Digital Photography for Beginners: Things I wish I Knew Back Then
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
I started taking a real interest in photography around two years ago when I got my first DSLR with leftover christmas money. At this time I hadn't had any photography lessons- I just went for it.
At the start all I did was take pictures of everything I liked the look of and hoped for the best. I learned by experimenting and Youtube videos most likely titled 'Digital Photography For Beginners'. So it wasn't until I started university last year that I finally had some 'proper' lessons. The lessons only really went over the basics but it was at that time that I realised there was a lot of things I wished I had known as a beginner photographer.
Therefore, this blog post will centre around all of those things.I hope it well help any beginners reading this.. or even people who just want some great tips.
So, lets get started:
Quality Is In The Lenses
This is so important! People worry about buying the biggest, newest and best camera believing that that will change their images. Getting a good camera is nice, but it is far from essential if you are a beginner!
So do not go out spending hundreds and hundreds on a new camera body. Buy lenses instead. Prime lenses, zoom lenses and wide angle lenses. Think about what pictures you want to take and what lenses will suit this the most.
Simple But Effective Is The Way Forward
When I first started photography, I thought taking good pictures meant getting intricate pictures. It's not. I know it's easy to get excited, but getting a simple shot is so much more effective.
Have a look at your favourite photographers, their images and the composition. Nine times out of ten I can gaurantee that this will be the case in their work. In all photography it is important to remember the three fundamental guidelines for effective visual communication: Centre of Interest, Emphasize and Simplify. Go with those rules and you'll do great, sweetie.
Don't Use On Camera Flash!
I wish my Digital Photography for beginners YouTube videos has told me this one sooner. Please, for the love of god, don't use on camera flash. Buy a cheap external flash from Amazon! Using an on camera flash will ruin your pictures because you're directly flashing bright light on to your subject without any control.
Using an external flash will mean you can bounce light off of walls and ceilings giving more flattering or softer light. I never understood the difference an external flash would make until I brought one and tried it out- just trust me on this one.
Don't Shy Away from Photoshop
Practice! Practice! Practice! Photoshop will honestly be your best friend when you master it, even if you just master the simple things. You don't need to worry about things like retouching and colour grading just yet.
My advice is to get to know the curves layer. Move all the different points on the graph around and watch the small but amazing changes that it makes to your images. Then try out the healing brush tool, levels and colour balance.
It's a long process to learn Photoshop but I promise it is worth it- take advantage of Youtube walkthrough videos. They will also be your best friend.
Accept That You Won't Get It Right First Time (or the second or third)
This is self explanatory, you're not going to get proffesional quality shots first time. It's those rubbish shots you take which make you learn the most! Look at those shots and critque them thoroughly. Ask yourself questions like is it over/under exposed? Is it too cluttered? Is it blurry? Is too much in or out of focus?
Then you can improve for your next photoshoot. Don't be hard on yourself because eventually you will get there. You just have to be patient!
Buy a 50mm Lens!
If you don't want to wait around and want to kick start your photography ""journey"" straight away, I recommend buying a 50mm lens. It is a cheap but amazing lens which everyone should own. It's a lens I use regulary for gig photography, but it also works amazing for headshots, portraits and fashion photography. Again, trust me on this one- it's not called the 'nifty fifty' for no reason!