By Anna Gay on | No Comments
The world of digital photography is vast and exciting, but if you are new to photography, your camera manual alone may seem overwhelming, much less all of the information you’ll find online about digital photography. Here are a 10 great photography tips to consider when you are new to photography.
The more you use your camera, the better you will understand its modes, functions, and all of the amazing things it can do! When the camera is new, it may seem cumbersome, and it may also take you a bit of time to learn how to adjust the settings. I guarantee you, though, if you work with it regularly, operating the camera will become second nature quickly. It isn’t rocket science, but practice does make perfect!
Browse the internet, and find images that inspire you. Websites like Instagram, Pinterest and even the Pretty Presets Facebook Group are great places to start.
You can also get inspiration from places other than photography by allowing your personal interests to intersect with your photography. For example – I have an interest in local and state history, so when I was new to photography, I spent a lot of time photographing historic locations here in my home state (Georgia).
Finding ways of incorporating your other interests/hobbies into your photography is a sure-fire way to stay inspired.
A common mistake new photographers often make is sinking a lot of money into equipment that they never end up using. I’ve done it, my friends have done it, and it’s all very (financially) unfortunate. Stick with your camera in the beginning, and then acquire equipment slowly over time once you know exactly what you need and how often you will be using it.
In the same vein as purchasing equipment, you can also rent photo equipment. This is a great way to test the waters on equipment before you invest. Aperturent is my favorite camera rental service. Their inventory has everything I need, their prices are perfect, and their staff members are some of the best in the business. I wouldn’t rent anywhere else, to be honest!
99.99% of the photographers I know are self-taught. They didn’t go to art school, and a large percentage of them didn’t pick up photography until their 30’s and 40’s. Some of them have become successful photography business owners, while others are making their mark in the fine art world. All of this to say that you can achieve a great deal through self-teaching. We are fortunate to have endless resources at our fingertips through places like Pretty Presets & Actions, and YouTube, where people will share what they know with you for free!
Be sure to check your local library, too. You will be surprised by the amount of up-to-date photography how-to books you’ll find in the library, and the library is also a wonderful place to find photo books (art books, as opposed to how-to books) that will inspire you through imagery.
This idea relates back to carrying your camera everywhere, but instead of becoming aware of how to operate your camera, as photographers, we need to learn how to understand our surroundings. We need to develop a certain awareness of things such as composition, light, color and form, in order to know how to create images with our cameras. The more you photograph what’s around you, the more you will learn how your camera sees things such as light and color.
You can go as detailed as you would like with this idea, but jotting down notes while you are shooting can help you tremendously. For example, if you find a combination of settings that work really well on your camera in a particular location (say, if you are shooting indoors in low light), writing down the settings that you used can be a great reference later on. If, for whatever reason, you don’t have your camera with you and you think of a shot you would like to take, having a notebook or journal is the perfect place to write down your ideas.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Find different styles of photography or new techniques - whether it be a certain style of post-processing or using a different type of lighting - and give them a try on your own. You don’t have to show the images to anyone (unless you want to, then go for it!) but rather, this is an exercise for your own benefit. Experimentation will lead you to discovering your own style as a photographer.
While it is best to hold off on investing a lot of money in camera equipment up front, purchasing a tripod is a wise idea. When you are learning to edit your images in software such as Lightroom and Photoshop, having crisp images will help you learn how to edit more efficiently. Having a tripod will ensure sharp images, both to help you edit, and for your own enjoyment, as using a tripod prevents your camera from moving, causing blur, or “camera shake.”
This should go without saying, but it is easy to forget, especially if your images aren’t coming out quite as you had hoped. Sure, we all get frustrated from time to time, but photography should be enjoyable! So, if you find yourself getting frustrated, just take a break – whether it be an hour-long, or even a few days-long, break. Sometimes, taking a step back can remind us just how much we enjoy photography.
Do you have any questions or comments about our Photography Tips for Beginners? Leave us a comment below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.