Just because you’re not a professional photographer doesn’t mean you can’t get some incredible print-worthy photos. Whether you’ve just found a new passion for photography and want to advance your knowledge and skill or you’re looking for a few quick tips or ideas for an upcoming event or occasion, we have several helpful articles written with the beginner photographer in mind.
Here are seven tips for beginner photographers, along with some additional resources so you can dig deeper and learn more.
1. Always Have Your Camera Ready
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
We’re pretty sure it was Wayne Gretzky who said this. We’re also pretty sure it wasn’t photography the Canadian hockey player was referring to when he said it, but it’s very fitting nonetheless!
You should always have your camera or smartphone ready, even if you aren’t planning to capture photos. You never know when the perfect photo opportunity will present itself and you don’t want to be caught empty-handed! It’s also important that you take some time to understand your camera’s settings and modes so you’re not having to miss the perfect shot because you’re trying to figure out how to turn the flash off.
Oh, and one more thing: make sure the battery is charged! Imagine coming across some amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’re super excited. You’re already picturing your photo as a huge canvas print featured on your living room wall. You can actually see the awe in your friends and family’s eyes when they discover you are the artist behind the photo. You line yourself up for the shot, the lighting is perfect, the composition is on point, you go to press the shutter button, and … nothing. You forgot to charge the battery. Don’t let that happen! It’s such a basic tip, but so, so important!
2. Keep Your Camera Steady
This is another basic photography tip that is simple, but important. You can crop a photo to remove distracting backgrounds or adjust the white balance or saturation of an image but there isn’t a whole lot you can do to fix a blurry photo. Capturing a photo with an unsteady camera will result in blurry photos. Invest in a tripod, if you can, or prop your camera on a table or other solid surface before composing your shot. If nothing is available to you, steady yourself as much as possible by bringing your arms in tight against your body and hold your breath before hitting the shutter button.
If you’re shooting with your camera set to auto or with an iPhone, you can also help ensure your images are sharp by getting your device to lock its focus. With a camera, this can be achieved by pressing the shutter button half way down, waiting a second, and then fully pressing it. With an iPhone, simply tap the screen where the object you’re photographing is to focus on it, and then take the photo.
3. Learn Some Basic “Rules”
Don’t be put off by the word rules, photography is meant to be creative and rules are meant to be broken, but understanding some basic composition techniques can help strengthen a photo. Composing a photo so there aren’t distracting backgrounds, shooting from different angles for a unique perspective, or incorporating leading lines to draw attention to your focal point are just a few ideas. Here are a few articles you can read to learn more.
The Rule of Thirds in Photography: A Simple and Effective Composition Technique
Including Texture in Your Photography
Shooting From Different Angles for Better Photos
Using Leading Lines in Photography
Compositional Framing: Tips on Using Frames Within a Photo
4. Make a List
Remember that Wayne Gretzky quote we shared in the first tip? Create a list of shots you’d like to get so you don’t miss anything! As a beginner photographer, you might not even know what it is you want, aside from having a general idea. Having a detailed list, however, can help you capture better photos. If, for example, you plan to photograph a wedding, going into it without a list or plan, you’re essentially going to be shooting on a whim, likely missing a lot of great opportunities. Creating a detailed photo shots list, on the other hand, means you’ll be visualizing what you hope to achieve in advance, and will serve as a reminder during the actual photo shoot so nothing is forgotten. If you’d like an example, check out our printable wedding photography checklist.
Before creating a photo shots list, you can look at other photos for ideas and inspiration. Look at how other photographers composed their photos, props they used, unique lighting they incorporated, etc., etc. Here are a few articles you can refer to for inspiration:
15 Great Landscape Photos and What Makes Them Great
Having Fun With Wedding Photography
27 Photos to Inspire: Get Creative With Beach Photography
10 Amazing Canadian Photographers on Instagram
10 Autumn Photos You Need to Capture This Year
5. Know What You’re Photographing
Aside from general composition techniques, learning some basic techniques specific to the type of photography you’re shooting can help you capture better photos. Here are several types of photography, along with tips geared just for them:
Top 10 Portrait Photography Composition Tips
Animal Photography Tips and Tricks
Capturing The Most Adorable Baby Animal Photos
10 Awesome Pictures of Cats to Help You Master Cat Photography
10 Forced Perspective Photos You Have to Try For Yourself
Autumn Photography Tips: Capturing The Season of Changing Colours
Flower Photography Tips and Techniques: How to Take Great Photos
Travel Photography Tips: Capturing Great Vacation Photos
Group Photography 101: How to Capture Great Group Photos
How to Capture Amazing Photos of Water
10 Quick Tips for Capturing the Best Baby Photos Ever
11 Low-Light Photography Tips: Take Great Pictures Without a Flash
6. Experiment. A lot.
Like any hobby or skill, you’ll only get better with practise. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take 100 photos of that one flower! In fact, doing so, you will discover the most interesting angles, the ideal lighting, the best camera settings, and so on. Also, capturing a ton of photos increases your chances of success! You’re more likely to find the perfect, print-worthy photo if you have a pool of 100 to consider rather than only three or four.
7. Print Your Photos
How does printing your photos make you a better photographer? It’s one thing to see your photos on the screen of your camera, phone, or computer, it’s another to actually see them printed. Photography is an art and turning it into something tangible is super rewarding and offers a feeling of completeness. Also, printing your photos on different mediums can give a single photo a different feeling and overall effect. For example, printing on the smooth, glossy surface of acrylic will highlight the vibrancy and crispness of a photo whereas printing that same photo directly onto wood will soften the image and give it an organic, almost vintage, feel.
Printing your photos is also a way to document your growth as a photographer. You can create a portfolio of prints that you can add to as you advance your skill and look back at how far you’ve come. You can look at photos and learn from your mistakes or discover things you like that you didn’t notice when you first captured the photo.
Want to see how other people have printed their photos? We love sharing customer photos (with their permission, of course!). Here are a few worth checking out:
8 Wedding Photos Printed 8 Ways
15 Winter Decorating Ideas to Warm Up Your Place
Top 12 Custom Pet Prints Our Customers Have Made
Photos of Canada: Images Captured by Canadians
Free Prints Friday: Capturing More Than Photos
There are so many different types of photography and endless tips and techniques you can learn. Don’t feel overwhelmed by it all. To summarize, here are the top seven photography tips for beginners:
- Always have your camera ready
- Keep your camera steady
- Learn some basic “rules”
- Make a list
- Know what you’re photographing
- Experiment a lot
- Print your photos
Do you have any basic photography tips you can pass along to beginners? Leave a comment to share what’s important to you!