Photography for Beginners
If you want to become a prodigious photographer then we have some tips for photography for beginners, after all a picture is worth a thousand words. Just like with learning an instrument, picking up a camera to some people might seem the most natural thing in the world without knowing all the nuances involved in photography, whereas another might find it daunting to start shooting but worry not as everyone needs to start at square one.
If you want to capture the moments that matter to you, or even if you want some one-on-one tutorials then checking out The List to find talented professional photographers waiting for you.
Don’t Blow The Budget
When it comes to Photography for beginners, don’t feel you need the latest ultra expensive DSLR in order to take a great picture. A professional with a standard iPhone can take pictures infinitely better than an amateur with an expensive Nikon D850. Start with an entry level DSLR as camera equipment has a high rate of diminishing returns that needs professional hands to get the most out of the more expensive you go. Ease yourself into what is already an expensive hobby/profession. To help you improve you should learn not to blame the equipment; if that shot wasn’t too great don’t think you need a better camera when you need some more practice.
One of the core tenants of Photography for beginners is the use of light; the way professionals talk about that is the exposure triangle. The three elements are shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
The shutter speed is basically the length of time light is exposed; it is measured in seconds and fractions of a second. The effect of slow shutter speeds is motion blur while fast shutter speeds provide more defined images captured in the moment. A picture of a hummingbird at 1 second means the wings will be blurred, if you took that same photo at 1/500th the wings will be perfectly still and defined.
Aperture is the control over the size of the lens and the amount of light let in. It controls the depth of field in an image. It is measured by ‘f-stops’ and the lower the number the bigger the lens and the more light. This means that if you were to take a photo of a flower with f-stop 2, the background behind the flower would be blurred, but if you took the same photo with f-stop 22 the background will be clear and defined.
Finally ISO is basically the sensitivity of the sensor to light. Measured in doubled increments from 100, so ISO 200, 400, 800 and onward. Low ISO means the sensor is gathering more light, high ISO means it is gathering less. A higher ISO could allow you to shoot better in the dark but also mean a grainy effect and less quality pictures. Using different ISOs is more dependent on different shutter speeds and apertures, depending on your situation an ISO correction is more advanced.
Composition is the placement of everything within a shot and requires an artistic eye but it can be trained. It is about the balance of colour, texture and depth of the subject. It is essentially down to studies of our brain, eyes and mathematical formula about what is visually pleasing. You can develop a skill of ‘seeing the shot’ but knowing the components of composition is great knowledge to have.
A great tool for practicing your composition is the rule of thirds. When eyeing a shot place a 3 by 3 grid over the top. You want to find points of visual interest at the four intersections where the squares meet – essentially the four corners of the middle square.
You need experience, alongside explanation, to understand composition which brings us onto our final tip.
Shoot, Shoot and Shoot Again
Always have your camera on hand and always be taking pictures. Practice your manipulation of the exposure triangle to find what works in different situations and look for composition in everything. You can take a boring photo of an incredible sight if it lacks composition, or a fantastic photo of a mundane sight if it has good composition.
Photographers improve by taking thousands of photos to better understand the technical elements of the camera alongside your artistic eye. Photography for beginners, as well as photography in general is also about perfection through effort; all photographers take hundreds of attempts to get that one perfect shot. Never feel disheartened if you take a photo and it looks bad, take fifty more at the same spot to find what does work! Never give in and always aspire.
If you’re looking for a photographer or even a photography teacher, be sure to check out The List today.