding Your Camera
You might be thinking, “Really? Holding your camera?” but YES!!! Tips for Beginner Photographers should always include how to hold your DSLR camera!
Yes, it is often an overlooked subject and important to your foundation as a beginner photographer. Avoiding camera shake is one of our main objectives.
Here are some basics to remember:
- Stand up straight!
- Keep your body at the center of gravity – avoid leaning forward or backward
- Keep that camera against your forehead
- Don’t stand with your feet together – open those legs!
- Breathe normally – don’t hold your breath!
- Tuck your elbows into your sides
This photo illustrates a proper way to hold your camera. Stand up straight, center your gravity, index finger on shutter trigger, and hand under lens.
3 – Take Tons of Pictures!
This is one of my favorite tips. Take as many photos as you can! As a beginner, you will make many mistakes on your journey as a photographer. But you will definitely improve your skills along the way.
Take the same picture multiple times from different perspectives. Apply the concepts you learned about composition – try applying simplification, rule of thirds, and filling the frame. Maybe you are taking photos at a wedding. There will be priceless moments and taking lots of pictures is sometimes the only way to capture those moments.
Different shots of the same focus can provide a variety of results. Take lots of pictures!
4 – Buy Training Resources
This can be said about many professions that utilize technology. Look into purchasing training resources to assist you in your journey to learn. There are endless guides and books to dive into – you can purchase digital books, physical books, and I recommend attending training courses and webinars.
The camera is an important tool for the photographer, but knowledge is what ultimately defines one. Anyone can press the button on the camera, but it takes knowledge and experience to get the best shots.
A great resource to start with is the Beginner Photography Course. In this course you’ll learn all of the Tips for Beginner Photographers that will train you in taking full control of your DSLR camera!
5 – Learn Which Settings Are Important
Camera settings can be intimidating at first. There are a lot of them. Don’t expect to master this immediately and that’s ok.
The 3 settings you really need to know:
- Shutter Speed
Ever wonder how you can control your photos brightness? That’s ISO.
ISO is useful in darker environments where you may want to increase the brightness to make the image more visible. Unfortunately, there are side-effects to changing ISO. If you take a photo at a very high ISO, you will see more grain (noise). Only raise your ISO if you were unable to brighten the image via shutter speed and aperture (we will discuss those in a few moments).
The photos illustrate the difference between low ISO and high ISO taken indoors with low light. Lower ISOs perform better with exceptional light and higher ISOs do better with low light. Keep in mind that higher ISOs will produce noise/grain, as is illustrated by the photo with 1600 ISO
If there is any setting to really dig into, its aperture. Aperture is that hole in the lens where light seeps through into your camera body. If you think of your lens as an “eye,” then the aperture is the “pupil.” When you reduce the aperture, you reduce the amount of light let it. When you enlarge the aperture, you increase the amount of light.
Aperture also allows for an awesome effect called depth of field. Notice in some pictures how the focus point of the image is sharp, but the background is out of focus and blurry? That is a result of aperture manipulation.
If you want to get that large background blur, then you need to enlarge your aperture. The opposite is true if you want small background blur: go with a small aperture. Large blur would be useful for portraits or where you want to focus on something specific. Small blur is effective when you want the entire picture to receive focus, like many types of outdoor and landscape photography.
This photo was captured using a smaller aperture. There is minimal background blur involved.
Sometimes, we find ourselves wanting to capture something awesome but it is in motion. Depending on how we manipulate shutter speed, we can dramatically blur or smooth our target.
So what is shutter speed?
Shutter speed is the amount of time your camera shutter is open and reveals light to the sensor on the camera. By having a longer shutter speed, we are creating something called motion blur. Have you ever seen a commercial or photo involving automobiles? Often times, motion blur is intentionally created to simulate motion of the vehicle.
On the flip side, an extremely quick shutter speed is capable of freezing the action entirely. So, instead of giving that car motion blur, we capture it in a “frozen” state.
This scene utilizes a faster shutter speed to “freeze” the target in action.
6 – Lighting
Light is critical to photography. Without light, we are left in the dark! If you can take a photo with a good light, then most of the work is already done. It is hard to produce a quality image with bad lighting.
Your primary focus here is to balance the distribution of light between the target of the picture and the background. If you are taking a picture of an individual outdoors, you may want to move the person to a better angle. Look at the direction where the light is coming from – are you getting shadows on your target? You will want to move your target to minimize this.
Another way to combat shadows lies in a diffuser. A soft box and umbrella can reduce glare and strong shadows. If the target has blemishes, a diffuser can reduce them, also.
Maybe it’s the lack of light that is the problem. If you lack light, you need a flash. This is especially true for studio photographers. Once you have your flash, a reflector can redistribute a light source onto the target for you.
If you really want to improve your photography skills, light is one of the best subjects you can learn to start creating amazing photos.
Effective use of lightning helps to diminish shadows and bring focus to your subjects.
7 – Don’t Give Up
Are you a beginner photographer that just started? Are you having a hard time getting clients? Or maybe you are just having a hard time learning everything that photography has to offer. Great Tips for Beginner Photographers doesn’t end here so….
Don’t give up.
There have been times where I was having a hard time getting clients and I felt defeated. I couldn’t see how to get out of the abyss. So how do we get out of this funk?
Start by figuring out what you think is contributing to your hardships. If you don’t have clients, maybe you need to work on marketing and SEO. Reach out to fellow photographers and offer to assist them. They may give you referrals if they take on too many clients. Poor discipline? Create a realistic schedule to get you back on track. Set time aside to learn techniques, take classes, work on your post-production skills, or hire someone to do some of the things you don’t enjoy.
Be optimistic. Some things in photography are less desirable than others. Ever tried cold calls? Yuck. Tackle those tasks with motivation and convince yourself that good things will follow.
See another photographer’s work and think, “Wow, there work is so much better than mine.”
That person may have been working on their craft for the last 10 years and you only just started. They have probably struggled just like you to get where they are. That’s ok. Everyone has to start somewhere. With enough passion and motivation, you will get there, too.
What do you consider success? Are you trying to do beach photography? If you are just starting, start small and shoot for small goals. Work on promoting your business, fostering relationships with local businesses and photographers, and take lots of pictures on the beach to showcase your skills (and develop them!). Try setting a goal to optimize your website. Make sure it makes sense, has consistent colors and schemes, and is easy to navigate. Work on blogging and integrating key terms for your target market.
Lastly, the harder you have to work for success, the more you will appreciate it. These hardships will make you a better photographer and a stronger person. Hang in there, I hope these Tips for Beginner Photographers really help you in your success.
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”
About the Author –
Christi Pennington is a family photographer located in Destin, FL. She specializes in all things beach photography. Her passion for photography stems from her sister’s work in a busy portrait studio in Atlanta, GA. There, she learned the basics of photography on a Canon Film SLR. She cherishes being able to capture memories on the beach every day.