I had a Photo Boot Camp session today that reminded me of some good advice for beginning photographers. My student had taken so many classes from so many different instructors that the basic concept of exposure had gotten lost. Here are a few tips for getting a good start when you’re learning about photography.
- Learn the exposure triangle! Before you try to figure out the intricacies of your camera’s menu or decide on your next lens, learn how exposure works. Learn how aperture, shutter speed and ISO affect your images and when to adjust each one.
- Try to practice one concept at a time. There is a LOT to learn about making pictures, and it can get confusing pretty quickly. Learn one technique and UNDERSTAND it before you move on to the next.
- Be wary of “always” and “never”. There are techniques and ideas that generally make better photographs, but there is rarely only one “right” way.
- Start with the photo you want to make and work through the lenses, settings, etc. Decisions about exposure and lenses are almost impossible to make if you don’t know what picture you’re trying to make.
- Learn how to use the gear you have. Just because your favorite instructor has a particular camera or lens doesn’t mean that you need to buy one in order to make a nice photo. Instructors are experienced photographers, and they often have expensive equipment that they use professionally. If you don’t understand how to use the kit lens that came with your camera, spending $2k on a new lens is not going to make you a good photographer overnight.
Photography is a lot of fun and it is a lot to learn. Take your time and practice as much as you can. The hard work is worth it when you start to make the photos you see in your mind’s eye without having to think about the camera. You have to learn the camera so you can forget about it and start thinking about images. Happy shooting!
If you’re lookng to get started making great photos you might look into my “Photo Basics Boot Camp”. It is a one-on-one photography workshop that will teach you the basics in the classroom and in the field. Click here for details.