No matter what your level of photography expertise is, these tips for beginners are valid and relevant. The field of photography is complex, and we can easily feel overcome by its technical aspect. So I put myself in the shoes of a young beginner, remembering the resources used to improve my learning.
I have pretend for you a list of 12 tips that, in my opinion, have helped me to progress in the photographic field, but also as an artist.
Here are some pieces of advice by Dave Spates for novice photographers (and friendly reminder for others)
1-IT’S NOT THE DEVICE THAT COUNTS, BUT YOUR GAZE
Getting a new camera won’t make you a better photographer. It helps, obviously, but is not a prerequisite. Use whatever you have in your hands.
Learn to master it. Learn to see. Learn to trust yourself. The results will amaze you.
2-READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL
It’s the first thing you should do when getting a new camera, and you are often tempted to slip it up. Of course, reading is a little indigestible, I admit, but the mastery of your box will be improved.
Shoot as often as possible: Take one photo a day for a month and watch your skills develop.
Short on time?
Swap 15 minutes of your internet time for a walk in your favorite spot. Given the short time available, simplify your composition, let the subject shine on its own.
Take one to three photos! That’s it!
4-IF MANUAL MODE TURNS YOU OFF, GO FOR SEMI-AUTOMATIC
The innovative technology of today’s cameras gives us the ability to capture exceptional images. Very proud, we managed our photo. Yes! But we do not know how we did it.
An effective way to learn to master shooting is to switch to manual mode.
The fact of choosing the apertures / speeds / ISO parameters ourselves and of varying the combinations, allows us to fully understand the operation of our equipment.
If, however, manual mode discourages you, adopt the semi-automatic option, either aperture priority or speed.
For example: if you decide to select the apertures, the device will take care of matching the right speed and vice versa. You’ll be halfway done, and you’ll have full control over the final image! It’s not beautiful that!
5-SEE LIKE A CAMERA
One of the barriers is our inability to “see” like a digital device. We get images, but the result fills us with dissatisfaction. Burnt sky, poorly exposed subject, etc. The range of tones (shadows and highlights) is much smaller on a device than that provided by the human eye.
To give you an idea, the human eye can see 27 stops while a basic sensitivity reflex picks up 9 stops. A huge gap.
When taking pictures, pay attention to the situation, if you have deep shadows accompanied by very bright areas, your camera will not be able to capture the whole without blocking or burning part of the image.
It will be necessary to make a choice, to sacrifice part of the scene for the benefit of the other. Decide to shoot for highlights, or for shadows. (Both areas can be photographed successfully simultaneously, but the technique is beyond the scope of this article.)
6-LOOK IN TWO DIMENSIONS
The camera records images in two dimensions, while the human eye sees in three dimensions. Close one eye to help you perceive your surroundings in two dimensions.
This will facilitate your visual perception, and will put you “in the shoes” of your camera. It will be easier to distinguish the linens and shapes that make up the scene.
7-DON’T TRY TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION
Expect to make mistakes. Everyone does! Don’t be too demanding of yourself, take the time to experiment. Mastering a technique such as photography requires patience.
Among your photos, you will get images that will undoubtedly be imperfect in the eyes of experts – or in your eyes – but don’t forget that they will be the pledge of your progress. Being a beginner means accepting to make mistakes in order to grow as a photographer.
8-LEARN THE RULES, BUT KNOW HOW TO BREAK FREE
The rules are at our disposal to guide us to reproduce balanced images.
But, sometimes, such constraints hamper our creativity. Our vision feels trapped in a gilded cage where all the elements must be carefully in place, otherwise we risk ruining the composition. Trust your intuition. Give yourself permission to trigger without asking yourself all the composing questions.
Do you like what you see? Click! It’s the present moment that counts, it won’t come back twice…
9-EXPERIMENT WITH VARIOUS STYLES
Do not stay confined to one kind, vary the styles. Take an interest in landscape, portrait, fashion, urban, sports or hiking photography. Even if the proposed subject does not fascinate you at first glance. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to acquire new skills, stimulate your creativity and discover unexplored techniques. Using several camera equipment can also help you in exploring your photography styles. If you’re a beginner, you can rent camera equipment from Philadelphia Lens Rentals and start enhancing your skills with various styles.
10-JOIN A VIRTUAL COMMUNITY
When I first started digital photography in 2016, I joined an online arts community, Deviant ART. In addition to extending my knowledge in the digital field, I have forged links with photography enthusiasts. I learned the benefit of the RAW file, how to do HDR processing, and other techniques I was totally unaware of.
11-CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
There are a multitude of points of view, be inventive and transform the dynamics of your images by changing your position. Dare to climb up on a chair or lie down on the floor to change your perspective. The effect obtained will give a graphic rendering to your images, and will amaze the eye of your spectators.
12-SLOW DOWN, TAKE THE TIME TO WATCH
Don’t rush to take your photos. Before pressing the shutter release button, slow down and allow yourself a few moments to gaze, contemplate, and observe the landscape. Move as needed, step forward, step back, a little left, right (without getting dizzy, of course), examine the perimeter of your sight (patrol the edges), when satisfied, trigger.
The list ends here, but it could have gone on much longer. I believe that staying to the point is important when you start.