Getting started in photography is overwhelming. "Basic photography tips" suggest you spend a ton of money on new cameras, new lenses, and new equipment, on top of trying to spend 20 plus hours per week studying and honing your craft.
I realize this is entirely unrealistic, so, I've taken some of the best photography advice for beginners and parsed it to find the easiest, most realistic advice to follow.
Let's get to it!
USE THE CAMERA YOU OWN
While you can go through the unnecessary trauma of spending $1,500 (or more) on a new camera you don't know how to work, or building your own as Jared Polin did above, you probably shouldn't.
I'm on the side of the poor man's photographer. You don't need to fix it if it isn't broken, and pretty much every camera available on the market today is leaps and bounds ahead of any cameras that were on the market a decade ago.
Photo by xalanx via iStock
Thanks to this type of technology improvement, you can really use whatever camera you already have. An entry-level DSLR, one you can buy used for $100-$200, is better than anything else you could have gotten in the 2000s.
So, spend the money you would have spent on a new camera on getting a couple of extra lenses or investing in a better tripod. Grab some filters or a copy of your favorite post-processing program.
The point is that there is no reason to blow all your money on a camera when there are tons of other things you can get to help improve your photography more.
There are a variety of ways to meet new photographers, both in your area and through the internet.
PhotographyTalk is a great resource for meeting other photographers. The reason you should want to meet new photographers is to be able to ask questions and to look for inspiration amongst like-minded individuals.
There's no better advice than free advice and more often than not photographers love to give it. And as Marc Taraz Steiner explains in the video above, a photography meetup is the place to get great advice.
You can participate in a photographer meet up, like discussed in the video above, join a photography school or club in your area, or join a Facebook group dedicated to the craft.
No matter which approach you take, you will be thankful you decided to participate more completely in photography!
Pay Attention to the Lighting
As Sawyer Hartman explains in the video above, this is the one beginner photography tip that will never die because of how important it is.
You can ignore lighting all you want to, but your photos will never improve.
I oftentimes hear beginning photographers complaining because they live somewhere perpetually rainy, like the Pacific Northwest, and they think that this is an excuse for not shooting in whatever light they have.
You must learn how to cater the lighting situation you've been given to the types of photography you shoot.
Dim, dark, gloomy lighting can be phenomenal for shooting landscape photography or dark portraiture.
There's also not a single spot in the world that never receives sunlight, and sometimes learning how to work with light means learning how to build your patience and wait for the best light!
Clean Your Lens
If you want your photos to be sharp, you're only doing yourself a disservice by ignoring your dirty lens.
I would argue that a camera cleaning kit is the one equipment addition everyone needs in their photography bag, particularly because you can purchase one for under $10.
If you're nervous about cleaning your lens, don't be! As Jeven Dovey shows us in the video above, it's a quick and simple process.
Print Your Photos
Every photography basics for beginners article leaves out this tip: print your photos.
Printing your photos is a good way to visualize your progress in your photography journey, and it's pretty funny to look back on how much you've improved.
I always recommend CanvasHQ because they nearly always have a big discount running on their website, plus they work with beginner photographers in a way most other canvas printing websites don't.
Their customer service representatives ensure your photos don't have any color fringing and that they are centered perfectly before they print them. They will communicate from the beginning of the process through the end and they even have a countdown on their website to tell you how long you can expect to wait for the finished product.
More than that, their products are of insane quality - I have dozens of CanvasHQ prints in my home, one seemingly even better than the last.
CanvasHQ has invested in high-quality products like water-resistant and fade-resistant inks, archival-grade canvas, and kiln-dried wood for the frames, so whether it's your very first print or your 100th print, it'll look like a million bucks for generations to come.
Besides, hanging one of your photos on the wall is a truly proud moment, and something all photographers should experience!