Getting into photography is both a fun and daunting adventure. There is so much to learn when you first start out. From which camera to choose to how to capture light in just the right way, the start of your photography journey can be confusing and often times discouraging. Here are some tips for new photographers to help you out along the way.

6 Tips for New Photographers

Learn the Basics

One of my first tips for new photographers is always learn the basics. I wish someone had said this to me when I was first starting. I feel like my journey into photography would have been a bit easier. Instead, after ten years, I’m finding that there are still things I need a ton of practice on.

Anyways, what do I mean by basics? I mean learning how light works and how your camera captures that light. And then figuring out how to put all of that together to make awesome images. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO can be super confusing at first, as can putting your camera into something other than auto-mode. This article on getting out of auto-mode explains all about aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how they work together. Once you’ve learned this, you’re well on your way to becoming a great photographer.

The Gear Doesn’t Matter that Much

Years before I started to get serious about photography I was shooting on hand-me-down point and shoot cameras. After that it was a hand-me-down iphone 3. I knew that I liked photography, but was overwhelmed with how to move forward. There were so many options! Eventually I settled on a refurbished Nikon D3000 with a kit lens that I found on Amazon for $300. I shot with that camera for years.

All of that is to say that the gear doesn’t matter that much in the beginning. Newer, nicer, bigger and more expensive cameras come with tons of features, extra megapixels, wider ISO ranges and much more. However, all of that is useless if you don’t know what you’re doing. Learn the basics first – composition and shooting in manual modes – and as you grow as a photographer upgrade your gear. When you discover that your set-up can no longer produce the kinds of images you want, then it’s time to start looking into new gear. After all, the gear doesn’t make the photographer.

Find Your Style (or Styles)

I’ve taken exactly one and a half photography classes in my life (should I take more? Probably yes). One of the projects that stuck with me the most was where we had to pick a photographer and emulate their style. Does that mean we had to outright rip their work off? No, but we did have to figure out things like how they lit their subjects or how they edited their images.

If you’re interested in photography, you probably already have a list of photographers you like. For me, there were dozens of photographers on Instagram whose style I liked. I spent years learning how to shoot and edit like them and then refining and applying to my own work to come up with a style I was happy with. This helped with learning how to shoot better and with learning how to edit without over doing it.

Do you need to learn just one style? Absolutely not. I love shooting dark and moody images of leaves and flowers, but I also shoot real estate which is typically not dark and moody at all. However, in the beginning, it helps to narrow it down to a few styles and then refine them until they are your own.

Practice Composition

Practicing composition should always be one of the first tips for new photographers. I’ve been doing photography for well over a decade and still struggle with composition. I wish now that I’d learned more about composition when I’d first started photography.

There are tons of rules to composition in photography. Things like rule of thirds, and leading lines, foreground and symmetry all help to produce great images. But like most rules, the rules of composition are meant to be broken.

Pick an Editing Program

Editing is somehow both my favorite and least favorite part of photography. Editing is the part of the process where a few simple tweaks can make an image shine. It’s also where I get to see how good (or bad) of a photographer I actually am.

There are tons of editing programs to choose from. I exclusively use a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop for all of my work. However, there are dozens of other programs out there. This article does a great job of breaking down the various editing programs out there. And if you are on a budget there are even some free ones.

Share Your Work

When you’re first starting your journey in photography, sharing your work can be challenging. It’s frightening having someone judge your photos, especially when you are still honing your skills. But how else are you supposed to learn and grow as a photographer? Sharing your work with friends, family and other photographers is a great way to hone your craft and zero in on what you need to be working on.

There are tons of different places you can share your work, get feedback and learn more about photography. I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook, but it’s a good place to start. It features tons of groups and communities both local and international where you can share your work, get feedback, ask questions and view others’ work. Try searching for the niche of photography you’re most interested in and joining a handful of groups.

Tips for New Photographers Conclusion

The world of photography can be vast and confusing when you first start out. But with these tips and some practice you’ll be on your way to becoming a great photographer in no time.

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Hey there! My name is Leah and I'm a photographer, blogger and wanderer from north Texas. I've been doing photography for nearly a decade now and absolutely love it. My day job is real estate photographer and in my free time you can often find me at a park taking pictures of leaves and flowers. Outside of that my fiance and I love to travel. We spent nine months backpacking through Europe and now spend our free time attempting to plan and going on shorter trips both in the States and abroad.

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