Pointing a camera at a subject and shooting is easy. Becoming a photographer not so easy. There are so many things to understand and learn to be able to point the camera and shoot an image that truly satisfies the artist in you.
From my own experience I have been putting off starting on this journey because of a fear for all the technicalities. But now that I am on this journey, I am so excited and should you wish to start on this path, do not let the difficulties dissuade you!
In my previous post I discussed how to get started. In this post I am providing information on basic photography for beginners. Hope you will find it useful.
Probably the first question that comes up is what digital camera to buy – there’s only so much you can achieve with a fixed-lens compact camera or a smartphone, so the logical step for anyone ready to take their next steps in photography would be to invest in a cheap DSLR camera or mirrorless camera.
These cameras have much larger sensors than smartphones and point-and-shoot compact cameras, and they take interchangeable lenses, so you can experiment with a much wider range of photographic styles and subjects as you learn. Key factors to consider will be weight, size and cost, of course. We will cover camera options in a later post.
Buying a second lens is always a big step forward for any beginner photographer. It means you have grown out of the limitations of the kit lens, the lens which came along with the camera, and are ready and willing to explore the creative possibilities that a new lens brings.
A new lens is always a fresh new perspective, and in my own experience opens a whole new range of possibilities to take your photography to a new level.
There are 5 types of lenses the beginner photographer could consider depending on what your needs are:
More on lenses in a later post.
Memory cards are the common standard media that cameras use to store what they record, and you’re going to want to have plenty of them available always when you’re shooting.
But which to choose? There are loads of brands and types of SD memory card out there, available at a wide range of different prices. Make sure you know which type of card is suitable for your camera and do some research to find the best deal.
One of the most important things a beginner photographer must learn is how to hold a camera properly. That simply means “in a way that minimizes camera shake as much as possible.”
Remember: When the camera is shooting a photo, the shutter goes up and the sensor fills up with light. If you move while the shutter is open, the light will smear across the sensor and result in a blurry photo. No movement equals no camera shake.
The key is to bring your arms close to your body so they’re stable against your core. This will minimize camera shake and allow your hand-held photos to remain as sharp as possible.
The tripod is sometimes underestimated in the beginner photographer’s kit. However, it can be a great asset. It keeps the camera stable, especially for low-light photography, long exposure shots, or any photography involving telephoto lenses. However, it can also be a hindrance because you must carry it around and set it up before you can take the shot. It is therefore very important to know when to use the tripod and when not.
Learn about the positives and the negatives of using a tripod, which kind of tripods are available and alternatives to tripods.
Understanding light and lighting is part of being a good photographer. While we as photographers often love the feel of soft, natural light, knowing how to utilize artificial light can be of tremendous value in low-light environments. This includes knowing when and how to use flash, when NOT to use flash, and some ways to avoid using flash in your photos.
A very common reason to use your flash unit is low-light indoor environments. If there’s not enough light shining on your subject, a flash will help illuminate them. But flashes are useful outdoors, too, even in the middle of the day. When the background is a lot brighter than your subject, your subject will look darker or even silhouetted. Using “fill flash”, will balance out the background light and brighten your subject. Flash can also be used to create unique effects. Instead of balancing out darkness or brightness, a flash can be used to add an additional element to a photo, such as using it for light painting.
In general, there are three types of situations in which you should not use flash:
Having started on this journey as a photographer, your kit might now consist of several pieces of equipment. These pieces might have cost you a fair amount of money and it is therefore important to know how to care for them and extend the lifespan of your photographic equipment.
The following list provides some pointers to consider:
Once you start filling up those memory cards and transfer your images to a computer, it is very easy to think that they are safe. However, these days it is not uncommon for hard drives and other storage devices to fail. In fact, due to the nature of how they operate, they are guaranteed to wear out over time. It’s just a question of when. They can also get stolen or the photos accidentally deleted with a few clicks of the mouse. Before the unthinkable happens to you and you lose all your images, it is best to create a backup strategy.
One of the best ways to approach backing up your data is the 3-2-1 strategy:
Some options to consider:
As someone who has lost data, I can confidently say that it is well worth your time to back up your data.
These pointers should guide you in the right direction. They are certainly not extensive, but I hope they will get you started. I am looking forward to going on this journey and share my experience, knowledge and skills with you as I go along.
In the meantime, have fun, shoot a lot and experiment!