Beginner’s Guide to Better Photography

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All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

Beginner’s Guide to Better Photography

This blog post may contain affiliate links.  I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through these links. Click here for the disclosure statement.

All photos are original to the author unless otherwise noted. 

Man in a black shirt and black turban plays with a Sony camera.

When I was learning photography, I convinced myself I needed to shoot in full manual, and my photos needed to look a particular way. I’ve been guilty of not following the advice below which stunted my growth as a photographer; I saw a tremendous improvement when I finally set aside my pride and followed these simple tips. Whether you are brand new to photography or looking for a refresher, this beginner’s guide to better photography provides tips and techniques that are sure to put you on the path to success.

Good Entry Level Camera

Person holding a camera

The best beginner photography camera is the one you already own. I used a point and shoot cameras for years before I bought my first DSLR, so don’t convince yourself an expensive camera will make you a better photographer. It won’t.

Point and shoot digital cameras are capable of more than we give them credit for and are a low-cost introduction for absolute beginners. Learn basic photography skills on a phone or point and shoot camera and use them to their limits before upgrading to a DSLR.

The Best Beginner Photography Cameras

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS has a massive 960 mm focal length and 10fps, which is a great option for those interested in wildlife photography.

If you are interested in travel or landscape photography, you will love the 18.5 mm wide-angle lens on The Fujifilm XF10.

With an f/1.4 -2.8 aperture, the Panasonic Lumix LX10 is an impressive starter camera for macro photographers

If you don’t know what kind of photography you will love, try the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 which a perfect all-around camera.

Start With Simple Pictures

Photo composition is critical to good photography; learning to frame your pictures takes practice. Start with a plain background and a single subject to learn the basics, such as focus and exposure, then sprinkle in more complexity as you grasp the basics of photography. Negative space is a lesser-known composition technique that is a perfect starting point for beginner photographers to build their skills and create beautiful images.

Take Your Camera Everywhere

Carry your camera with and taking a lot of pictures is the best way to develop your photographer’s eye. Practice taking pictures and over time you’ll see what scenes will make great photographs without taking a picture. I use this adorable, nondescript camera bag that looks like an average purse to keep my equipment safe and organized when I’m on the go.

Camera bag carrying a Fuji Film lens and camera

Learn Photography Composition TEchniques

Photography is not an exact science and there isn’t a formula for applying composition techniques, but basic composition rules are great ideas for beginners to get started. Once you understand how to frame your images according to the rules, then you can break the rules.

The easiest composition techniques for beginners to learn:

  • Negative Space which utilizes empty space to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject.
  • The Rule of Thirds which places the subject on the outer thirds of an image
  • Leading Lines which takes the viewer on a journey through the images using lines.

Don’t Be Ashamed Of Auto Mode

Camera dial for changing image settings to aperture priority and shutter priority modes

I’m sure you’ve heard that to improve your photos, you need to get out of auto mode; that is a harmful myth. Professional photographers understand all of their camera’s settings and how to adjust them to their needs, but if there is an auto mode that suits their needs, they will let the camera do the heavy lifting. 

Cameras do an excellent job determining ideal settings in most cases and is a great way for beginners to learn the basics. Rather than frantically trying to figure out manual settings at the moment and subsequently missing a shot, don’t be afraid to use auto mode. Later you can study the settings the camera picked and try to understand why those were optimal settings – eventually, you’ll learn how to adjust the camera settings to better suit your needs.

Learn Basic Photography Techniques

The best way to learn photography is to be intentional; take pictures of the same subject from different angles or use different settings, then evaluate your photos in playback mode and make adjustments until you’ve reached the desired result.

The photography basics every photographer should know:

Zoom In On Photos In The Playback Mode

Speaking of reviewing your photos, zoom in on the focal point to check for the correct focus and lighting. The tiny screen LCD screens are deceptive, lack detail, and lead you to believe you have the perfect photo only to find the image has camera shake after viewing the image on a bigger screen. Magnifying the image in playback mode is a simple trick that provides more detail and all but guarantees you’ll walk away with quality photos.

Canon camera LCD screen

Post Processing Is Encouraged

If someone has told you real photographers don’t need to edit their photos, they don’t know what they are talking about. Every professional photo has been edited to some degree. Photoshop allows photographers to blend multiple photos and Lightroom enables photographers to edit in bulk. Don’t think for one minute we won’t take advantage of this. Simple changes like increasing the contrast, cropping, and adding vibrance can dramatically improve any photo.

Look At Other Photographer’s Photos

Photography Gallery wall

Analyze other people’s photos that you like; figure out what you like about them and add that to your own photography.  If you’re stuck and come up with new ideas, try mimicking other people’s photos until you start seeing how you could add your own flare.

Learn Photography In Small Chunks

Starting photography and mastering new skills takes time and won’t happen overnight. the most important photography tips for beginners is to break the components of photography down into manageable pieces and attempt to master a single aspect of photography at a time. Focus on photography essentials first, a specific style, or practice composition techniques. You’ll never finish learning photography; don’t rush the process and focus one element at a time.

Author Bio

Author Bio Image

Delaney is a Business Analyst by day and a travel and wildlife photographer by night who is using her skills for translating complex technical language into easy to understand concepts to make photography achievable at all skill levels. You have questions; she has answers.

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