Five tips for photography beginners

Many people start their photography careers late. Having worked in the corporate world for years, they’ve decided that the cut and thrust of the business world is not for them and they’d rather travel the world taking photographs and trying to earn a salary from it. Indeed, this is perfectly possible but for some, the initial foray into photography is disappointing with a whole slew of photographs that are poorly framed, dim, too bright and just downright rubbish.

Fear not! Here are five tips that will help you get your photography right whether it’s for fun or profit.

1. Don’t overspend on your first camera

Cameras these days are cheaper and more feature-rich than ever before. Technology has gained pace and you can pick up a decent camera now for just a few hundred pounds. Obviously, if you’re going to be doing a lot of high-quality photography such as weddings or professional landscape then you’ll want to spend the money on the relevant equipment, but if you’re just starting – hold back on spending all that cash. A decent DSLR with good lens can be bought for around $1000.

If you want even cheaper, check out some of the fantastic compacts on the market. Most of the major manufacturers of DSLR cameras also have ranges of compacts and the quality is superb. Also, being easy to carry and quick to deploy means you can get spontaneous shots that others simply miss.

The key here is to buy a camera that you’re happy with, that takes decent photos and allows you to learn your craft. If you pay over the odds and then decide you can’t make it pay or you just give up then you’ll resent spending all that hard earned cash.

2. Take your camera everywhere and take lots of photos

When I first started taking photos I spent way too much time framing and checking light and generally messing about trying to get the ‘perfect’ shot. A few years ago I was cured of this when on a trip to Iceland I had just a few minutes at the famous geysers so I just put the camera on high-speed and snapped away. When I got back to the hotel I discovered that I’d got lots of very terrible photos, but also some absolute stunning pictures.

With a little bit of cropping and enhancement on the computer, these photos were good enough to print and hang.

I remember reading the book about Michael Palin’s ‘Himalaya’ series and Michael was astounded at the amount of photos his photographer Basil Pao took. His photos were stunning but Basil Pao took thousands of them so at least some of them were bound to be great!

3. Get a tripod

They’re cheap and they’re useful. If you take photographs without the flash (natural light can look fantastic) then a tripod can make all the difference if there’s not much light about. You’ll find your photographs are much sharper and you’ll be happier with them.

Couple this with a remote control (cheap off eBay), you’ll have the perfect combination for portraits and landscapes.

4. You can make everything look exciting

Don’t be afraid to take photos of things that may look dull or boring. Everything can look exciting given the correct lighting. Maybe even add a few filters in PhotoShop and see what happens.

5. Learn off the Internet

You can, of course, go on an expensive course to learn all about photography, but the Internet can be a fantastic resource where you can learn little bits about each aspect of your camera, how to take certain shots and how to get special effects on the cheap. Make the most of this. Many of the people I know who are now professional photographers are self-taught. It may take longer but the result is that your photos will have a more personal feel and you’ll hopefully enjoy the whole process of photography much more.

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