How to Get Started in Photography


If this is your first time buying a digital camera and you are just starting out your foray into digital photography, it is understandable for you to be a little baffled when choosing what to buy for your first digital camera. I remember starting my photography career with a Canon S2 point and shoot and two generic lamps from IKEA, shooting product photography for a startup company.  

When starting out with digital photography, you need the best digital camera that is most suited to your level of expertise. Using a digital camera that is just right for you will help guide you as you make your way through the field of photography, as well as help you to develop an appreciation for the art. The digital camera that you should use should be just right for you. Use a camera that is too advanced for you and you will only end up being frustrated, with the possibility of leading you to give up on photography.

How do you choose your first digital camera? It all depends on your reasons for wanting to learn photography and the amount of time and money you are willing to invest on such a tool. Remember it is not the equipment that creates art; it's the artist that creates art.  You can own the most expensive camera and create crappy photos with it. Being an artist is following your heart and listening to your eyes.  

To illustrate the point, here are some images I've shot with an iPhone.

Choosing a Camera

1. When given the choice of whether to go for a point and shoot camera or a DSLR or mirrorless camera, go for the latter two. A DSLR or prosumer-level mirrorless camera is actually easier to manipulate than a point and shoot camera. It is also the better decision to make simply because it is more cost effective should you choose to upgrade down the road.

2. Get a camera that you love. Beautiful pictures are created if there is a good relationship between the photographer and their digital camera. So, when you go out to buy a camera, buy something that you know you will love using, no matter how many years pass by. 

How to Get Started

Here are five tips to help you move from beginner to master of photography, whether you're using your cell phone or a brand new DSLR.

Compose Carefully

One of the most basic photography tips is to pay attention to what's in the frame of the viewfinder. Fill the frame. For instance, nothing but blue sky behind a single subject throws off the proportions of the photo and decreases interest. You can also turn the camera sideways to see if a vertical photo might have more impact than a horizontal shot of the same subject. You can also try positioning your subject off to the side, rather than in the center of the photograph.

Take Great Closeup Photos

If your camera has a macro mode, think of it as a super magnifying glass. An extreme closeup of something like flower petals can bring out textures that you never knew existed and will add excitement to your photos. Play with this feature; you will find dozens of ways to use it to enhance your pictures.

Buy a Tripod

Digital cameras are prone to blurry photographs if your hands shake even a little bit. Several companies manufacture light, portable, inexpensive tripods to help combat this. Using one can save you hours of frustration and preserve otherwise perfect shots.

Get Active

Take your shot from the top of a teeter-totter, off the side of the boat, or standing on your head. Thinking outside the box can really pay off in unexpected ways. You will truly get once-in-a-lifetime shots by adding a bit of creativity to your thinking.

Look Into Workshops and Tutorials

There's nothing like practice to improve your photography except when it's practice coupled with the experience gained by learning from a pro. Be sure to bookmark your favorite sites, check out tutorials, and most importantly, keep shooting! You'll quickly become addicted!

Isaac Alvarez's picture

Isaac Alvarez is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His work is a reflection of contemporary/cinematic. While his images are often on the edge of any situation, photographing the situation is not nearly as interesting as photographing the edges of human emotions.

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