Top 8 Photography Lessons for Beginners

Have you ever dived into a new hobby and you’re so excited that you just buy all the items needed to get started? Me too! If you are stepping up to the diving board, I can help you with the top 8 photography lessons for beginners. These are the most used, as in I use these every day, tips that I have learned from numerous learning opportunities. Even a few tips that I have learned on my own. This will help you get youself ready to start jumping into photography. Whether or not you decide to go pro, this list will help you get the best pictures you can. So let’s dig in!

1. The first tip in our top 8 photography lessons for beginners is having a good quality camera. A point and shoot camera has a lot of good qualities, but to get the control you would want, it’s better to get a DSLR (digital single lens reflex). A DSLR camera is a camera that will let you change lenses with different focal lengths. I am more of a Canon fan but Nikon, Sony, ect all have their good qualities too. I have a Canon T3I it’s a bit older but still does the job. You want to have as much control and options available to you when your learning. Here are some options for DSLR cameras on amazon. 

 

Gridlines on your camera screen or in your viewfinder.
Gridlines on your camera screen or in your viewfinder.

2. The second lesson is the composition of your photo. It is so important to learn this early on so it becomes second nature. So you will want to learn the rule of thirds. You want to imagine your viewfinder as a segmented rectangle. Like the picture above. Then you will want to place your object around one of the line intersections. This is found to be the most appealing to the eye, as you’ll see below. Try for yourself, photographing a small object. Place the object in the center of your viewfinder, take a picture. Now, take another picture with that same object but having it located (in your viewfinder) on one of the intersections. Can you see the difference? Your eye wants to explore the photo, so having the eye go straight to the middle isn’t as appealing. Try this with a few different items and in different settings. You will start to love composing your shot!

Subject in the center
Subject in the center

 

Subject in an intersection
Subject in an intersection

 

Finished photo
Finished photo

3. Our next lesson in our top 8 photography lessons for beginners is Youtube. Youtube is you friend! If you want to learn a particular type of photography, like architecture, family, or macro photography you can always find tutorials. There are two Youtube Channels that I highly recommend for beginners. One is Fro Knows Photo, this channel is run by Jared Polin. He is hilarious and really very informative. He has a few videos on shooting in manual mode (where you set all the settings yourself). The second is Mike Browne, he is extremely helpful in understanding moving from shooting in auto (everything is set automatically) to moving into manual. He also has a few videos with some practice photo shoots to help you hone your skills.

4. Next, we have taking your pictures in either JPEG or Raw formats. JPEG (joint photographic experts group) is a standard photograph format for sharing. This can be shared immediately, the camera does all of the processing for you and is ready for you to use anywhere. JPEG is also a lot smaller than raw photo files since you camera will compress your image for you to make it a smaller file.  On the other hand, you have RAW format. RAW is a lot larger than a JPEG when it comes to file size, however, you will get a lot more data from your image. You will have a brighter more crisp image than you would with JPEG. Now, with RAW files, you will need a program to edit and convert your image. Which will lead into our next lesson.

5. Our most power tool in our top 8 photography lessons for beginners is Photoshop and Lightroom. These are both editing programs. Lightroom is more for photo editing and cataloging, Photoshop is more for digital art and animation but there are some really handy tools there for us photographers to use. These programs can be really expensive if just purchased outright. My suggestion would be to do Adobe’s monthly subscription for 10.00 a month for both programs and all of the ongoing upgrades. I use Lightroom mostly, I can edit and play around with filters ect. You can check out these programs here.

Photo of Lightroom
Photo of Lightroom

6. Another hidden gem for learning just about anything, is Facebook. Facebook has groups you can join. Some are public and some are closed, meaning you have to meet a certain criteria or there are some guidelines. You can look for a local photography group on Facebook or just a photography group that includes all locations. I am apart of a few photography groups for Colorado. So if you are in the area feel free to check some of the great groups that are based in our beautiful state. At the top of you Facebook page there is a search bar. Search for “photography” (for instance) and then at the top of the search results page, you can choose groups. These are all of the groups that deal with photography. The groups had to end up on my top 8 photography lessons for beginners because they are so informational. I encourage you to check out a group or two.

7. Our next lesson is learning about your camera. Especially if you have a DSLR you will want to pull out your camera’s manual and give it a good read through. I had my camera for about 6 months before I even laid eyes on the inside of my manual. However, another photographer suggested to give it a read since I’ll be using it all the time. I begrudgingly sat down and read it cover to cover. Not surprisingly, I found several functions I had no idea my camera had. I strongly recommend you read the manual. If you are not inclined to read the small novel, I suggest you do a search on Youtube to see if someone has a tutorial on your specific camera. Most definitely one of the top 8 photography lessons for beginners.

Pull out that manual!
Pull out that manual!

8. Our last but certainly not least of our beginners lessons list is practice. I can’t say it enough. Practice, practice, practice, and one more for good measure..practice. I have found so many times that I will read up on how to do a particular shot but can’t seem to get the exposure right. I will read articles, watch youtube videos, ask photographer friends, ect. However, it’s not until I have done a particular shot many, many times do I start to understand. A lot of learning digital photography, at least for me, is trial and error. You can find a good video tutorial, but until you try it yourself you’re not going to fully understand how to hone that particular skill.

And that concludes my top 8 photography lessons for beginners list.

Do you have any questions on how to get started? Have I left anything out? Let me know!

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