What makes a photographer? Is it an expensive camera with high-definition lenses or is it the unique outlook to capture the beauty of an object? Of course, to be a photographer you need creativity. But more importantly, you need the skills to build upon that art form and get better with time. Young photographers or beginners make the mistake of investing a lot of money on gadgets from the very beginning. Instead, you can start with something basic and devote your time and attention to mastering the art before investing a huge amount of money simply in technology.
If you are a photographer trying to learn photography tips for beginners in the industry, you have come to the right place. ACworks’ free photo stock platform photoAC features the work of some of the most amazing photographers from all over the world. Headquartered in Japan, photoAC hosts free stock photos for businesses to use on their websites, commercials, infographics, or promotional campaigns.
The content creators who work submit their photos and illustrations on the platform gain rewards and recognition each time one of their submissions is downloaded by an organization. Currently, there are more than 7 million registered users on the parent platform and the number continues to grow each passing day.
As one of the largest materials sites in Japan, we bring before you the best tips and tricks to make your photographs stand out from the rest of the crowd
9 photography tips for beginners
- Steady Hand Means Great End Results
Cameras are heavy and difficult to handle, especially in the beginning. One of the biggest problems for new photographers is to keep their hands steady while capturing the object, especially while shooting lifestyle or wildlife images. While working with people or animals, you get only a split second to capture a beautiful moment and you can not afford to have blurry images then.
The best way to make sure that your hand is steady while shooting is to keep your camera as close to your body. Use both hands- the right one to grip the camera at a comfortable angle and the left one to support the weight of the lens. If necessary, lean against a wall or a stable object to make sure the weight is equally distributed. And there you go! You can avoid shaky images and unnecessary movement by practicing holding your camera before heading out to a big shoot.
- Everything Comes Down to Composition
This step requires a lot of thought process and practice to get it down to precision. Composition refers to how you arrange the various elements in the frame to highlight the object you want to put focus on. One basic rule is to ensure your subject is not cut off from the frame and instead, leave some negative space around the subject so that there’s room for editing later. Another rule that can make your photographs pop is to use triangular shapes to draw the eyes of the audience towards your main subject.
A triangular composition in photographs adds a sense of stability as it signifies that the elements are balanced equally on three sides. We have got a bonus trick for you that takes a bit of time to perfect but can do wonders to your shot once you get the skill under your forte. The rule of thirds is a manner of splitting your whole composition into nine equal parts- a three-by-three grid with the imaginary guidelines. Using this technique, you can place your main subject in a symmetry that follows rhyme and rhythm and allows the audience to get an easy look at the whole picture.
- Familiarise Yourself With The Camera Settings
Irrespective of whether you are using a high-quality expensive camera or a more basic version, you need to play around and familiarise yourself with the settings of the camera as soon as possible. Most cameras come with an “Auto” setting that works for most situations. However, to become a great photographer from a good one, you need to step out of the “auto-zone” and learn to play with the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to make your photographs look just as you want them to.
Try on the different inbuilt modes and filters in your camera under different lightings till you know which settings work best under which circumstance. That way, you won’t have to fiddle around on the day of a huge shoot and can get perfect photographs easily. This tip also works if you are not using a camera yet and are instead practicing photography through your phone. Most phone cameras come with multiple settings for brightness, exposure, and saturation. You can adjust these settings as per your requirements and click the best possible pictures.
- What Is The Exposure Triangle?
Adding to the last point, we are going to get a little more technical about the camera settings. The exposure triangle includes the three most important components of exposure: shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. These settings are available on the “manual” mode of your camera, and you must find the perfect balance between these three components to ensure your photographs are well-lit and sharp. Let’s proceed to a more detailed breakdown of these three elements for a better understanding.
Shutter Speed: As the name suggests, shutter speed determines how long does the shutter stay open as you click a picture. That means that the longer the shutter is open, the lighter will get through the camera’s sensor. Longer shutter speed results in blur-motion photographs while shorter shutter speed results in sharper images.
ISO: ISO determines the camera’s sensitivity to light. Lower ISO indicates lower sensitivity while higher ISO means the camera will be more sensitive to the light. Depending on if you are working with natural light or with indoor lights, you can adjust the ISO as per your requirements. ISO 100-200 is ideal when the light on the subject and camera is really good, but you need to turn it up to 500-800 if the lighting situation is more on the dim side.
Aperture: The opening in the lens that controls how much light gets through the sensors is called aperture and determines the focus of your photograph. Aperture is indicated by f-number, and a lower f-number means more light while a higher f-number results in less light getting through your camera’s sensor.
Once you get these three settings in your control, you can click quality pictures with more control over how it turns out in the end.
- Lighting Makes Or Breaks The Mood Of Your Picture
Notice how some pictures radiate positivity and happiness and then some pictures set a darker mood? That is all the game of letting the right amount of light hit the subject of your photo from the right angle. Harsh lighting from the top creates a shadow effect that makes the photographs look sinister and dark. That is the type of light usually used in thriller movies to create an unsettling emotion in the audience’s head. Bright light from the front radiates a positive effect as the subject is in complete focus.
This type of lighting is usually used for lifestyle images and studio shoots. Playing around with lighting can result in creating images that bring forth different emotions in the mind of the audience as you want. If you want to pursue the path of people photography, you can make the best use of natural light during dawn and dusk when the light is not too harsh but bright enough to keep your subject in focus.
- Carefully Invest In Photography Equipment
As you slowly pick up the skills to good photography, you may want to start investing in photography equipment that can help you get better pictures with lesser effort. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to splurge a lot of inexpensive equipment. You can use the most basic tools smartly to create wonderful pictures without spending a lot of money. First and foremost, you need a tripod for a longer shoot duration. Working with a camera for a long time can truly put the strength of your arms and back to the test. It is a lot easier to invest in a sturdy tripod that can take the weight of your camera.
You can adjust the height of the tripod as suitable and try placing it in different angles to see what works best under the given circumstances. The next thing that you need is a good camera bag. Photographers often have to travel far and wide for assignments. Some photographers make travel photography their niche. If you are looking to explore traveling for your photography, you need to ensure that your camera stays safe through the journey. A strong, waterproof camera bag makes it much easier to carry your camera through long distances and keeps your camera safe.
- Editing Defines A Good Photographer
There is a common myth in the photography industry that good photographers don’t need to edit. That is simply not true. To turn a good picture into a great picture, you need to subject it to some level of editing. The key is to not overdo it in the post-processing. The best way to embark on a post-processing task is to first back up all the original pictures in a safe place. Then, make a copy of the particular image you want to edit and work on that.
Adjust the brightness level, play with filters, increase or decrease the level of saturation and try out different things until you get the right picture. There are many editing tools and software available today. Pick a free one to begin with and pay for subscriptions later as you become more professional. The trick is to be as subtle as possible and not let the natural beauty of the image fade away in the process of editing. With a little practice and a fair amount of time, you can master the skill of editing.
- Always Keep Experimenting
A lot of photographers try to define their “unique style” of taking pictures. It is always good to have a niche but that can get boring for the creative side of you after a while. Remember that photography is an art and the more you keep experimenting with the art form, the better you are going to get at it. It’s okay to click a hundred bad pictures before getting that one exceptional shot.
Be spontaneous, try a different lighting technique, explore new angles and props. Keep doing new things that add to your cart and keep your interest from being dull over a point of time. Every once in a while, set “your style” apart and click from the eyes of a beginner who knows nothing about photography. Who knows, you may end up with something great and unique.
- Network, network, network
The more you learn, the more you grow. It might get tempting to view other photographers as competition. But instead, you can see them as fellow artists whom you can learn from. Meeting other photographers with different niches can be a great way to keep learning and growing. Do not be afraid to ask for tips and suggestions and do not shy away from sharing your own knowledge.
Photography is a community and good photographers do not hesitate from sharing their techniques. Photography conventions, online forums, social networks, are all great ways to connect and communicate with people who share a common interest. If you are really serious about turning your passion for photography into a profession, you can also explore the option of photography classes.
Last, but not least, always have fun! Do not take yourself or your work too seriously and you will get to enjoy the beauty of photography on a whole new level. Enjoying taking pictures of objects, people, or nature is how you keep the spark alive inside you. It is very easy to get caught up in the technicalities of it all but what’s the point?
The point is to create amazing pictures that are enjoyable to both- you as a photographer and your audience. It does not matter which camera you use, what your editing process is like, or even how much you get paid for assignments. The important part is that photography should always remain a source of happiness in your life that keeps you motivated to see things in your own, unique way. Click amazing pictures, go to amazing places, and meet amazing people. Make the best out of your talent and you will get the best results.
That brings us to the end of this article. We hope you learned a thing or two and were motivated enough to give photography a shot. If you want to check out the work of some talented photographers, explore photoAC and see the type of content we put out for people to view, use and appreciate.