5 Photography Tips for Beginners

1. Learn the basics of composition

It should be one of the first things you learn well enough so that it’s second nature. It will allow you to compose your photos in interesting ways in order to better convey the message or story you want to get across.

Learn the rules and know when to break them.

Rule of thirds – The horizontal and vertical lines can provide some order to the chaos and help emphasize your subject. Using this as a guideline can make the photo seem more interesting and better. There may have been times where you look at a photo and were amazed by the way it looked but you couldn’t really describe it. These compositional rules are usually picked up by the subconscious which can make a photo look more appealing. 

White rhino, Namibia

Leading lines – They can help guide the eye make the photo seem more pleasing. A leading line is almost anything. A road or river. The ridge of a dune. The stem of a flower.

Symmetry – One of my favourites. I try to keep things clean and simple because I find less is more, and it’s a great creative challenge. Symmetry is a great tool to achieve a clean and pleasant look.

Sunset, Namibia

2. Shoot through something

It can make your photo look more “professional” and give a look of you “sort of know what you’re doing.” You can achieve this by adjusting your aperture to the lowest setting, which is f/3.5 on a standard kit lens. If you want more blur, consider buying a 35mm f/1.8, which is what I use most of the time. Then either deliberately shoot through something such as leaves or flowers, or make sure there’s something close to your lens while you shoot past or over it. 

3. Glue your camera to your hand

If you want to get better at your craft, keep doing it. As much as you possibly can. Shoot all the time. No challenge should be too big or too small. Figure it out as you go along. Build your creative experience. In the outdoors, certain opportunities only happen once. You want to be able to quickly capture it and then enjoy the moment. 

4. Don’t disregard bad weather

Everyone is out on a beautiful sunny day taking photos. You want to take the photos everyone else is too lazy or scared to take. You want to capture unique moments in nature, which can sometimes mean getting out of your comfort zone, and you might discover that it was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. A cloudy or rainy day can make incredible moody, mysterious or dramatic photos. I love a few clouds that are floating around on top of a mountain. 

Franschhoek, South Africa

5. Up, down, left, right, sideways

Instead of just moving the camera lower or higher, consider crouching down yourself and looking for a better angle. Look up and see what’s above you. Clouds? Trees? Birds?

One of my favourites – turn around and look behind you. Maybe there’s a breathtaking shot that’s been waiting for you all this time. 

The benefit of shooting with a prime lens is that it doesn’t zoom. It’s a fixed 35mm f/1.8. This means I need to physically move around when I want to capture something, which encourages me to be more creative and less lazy. 

Franschhoek, South Africa

Learn about developing your eye for detail.

Thinking about which camera you should buy to begin photography?

Confused by some photography terminology? Here’s a list of photography jargon.

98 thoughts on “5 Photography Tips for Beginners

Add yours

  1. Shooting with a prime lens really is fantastic. It changes the whole experience where you become physically part of the composition and gives you pleasure in taking the picture as much as looking at the result. I am so glad you included it in your tips.

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  2. All great advice for landscape photography.
    I have no option but go out in moody, dramatic, weather conditions here in Northern Ireland.
    Fine days don’t turn up that often.
    This fall sucked big time but maybe next year it will rock.
    Anyway I really enjoyed your post.

    Like

  3. May I add something from my experience of around 55 years of photography? Look at good photography. Read books. Train your mind to recognise that scene. Shoot around the scene until you get the image you want. Keep shooting. Take many shots and discard the ones that are not of professional quality.

    And one more thing: get the cliches out of your system first. Don’t worry about copying others’ styles, just get past that and develop your own style.

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  4. This post made me think why I abandoned my love for photography. I shouldn’t have. I should do something about this. Thanks for this.

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