I remember being led to photography from the moment I got my first camera phone, then that changed into a small hand-held digital camera, a Sony Alpha a5000 with 16-50mm OSS lens and a more official and “grown-up” photographers camera; a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR . You can quickly tell, I’ve been slowly leveling up to get to where I am today. I still have a lot to learn, but it’s safe to say I’m no longer a fledgling “photo rookie.”
Here are some tips & ideas that have helped me get started:
- Do not buy expensive equipment right away! So, you’ve shown interest in photography and want to start by buying the latest gadgets and trends on BestBuy, so you can shoot and belong among the pros. No. No. No. Wrong! Do not buy bank breaking equipment when you are just starting. Opt for something less expensive that you will know how to use and won’t hurt to lose if you accidentally drop it or break it. Another reason is that it is 100% possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. The more photos you take, the more your style will show and will help lead you into buying the perfect camera when its time to upgrade. (Starter items: tripod, Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera Bundle, Canon PowerShot ELPH 180, Multi-Disc Light Reflectors, Case Logic – Point and Shoot Camera Case).
- Consider a tripod. An inexpensive tripod is worth getting, especially if you have shaky hands. For even more stability, use your camera’s timer function with a tripod. After I got a tripod my image quality skyrocketed! Here is an inexpensive tripod for you to try out: lightweight tripod.
- The rule of thirds. While framing a shot, visually break it down into a grid of nine equal rectangles and place your subject on one of the four intersections for a natural look.The rule of thirds in photography is a good guideline to follow instead of just placing your subject dead center by default.
- Learn about exposure. Getting proper exposure in photography consists of balancing three things: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings. You can start off by shooting in automatic or priority mode, but to get full control and shoot with manual camera controls you’ll have to understand the relationship between these three things that each directly affect the exposure and quality of your image. Do your research.
- Always keep your camera with you. Photo opportunities come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small handheld camera and a tripod – you can take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities.
- Make a list. If babysitting a camera all the time is too much for you, opt to keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at that time of day. If you’re more modern and tech savvy, send yourself an email using your cell phone with Evernote
- Practice Practice Practice! Inspiration is everywhere, use that. Even the most mundane object can be a greet subject to experiment with. You might catch a unique stream of light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot. Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. Go crazy — you’ll learn a lot in the process.
- Learn about aperture. Aim for an aperture size around f/2.8 to f/5.6 to make the background behind your subject more blurred out. This will help remove distracting backgrounds and make your subject stand out. You can experiment with even wider apertures, but take care to keep your subject’s eyes in focus. Wider apertures emphasize depth of field, and so does getting closer to your subject.
- Photograph what you love. Focusing on what you love will make photography more enjoyable for you. If you are passionate about nature, then take nature shots, if it’s people, then stick to portraits, people or if it’s something else entirely, start learning by taking pictures of it. This will keep you interested in photography and allow you to overcome learning obstacles without throwing in the towel.
- Shoot in RAW & JPEG. Most DSLR cameras give you the option to shoot in either RAW or JPEG, with some letting you do both. RAW files are much larger than JPEGs, but they are uncompressed images that let you correct things (to a certain point) like exposure, white balance, and colors during post-processing with less of a quality loss than if you were to edit the JPEG instead. Shoot in both RAW and JPEG, and if the shot you were going for is already good you can just delete the RAW version.
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— Med à la Mode