Photo Tips for New Photographers

Photo Tips for New Photographers

1. Keep your camera with you.  The best camera is the one you have with you.  Keep your equipment simple -just a small camera bag– and keep it close.

2. Look around.  Look at familiar surroundings with photography in mind. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find an unexpected wildflowers in your yard.  Simple subjects make great shots.

3. Take photos early and often.   If you want to get good, photograph something every day.  Start in your backyard.  Look with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

4. Learn all you can.  One of the great things about photography is the never-ending supply of things to learn.  Dedicate an hour a day to reading about photography, listening to photography podcasts and taking photos and you will soon be an expert.

5. Take advantage of free resources.  Explore the Internet for tips and inspiration.  Don’t forget the resources available at the Cheboygan Public Library.

6. Learn the basic rules.  There is so much information available about photography that it can be overwhelming.  Start with one aspect of photography that interests you.  (Focus, shutter speed, aperture, proper exposure, wide-angle lens)  When you master one, move on to  another topic.  Read magazines, books and photo blog posts, study Internet tutorials, listen to a podcast, look at photo books.  You will learn by studying what more experienced photographers have to say and trying their techniques.

7. Break the Rules.  One great advantage of a digital camera is it costs nothing to experiment.  Play around, try new things.  You will probably find something you like and you will get a lot of practice in the process.

8. Experiment with camera settings.  A point and shoot camera provides more options than you think and all the options of a DSLR can keep you occupied for weeks.  Read the manual.  Shoot your subjects with multiple settings to see what effects you like.  Take notes and check the EXIF data to see the camera settings you used.

9. Get closer, lower, higher, up earlier and turnaround…  One problem common to almost all beginning photographers is not getting close enough to the subject.  After taking an overall shot of the scene, move in.  Shoot subjects (especially kids) at eye level.  Then move left and right, up and down to see how the change in perspective changes your photo.  When taking pictures of the sunset (or any other picture) turnaround.  You may be surprised by the photo opportunity right behind you.  Opportunities abound the hour after sunset and the hour before sunrise.  Don’t put your camera away when it starts to get dark.  Stay out longer, get up earlier, get closer and turnaround.  (And when it does get too dark, go indoors and take photographs indoors.)

10. Make a list of shots you’d like to take.  For the times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook  (Or my personal favorite, 3×5 cards.) and jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Note important details so you can return at the same time or when the weather’s right. You can also take a picture with your phone camera and email yourself the details.

11. Don’t buy expensive equipment right away.  Very nice photos can be taken with inexpensive cameras.  Don’t rush out and spend money on expensive equipment until you know the limits of the gear you have.  Buy one piece of gear at a time.  For example, use on lens or lens setting until you have shot photos from every angle, in every type of light and know all  you can about that lens.  The temptation to buy something more will be almost overwhelming, but fight it as best you can.  The more pictures you take and experiment with your equipment, the better you will know what your next piece of gear really needs to be.  And you will save a lot of money in the long run.  I speak from experience…

12. Tripods make a huge impact.  An inexpensive tripod or even a bag of navy beans wrapped in duct tape can steady your shots.  To avoid camera shake as you push the shutter button, use the camera 2 (or 10) second timer function with a tripod.  (Tip within a tip:  Keep your tripod in your car.  You will know where it is and won’t have to remember to pack it when you travel.)

December 24, 2011

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About Dan Welihan

Photographer, teacher

Posted on December 24, 2011, in Basic Digital Photography, Beginners. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Photo Tips for New Photographers.

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