Beginners Photo Tips are our main focus, so we wanted to make a page of our top beginners photo tips. We want these photo tips to be easy to understand and to the point, but if you want to read more in-depth information on these photo tips, some of the photo tips will have a link to another page with more information. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us anytime by clicking here, Contact Us, and we will do our best to answer your question. By the way, this beginners photo tips list isn't in any special order.
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Beginners Photography Tips
Photography Tip #1) Keep Your Camera's Quality Setting high
Buy a good camera and don't reduce the photo quality settings in the camera, just to be able to fit more photos on the memory card. I've seen people set the photo quality on almost the lowest setting and then brag about how many photos they can fit on their card. But then you look at their little 4x6 prints and you can see why they fit so many photos on the card, the photo quality is terrible, because they set the camera on the lowest quality setting. Keep your digital camera's qaulity setting high and your digital photos will look so much better. To read more about digital camera quality setting, please click here, Keep Your Camera's Quality Setting High.
Photography Tip #2) Know Your Digital Camera By Reading The Manual
I think most people don't bother to read very much of their digital camera's user manual. They just skim through the main pages on how to start taking photos, and then throw away the manual or put it in a box and forget about it. I don't think this is very good, if you want to take the best photos possible with your camera. Don't be lazy, take sometime to read through your whole users manual, and get to know all the features and functions. They pack so much good stuff in digital cameras these days, so if you take the time to learn everything, your photos will definitely improve because of it.
Photography Tip #3) Hold Your Camera Steady
This photo tip may seem obvious to some, but to others it is a good reminder photo tip. To get good photos, your camera has to stay steady, especially with slower shutter speeds like 1/60th of a second or slower, or your photos will be blurry instead of crisp and clear. Hold your camera with both hands and if it has built in stabilization, remember to turn it on. It also helps to lean on a pole or wall, or support your arms and camera on a table or something similar to steady your camera. If your shutter speed is faster like 1/250th of a second, then holding your camera steady isn't as important, but you should still learn to always hold it as steady as possible.
Photography Tip #4) Make Sure Your Main Subject Is In Focus
Again this photo tip may seem obvious to some, but to others it is a good reminder photo tip. A photo that has the main subject blurry, is kind of useless. You need to make sure your camera has focused on the correct subject, before taking the photo. Most cameras have focus indicators in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen, so when you are composing the photo and pressing the shutter button to focus, make sure the focus indicators show the correct subject in focus. Then after taking the photo, quickly check to see if the subject was in focus, if not, take the photo again if possible.
Photography Tip #5) Use Flash Outdoors To Lighten Up Harsh Sunlight Face Shadows
Many times people think that since it is bright and sunny out, why would they need to use their flash? Midday sunlight creates harsh ugly shadows on peoples faces and if they are wearing a baseball cap, then their whole face is one big dark shadow. Using your flash will help lighten up these dark shadows so you can actually see the persons face. Most built-in flashes are small, so make sure you are within range of your cameras flash power capability, if you are too far away, the flash won't do much. It should tell you in your cameras users manual the distances that your cameras flash is capable of covering. To extend the range of your flash, you could increase the ISO number to like 400 or 800.
Photography Tip #6) Remember To Take Vertical Photos When Appropriate
Many amateur photographers never turn their cameras vertical for any photos, and this reduces the quality of their photos. If your subject is one person or a tall narrow building or something similar, then turn your camera vertically to fill the frame and reduce dead space around the subject. This also allows you to crop in closer to get a bigger image on your image sensor, creating a larger clearer photo, that can be printed out to a much larger size.
Photography Tip #7) Don't Spend Too Much On Your First Digital Camera
If you are just starting photography, and still deciding if you really are going to enjoy it, then don't go out and buy the most expensive digital camera on the market. You might find out that the camera is way too advanced for you, so you might get overwhelmed with it and discouraged and lose interest in photography before you start. Or you might find out after trying photography for a few months that it is not your cup of tea, so then you will have this expensive camera collecting dust instead of cool photos. So to start, just buy a good digital camera, say around $200, learn all about the camera and start taking a bunch of photos, after reading all our photo tips of course.
Photography Tip #8) Overexpose Snow/White Scenes
If you have a scene with mostly white like snow, set the camera's Exposure Compensation to overexpose the photo by +2/3 to +2 or more if necessary. Also new cameras have build in photo settings, where you can pick "Snow Scene" and the camera will overexpose for you. This overexposure is necessary because a camera's light meter views neutral gray as the perfect exposure, so it will try and expose a scene to get the overall photo to equal neutral gray. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Overexpose Snow/White Scenes
Photography Tip #9) Underexpose Dark Scenes
In contrast to Tip #8 above, if you have a dark or black overall scene, then set the camera's Exposure Compensation to underexpose the photo by -1/3 to -2. Most new cameras also have this build in photo setting also, like "Night Scene" or something similar. In a dark scene, the camera's light meter will look at it and try to get an overall neutral gray photo, so it will give more expose to the scene, making it too bright, and the blacks won't be grayish. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Underexpose dark Scenes
Photography Tip #10) Turn Faces Away From The Sun
When photographing people in bright sunlight, it is usually best to not have them face the sun for photographs. Most people will squint their eyes, and there will probably be harsh shadows on their faces, so it is best to turn them away from the sun and use fill-flash to reduce face shadows. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Turn Faces Away From The Sun
Photography Tip #11) Fill The Photo Frame
When you are photographing anything from people to pets to landmark statues, fill the photo frame to get the largest clearest photo. Either zoom in or move closer to the subject to fill the viewfinder or LCD screen and reduce wasted space around the subject. I have seen so many photos of people/animals/landmarks and the main subjects are just a little dot in the photograph. Sometimes you might want a wider view to show some landmark in the background and then tourists in the foreground, but if you are just focusing the attention on one thing, then fill the photo frame with it and eliminate the dead space around it.
Photography Tip #12) Subject Is Better Slightly Off-Center
In some cases like when the subject to looking or facing left or right, is is better if they are slightly off-center. If a person is looking right, then it looks better if they are positioned slightly to the left in the photo, with more open space to the right in the photo. It works the same for any moving object, if a boat or car is moving to the right, then the boat or car should be slightly more left in the photo with more open space in the direction they are moving, in this case, on the right side of the photo.
As you can see in this photo, when the main subject is facing or looking right like this photo, then it is better to have the subject slightly to the left with more open space to the right. It gives the photo a more open feeling, if you had the subject closer to the right side of the photo, then the photo would give the viewer a feeling of being cramped.
Photography Tip #13) Read About Photography And Ask Questions
Read all you can on photography from books, magazines, websites like ours, and don't be afraid to ask questions. If you can, go out with experienced photographers on photography shoots and ask them questions. Bookmark our website and come back to refresh yourself on photo tips and read new photo tips that we will be adding. Don't pay full price for photo magazines at your local bookstore, you can usually get very cheap photo magazine subscriptions from the subscription cards inside the magazines. Also go to your local library and borrow their photography books.
Photography Tip #14) Learn From Other Photographers Work
Go on websites to look and learn from other photographers work, and join photography websites like Flickr to post your photos and ask for comments and helpful criticism. We will be adding a section for our visitors to post their own photos and ask for comments, so comeback soon and post your photo to get some helpful advice.
Photography Tip #15) Adjust Your White Balance Manually For More Accurate Colors
Many times the automatic white balance setting that digital cameras use isn't quite right, so the colors don't look natural and the whites aren't white. In this case you should try adjusting the white balance manually. White balance is the camera setting that changes to keep the colors natural looking and whites looking white, for different types of lighting, like sunlight, cloudy day, fluorescent and incandescent lights, shade, etc. Sometimes you might want to intentionally set it wrong to get a more warm appearance to your photos, like setting the white balance to clouds on a sunning day.
In the photo above, the white balance was set for sunlight, which was okay, but in the shade the snow looked too blue, and the whole photo had a cold look to it because of the cool blueish tone.
Now in the photo above, I set the white balance manually, according to the instructions in my users manual. I set the white balance to manual, took a picture of the snow, then went in the menu to select this photo as the photo to use for the white balance setting, and the camera set the white balance to make the snow white. I think it looks better than the other photo, it has a much warmer tone to it and is more pleasing to the eyes.
Photography Tip #16) Use A Circular Polarizer Filter
Polarizer filters really improve photos. They reduce the glare, or shinyness from water and surfaces, they reduce reflections on windows, they reduce the haze in the air, they make for richer colors in photos and they really improve the blue of the sky. They also protect your lens glass and your lens filter rings, so every photographer should have a circular polarizer. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Use A Circular Polarizer Filter.
Photography Tip #17) Don't Be Afraid Of Taking Lots Of Photos
When taking photos of anything from scenics to people, don't be afraid of taking lots of photos. More is better. By taking more photos you will have more to choose from and you might capture something you wouldn't have if you took only a few photos.
Photography Tip #18) To Get The Best Image Quality, Choose A Digital SLR Camera
For the best digital image quality, digital SLR's are the way to go. SLR mean single-lens-reflex, which means the photographer is looking through the lens, and sees the same things that the image sensor will see. The photographer is looking at the subject being reflexed off of a mirror, and when the shutter button is pressed that mirror lifts up to expose the subject to the image sensor. What makes DSLR's better than point-n-shoot cameras, is because the image sensors are much bigger and better than point-n-shoot cameras. So if you want higher quality images, then you should make the change to a digital SLR.
Photography Tip #19) Don't Miss Shots With Slow Cameras
I hear alot of people complain about missing a great photo, because their cameras was so slow. Your cute baby gives a great smile, you press the shutter button and wait................and finally the camera snaps the photo, but in the meantime your cute baby stopped smiling and is looking away from the camera in the photo. Ahhhh, stupid camera!! Go try out some cameras at your local store to see for yourself how fast it reacts, and don't miss anymore good photos because of a slow motion turtle camera.
Photography Tip #20) Take Two Photos Of That Cute Baby
Many times when I am taking photos of little kids or babies, I miss a great shot of them smiling or making a cute face. I always seem to forget that the best photos of a child are right after you took one of them. They seem to smile bigger after they hear the camera or see the flash, so be ready to take two photos or more in a row to get that great smile or expression.
Photography Tip #21) Shoot Photos At Your Subjects Eye Level
When shooting photos of people or animals, usually the best angle is at your subjects eye level. This gives the most pleasing photo, so don't be afraid to get down lower to get that great photo of your cute little dog.
Photography Tip #22) Reduce Background Clutter As Much As Possible
When you are taking some photos of some people, or a cool car or anything, try to reduce the amount of background clutter as much as possible. Clutter in backgrounds really distract from the main subject(s) of your photos, so remember to eliminate as much junk in the background of your photos as possible. If your look at professional photographs, you will never see unnecessary clutter in their backgrounds, so to make your photos much better, clean up your backgrounds!!
Photography Tip #23) Landscape Photos Are Best Early Or Late In The Day
To get the best looking landscape photography, take your landscape photos early in the morning like at sunrise and then as the sun is rising, and then in the evening when the sun is going down. You will get much better colors and better shadows, and warmer looking photos. Most of the great landscape photos that you see are taken either early in the morning or late in the day.
Photography Tip #24) Always Carry A Pocket Camera Or Pen And Notepad
When you are just cruising around during your busy day and you see a great photo scene, you should always have a small pocket camera or notepad and pen with you to document the scene and location, so you could come back at a later date with more time and better equipment to capture the scene. Many times when you don't have the time or your camera, you will see something cool to photograph, so make sure you remember it for later.
Photography Tip #25) Purchase A Tripod Or Two
If you are a serious photographer, you should have a tripod. They help the quality of your photos tremendously. By using a tripod you can use slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures for more depth-of-field(focus). Keeps your camera steady, which helps reduce or eliminate blur. Allows you to take night photography. If you want to take HDR photos, tripods will help them by keeping the camera still between bracketed shots, which makes for much better HDR photos. If you want to take panoramic photos, tripods help to keep your camera level across the entire scene. Sometimes carrying around a tripod can be annoying, but if you really want to improve your photos, tripods are very important. You should have at least two tripods, one large heavy duty one for normal photography, and one smaller lighter travel tripod, that you can easily carry around.
Photography Tip #26) Don't Forget The Foreground
When you are taking scenic photos of some great mountains or a lake or city, don't forget to add some great elements to the foreground of your photos. A beautiful tree, statue, park bench, flowers or many other things, can make your ordinary scenic photo, into a much better photo with a great foreground element added in.
Photography Tip #27) Get Real Close To That Flower
Most of the time when photographing flowers, it is much better to get really close and fill the viewfinder with one or two flowers and have the background blurred out. Most great flower photos are a close-up of one flower, showing the fine details of its petals and other components. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Get Real Close To That Flower.
Photography Tip #28) Wipe Off The Rain On Your Lens
You might think that a little rain drop on your lens won't effect your photos, but they will. I was taking some photos this summer in the drizzle, and not worrying about getting a little dizzle on my lens, but when I got home and checked out some of my photos, I was shocked to see how much some drizzle showed up on my photos. Don't make that mistake, remember to wipe off your lens and camera. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Wipe Off The Rain On Your Lens
Photography Tip #29) Anytime Is The Right Time For Photography
It may seem like today there is just nothing good to photograph. The weather isn't very good, it's foggy, it just rained, the sun is too bright and high in the sky, but no matter what the conditions, you can always find something to photograph, if you really wanted to. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Anytime Is The Right Time For Photography
Photography Tip #30) Carry Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
You should always carry an extra battery and memory card with you when you are out taking photographs. Nothing is worse than having a great photo opportunity and your camera or flash battery goes dead, or your memory card is full. Don't risk missing some great photo op, because of a dead battery or full memory card. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Carry Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
Photography Tip #31) Backup/Make Copies Of All Your Photos
This is very important, unless you don't care about losing all your precious photos. You can't rely on your computer to never breakdown, they will never be 100% reliable, so you better back your photos up.........now! what are you waiting for, go do it now, and then come back and read the rest of our photo tips. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Backup/Make Copies Of All Your Photos
Photography Tip #32) Clean Your Lenses And Camera Bodies
It is important to keep your camera and lens clean, but more so for Digital SLR camera owners. Dirt and fingerprints on your lens can affect picture quality, and dirt on your camera body increases the possibility that dirt can get inside the camera and cause problems with the buttons, switches, dials, LCD screen and cause rough zooming of the lens. With DSLR's dirt will get in through the lens mounting area and make its way onto your image sensor, so it is really important to keep your DSLR's clean. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Clean Your Lenses And Camera Bodies.
Photography Tip #33) Clean Your Image Sensor(On Digital SLR's)
Cleaning your digital SLR image sensor is very important, if you want your photos to be free of grayish black snowball looking spots. Everyone with a digital SLR will someday see these beautiful darks spots floating in the skies of their photos. Aren't they beautiful, are they birds, dirty snowflakes, UFO's, no, no, they are dust on your image sensor. To learn how to clean your image sensor, please click here, Clean Your Image Sensor(On Digital SLR's)
Photography Tip #34) Learn To Use A Good Photo Editing Program
If you are going to be taking digital photos, then you should get a good photo editing program to use with your photos. You can do so much with your photos if you have a good photo editing program. The basics are adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, but there is so much more that you can do to modify or improve your photos. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Learn To Use A Good Photo Editing Program.
Photography Tip #35) Set The ISO Number Higher For Dim Lighting
When shooting photos in dim lighting, set your ISO number higher, like 400 to 800 or higher. This will give you a faster shutter speed and help keep your photos from being blurry. Blurry photos aren't worth much, so make sure you do everything you can to keep yours from being blurry. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Set The ISO Number Higher For Dim Lighting
Photography Tip #36) Use Bounce Flash
Bounce flash looks so much better and more natural than direct flash. Whenever possible use bounce flash. Bounce it off the ceiling, a wall, or anything else. If you don't have a flash hot shoe built into your camera, then it will be more difficult to use bounce flash, unless you use an off camera remote slave flash. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Use Bounce Flash
Photography Tip #37) Use A Lens Hood/Shade If Possible
Lens hoods/shades are designed to prevent unwanted light from entering the lens by extending and shading the end of the lens. A lens hood also helps to protect the lens body and glass from accidents, like scraping it on the pavement or against a building. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Use A Lens Hood/Shade If Possible
Photography Tip #38) Use Your Lens/LCD Cover
Sometimes it might seem like a hassle to use your lens cover and LCD cover/protective film, but they will help keep the dirt off and keep the surfaces from getting scratched. This will improve your image quality and resale value of your camera. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Use Your Lens/LCD Cover
Photography Tip #39) Add More Saturation To Your Photos
Not many things help make a photo look 10 times better, than adding more saturation to the colors. Most of the photos that I take with my Canon 20D, need more saturation after I take them. The camera has some built-in adjustment to get more or less saturation, but it isn't enough. Purschase a good photo editing program and then you could add more saturation to your photos to really make them stand out. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Add More Saturation To Your Photos .
Photography Tip #40) Buy A Camera With Image Stabilizer
Image stabilizer, vibration reduction, optical stabilizer, whatever you call it, it is awesome to have in a camera or lens. It really makes a difference when you are taking hand held photos, with a slow shutter speed. Make sure your next camera or lens has built-in image stabilization. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Buy A Camera With Image Stabilizer
Photography Tip #41) Buy A Camera With Optical Zoom
Optical zoom is the only way to go. Digital zoom is not very good, if you care about image quality. Most of the really cheap cameras that have such an unbelievably low price, have only a digital zoom. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Buy A Camera With Optical Zoom
Photography Tip #42) Small Aperture Value Means Smaller Depth Of Field
When you use a small aperture value like F1.4 or F2.8 or so, you will get the least depth of field(focus) and your focus point will be more critical. It can be confusing to alot of people when they think about aperture values. A small aperture value like F1.4 means that the lens aperture is fully open, or the largest aperture opening, if F1.4 is your lenses smallest aperture value, which lets in the most light, but causes the depth of field to be reduced. To read more about this photo tip, and to see a photo collage of aperture sizes, please click here, Small Aperture Value Means Smaller Depth Of Field
Photography Tip #43) Large Aperture Value Means Larger Depth Of Field
When you have a large aperture value like F22 or larger, you will get the most depth of field(focus) as possible and your focus point won't be as critical. Again, aperture values and aperture opening sizes can be confusing. F/22 aperture value gives you lots of depth-of-field(focus), but the aperture opening is very small, so it doesn't allow much light into your camera, which requires longer shutter speed times. To read more about this photo tip, and to see a photo collage of aperture sizes, please click here, Large Aperture Value Means Larger Depth Of Field
Photography Tip #44) Buy A Camera That Zooms Optically During Videos
Most digital cameras now can take videos, but not all allow you to zoom optically during the videos, and I think that's a big disadvantage. Zooming during videos might make some noise in your videos, but not enough usually to bother you. It is very nice to be able to zoom optically into your subject during video, so before you buy, make sure the camera can do it. To read more about this photo tip, please click here, Buy A Camera That Zooms Optically During Videos