7 Beginner Photography Tips

If you ask me, photography is just about the best hobby anyone can pick up.

Not only does it get you up and moving, but it compels you to be creative, master technical aspects like exposure, and interact with others who love photography (or who want their picture taken).

And just about everyone loves a good photo, right? So photography is a great way to bring people together for the common purpose of taking great photos (and appreciating them too!).

Of course, when you’re just starting out in photography, it can be a little confusing as to where to even begin.

That’s where this guide comes in.

If you’re a brand new photographer, consider these tips as the ideal place to start your photography journey.

It Will Take Time

I cannot emphasize this enough – mastering photography will not happen overnight.

Sure, that’d be great, but that’s just not how things work.

It’s hard to look at photos from the masters and not be able to replicate what they do.

But with time and practice, you’ll develop the understanding of photography and the requisite skills needed to create better photos.

So, the first thing you need to do is grab your camera, head out, and start taking pictures.

By putting yourself out there and into a position to take photos, you’ll learn about everything from camera settingsto composition to lighting and everything in between.

Back up your practice in the field with research and learning beforehand, and you’ll be surprised at just how much your photography improves.

Utilize Free Tools

One of the great things about photography is that it’s so accessible.

That’s been the case for decades, but today that’s especially true given that you can start learning photography with nothing more than your smartphone and a few photography tutorials like this one.

Though there are plenty of photography courses out there that you can pay to take, don’t think that spending money on learning opportunities is the only way to go.

Start with free lessons like this one. Peruse YouTube and see what sorts of tutorials you can find. Join a photography website like PhotographyTalk so you can get inspired by other people’s photos, get feedback on your own photos, and talk shop with other photography enthusiasts.

By focusing on the free tools at your disposal, that frees up money to spend on other photography-related things, like getting a better lens or investing in a set of good filters.

Read the Owner’s Manual

One free resource that’s vastly underutilized is the owner’s manual for your camera. This is particularly true if you have a DSLR or mirrorless system.

I realize that owner’s manuals are not enjoyable reads, but that notwithstanding, they have a ton of critical information about the features and functions of your camera that allow you to take better photos.

Think about it like this – if you’ve never taken a photo in your life, how can you expect to learn how if you don’t know how your camera works?

Taking up photography without learning how to use your camera is like taking your driver’s test without ever having learned how to drive – it’s just that much more complicated!

Make it easier on yourself and spend a little time reading the owner’s manual. Trust me, it will pay off!

Never Be Without a Camera

Sometimes, beginner photographers mistakenly think that they have to have the perfect subject to get a good photo.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Often, good photos come about because the photographer was simply prepared to take the shot.

Part of being prepared is to simply have a camera with you at all times.

That doesn’t mean you have to lug around all your photography gear wherever you go, either…

Simply having your smartphone with you gives you a camera that’s ready and capable of taking a good shot. All you need to do is get into the habit of photographing subjects on your way to work, at lunch, on the weekends, as you walk the dog, and so forth.

After all, you never know when an ideal photo opp will present itself!

Enjoy the Process

When I was learning photography, I was constantly frustrated because I couldn’t seem to make my camera and lens do what I wanted them to do.

There were plenty of lose it moments when I just gave up, and you’ll probably have plenty of those moments too…

But what I can offer in terms of advice now that I’ve gone through those experiences is that getting mad and frustrated doesn’t do you any favors.

Instead, enjoy the process of learning.

Focus less on what you can’t do, and more on what you’re able to do.

You’ll be surprised at how much you learn and how quickly you learn it. And if you can focus on those positives, you will find that you enjoy photography much more.

Get Inspired

Photography, like any art form, certainly relies on your knowledge and skills.

But getting inspiration is a huge component of your success as well.

This doesn’t mean spending hours each day poring over the photos other people post on Instagram.

Instead, getting inspired means really focusing on what it is about certain photos that you like.

Is it the way the portrait subject has been posed?

Is it the lighting in a landscape photo?

Is it the colors or the textures in an abstract photo that catch your eye?

By looking at what other people do, you can start to form your own ideas about your personal style and photography aesthetic. And once you do that, you’ll start to see your own take on photography begin to emerge in the way your photos look and feel.

Set Some Goals

Though photography is art, and there’s something to be said for a relaxed approach to creativity, when you’re just starting out, having a few goals will give you the direction you need to become a better photographer.

These don’t have to be enormous, life-changing goals, either.

For example, you might endeavor to shoot at least 10 photos a day. Maybe your goal is to try one new type of photography each month for a year. Perhaps you can challenge yourself to become more familiar with your camera’s settings.

Even simple goals like these can give you the structure you need to maintain focus on what needs to happen for you to get better! Get more insights on setting photography goals in the video about by the Art of Photography.