10 Tips For Photography Beginners

10 Tips For Photography Beginners

Hey everyone, today I will show you 10 tips for photography beginners that I noticed many beginners get wrong. While there is a lot more to learn than just these tips, just keep them in mind and you will approve your photography by a lot. You will shoot sharper, better composed and higher quality pictures.

Let’s get started! 😀


Shoot at The Right Iso

Everybody who starts with a digital camera gets taught to always use the lowest ISO setting possible. Which is a great idea and makes sense, but isn’t always pragmatic. This ruler actually comes from the early days of DSLRs where the iso keepability was way worse. But with newer DSLRs, you can easily go up to 1600 without a problem and higher end camera even up to 6400. Keep in mind try to stay as low as possible but don’t be too strict on it 1600 or even 3200 is alright.

Tips For Photography Beginners
Shot with a Canon 77D Iso 800

Use The Rule of Thirds and The Golden Ratio

I think everybody will tell you that and that’s why I won’t explain it any further. Use it. It will improve your photography and composition a lot. But as always rules are there to be broken.

Tips For Photography Beginners
Not exact the tule of thirds but definitely of center and much more interesting.

Perspective

I see it very often and I did the same thing when I started. Most beginners shoot from eye level. But when you think about the fact that everyone sees the world from the eye level, it’s easy to understand why 98% of the pictures are not interesting. Try different views like from below or above. When you find yourself standing on your hands while taking a picture you are on the right way. No, but seriously try to use different perspectives.

10 Tips For Photography Beginners
Eye level vs. creative angle

Fill The Frame

Ones again not a law just a rule that also needs to be broken at times. Try to get close to the object you try to capture. You will capture way more detail. Think of it that way when you shoot a portrait you fill the frame with the face 98% of the time right? Because you want to capture the persons face. The same logic goes for everything else as well.

Use the rule of thirds as a rule of thumps as a rule, not a law 


Don’t Miss Your Shot Because You Waited For The Perfect One

When I tried street photography the first time I know I bearly shoot anything. Because I was afraid of being annoying and though I could minimize my shooting when I shoot in the right moment. And that’s a great thought but until you’re pro shoot on burst. 🙂 what I mean by that is when you shoot only when you think the timing is perfect, you gonna miss a lot of good shots and opportunities. So don’t be afraid you might annoy somebody, you will do that anyway 🙂 focus on your task.


Use a Fast Enough Shutter

One of my biggest problems was and I see it in pictures from a lot of beginners, a too slow shutter speed, which creates motion blur. A very cool rule of thumb is to always keep your shutter speed above your focal length. Which means on a 50mm lens you need at least 1/50 of a sec. Or faster. With a 300mm zoom lens, you will need 1/300 of a sec. Or faster. Of course, this rule only applies when you don’t want to shoot long exposure or on a tripod.

Example of motion blur

Choose The Right Time

The logically best time to shoot is midday, right? Light for hours and everywhere. Wrong I don’t say you shouldn’t shoot at midday but to shoot pictures with super interesting light, go and shoot at the golden hour or civil twilight. This way you will have a great contrast of light, shadows, and colors. If you want to read more about the golden hour click here.


Always Check Your Focus

My rule number ONE is don’t use autofocus selection because your camera might have a different opinion of where to set the focus point, which can ruin the whole picture. So always use one point AF or zone selection AF. After that when you shot a picture, review it on your camera and zoom in 100%. That way You can make sure that the reality is sharp and doesn’t only look like it.

On a similar note, when I bought my 50mm f/1.8 lens which was my second after the kit lens. I thought I need to use f/1.8 every time because of the awesome bokeh. What I didn’t realize was that f1.8 is a pretty shallow depth of field and it’s very hard to pull focus.

For example, when you shoot a portrait with f/1.8 the eyes might be in focus when you and your subject haven’t moved at all (very hard to do), but the nose isn’t in focus anymore. So what I like to do is, I shoot in f/3.5 which is also the lens sweet spot of the 50mm.


Don’t Use IS When Using a Tripod

The Image stabilizer is awesome for handheld shots. A simple explanation is that your camera tried to compensate your shaking with very fast lens movements.

So the problem is that when you put your camera on a tripod, the fast lens movements cause vibrations and your picture starts to get blurred because of them.


Know Your Gear In and Out.

Less is sometimes more when you just got started with photography don’t buy 3 extra lenses, rather try to take a good picture with what you got. Me for example, I used the first 3 years only my 18-55mm and then 2 years my 50mm lens on a 1000D. It was a pain in the ass sometimes, 🙂  but I learned everything about these lenses and my 1000D like the sweet spot, of point focus, where to stand to get the composition I want or even how much light I need at least and many more things. All that made me able to shoot better pictures with the kit lens than other people with their 5000€ gear.

So the bottom line is, don’t buy all the fancy things at ones buy them one by one and get to know what how they really work and if you really need them.


Use Exposure Compensation (+/-) or The Right Meter Mode

When you shoot in AV or TV you should try to experiment with your exposure compensation especially in high contrast situations where you have very bright and very low lighted areas. Your Cameras metering mode always tries to make the picture as even as possible. Which means no total blacks and no total whites. But when you shoot a silhouette picture in front of a sunset you want total black in the shadows so you can have a nice sky right?

This is the point where you set down your exposure compensation by one or two stops.

Alright, that’s already it whit my 10 tips for photography beginners. I hope you enjoyed the post and if you have any question or opinions about it let me know in the comments and I will get back to you as fast as I can.

Cheers Aaron.

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22 thoughts on “10 Tips For Photography Beginners

  1. Sharon

    Hi Aaron,

    I really like your post. The tips are explained in simple terms and easy to understand. My teenage daughter just started out on photography and she is so into it. Have to admit that she is much better than me, selecting the angles and so forth. Your tips will enhance her knowledge. I will share this post with her.

    Thank you,
    Sharon

    1. Aaron

      Hey Sharon, that’s good to hear 🙂 and It’s not a race, it’s all about having fun. 🙂 

  2. Kevin

    These are great photos and some good tips on photography. I like this one that you mentioned – “Don’t Miss Your Shot Because You Waited For The Perfect One”. I’m sure a number of amateurs, including myself, try to hard to get the perfect shot. I’ll also have to try to choose the right time to take a shot. Thanks for the information!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Kevin, thanks for the positive feedback. Yes the right time for the right light is a big one. I’m glad that you learned something new from this post. 🙂 

      Cheers Aaron.

  3. Kashia

    I absolutely love your article.

    I’m just getting into photography and the technical bits always confuse me. I’ve been doing digital art for years, so switching to photography forces me to learn a few new things.

    Thanks for explaining ISO settings and exposure compensation so well and simply. I’ve been scared about messing with those settings for fear of ruining the image I want to take, but I’m glad you pointed out how that’s something which should be done.

    1. Aaron

      Hey Kashia, I’m glad that I was able to teach you something 🙂 You should never be scared to ruin a picture as long as you don’t get paid for it ;P Try as much new things as you can. You can always learn from failure. 🙂

  4. Daniella

    Hi Aaron,

    Great article!

    My daughter wants to learn photography, and she doesn’t know where to start. The tips you have provided are fantastic. I will share this article with her. Our camera’s brand is Canon, and there are plenty of features, which is a bit overwhelming. I like when you said that we need to know the gear in and out. I totally agree with you! I really don’t want to invest in expensive equipment before knowing how to use what we already have.
    Are there specific places or thing you would suggest for beginners?

    Thank you very much for this excellent post!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Daniella, It can be overwhelming just start with P then TV to AV to M. You can learn more here about the modes: https://whatcameraguide.com/di… 

      And yes get into your gear before you buy new gear you will be surprised how much you already can do with your kit lens and body. 🙂 

  5. asmithxu

    I am a very casual photographer, but there are some tips in here that even I can use. The next time I take pictures, I will definitely change the perspective and just play around. When you are as new as me, playing around can be part of the learning process (though you have to get serious eventually, of course).
    One thing that really struck me was the gorgeousness of the photography in this article. It is very inspirational to me as an absolute beginner. Thanks for the great info!

    1. Aaron

      Hey, I think the best way to learn is when you keep it 20% theory and 80% practice. Which is also the more fun way to learn. 🙂 The perspective is a good first choice to practice since you can even apply it when you use your phone camera and thanks for the nice feedback:)

      Cheers Aaron.

  6. Thomas Marchido

    I’m only a beginner with photography and the techniques mentioned in the article will help for sure. I say that because I’m guilty of not using different angles for the best shots. I am one of those who mistakenly “assumed” that the more detail, the better. I will be changing that up for sure to see how much I can improve my shots.

    As an example, I remember taking a few shots of my dog, Bo, while he was enjoying his brand-new dog bone. I tried taking shots at different angles but settled on some that were near eye level because I wanted to get all the detail (mistake). Too bad I didn’t read this beforehand!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Thomas, I did the same mistakes I always wanted to have everything in the picture. I think it’s easier to decide what you need in frame when you think about what this picture is going to be about.

      As an example, if the picture is about your dogs new bone and how he loves it, then I would fill the frame all the way up with his face to capture in detail how much your dog is enjoying it. 🙂

      And thank you for the nice feedback.

      Cheers Aaron. 🙂

  7. Soby

    Great tips for beginners! I’m an artist myself and starting the photography journey just now. So far I can implement some of my knowledge to photography, like a composition. But when it comes to technical part, I’m such a loser.Thanks for these recommendations, informative and to the point! Now it’s all about lots of practice!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Soby, the technical part is actually super easy when you got hold of it. I have many tutorials and guides on this site feel free to check them out. 🙂 I think you will have quite an advantage over other beginners because the composition is really the heart of a picture 🙂 

  8. kmv

    I really like the tip about knowing your gear. I think it is really a good investment of time to learn everything you can about your gear. This makes learning about photography so much more enjoyable. I think it also gives you more ideas of what is possible!

    In your opinion, what are the top 2 things all new photographers should focus on before digging into more techniques?

    Thanks again for the great tips!

    1. Aaron

      Hey kmv, I think the first things that a beginner should do is 1. actually go and take 100000 pictures to gather experience and 2. find out what kind of photography they really like to specialize in that. 🙂 

      Also thanks for the great feedback and I’m looking forward to have you here again 🙂 

      Cheers Aaron.

  9. rmjia

    Although I have digital camera for so long, I never knew why my pictures were blur at times. I have always thought it was because of my hand shaking while taking pictures. Now, I realise it was caused by my shutter speed. Your tips have been very helpful for beginners like me.

    1. Aaron

      Hey Rmjia, (I hope that’s not your real name :P) I’m glad that I was able to help you out 🙂 It can be your shaking as well try to put one hand on the lens and one on the camera body that should give you a stabile position. Also try to keep your shutter speed above your focal length like described in the post.

  10. Darren

    My two biggest struggles with photography are night photography and flash photography. The results are never what I hope them to be.

    Love the pictures of the dog in the snow. I love shooting animals (with a camera that is) and want to improve there as well.

    I like your tips on autofocus. I’ll be trying your suggestions from now on.

    1. Aaron

      Hey Darren, Great to hear that you love to shoot animals 🙂 (with you camera) I have a post coming up about using flashes outside and how to blend them in with the other lights so stay tuned for that one. For pictures at night I would recommend you to read this post here: https://whatcameraguide.com/ds… I hope it will help you with some of your problems. 🙂

  11. Levon Tan

    Thank you for the tips Aaron. As an aspiring architect and interior designer, I am often required to take photos from various perspective and lengths. But I got so used to observing buildings and taking quick pics, I ended up just shooting eye level shots. Your article reminded me that the photos that I take can become significantly more interesting if I just change my perspective and orientation more, Thank You!

    1. Aaron

      Hey Levon, you really shouldn’t waste your talent. 🙂 As an architect you know perspectives and angles too well to just stand there and shoot on eye level. Maybe photography can even enhance your architectural thinking, like being an architect changes your view of sculptures in photography. 🙂 

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