6 Photography Tips for Beginners That Will Make You an Expert
by McKenna Hogan, on Aug 6, 2020 8:30:00 AM
With our society becoming increasingly tech-savvy as well as visually stimulated, there has been a steady increase in the availability of resources non-professionals can utilize to improve upon their credentials.
Becoming an expert in anything requires a process—which is why studying up on the basics will be essential in starting off on the right foot. Below we will cover 6 photography tips for beginners to either get you started or improve on what you already know.
1. Find the right camera for your project
Sure, iPhones nowadays can take professional grade photos and are already at many individuals' disposal. However, there is a huge difference between the capabilities of an actual camera compared to the average smartphone.
Below are some common professional cameras and what you should know about them.
DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex)
Most common among professional photographers, these cameras contain an interchangeable lens and a body. The special part about them is that they have a mirror feature that allows you to look through to focus on the frame of a final shot.
The lens of these cameras are actually what make it high-quality. With dozens of different ones to choose from, it's easy to get a variety of different quality images with just one camera.
Overall, DSLRs are recommended for those that want to seriously pursue photography, and are willing to spend a little extra for a camera. Click here to find the best DSLR camera for your budget.
For those of you interested in 360 photography or shooting virtual tours - here’s what you need to know about 360 cameras.
The main thing to consider when looking for a 360 camera is what you intend to shoot. Whether it be landscape, action shots, buildings, etc. specific cameras are designed for specific needs.
Since there are so many variables that go into making this decision, such as where stitching takes place, take a look at 360 rumors for a knowledgeable resource for picking a 360 camera.
Panoskin Tip: Trailblazer supports GoPro Fusion, which allows versatile shots with a 360 degree spherical view of the world around it.
Perhaps the most common type of camera for non-professional photographers, point-and-shoots are basically higher-quality cameras that are easy to carry around.
Brands like Canon and Kodak are great examples of these types of cameras—they’re budget friendly, good quality, and can fit in your pocket.
Wondering if this camera is best for you?
Since they don’t have interchangeable lenses and are designed for convenience, we recommend point-and-shoots for beginners that are seeking photography as more of a hobby as opposed to a profession.
Here are some recommended point-and-shoot cameras for 2020.
2. Know when to use a tripod
If you’re part of the group opting for a DSLR or 360 camera, this tip is for you.
Tripods aren’t always necessary -although beneficial to beginners- but are key features to specific types of photography.
For instance, if you intend to work a lot with landscapes or long-exposure photography, it might be worth it to invest in a cheap tripod to ensure super sharp images.
As for 360 cameras, you’ll want to invest in a quality tripod. Due to the nature of taking a panoramic image and the shots you’re trying to capture, it’s important to have the right equipment.
3. Don’t go crazy with filters or edits
Rule of thumb: if you are working with a high-quality camera, and are educated on different functions and lenses, you shouldn’t even need to use filters.
The tell of an excellent photographer is the ability to produce a quality image the second a picture is taken—so heavy edits may make photos look amateur or as if there’s some sort of compensation.
And if you’re conducting a photo shoot for a business, such as real estate, clients are going to expect a truthful and informative image, not one with a fun filter.
So unless you’re just satisfying a hobby, try to learn the ins and outs of your camera to understand all of its capabilities before turning to filters and edits.
4. Learn how to work with exposure
Exposure is typically one of the first and most essential steps for getting a good shot.
Basically a photographer's term for adjusting a camera to work with lighting, below are 3 parts of exposure beginners must know before conducting a photo shoot.
ISO -or International Standards Organization- is essentially the sensitivity of a sensor due to specific lighting conditions.
Whether done manually or automatically, the goal of ISO is to determine how much light the camera needs in order to get a good shot.
Lower ISOs are generally used when there’s more light and vice versa—the trick is to play around with a few different settings during a shoot to see which looks best for your scene.
Shutter speed is defined as the amount of light allowed into a camera lens through a shutter opening and closing.
The faster the speed the less light that comes in—however, increased speed also allows more action you’re able to capture.
Shutter speed will be important to consider when taking a shot that isn’t a portrait or other still scene. Depending on whether or not you’re opting for a sharp or blurry image, speed should be increased for sharp action shots, or decreased for a blurry shot.
Speed is up to technical and creative preferences, however.
Aperture is the hole in your lens that allows light to pass through. The amount of light depends on how big the hole is. Aperture is measured in f-stops, which are represented through fractions—the higher the number, the less light there is.
For example, high aperture is represented by a low f-stop but allows more light in. This setting is best for images with low lighting because it allows the camera to catch details
On the other side, a higher f setting -or less light- is better for when you want to play with depth of field, or get a focused shot.
5. Read up on post processing
With any photo shoot there will likely be some sort of post processing—but that doesn’t mean going heavy on the edits.
This process should be more about adjusting things such as saturation and shadows to make a photo come to life. The goal, essentially, is to accentuate or highlight the focal point while keeping the original image intact.
For more about post processing, take a look at this comprehensive photo editing guide.
6. Learn from old photos and other photographers work
With most of the world under quarantine, it’s the perfect time to fit some research into your schedule.
Whether it’s an online gallery, photographer profiles, your past work, or even social media, piecing together what makes a photo work can help establish your own process as a photographer.