Basics - Top 10 Tips For Beginners

As a beginner, there are so many things to learn, let?s try to narrow them down a bit. These are my top 10 things (in brief) that I think will bring the most to your photography.

Learn your camera

The way the buttons are set out; which menu features do what; how do you change things. These are important lessons to learn, and will make your life easier as a photographer, but it is learning about what aperture does, or how shutter speeds change things, or what the focal length means that will really improve your photography.

Study others

Looking at other photographers work is a great way to improve your photography, learning to read the photograph is a key skill that will take your work from OK to good and on to great. Being able to decipher where the light was coming from will help you utilise light in your own work. Figuring what elements work compositionally (and why) will teach you what to look for in composing your own work. I am NOT advocating copying others work, but when you can take an image apart you can use the pieces in your own photography.

Accept criticism

The only way any of us will really improve is being able to see the weaknesses in our photography. Post you photographs on critique websites (or areas of websites) and you will get an honest opinion of your photographic work (friends and family are great but they will often see the best in you and your images), don?t take it to heart instead learn from it, embrace what is said, look at the photo yourself and actually see what is being said rather than get upset by it. People offer these opinions to help not offend.

Alter your angle

The default for most of us is to photograph straight on at eye level, and while this is often fine, you will notice the more you look at good photographs (see study others) that altering this angle will make a world of difference to your photos. Getting down to low levels, raising yourself up, moving behind something, it is all about trying to find what works, so experiment.

Move in closer

Use your feet. Zooming in with a lens is great but the best way to really learn about photography distances is to use a single focal length and use your feet to zoom in (or out), you will get a much better idea of what distance you need to e to achieve a certain shot if you learn it this way rather than using your lens to alter the effect.

Keep it simple

All too often images can be over complicated or full of un-necessary items, learn to keep things clean and simple you will find your photographs improve a lot, if you are photographing a person try to only have them in the scene (crop or change your angles to remove unwanted clutter). Most people take snapshots to capture a moment with a little thought you can turn these into really excellent images instead.

Be selective

With digital photography there is no film cost so it becomes appealing to shoot in a scatter gun way, firing off endless shots till your memory card is full, but do you really need 20 shots of the exact same scene? It is better to learn not to use rapid fire options on your camera but take single shots (with wildlife or sports this is not so true you don?t want to miss the action), you will have less processing to do later and will think a little more about each photo.

Watch the edges

Don?t chop off feet or arms or important parts of the subject you are photographing, it is very easy to obsess over the central area of your photo but forget to check that unwanted elements have not slipped in to edges (these can be very distracting), likewise you can miss that you have cut off an important part, so check your edges.

Learn to hold your camera

Learning to hold your camera in the correct manner, with a decent, solid base, will make a huge difference to your photographs. No more (or at least less) photos ditched because of camera shake. Keep your elbows in and your feet apart.

Have fun

The most important thing though is to have fun, what is the point of photography if you don?t enjoy it. There is nothing sweeter than having taken a brilliant picture (even if it is only your opinion and for your eyes only).

I hope you find these tips useful and put them to good use, please do get in contact with me and let me know what you think and if they have helped you.

Ashley Beolens