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5 Tips for Photography Beginners

5 Tips for Photography Beginners

Aaron Martin

June 15th 2021

If you have an interest in photography, the first thing to learn is that there’s always more to learn. So if you are thinking of moving beyond your camera phone to a camera, be open to absorbing as much information as possible.

1. Don’t get intimidated

There are more than 10 companies that make cameras, some with household names and some with names that are a bit obscure. They each have a special feature or two, but – like cars – they are all going to function basically the same. So, if you want to go with Kodak, Pentax, or Polaroid because they have been around forever, that’s fine. If you want to go with Nikon or Canon because that’s what you see professional photographers use, that’s fine.

Some camera stores have a rental program, where you can use a camera for a specified amount of time for a fee. If you have a store with a rental program near you, that may be the best way to experiment with the different brands to see which you are most comfortable with using. Your comfort is vital, so do not feel like you have a particular brand or type of camera to get started.

2. More is not necessarily better

Along with not feeling intimidated by the number of brands to choose from, don’t feel like you have to have every piece of equipment available. More important than your camera equipment is your creative skills and knowledge of camera settings. So, focus your effort on those, not on collecting flashes and lenses. If you choose a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, your camera body is the base of your equipment and the lens is interchangeable. Purchase one with at least one lens included. It will be a mid-quality lens, which is fine for getting started. As you shoot more, you will start to learn what other lenses will fit your needs – a fast one for sports, a wide-angle one for scenery, etc.

If you choose a point-and-shoot camera, play around with the settings to find out which combination (i.e., exposure triangle) produces the best results.

3. Understand the exposure triangle

Unlike the Bermuda triangle, there’s nothing wrong with getting lost in this one – and you will suffer no physical damage if you do. The exposure triangle refers to the three variables that control your photo’s exposure: aperture (or f-stop), shutter speed, and the ISO.

Aperture is how wide your shutter will open when you snap the photo. The smaller the f-stop number, the wider the hole and the more light will come in. The larger the f-stop, the smaller the hole and the less light. In general, a smaller hole (f22) will give you more focus on a single point, like squinting your eyes to read small print.

Shutter speed is how fast that hole will open and close, measured in fractions of seconds. A faster shutter speed – like 1/3200 (of a second) – will give you a sharper image, and is usually used for sports or small children who don’t keep still. A slower shutter speed will allow blur, which can be used to show motion.