Photography for Beginners

Photography is much like any other subject that you can study, but it is also an intricate, deeply personal form of art. For beginning photographers, there are several things that must be considered and remembered in order to achieve superb photographs.

The Camera

Since photographs cannot be taken without a camera, good photographs cannot be taken without a good camera. Finding the proper camera is not difficult if certain steps are taken.

While finding a good camera is important, it is not necessary to spend more than you are able. Set a budget for your purchase.

Determine your commitment to photography and your camera. If you feel you will remain a casual photographer, a basic point-and-shoot camera will suffice. If you feel you will expand your abilities and talents as a photographer and wish to achieve a standing in the professional field, a Digital Single Lens Reflex or D-SLR, may be a more expensive but more suitable option.

Determine what the end product of the photography session will be. e.g. see If pictures are going to be printed or enlarged, more megapixels will equal a better quality photograph. You should not purchase a camera with less than eight megapixels.

Lens quality should be addressed before purchasing a camera. Most photographers would prefer an optical zoom lens for the ability to enlarge photographs without losing quality. Optical zoom lenses also offer more options for shot preferences, such as portrait, action, low-light, landscape or telephoto shots. While the 3x is standard on point-and-shoot cameras, and is good enough for enlargements to be made up to 8*10 photographs, serious photographers might wish to invest in something slightly stronger.

Make sure the camera is a good fit for your hand. If the camera is too small, a tighter grip will be necessary, and muscle fatigue from such a grip can cause shaking. If the camera is too large, a good grip may not be possible, making photography difficult, if not impossible.

Shaky shots are rarely worth bragging over. For this purpose, it is recommended that any photographer invest in a tripod, to keep the photograph sharp and clear. For additional stability, use the timer function on your camera to avoid shutter shake.


Taking the Photographs

Now that you have your camera, make sure to keep it with you at all times, because you never know when a situation or setting will capture your attention. These spur of the moment candids can quite often be some of the most powerful photographs.

Of course, there are plenty of still scenes that likely catch your attention, as well. Make a list of these shots that you would like to capture. Pay close attention to what it is in these surroundings that catch your attention, whether it be the lighting, the weather or something entirely different, so that you can return to this place under the same conditions.

Open your eyes to new possibilities in familiar places. Sometimes the most common scenes can become transcendent due to a small trick of the light or atmosphere.

Do not be afraid to take photographs of anything, at any time. There is always a chance that a scene may end up feeling more powerful after the shot is taken and post-produced.

Expanding Your Knowledge Base

Experiment with your camera in different settings. The cost of error does not exist with digital photography, and it is possible to Learn how to use lighting and shadows and other cues to get the maximum impact from your photographs. Also experiment with the settings on your camera. Take plenty of pictures of each scene using different settings. You can review them later to determine which setting works best with each type of scene. There are numerous books, websites, magazines, newsletters and a myriad of other sources which will teach basic techniques. Learning how your camera works will also enhance your understanding of how to best capture a worthy photograph.


The important thing to remember about photography is that there are not set rules. Photographs have personal meaning and power. What may speak to one person may not speak to another. It is important to understand how the camera, the settings, and the techniques all play a part in making a powerful photograph, but those are only guidelines. While some pictures are more powerful when they are crisp and clear, other photographs may be more powerful when they are slightly blurred. Sometimes, darker photographs full of shadows can be more powerful than photographs bathed in light.