Here are some photography tips for beginners that I can share based on my experience.
I love Photography. Pictures can tell a good story and can paint a thousand words. Who doesn’t want to take good pictures?
Even before I started my blogging life, I loved taking pictures on my point and shoot camera and mobile phone.
Growing up in the Philippines, where everyone loves to take photos. Getting used to being in front of the camera was the norm.
There was even a point that I have to borrow our neighbours or relative’s camera to capture special family moments
like birthdays, graduation, etc. My family was not privileged enough to buy our own camera. Anyway, I always ended up with hundreds and hundreds of photos of the places that I’ve been and lots of selfies. I know, I’m guilty.
However, not anymore! Good thing, we were using a digital camera, so you can quickly erase photos.
Here are the things that I reckon will help anyone who intends to improve their skills in photography. Trust me, the process of learning photography is never-ending, and I’m merely at the beginning.
- Interest and Passion
- Knowing the Exposure Triangle
- Support Group and other resources
- Gear and Post process
- RAW vs. JPG
- My Photography Gear
- Other Photography Gear and Accessories that I use:
- Editing Softwares
Interest and Passion
Whether you want to pursue photography as a hobby or as a professional, passion is the key.
The interest in learning photography should come from within you, not because your friend told you so, keeping up with the Joneses or because it’s a trend!
Remember, you will have to learn and understand by heart all the rules, concept, style and techniques of photography. Not to mention the post-production of editing your photos.
Knowing the Exposure Triangle
On your quest to learn photography, you will have to familiarise yourself with the three pillars that comprise the Exposure Triangle: the ISO, F-Stop or Aperture and Shutter Speed.
ISO is the sensitivity of the camera to the light. It can make your photos go light or dark and determine the noise of an image.
F-Stop or Aperture
Understanding the F-stops / Aperture is also an important thing to learn in photography.
F-stops are one of the things that will determine how sharp or blurry your photos will be. Aperture helps you to separate your subject from the background and give a blur effect which is known as Bokeh.
The shutter speed determines how quickly or slowly the light hits the camera sensor.
The shutter speed can also give you the creative effects of long exposed images and can freeze the moving subjects. Depending on the type of photography, getting the balance of these three will give you an excellent image every time.
The composition is also an important part of a beautiful image.
The one that will give you sense and feel to the image with its leading lines, texture and proportions.
As a rule of thumb, following “the rule of thirds” is important however rules are made to be broken. So be creative! Depending on the subject and goal of the image this golden composition rule can be broken.
Support Group and other resources
Having a support system in photography is important. There are plenty of youtube tutorials that you can watch to understand all the nitty-gritty details of photography.
Instagram is one of the famous visual type of social media platforms. I love browsing pictures on IG that tells a story, gives inspiration and push you to be more creative.
Follow me on Instagram — @everythingzany
Photography books are also an excellent source of information.
Since I’m interested more in travel, nature and portrait photographies, I find that these books from Lonely Planet really helps a lot. You can also read these excellent tips on street photography.
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I also joined a local photographic society to help me enhance my skills. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who are also passionate about their craft.
I recently joined a PDI photo competition where I won a photographic award for the Long Exposure theme.
I also took few photography courses and photo walks here in the UK. It is definitely worth doing it!
The photography class prices vary if it’s a classroom or online.
There are also loads of Facebook groups and channels on youtube that can give you support and help you to develop your photography skills. Here are the groups that I actively engage with:
I Shoot People! Photographers by Joe Edelman
If you want to learn more about portraits and wants to take your photography skills to the next level.
Michromatic by Mark Ryan Sallee
This channel will give you loads of handy insights about Micro Four Thirds a.k.a MFT. I own an Olympus camera which is MFT, so I find his videos really helpful.
Digital Rev TV
When it comes to product reviews, I really enjoy watching this channel. Started by Kaiman and Lok, the reliable duo from Hong Kong.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
As it says on the tin, this channel will help you to develop your post-production skills with Lightroom.
Link: Youtube channel
Digital Photography School
When it comes to a photography blog and FB page, I love reading stuff from DPS. A reliable resource for learning photography.
A fantastic Canadian Youtuber shares fantastic tips and tricks on how you can improve your photography and filmmaking skills.
Link: Youtube Channel
Gear and Post process
There is a myriad of choices on which camera and gear you should buy to get into photography.
Before I bought my MFT Olympus camera, I used a Samsung smart digital camera (point and shoot) and my mobile phone.
Micro Four Thirds is a mirrorless type of camera.
The MFT pertains to the size of the photographic sensor of the camera. The popular DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) has the 35mm full-frame sensor size.
RAW vs. JPG
Shooting in RAW and JPG has their own merits and disadvantages.
RAW files can give you a great option to manipulate your images on the post-processing stage, but the files can take up so much storage space on your memory card.
The JPG files, on the other hand, are compressed files with a limited amount of colour data stored in your image.
Hence, the post-processing of JPG files can be challenging at times.
On a good note, since the JPG files are pre-compressed by your camera it takes less storage space on your memory card.
My Photography Gear
Olympus Pen EPL-7, Olympus OMD EM-10 Mark II and GoPro Hero 4
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I started using my PEN EPL-7 for almost a year and I recently upgraded to OMD EM-10 Mark II.
I love MFT because of its portability and performance as if I’m using a full frame DSLR.
The MFT range also has a variety of lens to choose from. I use Go Pro Hero 4 to take action and underwater images.
Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm 1:1.8 Prime lens, Olympus M. Zuiko 12mm ED 1:2.0 Prime Lens (Manual Focus), Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 (Kit lens) and Olympus M.Zuiko 14 -150mm 1:4.0 – 5.6 (Zoom lens)
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Each lens has their specific expertise:
The 45mm prime lens is excellent for portrait shots. The 12mm Prime, Kit and Zoom lens are for my travel – landscape and wildlife photography.
Other Photography Gear and Accessories that I use:
These are the other products that I use on a regular basis for the type of photography I do. I will try to make few more post about these to explain in depth.
Sandisk Class 10 memory cards
I prefer using class 10 memory cards as it has quick capabilities to record heavy data. e.g. HD, raw photos etc.
As I do a lot of walking with the type of photography I’m doing, having a little tripod and a small camera bag to carry around is pretty handy. You can read here my personal review of the ThinkTank Urban Approach 10.
Photography Lens Filters
For landscape/travel photography, these are the accessories you should have in your bag. The Polarising filter will help increase your image contrast, and the ND filter will help you for the long exposure shots.
Spare Camera Batteries
As a standard, I always have an extra battery.
An excellent way to bounce the light as a filler or sometimes the main source of light. Especially, when you are shooting outdoor where you can’t fully control all the lighting.
Photo Studio Kit
Since I’m trying to practice more of portraiture, so I’ve decided to set up a little home studio. This kit has got everything that you need to start shooting.
Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
A powerful editing software tool. Probably the most popular one.
I edit the majority of my photos in Lightroom. It’s easy to learn editing software yet very powerful.
I only use Photoshop if I desperately need a heavy pixel manipulation, otherwise, I use Lightroom or Canva.