8 simple photography tips for the beginner

Same rules

Whatever camera you use, whether it’s a small compact or a full frame dslr, the rules for taking a good photograph are basically the same, once you’ve learned them, then you can start to experiment and even disregard them entirely if you choose.

1) Keep it affordable

If you’re just starting out in photography you don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment to get a good photo. There’s an array of modest priced compacts and ‘bridge’ cameras on the market today at affordable prices, and with today’s technology, they can give really good results, but remember, it’s the person behind the camera that counts, so start with a moderately priced camera that suits your needs, and then, if you get the photography bug, you can then upgrade.

When I started out in photography I decided to buy a used Russian made  Zenit slr; the first slr I ever owned; it was cheap but it did what all the more expensive slr’s did at the time, it allowed me to experiment with all those knobs and dials and to learn how a slr works without paying the earth.

2) Get in close to your subject

Try focusing on a particular part of your subject; it could be someones face in a portrait shot or, as below, a close-up of an E-type jaguar’s headlight. By isolating just a small part of your subject can give the image more impact.

© A Webber

3)  See the light

It’s generally easier to take pictures outside on a bright, sunny day, but you still need to think about how the bright light will affect your subject. If you’re photographing someone who’s facing the sun, are their features looking a bit harsh in the strong sunlight? are they squinting? if so, try photographing them in the shade, if there’s no shade, then keep the sun behind them and use a ‘fill-in’ flash to lighten the shadowed side.

Another basic rule in photography, particularly when taking shots of landscapes and sunsets, is to shoot during the ‘golden hour’; those times just after dawn and just before dusk when the light has those deep, mellow colours.

© A Webber

© A Webber

4) Get composed!

Take a little time to compose your shot; think of where you want the main subject to be, strive to get a well balanced picture by consciously placing the subject in the frame just where you want it, and remember those  simple things such as keeping horizons level and following the rule of thirds.

© A Webber

5) In focus

Another simple rule, but one that  happens all too often (to us all!) is to keep your subject in focus; this can happen occasionally when your camera is set to ‘auto’ mode; you may think you’re focusing on someone, but your camera is focusing  on the flowers in the fore ground. When this happens, try focusing manually.

 

© A Webber

6) Know your camera!

It may seem obvious to some, but getting to know your camera will help you to take better pictures. Even the small things such as knowing  how to find the self timer, or brightening the LCD screen can save some time and frustration. So read that manual and play with those controls to you know your camera inside-out.

© A Webber

7) Don’t get the shakes!

Hold your camera firmly and close to your body to help avoid those dreaded camera shakes, or better still, use a tripod or monopod whenever you can. Beware, Images you’ve just taken can look quite sharp in your camera’s 3” lcd screen but can look blurred on your computers monitor; so use the zoom-in fuction on your camera’s lcd screen to check they’re ok.

 8) Experiment

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your photography; look at your subject  from a different angle, try different ways to compose your shot, you may end up with something exciting and original.

© A Webber

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