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So, you've gotten yourself a camera and you're ready to start using it.
The question is, where do you even begin?
Sometimes, the hardest part of taking on a new hobby is simply getting started.
Well, getting started is just what this article is for!
In the video above, Kai W. offers up some quick beginner photography tips that will help you improve the quality of your photos.
He's been at this for quite some time, so trust the advice he offers...
For more details about a few of his tips, just keep reading below!
As Kai points out in the video, the biggest problem for a lot of new photographers isn't a lack of skill.
I'd also add that it's usually not a lack of good enough photography gear, either.
Instead, it's more of a crisis of confidence.
So how do you get more confident as a photographer?
You simply take more photos, more often.
Taking the time to take photos each and every day is perhaps the best thing you can do to build your confidence and build your photography skills at the same time.
But that doesn't mean taking the same photos over and over and over again.
Instead, challenge yourself to try new things, as that will also challenge you to apply what you know about photography in many different situations.
Granted, you can't put yourself in every single photography situation you might ever encounter, but the more you practice different types of photography with different subjects and so on, the better you'll become.
Here's a big secret...
Even though those YouTube tutorials you watch about photography might seem like the photographer just jumped out of the car and started shooting incredible scenery, that's not how it works.
Very seldom - and I mean very - do photographers just happen on a subject or a moment to photograph.
Instead, there's tons of preparation beforehand to increase the likelihood of getting a great shot.
There are a million and a half tools that photographers can use to prepare for a photo shoot, too...
Something as simple as Google Maps can give you a bird's eye view of the area you want to photograph, and in many cases a ground-level view as well.
If you want to shoot at a certain time of day (or night) you can download apps like the Photographer's Ephemeris to tell you exactly where the sun, moon, and other celestial bodies will be at a certain time and place.
Heck, there's apps like Camera+ that give your phone's native camera added functionalities like a visual grid system for composing better photos and touch and exposure features to make it easier to get a well-exposed, sharp image.
Beyond that, there are tons of places to simply view fantastic photos to inspire your own work. Our galleries are full of incredible images, and Flickr and Instagram certainly have tons of photos worthy of a good, long look.
Work With the Right Light
Part of being prepared to take great photos is going out to take photos under the right lighting conditions.
Shooting at mid-day under direct sunlight, for example, is not the ideal situation.
That's because the light at that time of day is very intense and will wash out the subject and cause harsh shadows.
Golden Hour, on the other hand, it an ideal time for outdoor photos because the light is soft, has a warm, golden tone, and since the sky is low in the sky, it produces long shadows that give the scene tons of depth and dimension.
This beautiful light occurs near sunrise and sunset, so if you're determined to get the best outdoor photos, you'll need to get up early or stay out late!
Yes, gear matters...
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to go spend $3,500 on a professional DSLR, but you do need something decent if you're going to learn how to improve.
Decent these days might just mean your mobile phone or an entry-level DSLR.
It might mean having an entry-level mirrorless camera with one or two lenses that you can swap out.
The point is that you don't need expensive gear - or a lot of gear, for that matter - to take great photos.
In fact, if you have a camera, a lens or two, and a tripod, you can get pretty far!
Get Even More Beginner Photography Tips
For a few more beginner photography tips, be sure you watch Kai's video all the way through. The guy knows his stuff!
Also be sure to check out our beginner photography section for loads of guides, tutorials, tips, and tricks that will help you up your photography game.
Remember...getting better is more about practicing than anything else.
So whatever lessons and guides you read and whatever videos you watch, be sure you have time afterward to go out and put your knowledge into practice!