Whenever we are talking about the great inventions of science, camera is one machine that cannot be ignored in any way. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that cameras have shaped our world since their invention in 1880s. The moment first camera came into being, a lot of things started to change. Talking about their professional use for identity purposes to elevating the entertainment industry to peaks, and to monitoring the solar system in satellites, these cameras really seem to have stolen the show. Their invention was so revolutionary and their development and advancement never stopped and even to this day we are getting better and better cameras in more accessible ways. These cameras are doing this planet a great favor by writing and preserving the history which will make everything much more accessible for our coming generations.
If we look around, we won’t be surprised to see that these cameras are literally everywhere. They are being used by almost everyone and with the arrival of smartphones, these cameras are now in more reach than ever. The internet and especially the social media platforms have taken over the world where people are loading it with their pictures and what they call it their ‘digital footprints’. You don’t have to be a photography enthusiast or a professional to own a camera, there would surely be moments in your life when you would like to make use of these little beasts to freeze a memory you can always return to.
Pictures tell tales and they are a perfect way of capturing the moments of your life. Talking solely about taking pictures, owning a great camera is in no way an indication that you can also click great photos. Be it your professional pictures or just random selfies, the technique of taking a picture is what matters the most. Only by making use of a good technique can get you to bring the very best out of your camera.
Cameras these days are coming with great and easy to use features. Everything seems to be just on the tip of your fingers ready to get you a great image. Features like Portrait mode and many others are now being available on the smartphones and different leading smartphone brands are now developing some seriously high quality cameras in their phones which work almost as good as the professional ones. No matter what kind of camera you are using, be it a professional one, a good one in your flagship phone or just an ordinary one, there are certain techniques, basic rules or you can say ‘tips’ that you can use to get the best of your desired results. This article is a treat for photography beginners as we are going to discuss top 5 best photography tips for absolute beginners. We are going to keep it as simple as possible and will features the 5 key elements that can transform your images a great deal. Let’s get started then,
- Know your camera
The very first thing that you need to do is know your camera. It does not matter what kind of camera you have got your hands on, you have got to explore it to know it. Only by knowing your camera completely can make you able to its full potential. Some people can take amazing images even with their ‘not so impressive’ cameras while some of them cannot click a quality picture even using a precious one. The reason is simple, getting to know your camera just as you know yourself. The only way to know your camera well is not all about shooting different images while playing with the settings.
The instruction manual that you find so boring, which it really is because of its writing style, has a key to many of your camera secrets. You will get to know about every detail of everything that your camera has been designed for. You will know the limits of your camera and that is how you would be able to play it around. When it comes to professional cameras, these manuals serve even better as only by going through them, you would get to know all that your camera is capable of. Many people own cameras just for the sake of having one and they never really know what their camera is capable of and hence they never get to unlock all its powers.
- Using the light
If there is one thing we can ask you to learn when it comes to photography, it is easily the art of using the light. Look at your eyes! They are an extraordinary cameras and they only work with light. Your cameras are also somehow like your eyes and they can use the light in many interesting ways. Using the light is one of the most important things that you need to master or at least be decently good at it. This light that we are talking about is the all kind of light sources available to you which can be the flash light, natural sunlight or a lamp light. All you need to make sure is to use that light for your advantage to get the very best out of your pictures. You have to see where the light is coming from and how it is going to fall over your pictures. As for beginners, you can simply change your angels with respect to coming light and see what offers you the best results.
There is no one hard rule about using light that works for the photos. You can use the light in as many ways as you can imagine and your settings define which one is going to suit your photos the best. Sometimes, when catching a nice landscape or just some happy moment, you need to bring that natural light behind your camera so it would fall in your pictures and brighten them up. It works good on the portraits but at the same time it can also result in flat and boring pictures. On the other hand, at times, when you are trying to capture a let’s say, sunset; you might want to use the light against your camera. It all really depends on the surroundings and settings and what exactly are you trying to capture. Using that light from the sides such as that of coming from the window can really result in a very interesting photo. You can also use reflectors and they can be extremely useful in bringing you smooth and cool images. The light coming directly onto your subject and the light coming to your subject after getting reflected are two different things and they result in different kinds of image quality.
The use of flash is another key factor and usually people do not give much attention to it. It is assumed that the flash is only for low light settings and that is not true. Sometimes even in brighter light conditions your flash can uncover the dark shadows or dark spots to offer you more detail. Similarly, at times using flash in low light conditions can take away the natural feel from the images which you would get without it.
- Get in close
If you always feel as if your pictures don’t really ‘pop-out’ or come out the way you would like them to, chances are you are not getting close enough. It does not matter if you are taking a portrait image or just some shot in from of the landscape to capture the beauty, you need to get reasonably closer to your subject. Especially when it comes to taking photos of people or any living and moving subjects, a decent close up is must. A famous photojournalist Robert Capa once said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
Getting closer to your subject does not only brings you a popped up image but it also lets you discover many hidden details. You can have a closer look at how the shadow and highlights work. It will bring the maximum out of your subject’s details and that will surely take your photos to a whole different level. Some people just put a lot of space in their photos to waste. This is also where cropping and focusing comes into play. You must crop your photos well and not taking the natural feel away from them. Avoid the too much of unnecessary space around your subject. The facial expressions also get locked and picked in details by getting closer and using the focus correctly. Getting closer does not only mean zooming in your images but also making yourself move.
- Join a photography community
Different people have different experiences working with different cameras and they seem to have some level of uniqueness in their work. No matter how good you think you are or how precious of a camera you own, you would always find something different and better about other photographers. Different minds have slightly different approaches when it comes to clicking those perfect pictures and there is always a lot of room for learning. With the social media platform, you can easily join or at least follow different photography communities, get an insight to how different minds look into pictures and have yourself evaluated if possible.
Joining with other people will improve your technique a great deal and let you have different perspectives about photography. Always appreciate other photographers and try to learn from those who are seemingly better than yourself. Joining a photography can also bring some really nice friends in your life. When you get to a point where you can call yourself good in photography, you can form a community yourself. With the internet and social media on your disposal, it has become as easy as it can ever get. Share your pictures and be open to feedback and criticism.
- Accessories and equipment
The cameras have evolved a great deal and the market is loaded with so many camera accessories and God knows what not which can make your ordinary cameras look so much better. There are also tons of accessories such as lens that you can use even with your regular smartphones and they do improve your camera’s performance. The image stabilizers such as gimbals are one of the most popular accessories out there which can really transform your pictures to a whole different level. Talking about the beginners, getting perfectly stable shots is not very easy, you might not realize it but you will have some sort of shakiness clicking the pictures and that can affect the sharpness of your image.
There are a number of image stabilizers in the market which help you a great deal in improving the quality of your clicks. However, at the same time, there is no reason to get obsessed with all these accessories. Usually you don’t even need to have a wide variety of them. You must have seen many photographers with a handful of camera lens hanging around their necks and their huge bags containing all sorts of fancy equipment. There is no need to get all impressed by hat, a one good camera which you are supposed to know well can really get you to great levels. One body with one or two lenses should be more than enough to get you high quality images. Try to master what you have other than trying to get a seemingly fancier equipment which might has gotten your attention. Having a too many accessories and equipment can distract you a bit from mastering one thing at a time.
Practice is the key
This is not exactly a tip but more like a natural rule which you can implement in any of your fields in life. Unless you have been brought into this world with some extraordinary talent, it does take a lot of practice and time to reach to a level you dream of. People don’t become experts overnight but they have lots of patience, practice and hard work behind it. When it comes to photography, the importance of practice is simply unmatched.
There are tons of details in a photograph and you can never be able to get under their skin unless you have lots of experience behind it. Practice is what all accumulates into your experience. You might ask how much of a practice is really enough? A famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson might have the answer to that as he once quoted, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”. Therefore, the very basic thing is to shoot as much as you can and it really doesn’t matter what you are shooting. The amount of time you have spent behind the lens define your expertise and command over the photographs.