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21 photography tips all beginners should know

Updated: Apr 22



A picture is worth a thousand words, but photographers read millions of words about their field to take their work to the highest level. While raw talent plays a role in the journey to becoming a professional photographer, those who do are the ones who put countless hours of unseen work behind their work. The photos you see displayed on your favorite photo site or social media account are probably light years ahead of the first photos taken by the artists.


It's no secret that will take you from zero to completely when it comes to photography. Nevertheless, there are many tools and guidelines that will help you improve the quality of your work as you develop your skills and style. Ready to start training? Let us be your Philoctetes and start training with these 21 photography tips for beginners:


Shoot everything, every day

The only way to become good at something is by practicing. Always have a camera with you, and capture everything that catches your attention. You do not even need a professional camera - your smartphone works just fine. This exercise will help you train your photographic eye and improve results day after day. As a bonus, you will learn how to see and appreciate the beauty of everyday life. If you feel like you run out of motivation, look for different freelance photography jobs and add a financial incentive to this self-improvement journey.


Buy knowledge, not equipment

We live in a consumer society, and for the most part we love it. New cameras and lenses are presented almost every week. Each of them has completely new features and improvements. However, the hype around them can make you buy a lot more equipment than you need.


What good is a web site if it simply "blends in" with everything else out there? Instead, divert your thinking to good things in life, such as investing in the latest gadgets and courses to improve your work. Learning new techniques will help you much more than getting a slightly brighter lens.


Turn it on

Photography literally means drawing with light, so the importance of understanding this element should not come as a surprise. The way light is used in an image can be the deciding factor between a good and a unique image. Start by researching the origins of camera obscura and continue reading about the properties of light. When you have a general idea, put everything into practice and see how each situation affects your photos.



Check the triad

There are three things you need to master when it comes to achieving the perfect exposure on your photos: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. These settings mainly control how much light enters the camera, how long it can enter, and how sensitive the sensor is to this influx. Oh, and you also need to understand how they affect each other. While shooting in auto mode allows you to achieve the right exposure without the need for knowledge on your part, you must give up all control over how the image looks in exchange.


Find your mice

Discover at least one image that inspires you every day. Spend time looking at the work of others. A lot of time. Use social media channels to follow the latest work of photographers whose work you feel most inspired by. Do some old-fashioned research too. Go to the nearest library and borrow some classic photographer books. Visit a museum and see how the painting compositions relate to your favorite pictures.


Be true to your work

Humans are very easily influenced, even if we try to convince ourselves of our uniqueness. As a media creator, every image you see is likely to affect your work in some way. This is where the biggest risk for social media for photographers arises. It is very easy to be tempted to recreate the compositions or processes you find around these networks. However, the world does not need another copy in search of Instagram fame. Focus on the specific elements you like instead, and see how you can use them to continue to develop your own style.


Identify your topic

Every photo you take needs a clear subject. Trying to put too many elements in the frame will only result in a messy composition. By stating a clear point of interest, you will be able to direct the viewer's attention to the point you intended, and be sure to convey the exact image and feeling you had in mind. To do this, find a clear background that gives the subject the attention it deserves, and find the right position for it within the frame.



Come closer

As Robert Capa once said, "If your photos are not good enough, you are not close enough." Zooming in, instead of taking a few steps towards the subject, is one of the main mistakes beginners make. Although zoom may be useful in some cases, it should not be your default solution. Getting closer will also allow you to see the topic in more detail and form a deeper connection with them.


Be present

Lower the camera to capture all scenes and enjoy each scene. By paying attention to your surroundings and interacting with the people you work with, you can create connections that you can use to enhance the image. When you photograph a fantastic sunset in the mountains, having your eyes glued to the viewfinder can make you miss the way the forest behind you is illuminated by the last rays of the sun. In portrait photography, it is an absolute must to connect to the subject if you want to take really striking photos.


Transfer emotions

All great photos have a story behind them. This story is not about something that happened before the picture was taken, but rather about the story viewers imagine when they look at it. The ability to compress a strong emotion within a single frame is one of the main differences between an average shot and a masterpiece. This is why being able to get in touch with your audience will have a big impact on the likelihood of becoming a professional photographer. Before you press the shutter button, make a mental picture of the story you want the picture to tell and use all the tools you have to make it happen.


Understand composition rules

Rule of thirds, patterns, implicit movements, depth, guiding lines ... - there is a long list of rules for photography composition that can guide you in your quest to take unique photos. Despite their name, they should be seen as a tool to enhance your work, rather than a mandatory feature you should include in all your photos. Reading these rules will help you gain a better understanding of how we view images, and as a result you will be able to increase the quality of your work.


Break the rules

Once you have memorized the rules, break them. It is very important that you follow this order, since you need to understand what makes these rules so good in order to retain the essence of your photos. If you try to get junky before mastering them, you'll probably take your photos back to square one. Have you ever seen Picasso's step-by-step animal creation? It takes a lot of knowledge to be a creative spirit - and get away with it.


Be selective

Think before you shoot. How fast and good you can think before you take the picture will determine how good the picture you took is. Yes, it's as complicated as it sounds. The good news is that it gets a lot easier as you get comfortable behind the camera. In the end, it will be such an automatic response that you will not even realize all the thinking you put into the light, the subject and the composition.


Experiment

Constantly stepping out of your comfort zone is the key to creative development. You may be tempted to focus on capturing specific types of subjects in a particular way. Perhaps you have found that the best results come from photographing outdoor pets with a premium lens. Finding your calling is great and should be nurtured and valued. However, limiting all your work to such a niche theme will significantly limit your creative development potential. Continue to challenge your creativity by shooting under different conditions, using a variety of focal lengths and finding new subjects.


Find new perspectives

Do not just put the camera in front of your face and start taking pictures. Look for a new point of view to highlight a certain quality on stage. Changing the way we are used to seeing things will immediately increase the interest of those who look at your photos. Get above or below your subject to play with the size and emotions it conveys. Backlights, reflections and sloping horizons are also good ways to capture interesting compositions.



Make mistakes

Do not be afraid to try new things, even if you know in advance that the result will not be perfect. Trying a new technique or style and not being able to catch a good shot is perfectly fine. In fact, most lessons can not be learned without making a lot of mistakes while practicing to get better. Even if the result is your worst picture ever, take the time to understand what went wrong and how to make sure you avoid that problem next time.


Master the tools

There is so much to learn from every single piece of equipment you own. Even the smartphone camera probably has a dozen controls you need to figure out how to use it. Start by reading all manual instructions. It may seem like a waste of time, but you will definitely discover some new things from it. Perform all the functions and see how you can get the most out of each of the camera accessories you have.


Make your edits

The aversion to "photoshopped images" is one of the most damaging photography myths. Although you should take your photos as close to the end result as possible, they will always need some finishing. This is especially important when shooting in RAW, as the images you get are likely to be quite bland. Knowing about image editing software will also allow you to develop a consistent style across your portfolio.


Be a Renaissance person

Photographers tend to focus on a particular genre. This allows them to develop a cured style and skills that are tailored to a specific audience. While this may be your ultimate destination, it is not something you should use in the early stages of your photographic journey. Touching many different disciplines will help you shape your talent and allow you to create higher quality content in the long run.


Share your work

Creating a professional photographer website is not something you should keep in mind before becoming a master in your field. In fact, putting your work out there so that everyone can see it can be a great motivation to keep getting better as your journey progresses. Unlike social media, a photography website allows you to control all the information you offer visitors, as well as how exactly your photos are displayed. By pairing both of these platforms, you get access to a powerful tool for building your brand while developing your work.


Join a community

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can teach you more than any other book and guide out there. Whether you find them online or offline, being in touch with other photographers will do wonders for your inspiration, motivation and results. Ask about their techniques and styles and see what lessons may apply to your own work. Sign up for photo sessions with shutterbugs at all levels to test your limits, and maybe even make new friends in the process.



Freddy Fix borrowed from Wix

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