Starting out in photography is exciting, to be sure.
But it can also be a lot of work!
Working hard to improve your craft is a good thing, though, because in the end, photography is a journey, and the growth you experience along the way will be invaluable.
Of course, it's nice to know where to begin, too.
That's the purpose of this guide.
I've put together ten basic tips to help you start your photography journey. Each one is summarized below and includes a link to a more comprehensive discussion of each topic.
Looking at your camera dial and seeing M, A, P, A/AV, S/TV, and all the other little icons can be a little confusing, even if you read your camera's owner's manual!
But understanding what each camera mode does and the applications in which each one can help you will only serve to make taking better photos an easier task.
Don't continue to be confused about which mode does what...
For a good overview of the primary shooting modes, check out this guide and start taking better photos today!
Your camera has various metering modes that allow it to "read" the light under different circumstances.
But with names like evaluative, spot, partial, and center-weighted, it's easy to understand why so many beginners aren't sure what each mode does, let alone when to use them.
Each metering mode is a specialist at helping you get a well-exposed image depending on the situation.
By learning what each mode does and how to use it, you'll have yet another way to take improved photos.
This comprehensive guide will introduce you to metering modes and explain the pros and cons of each.
Reading a Histogram
One of the most powerful tools in a photographer's toolkit - the histogram - is also one of the most underutilized.
In a nutshell, the histogram gives you a graphical representation of the brightness levels or tones in an image. It's a far more accurate method of judging the exposure than simply looking at your images on your camera's LCD.
That means you get a highly accurate view of the image's exposure levels so you know what needs to be changed to get a better-exposed photo.
View this tutorial on histograms to develop an understanding of what they are and how to use them to your benefit.
Have you ever taken a photo and noticed that the color is off?
Maybe things that should be bright white are a little blue, or maybe a bit yellow?
That's color casting that's due to incorrect white balance, but you can control white balance with your camera.
The trick, of course, is learning how to do that!
Find out how to adjust white balance in this detailed article.
Want more beginner photography tips? Check out the video above for seven tips that will have an immediate impact on your photos!
General Photography Tips
How to Create More Dynamic Compositions
If you've noticed that your photos all look the same, are a little boring, or would otherwise benefit from a little compositional improvement, doing so isn't as hard as you might think.
In fact, one of the most well-known photography tips - using the rule of thirds - can help you achieve much better photos.
It's a simple concept, but one that requires a little bit of thinking and practice on your part.
Get a detailed overview of the rule of thirds in this guide, and see how much of an impact it can have on the photos you create.
How to Get Sharp Photos
One of the most common culprits of bad photos is them being out of focus.
And though there are many reasons why your images are blurry, there are also many ways to ensure that that doesn't happen.
For a detailed look at how to take tack-sharp photos, give this article a read.
How to Get a Shallow (or Deep) Depth of Field
When you look at a typical landscape photo, you might notice how everything from the foreground to background is in focus.
Then, when you look at a typical portrait, you might notice how the subject is in focus, but the background is not.
That's a result of the depth of field, and it's actually a lot easier to manipulate than you might think...
Learn how depth of field works and how to control it in this step-by-step guide.
How to Blur (or Freeze) Movement
Images like the one above are impressive because of the manner in which the movement of the train is blurred.
When it comes down to it, to get that kind of look (or, conversely, to freeze movement) you need to worry primarily about one camera setting - shutter speed.
Learning to manipulate shutter speed might be a bit more of an advanced topic, but it's certainly one worth exploring.
Get the scoop on shutter speed, problems you might encounter, and how to fix them, in this tutorial.
Caring for Your Gear
How to Clean Your DSLR
Taking your lens off your DSLR and peering inside, you might very well see all kinds of dust and gunk on your camera's sensor and mirror.
But since those elements are extremely delicate, cleaning them can be a nail-biting task if you aren't sure what you're doing.
Check out this step-by-step guide for cleaning your DSLR the right way.
How to Clean Your Lenses
Your lens is your camera's window to the world, so there's not much point of cleaning your camera if your lens glass is dirty.
Though it isn't as delicate of a process as cleaning the inside of your DSLR, there's still a lot of tips and tricks to be aware of for getting your lens in tip-top shape.
If you aren't sure how to clean your lens glass, we've got this guideline that will walk you through the process.
There you have it - 10 must-know camera settings and photography tips to get you started on the right foot in photography.
There's plenty more to learn, but these guidelines and tutorials will be enough to occupy you for the time being.