A Guide to Photography for Beginners
The 19th of August brings around another National Photography Day to inspire you to get out and start snapping. Taking up photography is a great way to keep the creativity of lockdown going now we’re re-entering the world. But where do you even start? If you don’t know your lenses from your contacts, our handy guide to photography for beginners can set you on your way to being the next Annie Leibovitz.
The first choice you need to make is what is the best camera for photography, and that can be a little daunting. If you’re not careful you can get lost down a rabbit hole of specs that don’t mean much to you yet. For your first camera you should keep things simple. So, we’ll start with the 3 main types of camera to look at. There are others like action cameras, 360, and traditional format, but the big 3 are the most widely used for a reason.
These are the cameras you’ll see most often because they’re small, lightweight and simple to use. This makes them ideal for carrying around on holiday or capturing those moments your bestie would rather forget on big nights out. Compacts are extra user friendly and simple to use because they don’t have a ton of settings or features that complicate things. It’s pretty much point and shoot to get a good photograph, but they are limited in what they can do.
In short, compacts are affordable options that are great for capturing moments and memories, but there isn’t much scope for experimentation and customisation. These simple cameras have fallen out of fashion a bit as smartphone cameras have developed, but you’ll still get a better picture out of your compact.
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are most commonly used for creative photography that does more with pictures and elevates a shot. Whether you’re shoot portrait or landscape photography, a DSLR will deliver professional quality sharpness and effects like background bokeh, that’s the blurred background behind the focus of the picture.
The advanced sensors, manual settings, and interchangeable lenses will produce exceptional photos and give you plenty of room to develop your skills. DSLRs are a fantastic option for anyone serious about photography, but quality doesn’t come cheap and they’re bulky size isn’t idea for taking your camera everywhere you go.
Mirrorless cameras are the best alternative to DSLR for anyone serious about snapping. They are more compact, quieter, and produce incredible picture quality. This means they strike a nice balance between the portability of a compact and the picture quality of a DSLR. If you plan on using your camera to shoot video, mirrorless is a superb option to go for.
The main downside is limited lens options that means you won’t be able to switch things up as much as you might like. They also tend to have a shorter battery life and slower autofocus, but since they are usually cheaper than a DSLR, that’s not a bad trade off.
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5 Essential Tips For Better Pics
Finding the best beginner’s camera photography is like finding the best meal, it doesn’t really exist. Most people would agree that that a burger stacked with bacon tastes better than a salad but there’s always one that orders the leaves. The best you can do is find the right type of camera for what you want to do and find something in your budget. Then it’s up to you to make it work for you. This section is a guide to photography techniques you need to learn as you progress.
Rule of Thirds
Once you have your camera and start snapping away, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with the ‘Rule of Thirds’. This is one of the most important rules of compositions and will make your photos more pleasing to the eye. When you’re looking through the viewfinder, imagine 2 lines dissecting the view horizontally and vertically.
Basically, imagine a noughts and crosses board that leaves you with nine squares to play around with. As you experiment with your pictures, you’ll notice that some look better with the subject of the picture squarely in the centre of the frame, while others are more aesthetically pleasing when they are off-centre or intersect the imaginary boxes. This is the ‘Rule of Thirds’ at work.
Keep the Background, Background
The adage of keep it simple, stupid applies in the world of digital photography. You don’t want a snazzy background outshining the focal point and distracting your audience. Where possible use neutral colours and simple patterns to keep the eyes looking where you want. You’re the director here and that means manipulating the environment to keep the audience looking where you want them to.
Master the Exposure Triangle
First things first, exposure is how much light reaches your cameras sensor or film to create your shot. The Exposure Triangle is made up of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and to take fabulous photographs you will need to learn to balance all three. This is something your camera does when you shoot in auto mode, but it’ll take lots of practice to get it right manually. Only shutter speed and aperture affect the light intake so it’s best to experiment with these first.
This skill is essential to creating amazing images but there’s no short cut to success, every shot you take will be different and require it’s own balance. But the more work you put in, the more you’ll learn to understand this balancing act and master the delicate triangle.
Light is without doubt the single most important factor in photography and it will determine how all your pictures turn out. It’s worthwhile how to use it and be as effective as possible. This doesn’t mean being fantastically bright or beautifully dim with sunsets glowing in the background. It’s about getting a balance between the light intensity on the subject and background. And this is another one of those things that will come with practice and experimentation. But to start with you need it to be light enough without being too harsh.
It’s easy to view photography as a static activity. You find the subject you want to shoot, set up the tripod, fiddle with settings, and snap, you’re done. You could do that and you would get a photo, maybe even a good one. But could it be better. What if you moved a foot to the right, or left, or climbed that boulder? The beauty of photography is that every time you move the lens you’re are getting a different view of the world, another chance to see the world and take something new from it. So, get energised when you go out for a session, keep moving, and find a new view of the world to shoot. See if it looks better from that angle instead of settling because that’s how you create something amazing.
If this guide to photography have taught you anything, it should be that photography is about having a passion for trying new things. Experimentation is at the heart of every great picture and it takes time and dedication, but it’s also incredibly addictive.
Guide to Photography Done – What’s Next
So, you’ve stuck our guide to photography out, picked you’re camera and snapped a few shots. Now What? The beauty of this creative hobby is there’s always something new to learn and angles to find.
If you’ve picked up your camera and fallen in love with photography, you might want to take things further than the casual shutterbug. These days there are loads of online photography courses that will introduce you to a range of techniques that will improve your pictures.
If you prefer a more in person experience, you’ll find plenty of photography courses on the big gift experience sites. Many of these regularly have courses on offer and you might find a cheap way of taking your skills up a level or two.
There’s no point reading our guide to photography and improving your skills if you snaps are going to sit on an SD card. Once you’ve captured your incredible shots, don’t let them sit around on a hard drive until they’re forgotten about. These days there are loads of places you can put you pics to good use in weird and wonderful. Blow up your best work and display it on a canvas, or have you dogs portrait etched into history with a personal good boy pillow. You could start building a photography portfolio to show case your best work and who knows, you might turn your passion into a new career one day.
Most of all photography is about getting creative and having fun. Go out and play about it all different types of photography to find what you love to shoot. Being creative has got us through the last few months, and it will nourish your soul in the future.
Suggested Shopping for Courses and Printing –
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Red Letter Days – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/red-letter-days
Snapfish – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/snapfish
Photobox – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/photobox