How to Get Started in Photography

by Timea Zayzon
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how to get started in photography beginners

Photography is a hobby and career for many people around the world. Shutterbugs – a term in photography slang related to the camera’s “shutter” is still used to describe enthusiastic amateur photographers. Before getting started with photography, there are several technical aspects of photography to consider.

Like other artists such as painters and sculptors, photographers must look beyond the status quo and think creatively because the key to success is to have a broader perspective. As you become serious in your photographic endeavors, you’ll realize your changing perception of your surroundings. Your eye will become trained to see the things around you that capture your interest. You will start to observe potential subjects, images, and compositions all around you. You’ll be able to easily run a professional photo shoot. Seeking out models and possible images is an artistic and creative activity.

Did you know that the right side of the brain fuels your creativity and artistic expression? It’s a common conception that the best photographers use more of their right-brain and have a higher level of creativity. However, any person can learn the tricks of photography and go from amateur to professional.

Photography is a Time-Consuming Activity

Getting started in photography and becoming a great photographer is not achieved overnight. It takes a lot of time to learn the tricks of the trade, which should be practiced constantly. Photography is not a simple hobby, and it will take more than a few days to see great results.

Taking a photography course online will teach you the basics and essential technical aspects of taking quality photos. Perhaps you are even considering a career in photography since your friends and family tell you that you are a skilled photographer, so you are considering going professional. Whatever the reason for your interest, you’re here because you want to find out more information about photography.

how to get started beginner photography

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There is a wealth of resources about photography – from online courses to eBooks, to video tutorials, available at your fingertips.

Develop Your Ability to See the World from a Different Perspective

Learning the techniques and technicalities of photography is an essential part of becoming a great photographer, but it’s equally important to master the art of composition. Photography has been a dominant art form in the 21st century. Since photography is a creative art, having a vision is the key to success. The modern photographer must create artistic photos by using the right lens, having the right level of exposure, capturing an original composition, and of course, making sure the lighting is just right. Good photos will capture peoples’ attention and evoke emotion from them. If a photograph is excellent, it can even sell for thousands of dollars. Those buying photographs are often looking for something different, a new perspective, or a unique technique.

It takes time to develop an eye for photography, and it’s best to do some research and look through galleries, photo expositions, books, and magazines to get inspiration. Think about what you are trying to capture in the photos you take before you start. The art of photography involves taking pictures that capture unique images and moments from the photographer’s perspective.

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The Photographer’s Perspective is More Important than the Camera

Think of a camera as a piece of equipment to help you capture images. There are many types of cameras. DSLR cameras are the most popular, and they all offer similar features. When switching from amateur to professional photography, it’s essential to buy high-quality equipment that will fulfill client expectations. For amateur or hobby photographers, an affordable camera will be enough. An entry-level camera with a sturdy tripod, the right zoom lens, and flash will enable you to take good photos.

Learn to Use the Camera

When deciding on a camera, make sure to study the features and technical descriptions of the camera. The type of camera you buy depends on what kind of photographs you want to take and how professional you plan to go. Take time to learn how to use it with all its functions properly. First of all, you should read the instruction manual to make sure you are operating the camera correctly. It’s essential to know how to set the ISO, the aperture, and how to set the camera on manual. Browse through the manual and read the sections thoroughly. Look at reviews and books about your camera. User reviews are professional reviews are helpful because they tell you the pros and cons of each camera.

Practice Taking Photos

In the digital age, the film is no longer required, saving you all the costs associated with developing film: an expensive and costly process in the past. Memory cards let you take thousands of photos without having to delete to make space regularly.

To learn photography skills, take as many images as you can, using different settings. Spend a couple of days taking aperture priority shots, then the next few days, learn to use exposure settings. It takes practice to figure out how to capture what you see in the viewfinder correctly. Work through frustration and remember that it’s a process of trial and error. You will learn from your mistakes, and the photos will get better with time. And take a break to have some fun once in a while! A photo picture quiz can be just the trick!

Three Components of the Camera for those just getting started in photography

Consider that photography is a visual learning experience. But, it’s also essential to understand the technical elements of a camera. There are three crucial parts of the camera a photographer must be well acquainted with: the aperture, the shutter, and the sensor.

  1. Aperture refers to the diaphragm opening inside the lens, measured in millimeters (mm). The size of the diaphragm determines how much light enters, and it will affect the depth of field of the photos. A shallow depth of field will result in blurred images, whereas a deep depth of field will create sharp images.
  2. Shutter speed (known as exposure) affects the amount of time that film stays exposed to light. To capture images of motion, it’s best to use a slow shutter, which allows more light to get in. Fast shutter speed allows less light to pass through and is great for frozen action scenes.
  3. The sensor refers to capturing light sensitivity, which is controlled by ISO. The ISO will regulate how much digital noise gets captured in photos. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive to light it will be, but it will also capture more noise.

Now that you understand the three main functions of a camera, read on to find out more about the technicalities and features that will help you create high-quality images.

Controlling Exposure


Amateur photographers will quickly learn that exposure is essential in capturing great photographs. Exposure refers to the combination of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – therefore, mastering exposure is a must! The same three elements are also involved in motion blur, depth of field, and digital noise. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are known as the three parts of the ‘exposure triangle.’ The combination of the three controls how much light is captured in a scene. Think of it like this: if you want to capture an image and you change one setting, the others will need to be changed too.

Once you’ve learned how each element functions, you may begin using your camera in manual mode.

Aperture

Think of the aperture as the pupil of the eye – a hole through which light passes. If the aperture is wide, more light will be allowed in, if it’s narrow, not a lot of light will pass through. Aperture size is measured using the f/stop scale. The wider the aperture, the lower the f/ number will be. A lower aperture setting can be useful when working with low light, but it can also be harmful when working with landscapes, as the depth of field becomes shallow.

When working with settings, begin by setting up the aperture because it determines how much of your scene is in focus. When creating a motion blur scene, work with the shutter settings first. It all depends on the type of scene you are capturing.

It’s useful to memorize the f/stop scale: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22.

Shutter Speed


When the light passes through the aperture of a lens, it goes to the shutter. With the shutter speed, you decide how much light you are allowing into the camera. In most cases, you want only small fractions of a second to avoid any motion blur affecting your image. Different shutter speeds are appropriate for different situations. Depending on how much light you are working with, you’ll need different shutter speed settings. For example, at night, when the image is dark, you will need a very slow shutter speed. For fast action scenes like sporting events, you’ll want to use a fast shutter speed such as 1/4000 because you want to capture movement clearly and sharply.

A good understanding of shutter speeds is the key to success in the art of photography.

ISO

After the light passes through the aperture, it is filtered by the shutter speed, and then it reaches the sensor. At this point, the ISO must be set up. When you increase the ISO, there is a higher level of exposure. When the exposure level is high, the image quality declines, and there is more digital noise and grain. You must decide how much grain or noise you want in your image and how much you’re willing to turn up the exposure. In some cases, when shooting blurry scenes, it’s best to have more grain but capture stable images because it’s almost impossible to remove blur in post-production.

To master the art of photography, you must master the three essential elements of the exposure triangle and remember that exposure is the most important. Without mastering the exposure triangle, it will be hard to learn composition and framing.

Keep reading to learn about the “stop” based system used in measuring exposure and how to know when to prioritize aperture, shutter speed, or ISO to create the best photos possible!

8 Must Know Camera’s Features for first time photographers

camera features you must know about

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1. Metering Modes

Metering modes tell your camera how it should look at your scene. Spot metering mode chooses an exposure setting based on a specific spot. If you take photos using spot metering mode, they will turn out different from evaluative mode because they will have different exposure. Understanding metering modes will make a difference between overexposed and underexposed photos.

2. Histograms

Histograms tell you how exposed a photo is by showing you a mathematical review of a photo after it is taken. This information is useful for beginner photographers because it shows the effects of exposure. The histogram is displayed on the camera’s LCD screen, although it might be hard to see depending on lighting conditions.

3. Shooting Modes

You’re probably wondering how to decide which shooting mode to use? Popular modes such as manual mode, full-auto, program, aperture priority, and shutter speed priority can confuse any photographer, but remember that it depends on the shooting conditions. Make sure to learn what each mode does, and you’ll be able to choose the best mode for your shooting conditions.

4. Depth of Field

If you are shooting in low light conditions, you need to allow more light into the lens; therefore, you must widen the aperture. Shooting with a wide aperture can be tricky because it creates a shallow depth of field. Some photographers use shallow depth as a creative trick to enhance their photos. If you are shooting landscapes, for example, using a narrow aperture will make the entire scene stay in focus.

5. White Balance

The faster you master white balance, the better because it will affect the tone of your photo. White balance determines the color cast of a picture; it is the setting responsible for the warmth of a photograph. The white balance determines whether your photo appears cold (blue) or warm (orange). Most cameras have an auto white balance feature, but it usually does not do a perfect job; thus, it’s better to learn how to set a proper white balance manually.

6. Focal Length

You’re likely familiar with the ‘mm’ on your lens, but do you know what it means? The focal length determines the zoom of the camera, but it also changes the perspective of a shot. You need to know which focal length to use based on your shooting situation and what the possible side effects are.

7. Crop Factor

Most cheaper cameras have a crop sensor which will affect the shots. The sensor is much smaller than the sensor on professional and more expensive SLR cameras. The smaller sensor means that the camera is cropping your image. The crop can have different effects on your shots and might cut off vital parts of your image. For example, small sensors will give you a narrow viewing angle, affecting your perspective. Think about the crop sensor before purchasing lenses to make sure it’s a suitable sensor.

8. Polarizing Filters

You’re probably wondering what polarizing filters do? They are responsible for allowing light into the lens only from a certain direction. What this means is that it removes the glare and reflections from non-metallic objects. Usually, there will be natural anomalies in photos, but without glare and reflections, you’ll have more saturated colors. Think about the haze in the sky, for example, or water and glass – these are usually the most affected objects, and it’s almost impossible to remove the glare and reflection in post-production, so doing it naturally while shooting is best.

An essential element of professional photography is to have sharp images. It’s a multi-step process that involves setting up the aperture and shutter speed to get more sharp and clear photos. Professionals recommend that you shoot in RAW format as opposed to JPEG. In JPEG format, information is lost during the process of compression.

For beginner photographers, buying a good lens is important. Start with the popular 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, which is an affordable lens for SLR cameras. It’s an affordable lens but excellent quality, perfect for beginners. It will teach you a lot about using aperture and shutter correctly.

Composition for Photography Beginners

Great photographs begin with a good understanding of artistic composition. Exposure is essential, but so is a good composition; therefore, every beginner should focus on learning composition.

There are some basic composition rules that photographers follow:

Rule 1: Rule of Thirds

The first rule is easy to follow and works for all beginners. Divide your frame into three parts (thirds). Place your significant objects into these thirds by adding at least one object in each section. Frame division is a simple yet great way to create quality photographs. But, make sure not to overdo it.

Rule 2: Visual Weight

Visual weight refers to making particular objects/elements stand out in an image. Some objects will have a stronger visual weight (or influence) than others – they become focal points that stand out. Using visual weight properly will improve your compositions. Once you understand how to use visual weight, you’ll be able to attract the viewers’ eyes to the elements you want in a photo.

Rule 3: Triangles

As all photographers know, shapes are fundamental. You’ll find triangle shapes everywhere, both in nature and in photography. Learn to make the most of triangles and improve your compositions. Triangles are easy to use in composition since they are easy to use and modify to your advantage. For example, use triangles to make images stable or unstable. You can use triangles in combination with other composition techniques, such as paths and lines.

Rule 4: Eye-lines

When taking photos of humans, you are using eye lines. Eye lines refer to the direction of your subject’s eyes, the direction the eyes are facing. Eye lines directly affect how a photograph is viewed and perceived. The negative space in front of the subject’s eyes is known in photography terms as ‘lead room.’ This space will focus a viewer’s attention on a specific part of a photo. These lines create tension or produce compositional elements such as triangles or vertical lines.

Rule 5: Balance

Balance in a photo affects how we react to it: whether we are visually pleased or feel uneasy when looking at a picture. Unbalanced images will produce a feeling of uneasiness, whereas a balanced photo makes viewers feel relaxed. It’s essential to think about whether you want to portray balance or not in your composition. Learning to use the effect of balance to get the desired reaction from viewers is an integral part of mastering photography.

Now that you’ve read through the basics of digital photography, you can begin buying the right camera and equipment and start taking great photos, and start your journey toward becoming a photographer.

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