How To Learn Photography For Beginners

By | 21/11/2022

xx Essential Photography Tips for Beginners

Bob Books
1st January 2021

At Bob Books, we are defended to supporting both established and up-and-coming photographers with our professionals discount and logo-free software, ideal for creating customer photobooks or professional portfolios.

If you lot’ve but purchased your first DSLR and want to learn the basics or are looking for uncomplicated ways to update your existing photography skills, the following tips should help you build a strong foundation.

Of grade, photography is an fine art you lot’ll never really exist ‘done’ learning. The best fashion to proceed improving is to practice ofttimes, make mistakes and be open to learning from others, whether they’re well-established photographers or newcomers to the arts and crafts.

  • ane. Learn to hold your camera properly
  • ii. Start shooting in RAW
  • iii. Understand the exposure triangle
  • 4. Wide aperture is best for portraits
  • 5. Narrow aperture is all-time for landscapes
  • half dozen. Learn to use Discontinuity Priority and Shutter Priority modes
  • 7. Don’t be agape to raise the ISO
  • viii. Make a habit of checking the ISO before you showtime shooting
  • 9. Be careful with your on-camera flash
  • x. Learn to adjust white balance
  • eleven. Learn to read the histogram
  • 12. Play with perspective
  • 13. Understand the rule of thirds
  • fourteen. Eyes should always be in focus
  • 15. Pay attention to the background
  • xvi. Invest in a tripod
  • 17. Shoot in the early morning and evening
  • xviii. Invest in some skillful photograph editing software
  • nineteen. Be selective
  • xx. Acquire from your mistakes

1. Learn to hold your camera properly

This may sound obvious, simply many new photographers don’t agree their camera correctly, which causes camera shake and blurry images. Tripods are of grade the best manner to forbid camera shake, simply since you won’t be using a tripod unless you’re shooting in depression light situations, information technology’southward of import to hold your camera properly to avoid unnecessary movement.

While you’ll eventually develop your own mode of holding the photographic camera, you lot should always concord it with both hands. Grip the right side of the camera with your right hand and place your left hand beneath the lens to support the weight of the camera.

The closer you go on the camera to your body, the stiller you’ll exist able to hold it. If you need extra stability you can lean up confronting a wall or crouch down on your knees, but if there’s zip to lean on, adopting a wider opinion can also assist.

2. Get-go shooting in RAW

RAW is a file format like jpeg, but unlike jpeg, it captures all the image data recorded by your camera’due south sensor rather than compressing it. When you lot shoot in RAW you’ll not only go higher quality images but yous’ll besides accept far more than control in post processing. For instance, you’ll be able to correct bug such as over or underexposure and conform things like colour temperature, white residue and dissimilarity.

Ane downside to shooting in RAW is that the files take up more than space. Additionally, RAW photos always need some post processing so you’ll need to invest in photo editing software.

Ultimately, however, shooting in RAW can transform the quality of your images, so if you have the fourth dimension and space, it’southward definitely worth it. If you lot’re not sure how to switch from jpeg to RAW, bank check your photographic camera’south manual for detailed instructions.

iii. Sympathise the exposure triangle

Although it can seem a bit daunting at first, the exposure triangle only refers to the three almost important elements of exposure; ISO, aperture and shutter speed. When you’re shooting in manual manner, yous’ll demand to be able to balance all three of these things in lodge to go sharp, well-lit photos.

ISO: ISO controls the camera’s sensitivity to light. A depression ISO setting means the camera will be less sensitive to lite, while a higher ISO means it will be more sensitive to lite. An ISO setting of 100 to 200 is normally ideal when shooting outdoors during the twenty-four hour period, but when shooting in low light situations, such as indoors or at night, a higher ISO of 400 to 800 or higher might be necessary.

Aperture: Aperture is the opening in your lens and controls how much light gets through to the camera’s sensor. A wider discontinuity (indicated by a lower f-number) lets more light through, while a narrow discontinuity (indicated by a higher f-number) lets less light through. A wide aperture is great when you want to isolate your field of study, but when you lot want the whole scene to be in focus, such equally with grouping shots, you’ll need to use a narrow aperture.

Shutter speed: Shutter speed controls how long the shutter stays open up when y’all have a moving-picture show. The longer the shutter stays open up, the more lite gets through to the camera’s sensor. A fast shutter speed is good for freezing action, while a longer shutter speed will blur motility. Read more near understanding shutter speeds on our blog.

4. Broad aperture is best for portraits

When shooting portraits, whether of people or animals, your subject should be the main focus of the picture and the best way to reach this is to use a wider aperture. This volition keep your subject sharp, while blurring out any distractions in the background.

Continue in mind that a smaller f/ number means a wider discontinuity and the wider the aperture, the more than dramatic this outcome will be. Some lenses can go equally low equally f/ane.2, just fifty-fifty apertures of f/ can practise the play a joke on. To meliorate understand how the aperture affects your images, switch to Aperture Priority Mode (Av or A) and try taking some shots with different apertures. If you lot desire to become some tips and inspiration about taking portraits, head over to our interviews with photographers Reme Campos, Sian Davey and Samir Hussein.

Images © Sian Davey

v. Narrow aperture is all-time for landscapes

Landscape photographs require a dissimilar approach, considering everything from the rocks in the foreground to the mountains in the background should be sharply in focus. Then whatsoever time you’re shooting a scene where yous want everything to be fully in focus, you lot should select a narrow aperture rather than a broad one.

A larger f/ number ways a narrower aperture, so go towards f/22 or higher, depending on what your lens allows. Again, using Aperture Priority Way (Av or A) will allow you to experiment with different apertures without having to worry virtually adjusting the shutter speed each time. Take a await at our beginners guide to depth of field for more hints and tips.

6. Learn to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes

If you want to venture out of automatic mode but don’t feel confident plenty to switch to manual all the same, Aperture Priority Way (A or Av) and Shutter Priority Fashion (S or Tv) are two very useful options that are available on most cameras and will requite you more than control without being overly complicated.

Discontinuity Priority Mode lets you select the aperture you wish to use and and so the camera adjusts the shutter speed accordingly. So for instance, if you’re shooting a portrait and desire to blur the groundwork, you could only select a wide aperture and let the camera figure out what shutter speed is appropriate.

In Shutter Priority Manner, yous select the shutter speed yous want to apply and the camera will select the aperture for you. And then for case, if you want to become a clear shot of your dog racing towards y’all, you tin select a fast shutter speed and allow the camera choose the aperture for you lot.

seven. Don’t exist afraid to enhance the ISO

Many photographers try to avert always shooting in high ISO equally they’re afraid it will lead to grainy-looking photos or ‘dissonance.’ Only while information technology’southward true that using higher ISO can atomic number 82 to lower image quality, in that location’s a time and place for everything.

If you can’t lower your shutter speed due to motion mistiness and a tripod isn’t an option, it’s meliorate to become a sharp photo with a bit of noise than no photograph at all, and y’all’ll be able to remove a lot of noise in post processing anyway. Moreover, photographic camera technology has improved so much in recent years that information technology’s at present quite possible to produce astonishing photographs fifty-fifty at ISO 1600, 3200, 6400 or higher.

I way to minimise dissonance when shooting at higher ISOs is to utilise a wider aperture whenever possible. Slightly overexposing your image tin also help, because making lite areas darker in mail processing won’t increase noise, whereas making dark areas lighter definitely will.

eight. Make a habit of checking the ISO earlier you start shooting

Discovering that you’ve accidentally shot a whole series of images in ISO 800 on a bright sunny day can exist extremely frustrating, especially if the photos were taken to document a special occasion such as a altogether, anniversary or other result that tin can’t be recreated.

It’s an easy plenty mistake to make, though, so to avert this unpleasant surprise, make a addiction of checking and resetting your ISO settings before you lot start shooting anything. Alternatively, make a habit of resetting this every time you’re prepare to put your camera back in its purse.

9. Be careful with your on-camera wink

If yous’re not careful, using your photographic camera’south built-in wink at nighttime or in low light can lead to some unpleasant furnishings like red eyes and harsh shadows. In full general, information technology’s better to crank up the ISO and get noisier photos than to use the on-photographic camera flash and adventure ruining the shot altogether.

Sometimes, nonetheless, there may merely non be enough low-cal, and if you don’t have off-camera lighting, y’all’ll be left with no choice just to use the built-in flash. If you lot discover yourself in this situation and don’t desire to miss the shot, there are a couple of things you tin do. First of all, notice the flash settings in your photographic camera’s carte du jour and reduce effulgence every bit much as you can.

Second, you can try diffusing the low-cal from the flash past putting something over it. Securing a slice of paper or opaque scotch tape over the flash, for case, can help diffuse the light and soften information technology. Or you could bounciness the light off the ceiling by holding a fleck of white cardboard in forepart of information technology at an angle.

10. Acquire to conform white residual

White balance can help you capture colours more accurately. Different types of calorie-free have different characteristics, so if you don’t conform the white rest, the colours in your photography may have on a slightly blue, orange or green hue or ‘temperature.’

White balance tin be fixed in post processing, of course, but it tin can get a scrap slow if you have hundreds of photos that need slight adjustments fabricated, so information technology’s better to get this right in the camera. Some of the standard white balance settings you lot’ll detect on your camera include Automated White Rest, Daylight, Cloudy, Flash, Shade, Fluorescent and Tungsten.

Each of these is symbolised by a different icon, so if you’re not certain which is which, cheque your camera’s transmission. Automated white balance works alright in some situations, but it’southward generally best to change the setting according to the type of light you’re shooting in.

11. Learn to read the histogram

Although yous probably glance at your camera’southward LCD screen to run into if you lot’ve correctly exposed an image, this isn’t a reliable style to assess exposure every bit images may appear brighter or darker on the screen than they really are. The best fashion to accurately check exposure at the time of shooting is to use your photographic camera’due south histogram, which is the little graph that shows upwards side by side to your images.

Learning to interpret the histogram will take some time and practice, but the brief explanation of it is that it gives you data almost the tonal range present in your image. The left side of the graph represents the blacks or shadows and the right side represents the whites or highlights.

If the graph is skewed to the right, your epitome may be overexposed and you’ll have lost a lot of particular in the lighter areas of the photo. If it’s skewed to the left, it’south likely underexposed and will exist likewise nighttime. For a more than in-depth explanation of the histogram, cheque out Digital Camera World’s histogram
cheat sheets.

12. Play with perspective

The best manner to go a bit more than artistic with your photography is to experiment with perspective. The exact aforementioned scene can oft wait very different when approached from a unlike angle, and capturing your subject from above or below may change the whole feel of a photo.

Not every angle will piece of work for every photograph, of grade, but you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t experiment. When shooting animals or children, you can try getting down to their level and viewing the world through their eyes. If you’re shooting a portrait, why not stand up on a bench and shoot your subject field from higher up?

Paradigm © Simon Jay

13. Empathize the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is based on the idea that pictures are more often than not more than interesting and well balanced when they aren’t centred. Imagine a filigree placed over your images with ii vertical lines and ii horizontal lines that dissever the picture into nine equal sections.

If you were post-obit the rule of thirds, rather than positioning your subject or the important elements of a scene at the center of the photo, you’d place them along one of the four lines, or at the points where the lines intersect. Some cameras fifty-fifty have a filigree choice you tin can turn on, which can be useful if y’all’re yet learning to etch your images.

Of course, photography is all about inventiveness and personal expression, so yous may sometimes choose to break this dominion and place the points of interest elsewhere in your photo. This is absolutely fine, merely before y’all start breaking this rule, it’southward of import that you understand information technology and are in the habit of consciously thinking about the points of interest and where you want to place them. We also accept a listing of compositional techniques to amend your photography, notice out more.

14. Eyes should always be in focus

When shooting portraits, you lot’ll be focusing on a very small-scale area so it will be more important than always that you get a nice sharp image. The eyes in particular are an of import facial characteristic, and they’re frequently the first thing people look at, specially when it comes to close-ups and headshots.

With this in listen, your subject’s eyes should be your master point of focus. To get both optics nice and sharp, choose a single focus point and aim it at one of the optics. Once the showtime center is in focus, keep the shutter push pressed halfway down and move the camera slightly to recompose the photo and include the second eye.

xv. Pay attention to the background

Generally speaking, the background should exist every bit simple and ataxia free every bit possible and so that it doesn’t pull the viewer’south attention away from the main subject of the photograph. Muted colours and obviously patterns tend to piece of work well, because you don’t desire viewers to end up being more than interested in the colourful edifice or church belfry in the background than your model.

Fixing a distracting background can be as simple every bit moving your discipline or changing your angle, only if that doesn’t work, it may be possible to obscure information technology by using a wider aperture and getting in as close to your bailiwick as possible. Whenever you can, though, attempt to keep the groundwork neutral, peculiarly if y’all’re placing your subject off to the side of the photo and the groundwork is very visible. Notice out some more tips with our guide to minimalist photography.

sixteen. Invest in a tripod

If you want to get sharp photos in low calorie-free without raising the ISO too much, a tripod is an essential accessory. It will also let yous to experiment with long exposure photography, where yous exit the shutter open for seconds or even minutes at a time, which can make for some astonishing effects when photographing things like cityscapes or rivers and waterfalls.

When purchasing your first tripod, there are a few things to consider such as weight, stability and meridian. Weight is of import because you’ll exist carrying the tripod effectually with y’all and don’t want annihilation likewise heavy, merely it also needs to be stable enough to back up your camera and the lenses you program to utilise. You tin can hear more well-nigh what we recommend for upgrading your photography gear with our blog.

17. Shoot in the early morning time and evening

Lighting can make or break a photo, and the early morning time and evening are widely thought to exist the best times of day for taking photos. In photography, the hour just after the lord’s day rises or before information technology sets is chosen the “gilded 60 minutes,” because the sun is lower in the sky and the lite is softer and warmer.

Whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits or still life, using the early morning time or evening light can give your photos a serene experience with its warm glow and the long shadows it casts. Of course, the golden hour is not the only time you lot can become practiced outdoor photos, just it does get in easier.

eighteen. Invest in some expert photograph editing software

In one case yous beginning shooting in RAW, post processing will become a must rather than an afterthought, so you’ll need to invest in some photo editing software that volition allow you to perform bones editing tasks such as cropping, adjusting exposure, white balance and contrast, removing blemishes and more.

Most professional photographers use programs like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but if yous desire something a picayune less pricey to commencement with you can effort Photoshop Elements, Picasa or Pigment Store Pro.

nineteen. Exist selective

It’s important to realise that every photographer, no thing how experienced or talented, gets some mediocre shots. The reason that their portfolios are so impressive, however, is that they only display their all-time work; they don’t diameter y’all with x photos of a nearly identical scene.

So if you want your work to stand out when sharing your photos on Facebook, Instagram or photo sharing sites, endeavor to narrow it down to just a couple of very good photos from each shoot. You may have shot hundreds of photos at your friend’s birthday party or your son’s football match, but past displaying all of them, yous’re obscuring the 5 or ten actually nifty shots that you got.

Have a look at our guide to creating your own portfolio, and read our interview with photographer Felix Rome on creating a powerful photo series.

Image © Felix Rome

20. Learn from your mistakes

Getting overexposed, blurry or badly equanimous photos can be frustrating, just rather than letting such photos discourage you, use them as a learning tool. The side by side time you get a bad photo; don’t immediately striking the delete push. Instead, spend some time studying the photo to work out what went incorrect and how you could amend it.

Most of the time in that location will be a simple solution such equally trying a different limerick or using a faster shutter speed, only if you run across any recurring problems, y’all’ll have a chance to report upwards on specific aspects of photography and strengthen your weaker areas.

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