Getting into photography can be very exciting, whether you want to take it seriously or do it just for fun. Whichever the case, you need to get acquainted with some photography basics for beginners. What follows are the most essential beginner photography tips.
Before you read these tips, you need to remember that it takes practice to master the skills behind good photography. Talent plays its role, of course, but everyone that is passionate enough to learn and practice can make astonishing photographs.
Beginner photography tips
When it comes to photography, there are many aspects that you should keep in mind at all times. Fortunately you’ll intuitively learn most of them through practice, trial and error. You can, however, minimize errors, which is why I’m sharing this short beginners guide to photography. These tips are here to help you avoid the most common errors and save some time.
To avoid some basic mistakes and improve your photography skills faster, here are a few tips for beginner photographers that I consider essential.
What is the best camera to buy for beginner photographers? This is probably the first question that comes to mind. Well basically, every camera is a good camera when you’re just starting out. There’s no need to waste your time and energy on searching for the perfect equipment. You can even take some great photos with your smartphone.
When it comes to photography equipment, there are a few important things to remember:
- Keep your camera settings simple.
- Set the resolution to the highest level possible.
- Use a tripod whenever you can to keep your camera (or phone) still.
- Always keep the lens clean.
Use of flash
In my experience, the improper use of flash is the most common mistake among beginners. So, one of the most essential tips for beginning photographers is to avoid using flash whenever possible. Using flash when unnecessary can ruin photos, especially if you’re taking them with a smartphone. The main reason for this is that the flash is usually weak and it can’t provide even lighting throughout the entire photograph.
Avoid using the flash when you take photos of people indoors, or when you take close-up photos. You should consider tweaking the ISO settings as an alternative to using flash. ISO setting refers to the extent to which your camera is sensitive to light. In darker surroundings, you can use flash, or use a higher ISO. I recommend going with the higher ISO for better images.
Keep your eye on the light
Now that you know you have to avoid using flash, you need to understand the various effects that different light sources can provide. The angle of the light falling on your subject can significantly affect the entire photograph. So, it’s extremely important to keep an eye on the amount of light you have and where it’s coming from.
- When taking photos outdoors, don’t photograph people with the sun at their back – you’ll only get silhouettes this way.
- If the light falls directly on your subject, you’ll capture all of its details. This is good for taking photos of colorful subjects.
- In order to give your subject a soft glow, use indirect light.
- If you want to capture dramatic photos, with high contrast, you’ll need side lighting.
Experiment with the perspective
When it comes to perspective in photography, it’s best to experiment a lot. Many of the most famous photos which are appreciated by millions of people, are photographs taken from an unusual (cool) perspective. That’s usually why you see all these strange photographers twisting their bodies in weird ways while holding a camera. They’re trying to get the best shot they can.
There are no rules for perspective, except for this one – never stop experimenting! Try taking spontaneous photos while you’re walking around, without looking through the viewfinder. You’ll be amazed by your own photos, trust me.
The rules of composition
Composition refers to the balance of the photo elements. It’s about the things you put in the frame, their position within the frame, and the things you need to leave out of the frame. The most important thing to know when it comes to composition is the rule of thirds. You need to divide the frame into nine equal imaginary sections with two horizontal and two vertical lines.
The point of these sections is to place your subject in either the top, bottom, left, or the right third of the screen. The idea is to split the image into thirds instead of two halves. This way, you can put the elements off-center and make a photo that people will take time to look at.
There are a few more things to keep in mind in order to make a beautiful, balanced photo:
- Follow the line of the horizon.
- Use simple backgrounds when you want to keep the attention on the subject.
- Crop out all the elements that may take the attention off your subject.
- When shooting landscapes, create a sense of depth by placing an object or a person in the foreground.
One thing you can never fix in a photo is the focus. You may not notice this while taking the photos, and you won’t be able to do anything about it later on.
What you put into focus is what the viewer pays attention to afterwards. If its a landscape, then typically a photographer will want to put everything into focus. If someone’s face is the main subject, the face may be super-sharp and in focus, whilst the background around them is completely blurred and unrecognizable.
If the subject is “person in an urban area”, well the primary focus might be on the person. But the background is only slightly out of focus, its slightly blurred, and the viewer can still tell its an urban area.
With smartphones, it’s a little easier to follow the focus. But, with some cameras, putting the focus where you want it can be more difficult. If your camera has a physical shutter button, you need to hold it half-way down and it will show you where the focus is. When you get the focus right you can shoot the photo. When you take photos of people or animals, it’s best to put the focus on the eyes.
Now that you’ve had your fun and taken hundreds of photos, you are eager to put them on the net. But, don’t rush it! First, make a selection by eliminating the duplicates and the ones with a bad composition. Then, take some time to edit them. Basic editing such as cropping, color-corrections, and exposure adjustments can make a big difference.
Make good use of photo organizing and editing programs and apps. When you get into photography, you’ll end up with thousands of megabytes of photos that you’ll need to organize. What’s more important, apps that offer photo organizing, editing, and sharing will add to the overall fun of your new endeavor!