Digital Photography Tips for Beginners
This article is a set of recommendations, both technical and ethical, which also reveal a number of secrets that can be useful for beginners in the world of digital photography. I hope to convey to the person holding camera in his arms, that photography is an art worthy of respect, understanding and knowledge.
1. Before you take the camera, ask yourself “Do I have something to say?”
2. Digital camera is only a tool, chosen according to your needs. No matter how expensive your tool is, the question if you really can photograph remains.
3. Read the manual very carefully.
4. Having read the manual test every function your camera performs. Using your camera should become a reflex, like shifting gears in a car.
5. Do not blame camera in your failures. If the tool does not allow to do what you have planned to do, buy new camera or improve your knowledge and skills.
6. The golden section, the rule of thirds, the basics of composition, the decisive moment, rhythm, form, content, color – all these words should not be unfamiliar to you.
7. A plumber has pipes, pipe fittings, pliers in his suitcase. A photographer has composition, light, aspect ratio, media images, and many other instruments. If you want to be good, carefully study each instrument in your “suitcase”, their function and impact on the human perception.
8. Having studied the rules, learn how to abstract your mind from them.
9. Analyze the relevance of any advice given to you. Fashion is one thing, genre is another thing. Commercial projects and creative work, life and art – each aspect has its secrets, rules and motives. You need to understand that.
10. The moment you caught has to go through two stages of selection before becoming a photo: shooting itself (the photographer chooses which moments will remain, which will be deleted) and a selection of photos which have been already made. Be responsible during both stages.
11. Remember that each moment is unique and will never repeat again.
12. Always watch other people’s creative work, attentively examine photos, videos, pictures. Pay attention to the ideas, variation of angles, styles of information transfer. Take it into consideration, but never copy what you have seen.
13. Three main component of a good photo are composition, story and the uniqueness of the moment.
14. When you have doubts concerning some photo, delete it.
15. Do not shoot too many churches, sunsets, children – they are beautiful without your participation (unless you have a really interesting story to show). It’s like shooting a picture: the artist is a genius, but we can hardly say the same about the photographer shooting his masterpiece.
16. Shooting a flower (a dog, a baby), remember: we have already seen them like this. Show the world you feel is yours in this photo, this will be interesting for the audience.
17. Remember, you are a person first of all and only then you are a photographer. If someone close to you needs help, help him/her, instead of grabbing the camera and starting to shoot. If you know that your pictures can do harm to a person, ruin his reputation, destroy personal life – do not shoot! Don’t forget that everybody has the right to privacy.
18. Before you press the button, look around, at least for a moment, for a second. Think about the story, camera settings, composition, light – perhaps you will find the best option to express yourself.
19. If you have only several minutes to make a portrait use simple tricks: ask a person to click a pen- you will see emotions in his/her eyes, ask your model to run your hand through his/her hair, rub something off the nose or forehead, check the time on a wristwatch. You can also ask how to get to a post office. Continue shooting when the person acts according to your “directions”.
20. If a person can not relax, make two shots one by one: the first photo will be for your model, the second one will be done when the person is thinking that the photo has been already made and show you natural look.
21. Do not try to follow fashion always. Listen to yourself. Shoot things which excite and inspire you.
22. Photo revealing conflict is always extremely interesting. Show emotions and controversial feelings.
23. It is a well-known fact that a good photo shows not only those things which are depicted by the photographer, but tells us an off-camera story. You should look deeper and leave hints about the story out of the camera focus. Animate objects and landscapes. Create stories, using details making hints about the story occurred after and before your shooting.