- A Beginner's Guide to Aperture Priority Mode and Exposure Compensation
- Everything You Need to Know About Shutter Priority Mode
- Why You Need to Shoot in Program Mode
Image Credit: Victoria Labadie - Fotonomada via iStock
So, you're ready to become a photographer, eh? Congratulations!
Of course, making the decision to learn photography is one thing while actually putting forth the time and effort to do so is another.
It's easy to just pick up your camera and start shooting, but if you want to make real progress, you'll need to invest a little bit of time learning about the fundamentals of photography.
In this quick guide, I offer up a few must-have photography tips for beginners that cover everything from composition to photography gear to how to get a well-exposed photo.
Let's get to it!
Photography Composition Tip: Learn to Alter Your Perspective
Image Credit: f11photo via iStock
One of the best ways that you can create more interesting and unique photos is by simply changing the eye level from which you shoot.
If you kneel down rather than stand, or if you climb a hill to gain some elevation on your subject, your images will immediately have a completely different look than what you'd get if you did what most people do and photograph the subject from a normal eye level.
You can see this concept at work by comparing the images above and below. The one above is from a traditional eye level. And while there's nothing wrong with this shot, it isn't exactly eye-catching, either.
Image Credit: pawel.gaul via iStock
In this shot, however, changing the perspective by shooting from an elevated position resulted in a more interesting image.
Furthermore, if you alter the angle from which you shoot - like shooting at a steep upward angle at the subject or a steep downward angle, the resulting image will be more eye-catching as well.
Another tip is to get close to the subject and fill the frame. Doing so allows you to highlight the details of the subject and gives the viewer a much more intimate view.
Beginner Photography Tip: Invest in Gear Essentials
One of the first things you need to do gear-wise is to replace the camera strap that came with your camera.
The problem with those straps is that they're flimsy and uncomfortable, and really do nothing for you except give you neck and shoulder pain.
Instead, upgrade your camera strap with something like the one shown above.
This particular strap from HiiGuy has a big, padded shoulder, which helps spread the weight of your camera and lens out over a larger area. That means less shoulder and neck fatigue for you! It also has an anti-slip silicone coating on it so your camera actually stays put on your shoulder.
What's more, a good camera strap like this offers functionality beyond comfort.
For example, it's universally compatible, so it will work perfectly with any DSLR with a standard 1/4" screw.
Additionally, the HiiGuy strap has a built-in zippered pocket, so you have a ready-made spot for things like extra camera batteries or memory cards right at your fingertips.
Add to that the fact that this strap is highly adjustable to fit just about any body type, is made of high-quality and durable materials, and comes with a three-year warranty, and you have the makings of an excellent investment.
Heck, you even get a free eBook of photography tips, a microfiber cleaning cloth, an SD card storage case, and more!
Perhaps best of all, this strap is extremely affordable, so you won't break the bank upgrading your gear. What's not to like about that?!
Commit Yourself to Learning
Image Credit: artiemedvedev via iStock
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your photography skills is simply do more of what you're doing right now.
Find tutorials like this to read. Check out photography channels on YouTube. Bookmark your favorite photography blogs and save articles for later reading.
Whatever you do, strive to take time each and every day to learn more - even if it's just five minutes here or ten minutes there!
Learn How to Hold Your Camera
Image Credit: MarioGuti via iStock
It might seem like a trivial thing, but how you hold your camera can actually impact how your images turn out.
If you hold the camera incorrectly - as demonstrated in the image above - you don't give it the most stable base for taking photos.
The problem with that is that the less stable your camera is, the less likely you are to get sharp photos.
Holding the camera correctly involves beefing up the stability by placing your left hand firmly under the camera body.
Combined with having a good grip on the camera with your right hand, this approach to holding a camera is much more stable.
You can even tuck your elbows into your chest, lean against a firm object like a wall, or support your elbows on a table or other horizontal surface for more stability.
Get detailed instructions on how to hold a camera in the video above by Jared Polin.
Master Full Auto Mode - and Then Ditch It
Image Credit: Bhanupong Asatamongkolchai via iStock
When you're just starting out in photography, learning how to take better photos involves learning how your compose your images.
And that is most simply done if you shoot in full auto mode. That's because in full auto, the camera handles all the technical stuff, so you can focus on learning how to compose a great shot.
But what full auto mode won't do for you is help you learn how your camera works...
To do that, and to learn about essential camera settings and controlling the exposure of your images, you need to learn how to manipulate exposure settings.
In a nutshell, aperture controls the amount of light that enters your camera, shutter speed controls the duration of light, and ISO controls the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to light.
A change in any of these settings will make your images brighter or darker, depending on the change that's made.
A complete discussion of exposure settings is an article in and of itself (which you can read here).
It's a more advanced topic than just the basics, but trust me when I say that the sooner you learn how to control the exposure, the better off you'll be!