Photography is a wonderful hobby but it is not the right choice for everyone. For some people, using a digital camera and composing attractive photographs comes naturally while other people have to work at it a bit more. Regardless your level of natural talent, every amateur photographer starts from the same place. Below you will find a collection of tips to help you get started with photography.
Understanding Digital Camera Shooting Modes
One of the most important things you need to learn as an amateur photographer is the difference between the various shooting modes on your camera. For most digital cameras, these modes are listed on a circular dial that you can rotate to make your selection. The most common shooting modes are listed below:
• Program Mode (P) – This is an automatic mode option where the camera actually chooses the shutter speed and aperture for you – it is a good mode to practice on.
• Aperture Priority (A or Av) – This mode allows you to control the depth of field for your photograph, or the sharpness of your photos from foreground to background. This is a good mode to use for landscapes, portraits, and macro shots.
• Shutter Priority (S or Tv) – This mode allows you to control the shutter speed and it is best for action shots such as sports photography.
• Manual Mode (M) – This mode gives you full control over your camera settings including ISO, aperture, white balance, flash, shutter speed, and more. It may take some practice for you to be able to use this mode properly.
In addition to the modes listed above, many digital cameras also offer specialized modes for things like portraits, action shots, close-up shots, nighttime shots, and more. These modes automatically select certain settings to ensure the best results and they are a good option to use when you are still learning how to choose and compose your shots.
General Photography Tips for Beginners
It will take a lot of time and practice for you to learn how to use the different settings on your camera and to learn the effects of certain adjustments. While you are still learning about the settings on your camera you should practice taking different kinds of photographs – shoot portraits, landscapes, close-ups, sports shots, and any other photos you can think of. While you do, keep the following tips in mind:
• Don’t worry too much about the quality of your photos at first – Cut yourself some slack while you are still learning and experiment with different settings to see how they work.
• Take advantage of the auto ISO setting – While you are practicing taking different kinds of photographs it may be helpful to keep your camera on the auto ISO setting. With this setting the camera will automatically adjust your ISO depending on lighting conditions so all you have to worry about is composition.
• Practicing shooting in different kinds of light – Experiment with different levels of light for your photographs. Try shooting in subtle morning light, bright daylight, dim evening light, and even darkness. Pay attention to how different kinds of lighting affect your shots.
• Use the rule of thirds for composition – Composition is simply the arrangement of objects in your photograph. To practice with composition follow the rule of thirds – imagine the photo with a 3-by-3 grid superimposed over it and try to center the subjects of your image on the areas where the lines intersect.
• Practice, practice, practice – You will never move past the amateur stage of photography if you do not practice! The more you use your camera, the more you will learn about different modes and settings and how to use them. You will also start to get a feel for composition and other aspects of quality photography.
It can take years to fully learn how to use all of the settings on your camera, so be patient with yourself as a beginner. By following the tips above you can learn how to use your camera and how to create attractive photos.