Photography is a wide field with various fields of expertise. If you are interested to pursue a new hobby and are wondering how to get started, here are some tips to help you!
1. Don't stress about your equipment
You don't need a fancy camera to take good photographs. Remember, the technique is more important than your equipment. Most of the time, you can get the job done with your smartphone. As you know, the smartphones of today have high resolution sensors which produce high quality, sharp images. Also remember, at the end of the day, it is not the camera that is responsible for taking a good quality picture, it is you! So instead of buying a new camera, work with what is available. Once you outgrow your current camera, you can think of an upgrade.
2. Use a tripod when possible
Often, we tend to get have shaky hands when trying out our photography skills the first time. The more experienced photographers suggest using a tripod whenever possible. It will help improve the stability, frame images better.
3. The rule of the thirds
Amateur photography is easily identified by observing the photo's composition. Most of us tend to place the subject right in the center of the frame which results in predictable images.
According to the Digital Photography school, "if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photograph becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally".
4. Don't be stationary
Keep moving as you take pictures. Try different angles; standing on a chair, lying on the ground or circling the subject.
5. Hold the Camera close
Many amateurs tend to keep the camera away and stretch the arms forward. But this destabilize the posture and reduce the sharpness. Remember to keep the camera close to you!
6. Experiment with light
Light is an important part of any photograph and the more you pay attention to it the better you will become at using it to the advantage of the image. Be sure to experiment with various lighting sources.
For example: The natural sunlight against artificial light
The morning vs afternoon light
Flash vs no flash
7. Make a list of the shots
We all get side tracked at times and forget about the images you really want to capture. It makes life easier if you keep a list of the shots you wish to capture which will help improve your skills! And it is an awesome feeling of satisfaction when you get to tick them off!
8. Make space for feedback
This can be scary as no one wants to be critiqued! But it is an important mechanism of learning. Also make sure you get feedback from professional photographers as well as family and friends so you will get some good technical advice and know what your consumer will look for as well!
9. Use automatic features when possible
As an amateur photographer, you have many things to think about in terms of taking an image. Therefore, you can simplify things by using the automatic mode of the camera! For example, let the camera control focus and the white balance while you concentrate on getting the shot perfectly. Once you are comfortable, you can begin to manipulate the settings one by one!
10. Get Inspired!
At the beginning, it can be a struggle to identify what you like in terms of style or genre. Or what to photograph! That's where you need some inspiration! Research the work of other photographers, there is so much readily available to learn. It is not to copy what others do, but to help your creative instincts to kick in and inspire you!
11. Make mistakes
One thing we fear and struggle with is to make mistakes. When it comes to photography, getting the exposure settings wrong or messing up the composition can be frustrating. But it is a learning opportunity and those mistakes are the ones that will help you become a better photographer. There is no right or wrong answer, just your take on the world as you see it with your camera!
12. Practice, Practice, Practice!
One of the most important tips is to keep practicing and taking pictures! This is the best way to improve your skills! So, take your camera with you everywhere! Opportunities can happen at any moment. For example, your kid might make a funny face at dinner or you might capture a beautiful sunset. The point is by having your camera with you all the time, you can capitalize on opportunities and give you a chance to practice and improve yourself.
Manesha Peiris (2021)