Starting out as a beginner, no photographer is going to know all there is to taking flawless pictures. We have written what we believe to be the best beginnerâ€™s guide to photography, but only you can perfect your art by giving your own flair and style to your photos.
There are many tips and tricks to taking the best photos possible, but here are the general rules of thumb:
1. Get to Grips with Your Camera
Understanding your cameraâ€™s settings can be a daunting challenge particularly if itâ€™s the first time youâ€™ve ever sat down and looked through them all. Luckily though, all cameras do come with a handbook which will cover the basics youâ€™ll need to get started. You can also search for a glossary of photography related terms that are commonly used within the industry today. These terms will help you to get to grips with what little symbols and phrases actually mean.
Every camera is different so I encourage you to take pictures using all the different settings so you can get an idea of what they look like first-hand (not just what they should do).
2. Rule of Thirds
When it comes to the difference between taking a mediocre standard picture or a spectacular picture, one of the best things to consider is using the rule of thirds.
Imagine what you want to photograph and then divide your chosen composition into three rows and three columns. You want the main points of the photo to be where the lines intersect (see photo below).
Not only will taking a step back to think about what it is youâ€™re shooting make for a truly interesting image, but by following this rule of thirds, you will find that what you have is a perfectly balanced picture that captures the focus of the eye. Nobody wants to look at a poorly executed photograph, so by using this simple and effective trick, your photographs will become winners.
3. Consider Your Exposure
When thinking about the exposure effects you can create with a digital camera, ultimately there are 3 crucial elements that contribute towards a successful picture. These are: ISO ratings, aperture and shutter speed.
This may sound like a difficult concept to master but once you can understand how the 3 work in harmony with one another, the rest will take care of itself. ISO ratings measure how sensitive the cameraâ€™s sensor is to light, the shutter speed determines how much light is gathered by the sensor and the aperture measures the size of the focal point by increasing or reducing the amount of light.
4. Make Your Own Professional Home Studio
Itâ€™s true that not every photographer has their own registered or home studio, particularly those in the freelance profession. Thatâ€™s not to say that their work is any less credible, it may simply mean that they prefer to travel to various locations without limiting themselves to a single space. However if you do decide to invest in a studio set up, the advantages of doing this are many. If for example your interests lie in portraits or product photography then practicing your shooting in a space that you can call your own will be invaluable. It might be that space is an issue in your home, in which case a self storage facility would be able to house all of your photography equipment safely in one place.
Indoor self storage units are also an ideal choice for beginners who are toying with the concept of branching out with their own studio as they have most of the amenities you would need anyway. Fundamentally it is entirely your decision how you choose to practice those camera skills. See thatâ€™s the beauty of photography, the freedom to practice when you want, wherever you want.
5. Understanding Color Temperatures
If you really want to master what makes a perfect photograph, look no further than the color temperature scale. In this photography cheat sheet you can view the color temperature scale and key elements of how you can create either a warm or a cool color on your images.
Weather conditions actually play a huge part in how your finished photograph will look. For example, hazy skies will give a cooler tone while sunsets and artificial lighting will add warmth. It all depends on what youâ€™re aiming for but you can easily refer to the above infographic should you need guidance while shooting with your camera.
6. Your Guide to Shutter Speeds
When youâ€™re first starting out as a photographer it can be difficult to truly understand what all of those numbers mean. We are referring to your cameraâ€™s shutter speed here.
The main points to remember are that shutter speeds can be fast or slow and are measured in seconds. In order to maintain a consistent exposure, what we call â€˜stopsâ€™ must be adjusted manually, and this will enable you to break the habit of keeping your camera setting on â€˜autoâ€™ 24/7.
Your shutter speed relates to timing and how long your image sensor (shutter) is open for. Adjusting your exposure settings is ideal to get to grips with early on in your photography training if you plan to photography a lot of moving subjects.
No photographer ever reached their level of expertise without getting in lots of practice. As with any skill this will require time and dedication, whether it be writing, home design or photography. So once you have realized where your true passion lies, pursue it every day until you become the best you can be.
Photos by Vee-O, Sylwia Bartyzel, Jennifer Trovato, Annabeth Robinson, and OneViewPhotography.
For more photography tips check out our followup story: 3 Photography Tips to Take Your Images to the Next Level