Taking pictures is indeed a pleasurable experience or should you say, a good hobby for a lot of people. If you have just purchased a new digital camera or an SLR, you are most probably too excited to capture different subjects and memories. If you are just beginning and barely know anything about photography, you might end up feeling disappointed especially if you are not producing images the way you were expecting to.
It should not take a camera genius to understand the basics of taking photos, but then again, if you want to improve your skills and learn about the ropes of your camera, there are certainly a lot of photography 101 tips that you can consider. Once you have acquainted yourself with at least some of these basic tips, you might just be surprised to find out that it should not take a lot of effort for you to get started.
Deciding On Which Camera To Buy
Of course, the first and very important thing that you will need is to have a camera that you will use. Now there may be a lot of options available in the market today, and you will surely find yourself confused and even torn between these many choices. Your choice will range on a variety of point and shoot cameras and digital ones that offer different specs and features. Don’t get too anxious to buy the best camera, though, as there is no exact way to determine or to decide on the best one.
There are four major things that you need to watch out for or consider when picking a camera – These are the design, features, performance and photo quality. For a beginning photographer like you, you might want to consider a unit that is not too complicated to use, with menus that are easy to learn and to navigate. If you are always on the go, you should also choose a camera that is not too heavy or too big especially if you do not like carrying large bags everywhere.
There are actually a lot of good entry level cameras that you can choose from. Here is a quick guide that should help you get acquainted with the different cameras available:
These cameras are designed mostly for automatic operations and are perfect for those who only want an upgrade from their camera phones, with the interest to produce photos with better quality and to take advantage of the zoom lens, too. Point and shoot cameras are normally good enough for taking photos of food, kids and family vacation. They are also pocketable and can be a good camera for occasional subjects in action.
Entry level mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lens:
These cameras are perfect for those who want something faster and better than a regular point and shoot camera, but still want it to be as compact as possible. These are usually small enough to fit into a jacket pocket or a small purse, and are designed for both manual and automatic operations.
Entry level DSLRs:
If you want better quality and speed then a DSLR is something you should consider buying. There are many entry level DSLRs that can compete well enough with other cameras in the market today and you will be surprised to know that it does not even have to cause a dent in your budget as far as the price tag is concerned. Some units to consider are the Nikon D3000, Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the Nikon D3100. These cameras are all perfect for entry level photographers with specs that cater your beginner needs.
High-end cameras for the pro:
You also have quite an array of choice if you are planning to take photography into a more serious notch, with a lot of high end cameras that are sure to break the bank, if you know what that means. If you do not mind the budget, you can go for the Canon 5D Mark II for phenomenal videos and images that even professionals are raving about it, too.
Get To Know More About Your Camera
After you have picked out the right camera for you, the next photography 101 tip that you should know is that you now need to get to know more about it. First step is to read and scan through your manual so you will have an idea on how to operate it and also learn about its specs and features. You don’t really have to read the whole manual from beginning to end, but at least have the eye for the important stuff that you should know. Make sure you read about the different parts of your camera, the specs and how each feature works.
If you are planning to use the camera for a special occasion or for a big event coming, you definitely want to test the waters first and see what kind of photos would come out. The best thing that you could do is to set it up and try the camera using both manual and automatic modes, while occasionally changing settings every now and then to see which one would suit best for different settings and lighting. After that, you can download or transfer the photos to your computer or laptop so you could examine them closely. Doing this will help you tell if the photos are sharp enough according to your preference and will also help you decide which mode or setting is better for you.
Work On A Photo Project
Some people find it hard to learn how to use a new camera just by simply shooting anything. It would help a lot if you can find a particular subject that you can shoot, probably something that you like looking at – could be animals or flowers and even trees, it does not really matter as long as you get to test your skills and your camera, too. Once you get yourself acquainted with the different settings and modes of your gadget, then it should be easier for you to find more challenging subjects that you can take on.
Photo projects will also help you in training your eyes as you go about shooting. After every project, take some time to evaluate your shots and see if the photos are improving, not just the quality but also your experience. If you want, you can also ask for evaluations from some professional photographers if you know some.
Try Different Shooting Environments
Some subjects are best photographed outside of a studio and there are also some people who are just not too comfortable with outdoor shoots. This is something that you need to keep in mind when you are already exploring your photography skills. It is always best that your subject feel comfortable when in any kind of environment as awkwardness will only show in the photos and that is definitely not good. For example, if you are trying to take photos of your daughter on a regular day, don’t try and force her into wearing a fancy dress if she does not feel like really into it. Instead, just let her play and wear anything then start taking photos, you might be amazed with how candid shots are even far better than studio-styled ones.
Be Mindful Of The Lighting
The lighting plays an essential role in photography and you are most probably aware of this by now. If you don’t have an expensive studio and yet you want to still be able to produce natural portraits, you can try placing your subject right next to a window. The natural light coming out from the window will hit your subject at a good angle.
If you are shooting in mid-day lighting that is really poor to your preference, make sure your subject is facing away from the sun. This is a very common mistake that most photographers do not notice. Doing this will make the face of the subject in the shade to prevent unflattering shadows from appearing.
If using a flash is a necessity for the shoot, try your best not to use the on-camera flash as it will only give a deer-in-the-headlight look, even when you are shooting a very beautiful subject. It is better to use an external flash and just have it mounted to your side.
Understanding Shutter Speed
The shutter speed also plays a vital role when it comes to determining how much time that your camera is letting the light in. It is very important to understand shutter speed completely especially when capturing motion and how you want to motion to appear in your shots. If you are using a really slow shutter speed, you will need to stabilize your camera by using a tripod to prevent it from shaking. The image may appear blurry if there is too much vibration while the shutter is open. If you are using an 18-35mm lens, it is best to avoid shutter speed that is lower than 1/60 if you do not plan to use any stabilizing equipment.
Other Factors Worth Knowing
ISO stands for International Standards Organization is simply about your camera’s sensitivity to light. When a photo is said to have too much noise, this is most probably because of the ISO. For well-lit shooting scenarios you can simply set the ISO low from 100 to 400. A higher ISO often results into grainy images so make sure you remember that, too.
Composition is considered to be one of the most important factors to take note of when taking a picture. A greater composition will surely produce better photos so you need to carefully learn about this one. No matter how great or expensive your camera is, if you do not have the kind of composition that is great enough, that will not work either. The rule of the thirds is one of the most important rules when it comes to composition. Some photographers are drawing imaginary lines on their camera’s screen to create equal sections. The eyes are most likely to focus on the intersections first, so that means it is best to have your subject on one of those intersections.
Depth of field –
The depth of field or DOF is probably one of the most favorite techniques of most photographers. This happens when you create or shoot a subject with a blurry background. It is actually easy to achieve this effect, doing only three things. First, by moving your camera away from your subject then zooming in and then focusing on the subject itself. This is a really cool effect that has been used countless of times and still works every time.
As you can see, there is really no hard rule when it comes to photography 101. Taking photos should not be a burden, first and foremost. Do not get too hung up with producing the best images, instead, make sure that you are enjoying what you are doing. Keep in mind that you are not only taking photos but more so, you are capturing memories. This is probably one thing that all photographers really want people to know – that they are there to capture precious moments and to make sure that every second is recorded.
If you want, you can also take advanced photography classes if you really plan on taking this stint on a more professional and serious level. You can also consider working as an apprentice for some professional photographers just so you can learn more about the ropes of this profession. Photography is indeed a rewarding hobby and passion and it can bring you good money if you are planning on turning it into a source of income. You are not only earning, but most importantly, you are doing something that you love and that is what matters the most.
With the right equipments and skills, you should be on your way to being a good photographer soon. Your creativity and passion for what you are doing can take you into places if you are armed with the right attitude and perspective. Just make sure to take care of your camera and always get yourself updated with the latest accessories that can greatly help you in improving your skills. Do not be afraid to try something new and always look for interesting subjects. Soon enough, you will surely be upgrading from your entry level DSLR to one of those expensive cameras that are used for films. Keep on learning about new techniques and be sure to maintain a good working relationship with your clients and other photographers, too. It pays to have a good network that you can always count on, especially when you are just starting.