Camera Basics and Photography Tips for Beginners

Antique camera

Photography is a captivating process and a very creative hobby that makes you happier. It is well said that you don’t take the photograph, you make photos. Now a days it is very easy to take photography as a hobby. You can start snapping away from anything that you want in few seconds.

Get to Know the Camera Basics

Aperture

The aperture is the lens opening that lets light into the camera and dictates the depth of field. This opening is measured in f-stops (f/2, f/5, f/11, and so on). The smaller the f-number the wider the aperture and the shallower the depth of field (area around the focal point of the image). On the other hand, the narrower the aperture (higher f-number) the less amount of light and deeper the depth of field. A wide aperture works great when you intend to isolate the subject, but if you want to focus on the whole scene, then a narrow aperture should suffice.

Shutter speed

This is the amount of time the shutter is left open to allow light to fall on the camera’s sensor. Shutter speed is measured in seconds such as 1/200 sec, 1/60 sec, 1/5 sec and so on. Slower shutter speed let’s in more light, but can blur images caused by movement. The faster the shutter speed, the shorter the exposure as less amount of light is allowed in. As a result, faster shutter speeds freeze motion and is less likely to blur images. Use longer shutter speeds to add interesting effects, but this might require a tripod.

ISO

This is how sensitive the sensor is to light, measured in ISO units e.g. 100 ISO, 400 ISO, 6400 ISO, etc. A higher ISO means a higher sensitivity to light or more brightness. Moving the ISO number up to 400 or higher allows you capture shots in darker situations, but the image quality decreases. This is what is referred to as noise or “grain”. An ISO setting of 100 to 200 is ideal for outdoor shooting during the day. A lower ISO value means low sensitivity to light, which increases the quality of the image.

Exposure

Exposure is the most important aspect when capturing better photos as it combines the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Once you understand how each of these elements work, it’s possible to use the manual settings as they all control the amount of light to use in a given scene. Learning the exposure triangle will help you understand how to change one setting in relation to others.

Histogram

A histogram is a mathematical representation of the exposure after the photo has been taken. It helps you to get the right exposure on your images. Beginner photographers tend to find it challenging to understand how evenly the photo is exposed, but practice will get you there. You need to learn how to read the histogram and how to push it beyond its limits.

Metering modes

Exposure isn’t just about learning aperture, shutter speed and ISO, metering modes are also a key factor to learning the correct exposure under various lighting situations. They help you to know how your camera looks at light so that you can tell how you want it to look at a scene. Learning this will help you know why your photos are coming out underexposed or overexposed. Now that you understand most of the basics, here are some of the tips that can help you get started.

Photography Tips for Beginners

telescope on a tripod pointing at starry night sky

You Can Start Photography with Inexpensive Camera

The first thing you must know about photography is the technique to capture light. The true source of magic is the light, not the expensive camera. It is possible to get nice photos with inexpensive cameras and equipment. So, don’t buy the expensive camera right away at the beginning stage, just develop good skills, first.

Shoot Everything and Regularly

Practice reduces the chances of error in any process and makes us more confident. It doesn’t matter if you take a picture of anything you see. Moreover, it also doesn’t matter if you’re doing badly in beginning. Just know that each step you take, no matter how bad it is, is towards being a better photographer. Just focus on your goal and shooting everything which you come across. After that, when you watch your own photos you will gain new ideas, and this thing helps you to improve. Therefore, shoot everything in your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Keep Your Camera with You

Chances to take photos come when you least expect it. So you must keep your camera bag and tripod with you at all times and take advantage of that unexpected opportunity. If it isn’t portable for you to carry your camera everywhere and you come across a beautiful scene, note down the details of the place or take a photo with your phone, afterwards shoot it with your regular camera.

Know how to Hold Camera?

You should know how to hold the camera while taking the photo. Remember: when your camera is capturing a photo, the cover goes up and the sensor fills up with the light. If you have some movement while the shutter or cover is open, the light will slander across the sensor then result in a blurred photo. Therefore, the key is to place your arm closer to your body so that it’s more stable. This will help to keep your hands steady and reduce camera shaking. For shooting in dim lights or for long-distance shots and any kind of shooting that involves high-resolution lenses, you can use tripod.

Try Different Experiments with Your Camera Settings

You can be more flexible in the way you take pictures than you know. Read the camera’s manual carefully to gain knowledge about little symbols. For the sake of exploring, try shooting or capturing your subjects with the multiple settings to learn the effects on your photos. Learn the basic rules of shooting and implement it with different schemes. In this way, you will have a better command on your work.

Connect With Other Photographers

Connecting with other photographers is an excellent way to learn more and get inspired. You could join an online community that uses your brand of camera or even a local camera club. This will make it easier to learn photography faster and you are more likely to evolve with the help of fellow shutterbugs. The good thing with most camera clubs is you can take part in the monthly competitions that provide an opportunity to practice your skills in photo tours exhibitions. Talking with fellow beginners or pro photographers will keep you going. Another way to connect is to sign up to insightful newsletters, facebook pages or enquire from other photographers you admire.

Understand How to Use Light

Another beginner tip for photography is understanding how light in photography works. The term photography translates to “drawing with light”, meaning you have to know how light works. Notice where the shadows appear and the highlights. This will help you level up your creativity game as you learn how to balance these elements to improve your images. Managing light is arguably one of the most challenging skill for absolute beginners but once you get it right you will see a substantial improvement.

Use a tripod when necessary

Some types of photography or light conditions are not possible with holding the camera yourself. When using a slow shutter speed then hand holding does not work. For example, when shooting water features, night sky, some macros and clouds that need a longer exposure. With a tripod, it’s possible to get exposures of up two minutes and shoot sharp images. Remember to turn the image stabilization off when using the tripod.

Post-processing is vital

Post processing involves changing the source photo using high-end effects and fillers. This is not an easy task for beginners, which has led some photographers to believe that photos should remain natural. The truth is you need so many elements to make a great piece of art. There are many different types of photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Smartphones also provide built-in editing software that do the job fairly well too. Post-processing involves straightening the image, cropping out unwanted elements, removing dust spots, adjusting the exposure and contrast, the saturation and more.

Getting feedback

Your friends and family may be not a reliable sourse about your photography skills, unless you have a very honest one who actually understands a thing about photography. That’s why you should look for feedback from strangers. A great way to get feedback is signing up to a photo-sharing site where other people can comment on your work. While you might get brutal comments at time, it could be useful for the next time you shoot.

Keep enjoying

kids with confetti

This is the most important part of it – enjoyment. Avoid concentrating on small stuff in the beginning and just keep taking photographs. You are likely to have unsuccessful attempts but don’t get bogged down by comparing yourself to experienced photographers. Even those professionals you see began at some point.

Conclusion

Photography is an ever-evolving field and you need to keep learning tips and tricks. Never be afraid to experiment.



Explore more


How To Handle Hands - Posing Women’s Hands

women posing guide, hand positioning

One question that always arises during many portrait photography sessions is- "Where should I put my hands?" And this is usually followed by a nervous laugh. So, where should a client put their hands during portrait photography? The truth is that hand poses can break or make a great portrait. It c...


The Ultimate Guide to Organising Successful Christmas Mini Sessions

Christmas photo session with kids

Photo mini sessions are always fun, exciting, and lucrative. It is a great way of accumulating substantial money in just a few days. However, making quick cash should not be your main priority as a photographer- you should think of photo mini sessions as a way of widening your clientele base. Whi...


A Simplified Guide to Flash Photography

photo of the camera flashes

Many people have the notion that the simplest solution to taking clear shots in a dark lit environment is to use flash. However, the truth is that flash looks so simple to use, yet so confusing. It is very unpredictable. You can take a beautiful shot with the flash on, and then the next one makes...


All You Need to Know About Exposure Compensation

exposure compensation button Nikon

Digital cameras can gauge the darkness or brightness in a scene and consequently determine the best exposure level for shooting in that particular scene. In photography, the term exposure refers to the amount of light reaching the sensor when shooting an image. Thus, we can define exposure compe...


A Simplified Guide to Water Drop Photography

water drop photography

Have you been looking at incredibly captured water drop photos and wondering how you can master the art of doing the same? If yes, then we’ve got you covered. This ultimate beginner’s guide to water drop photography explores how to design a water drop artificially, create an ideal background,...


The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Backdrop Stand

Photo of backdrop stand

One photography fact that may amaze you is that every 2 minutes, modern day people snap more pictures than the whole humanity did in the 17th century. Yes, that’s true. Only a few images were taken in 1800s, until the first commercial camera was introduced. Kodak reported that by 1999, we had al...


A Comprehensive Guide to Photography Backdrops

white backdrop

One of the most essential features of successful photography is the background. In fact, one of the secrets behind shooting pictures that people like is paying attention to what’s behind the subject. As such, you might be thinking of purchasing the right photography backdrop to improve the quali...