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Perhaps you just bought your first camera or you are taking pictures with your smart phone. Regardless how you got into photography, here are some tips to get you going.
1. Automatic mode
Most consumer cameras today have what is called an automatic mode where the camera will help you selecting aperture and shutter speed. This is a great mode in that you can fire of a photo fast and the camera will help you get that photo in focus.
There is no harm in using the automatic mode and by using it and see what the camera will choose you will also learn about the different settings there are.
2. Grain is good
Often you will find a great photo opportunity in low light situations. Never be afraid to increase the camera ISO. The higher you set your ISO, the more grain there will be in the image. But remember; it’s always better to get the photo then not to.
3. Speaking of grain – Auto ISO
If your camera have a setting for Auto ISO it will increase the ISO as it see fit for you to get a good photo regardless of available light. This is also a great way to go back afterwards and see what ISO that was chosen and by that learn what ISO goes for what situation.
4. The flash is a pocket sun
The camera flash can be used also in day light to bring some additional life on faces and objects not to miss out on details. Use your flash and learn by using it not only when it’s dark.
Remember numer 2 though, in some locations you might get a better result by just increasing ISO instead of using flash but the easiest way to find out is to take two photos and compare.
5. Rotate the camera and you
The camera can take photos even if you hold it in strange angles. If you are taking a photo of something that is tall perhaps you should take the photo with the camera standing on it’s side. Mix up how you hold your camera and see how the changed view will also change the photo.
A wide landscape can look very dull if you can’t see the wide depth in it that was there when the photo was taken. Try to include foreground in your photos to bring depth. In the same way an insect can look big in a photo until you add a few strings of grass into the photo to give the photo a set of scale of what is in the picture.
7. Reduce camera shake
If you shake the camera while taking a photo, you will introduce blur. Try holding the camera on steady hands near your body or lean against something solid. I also wrote some more tips on reducing camera shake a while back which can be of use.
8. Get closer
A beginner photographer often see a great photo opportunity but don’t have the confidence to get close enough to get the photo as they saw it.
A rule of thumb is that if you want to photograph something you need to start by getting close, then get even closer.
9. A zoom lens is all you need
A quick google search on what lens you should buy will tell you that you need numerous lenses just to take a walk. If you instead ask photographers what lens they have on the camera while walking about most will tell you that they use either a non-zoom normal lens or a super-zoom lens.
The first is a lens you cannot zoom with and it will force you as the photographer to move until you have the photo you want. As an aspiring photographer the second option, the super-zoom, is a wonderful alternative. It is also most often a super-zoom that is included as the kit-lens when you buy a DSLr today.
My personal favourite is the Nikon 18-210 VR lens which I use as my everyday walk-around lens and also the lens always on my camera when travelling.
10. Share your photography
A great and frightening way of grow as a photographer is to showcase you photos and ask for feedback. There are numerous sites where you can show your images and some places are better then others on receiving good feedback. I personally post both to Flickr, 500px and Facebook depending on what photo it is. Flickr is my go-to service where most of my photos end up and by using the groups in Flickr you can get really good feedback from good photographers.
You can see my Flickr photo stream here.