Video of 10 Photography tips for beginners and 5 Written Fundamentals

PHOTO CREDIT MARIAN ANBU JUWAN

Let’s Jump right in!

ADAM ROMANOWICZ / FOCUS MARKET

Tip #1: Gear

Before even looking at cameras, lenses and accessories available to you, ask yourself a couple of questions. Firstly, what type of Photography are you interested in? Next, what are the limitations of your current gear and finally what’s your budget? Once you have these questions answered, you’ll have a much better idea of what you really need.

Look into a decent camera body but buy the best lens possible that suits your type of photography, that you can afford. The best lens is more important and you can always upgrade to a higher specification camera body later on.

Tip #2: Camera Manual

To start off with your new purchase, read that manual. The chances are, if you are new to photography, you’ll get excited and leave the camera on full auto mode and start shooting loads of images that will just fill up your memory card, that you’ll probably never keep. Although this is fine for a while, make sure you practice and experiment using all the settings that your camera is capable of, then you’ll get a better understanding of what you are wanting to produce in your final images.

Tip #3: Settings

The three most important settings of a camera in photography are, shutter speed, aperture and ISO which make up the exposure triangle. In shutter priority mode, know your exposure speeds and increments and for what purpose they are used, the camera will set the aperture (f stop) for you in normal lighting conditions.

In aperture priority mode, the opposite happens. You set and dial in the aperture (f stop) that you want for any given shot and the camera will select the shutter speed automatically. Just keep in mind that each of the above settings, increase and decrease against each other, when changing one or the other to best suit the type of image that you are trying to capture. It’s therefore important to learn their values and how they work with each other.

ISO (International Standards Organisation) formerly known as ASA (American Standards Association) is your camera’s sensitivity to light as it pertains to either film or a digital sensor. A lower ISO value means less sensitivity to light, while a higher ISO means more sensitivity. A rule of thumb and handy reminder is, LOW ISO GO SLOW meaning a longer exposure will be possible in conjunction with the right shutter speed and aperture combination. HIGH ISO GO FAST meaning you can now capture subjects handheld that are moving fast or in lower lighting conditions to keep them sharp, but watch out for that noise (grain).

Tip #4: Composition Rules

Before venturing out and wanting to break all the rules of photography and composition, you’re going to want to know what they are. One of the best known of what makes a great photograph stand out, is the Rule of Thirds, which is used to add interest to a scene of what might otherwise be viewed as a less interesting or boring subject matter. It basically means that you divide your frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, putting your main subject on one of the lines or where the lines intersect.

Some other rules use leading lines, look for foreground interest that lead the viewers eye into the photograph, through the middle and up to the focal point of the subject matter. More rules you’ll get to know and learn about are, the use of negative space to your advantage, looking for symmetry and patterns, plus filling the frame with your subject to avoid distracting backgrounds.

Tip #5: Light

Photography is all about the light. An obvious one you may think but different types of natural light can dramatically enhance a photographs overall mood. Generally, for outdoor photography, the best times to shoot are referred to as golden hour and blue hour, meaning sunrise/sunset and dusk/twilight. At these times of the day, the light is more dynamic and colourful and since the sun is lower in the sky, it creates longer shadows adding depth to any given scenario. At midday, light is usually flat, harsh and less interesting to your overall subject, that said, good photographs can be made at any time of the day, there are no specific rules. On overcast days, head into woodland areas as this provides even light without harsh highlights or deep shadows for detailed captures of nature including macro/close up subject matter.

Photography shouldn’t be seen as a niche, it is a universal form of expression. In fact, it is almost woven into the fabric of our modern lives.

Written on 06.06.2022 by Paul Hamilton, Art Photographer and Focus Market Community Manager, London UK.

Video by Adam Romanowicz, Travel + Nature Photographer and Focus Market Social Impact Officer, Chicago USA

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