Are you just getting into photography? Do you wan’t to know the biggest mistakes photographers make when starting out?
We know you do!
We have all been new to the game at one point. Getting into photography is as exciting as it is confusing. Undoubtedly you have all these great ideas of photos you’re going to take, but when it comes down to actually shooting them, they just aren’t coming out as you had hoped. The good news? You definitely aren’t the first to have this happen and there are very simple photography tips that can use to vastly improve your shots.
So how do you take good pictures as a beginner?
Clearly you’re here because you want to know how to take better photos, but maybe you’re not sure where to start or what you’re doing wrong. Don’t worry: we know learning new things can be overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed down 10 photography tips that are easy to follow even as a complete beginner.
- Move around to find good angles
- Use a good light source
- Don’t use your camera’s flash indoors
- Keep your subject centered
- Focus on the important details
- Take your time (and plenty of photos)
- Master editing tools
- Add props
- Use camera RAW
- View photography tutorials
Let’s dive into these photography tips in more detail.
1. Move Around to Find Good Angles
Angles matter when it comes to photography — in fact, they can make all the difference. In an otherwise 2D world, using angles can add a lot of depth to your photo. And the best way to ensure you’re getting some good angles is to move around during the shoot.
One of the biggest mistakes beginner photographers make is being stationary for the entire duration of the photoshoot. Moving around the subject or moving the subject itself can change the entire perspective of the shot and give you a good variety of photos to pick from when you’re done.
2. Use a Good Light Source
Without proper lighting, your camera will be forced to make up for the lack of light, causing excess grain and blur which often is not rectifiable. While you don’t need an expensive light setup as a beginner, having an external light is always handy for those unexpected dark dreary days. But it’s not just about having good light — it’s also about knowing how to position yourself and your subject in it. Thankfully, there are some basic photo tips you can keep in mind.
If you’re photographing people, animals, and even some objects, make sure the light source is positioned in front of the subject to illuminate the focused features and eliminate any unideal shadows. However, the opposite is advisable for landscapes: side-lighting is usually the best option for these photos, as it will enhance the shadows and contour of the landscape.
If you do choose to utilize an external light, don’t set it up to be too bright or too dim, because that can over- or underexpose your shot. Equally as important is the bulb color: it can change the look of the shot, making it too “warm” or too “cool.”
3. Don’t Use Your Camera’s Flash Indoors
Since we’re already on the topic of lighting, everyone is familiar with the camera’s flash, but not as familiar with how and when to use it. Flash should hardly ever be used inside (not to be confused with external flash, which definitely can be).
The flash we’re talking about is the built-in flash that comes with your camera. This feature can come in handy under the right circumstances, but for the most part it is misused, often causing the infamous red-eye glare and overexposed subjects. If you want to use a flash indoors, get an external unit compatible with your camera. It can be positioned elsewhere other than directly in front of your subject, which will help avoid the red-eye effect.
4. Keep Your Subject Centred
There are so many variables with lighting and angles that centering is a breath of fresh air. Centering is pretty straightforward: always keep the subject of your shot level and center in your viewfinder, since there’s nothing more cringy than an otherwise great photo ruined by a tilt. Yes, you can usually remedy slight tilts in a photo editor, but it requires the photo to be cropped, and depending on how severe the slope is, you’ll be cropping into the subject of the photo.
BONUS Photography Tips: Most viewfinders have a grid line, so you can easily tell if your subject is straight and centered.
Candid photography shots can be the easiest thing to do as an amateur as you do not need to get people to pose. Learn more here.
5. Focus on the Important Details
Focusing is also an easy thing to get right the first time around, since most digital cameras are set to auto-focus. On most cameras you can switch to manual focus — a handy feature when the auto focus isn’t recognizing your desired focal point (a common problem in macro and portrait photography). Properly setting the focus on the subject of your photo will ensure that the important details appear crisp, clear, and outstanding.
6. Take Your Time (and plenty of photos)
Sometimes nerves, excitement, or just lack of experience make you cut a shoot short prematurely, and often you won’t have the chance to redo it ever again. That’s why when you commit to doing a shoot, take your time to ensure you have the content you need. Always take a good variety of shots including some with different lighting and from different angles.
BONUS Photography Tips: Just as important as taking lots of photos is sorting them out after you move them to your computer or device. If you aren’t careful you’ll soon find your photo library drowning in similar shots, most of which are redundant. We recommend downloading Adobe Lightroom to handle all editing and library needs. It is a brilliant piece of software and very reasonably priced.
7. Master Editing Tools
To carry on from the last paragraph. Good editing tools are key. If you are shooting on a nice camera it is important to know that it records so much information that you do not see on your small LCD screen. If you are shooting in camera RAW this information stored is even greater. Choosing a good editing tool brings out your ability to use and manipulate this info. Bringing out shadows, making areas clearer, touching up blemishes etc. All can be done in an editing tool. Again, we recommend Adobe Lightroom purely for its brilliant functionality.
Your camera should always be set to take the highest quality photos, but sometimes things happen and settings get changed. If at any point you notice that the file size of your photos has decreased, you can assume that so has the quality.
This is also a common problem for photographers who use free photo editors. Sometimes apps compress your photos for no other reason than to have you pay to export full-size edits. Any time an app compresses your image file, the quality takes a huge hit. That’s why whenever you’re using a new editing tool, check the file size after import and export to ensure the quality wasn’t changed. If you have a great game one of the best photography tips we can give you is to invest in a great piece of editing software.
Why is this important? You probably won’t notice much of a change on a small screen, but if you ever need to print the photo, your size options will be severely limited.
8. Add Props
Depending on the theme of your photoshoot, props can add an extra umph to really make your photo pop. The best thing about props is that they don’t have to be expensive or over the top to completely reinvent the entire theme of the shoot. A good example of a cheap and effective prop is a string of Christmas lights used to make a bokeh background effect.
9. Use Camera RAW
If your camera has the capability to shoot in RAW choose it over JPEG. Sure the image size doubles but so does the theoretical quality and so does the information the image stores. More information gives you more capabilities in editing. You can really make images pop and colours burst whilst also keeping quality. Also, RAW files never deteriorate. JPEG files lose quality over time especially the more times you move them around. For us this is one if the best photography tips you could ever learn.
10. The Exposure Triangle
Familiarise yourself with all you camera settings but most importantly the shutter speed, the iSO and the aperture. These 3 work in unison with each other and can changing one of the settings means you may have to change others. Do not worry. We have covered this in great detail here.
Remember that the main thing here is to take the photography tips and use them to your advantage. The more information you are armed with the quicker you will learn and be able to adapt. Making errors is the fastest way to learn so do not be afraid to try new things.
Turn your obsession into a profession! For those who are interested we have a brilliant space on Facebook to help you learn even more. Enter our Facebook group here. We can’t wait to have you on board.
Bulk of content courtesy of Darina Stavniychuk