Eight Tips for Amateur Photographers

Whether you want to dive into photography to support your business or are interested in pursuing a new hobby, you might be wondering how to get started as a photographer.

There’s no need to worry, though — these eight tips for amateur photographers will jump-start your knowledge of photography, helping you to take high-quality photos in no time.

1. Don’t stress about your equipment

You don’t need a fancy camera to take great photographs — your technique is more important than your equipment. In fact, most of the time, you can get the job done with your smartphone. The smartphones of today usually have high-resolution sensors that produce surprisingly sharp images.

Not convinced? Check out the winning images from the 2017 iPhone Photography Awards. These professional-grade photos were all taken with phone cameras.

2. Use a tripod when possible

Don’t let shaky hands stop you from capturing the perfect shot. Experienced photographers will suggest using a tripod whenever possible.

Not only will a tripod improve your stability, it will help you frame images better. It’s also a must-have when taking time lapse or long-exposure photographs.

3. Learn to love the Rule of Thirds

One way to spot amateur photography is to look at a photo’s composition. Inexperienced photographers tend to put their subjects in the center of their frames, often resulting in boring, predictable images.

The Rule of Thirds is one of the better-known composition tactics, and is perfect for beginners. Divide the frame of your shot into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Then, place your subject along one of the lines to increase visual interest.

Digital Photography School explains that, “if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo 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’re taking pictures. Try crouching down, standing on a chair, laying on the ground, or circling your subject.

If you get stuck in one spot, you’ll find yourself taking the same picture over and over again. So, keep your feet moving to capture a variety of shots.

5. Experiment with light

Light is an integral part of any photograph, and the more you pay attention to it, the better you’ll become at using it to your advantage. You may want to read up on different types of light, but be sure to experiment with various lighting sources to experience the differences firsthand.

For instance, observe the differences between:

  • Natural vs. artificial light
  • Early morning vs. afternoon light
  • Direct sunlight vs. overcast daylight
  • Flash vs. no flash

Note how the different types of lighting affect shadows and exposures in your pictures.

6. Learn to focus

If you learn nothing else about your camera, figure out how its focus works. This is how you end up with crisp, clean images.

Improve Photography reveals that you should focus on a precise aspect of your subject. For instance, it’s too broad to focus on someone’s face. You should focus your camera on one of their eyes or another specific facial feature.

7. Shoot first, crop later

When you’re capturing a close-up image, you’ll probably zoom in for the perfect shot. When doing this, make sure to take some wider-angle frames as well.

By moving away from your subject, you’ll get more perspective in the shot. Since today’s cameras have such high resolutions, you can always crop or resize the image at a later time without sacrificing its quality.

8. Remember to practice

One of the best tips for amateur photographers is to just keep taking pictures. As with any art form, practice is the best way to improve your skills.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and put your photography skills to the test!


Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in digital lifestyle content, ranging from pop culture to smart home technology. Camryn has contributed to popular media sites such as InStyle, Taste of Home, Martha Stewart, Food52, USA Today, The Spruce and more.

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