- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
- Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens
- BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro
If you’re a beginner photographer, you’ve no doubt experienced the difficulty of becoming a more proficient photographer.
There are some concepts that are hard to grasp (the exposure triangle, anyone?).
Then there’s the complexities of learning how to use all the functions and features of your camera - including learning how to shoot in manual mode.
That’s not to mention learning the creative elements of photography, like composition.
It’s just a lot to learn, and can be overwhelming, even for the most dedicated of learners!
Here’s a few tips for beginners to help you get on the path toward taking improved photos.
Don’t Worry as Much About Gear
Some new photographers mistakenly believe that having the most expensive camera will translate into better photos.
Though gear is important, it’s not the end-all, be-all.
You’ll be better served using your time and money learning how to use the gear you have and exploring ways to compose more compelling photos than you will pursuing the best gear available.
Many great photos have been taken with cheap cameras, which goes to show it’s not all about the gear you use!
Learn Your Camera’s Controls
As noted in the introduction, learning how your camera works can be a daunting task.
However, if you’re to create more successful photos, you need a working knowledge of how to manipulate your camera settings.
In particular, you need to learn how to control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO - the three elements of the exposure triangle.
If you can master these controls, you can take advantage of the most important element of photography - lighting.
As with all things photography, it takes time, dedication, and effort to master these controls, but once you do, your photos will be infinitely improved!
Work With a Prime Lens
The kit zoom lens that comes with many DSLR and mirrorless cameras is usually not that stellar of a lens.
If you aim to take improved photos, get yourself a prime lens, which is fixed. That means it has a constant focal length, like 50mm, as opposed to one that changes, like an 18-55mm zoom.
Prime lenses are advantageous for a couple of reasons. First, you can get a pretty good 50mm prime lens for around $100-$125 (see links below). That’s a bargain!
Second, prime lenses usually produce sharper results because they have fewer elements than a zoom lens. That means your images will be crisper with less distortion, and that’s a good thing!
Third, prime lenses usually have very wide maximum apertures. The larger the aperture, the more light the camera’s sensor can collect. That means you can shoot in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Additionally, the larger the aperture, the shallower the depth of field, so you can work on creating gorgeous portraits with a nice, blurry background.
Get More Beginner Tips
These and other tips are discussed in greater length in the video below. In it, Tom Greenwood of Sydney Portraits goes over 12 must-have tips, from gear to camera settings and everything in between.
Follow along, get some great advice, and use what Tom has to say to help you create better portraits.