Simple Photo Tips

6 things a beginner photographer needs to know

6 things a beginner photography needs to know

If you are reading this, I have to assume you are a new photographer.  Or at least someone that is relatively new and is looking for basic info they may have missed along the way.  What I am offering in this post are 6 things a beginner photographer needs to know. These are things that it often takes people a while to stumble across.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

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6 things a beginner photographer needs to know

Thing One:  there are no rules.

OK, there are some rules, like always take the lens cover off.  Or never shoot straight into the sun.  What I mean is that you might assume there are lots of hard and fast rules that make or break a good photo.   There aren’t.

You will see and read things out there that seem like rules.  These are shared as must do items, that people are espousing as the key to photography.  The rule of thirds is one example of that.  In this case the word rule is a misnomer.

When ever you see the word rule, you should just substitute the word tip or hint.  That’s really what they are, tips.  My advice is, when you read something like that, understand what the rule is saying and why.  But don’t think you have to apply it on every snap of the shutter.

Related Post: Foolproof secrets to more compelling photos

Thing Two:  Don’t try to do it all at once.

It’s perfectly ok to be a beginner.  You don’t need to put your camera in manual settings mode and manage everything at first.  Its perfectly ok to shoot in auto mode.  In fact most professional photographers shoot one of the automatic modes most of the time.

Yes, some day when you have hundreds of photos under your belt you might play with manual settings here and there.   I have been doing photography for a long time and greater than 80% of my photos are done in one mode, aperture priority (Av).

Really the only time I go into full manual mode is when I am trying for a special effect.  Or, for things like star photography where you NEED to control every aspect.

Related Post: How aperture affects depth of field

Thing Three:  Work on composition

Learning how to frame a scene is huge.  I mean you’re going to be doing that on EVERY photo you take.    Composition is how the subject looks through the lens.  How does the foreground look?  Is the background pleasing or is it full of busy distractions?  Where is the Sun or other light source?

To quote a very famous photographer, Ansel Adams:  A good photograph is knowing where to stand.  What he means is: some points of view are going to look better than others.  So, it’s important to look through the lens and move around some.

You can also start using time of day, the seasons, lighting, angle of the sun as factors in your compositions.

Yeah, composition.  Spend a lot of time working on and perfecting that.   That is the biggest factor in how a photographer develops their signature look and feel.  And this is way more important to a beginner photographer than trying to fight the camera controls.

Related post: Focus on point of view

6 things a beginner photographe needs to know BVT

6 things a beginner photographer needs to know

Thing Four:  When editing photos, less is more

I see photos all the time where composition or settings isn’t so hot, and to compensate the editing is way over done.  The most common of these is turning the color saturation way up.  Too far up until the color look super unnatural.

I also see photos where it was taken at a bad angle, and they try to straighten it in the editor and it just some of the photo look funny.  On the other hand, I also see photos that are well framed and are basically great photos, but the horizon is slightly tilted.  THAT IS something that could have been fixed in the editor.

The more you make the photo good inside the camera, the less you need to do in the editor to try to make it awesome.

You can always start with:  Adobe Spark – Free Online Photo Editor

Thing Five:  Develop good habits

Simple things like checking the camera settings when you take it out of the bag.  Making sure the battery is charged up.  Deleting images after you upload them to make room for more.  Making sure the image horizon is level when looking through the viewfinder.

These types of habits, make it easier to focus on the more important parts of photography.  If you have to struggle to make things work, you aren’t putting all your thought and energy into making great photos.

Personally, I have one bad habit.  I often turn auto-focus off on the lens and then don’t turn it back on when putting the camera away.  Fortunately, one of my good habits prevents this from becoming an issue.  I always take my camera out and go over all the settings just before I leave my house or my campsite.

Related Post:  Tips to clean your camera and lens

Thing Six:  Go out and take photos!

Reading and watching videos only goes so far.  The only REAL way to learn photography is by taking photos.  Look at those photos later and form an idea in your head of one thing you want to change, improve, do better at.

Then going out and do it again.  And again.   You’re going to see improvement.

Be sure to show your work to others.  Listen to the things they like about your work.   If they say, I really like those mountains in the background, what they are really saying is:  having something interesting in the background makes your photos better.

And don’t take it too personal.  It’s not really about you, it’s about them.  Focus on what people like and do more of that.  And also focus on what you like.  When you’re doing what you like, that’s going to shine through.

Related Post: Simple challenge to improve your photography

6 things a beginner photographer needs to know

Conclusion:  You got this!

Ok, that’s enough for now.  You have plenty to think about and to work on.  I hope you’ve found this post helpful and it’s given you things to consider.  When in doubt go back to thing six.  None of this matters if you’re not out taking photos.  Lots of them.

Cover Photo by Agatha Silva from Pexel

2 thoughts on “6 things a beginner photographer needs to know”

  1. Avatar for Loyd Towe

    Great tips, I think at some point we are all guilty of doing too much with our images. But hey, it’s all part of experimenting and learning. I’ve been guilty of taking perfectly fine images and making them awful. I’m just happy I can see that now! Keep up the great work!

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