The hardest part of learning how to take quality photos is acquiring and digesting all the necessary information to understand composition, camera settings, lighting, and so forth.
And that’s just the start…
It’s a lot to learn, but the more time you devote to the learning process, the better off you’ll be and the better your photos will be too.
I recognize that you might not have all day to sit around and read photography tutorials, so with that in mind, here are a few random (but helpful) photography tips for beginners.
Helpful Photography Tip #1: Keep It Simple
photo by AlexanderImage via iStock
When composing your shots, avoid the temptation to include everything you see in one frame. Instead, find a strong subject that stands out, focus on it, and strive to simplify the rest of the composition.
Simple compositions are much more powerful because they allow the subject to shine. If there’s a cluttered background or distracting elements to the left or right of the subject, the photo simply will not have as much visual appeal.
photo by m-imagephotography via iStock
You can see this difference in the two images immediately above.
The first image has a very busy and brightly colored background that’s highly distracting. The second image, though, has a much cleaner background that’s one solid color.
The second portrait is much stronger because it’s much simpler, don’t you think?
Helpful Photography Tip #2: Keep Your Camera Close
As I noted in the introduction, getting better at photography takes time, and that means practicing your craft - a lot.
You can’t practice taking photos if you don’t have your camera with you, so a good rule to live by is to always have your camera handy.
This doesn’t mean that you need to carry your mirrorless or DSLR camera with you into the grocery store or bring it to your office each day - your smartphone will suffice for day-to-day shooting.
Nevertheless, shooting with your “real” camera and doing so often is still a necessity. You need to learn how to use all the camera controls because that will enable you to take improved photos, particularly from an exposure standpoint.
You don’t have to carry your camera around using its uncomfortable camera strap, either. In fact, another aspect of this “keep your camera close” tip is to invest in a better camera strap.
If you’ve had your camera for any length of time, you’ve likely discovered that the strap that came with your camera isn’t anything to write home about. It’s flimsy, not very functional, and uncomfortable to boot.
I replaced the strap on my Sony a6300 with the Holdfast MoneyMaker Solo, and it was a good move, to say the least.
Where the factory strap on my little Sony ticked all the boxes for flimsiness and lack of comfort, the MoneyMaker Solo is precisely the opposite.
It’s made of a single piece of full-grain leather that is strong, durable, and looks great as well.
There’s a large, contoured shoulder strap that stays in place on my shoulder and distributes the weight of my gear over a larger area. That means that I experience far less neck and shoulder fatigue. What’s not to like about that?
It’s easy to use, too. I just pull the tab on the Belt Anchor to release the camera and raise it to my eye to take the shot. Then I simply re-attach the camera to the Belt Anchor (which can be done one-handed) and my camera stays put right on my hip, no matter if I’m walking, running, kneeling down, or something in between.
Carrying a camera with a factory camera strap is a drag, and it can reduce your desire to go out and shoot as often as you should. But with the MoneyMaker Solo, you’ll want to stay out shooting longer - it’s that comfortable!
See the MoneyMaker Solo in action in the video above by Holdfast.
Helpful Photography Tip #3: Stop Chimping
photo by Poike via iStock
Chimping is the act of constantly checking your camera’s LCD to see what the shot you just took looks like, and you shouldn’t do it.
There’s two primary reasons.
First, the more time you spend looking at the photos you’ve already taken, the less time you spend taking new photos. Who knows what beautiful moments you might miss because you’re too busy looking at the last shot you just took?!
Second, looking at the camera’s LCD doesn’t really do much for you in terms of deriving technical details about the shot.
That is, LCDs are not especially accurate when it comes to displaying highlights, shadows, and exposure levels. That’s what a histogram is for…
So, as you practice your photography, focus on resisting the urge to chimp. And while you’re at it, give the other tips I outline above a try. You’ll be better for it, and so will your photos!
All photos of the MoneyMaker Solo are by Brandon Burk