Want to know the best photography tips for beginners? These 7 photography tips will have you shooting like a pro in no time.
Photography can be a bit overwhelming when you are just starting out. But, there are some simple things you can do to really up your game. As a professional photographer, I am going to share with you some of the photography tips for beginners that I still do at every session.
You will learn about lighting, depth of field, golden hour, angles, and more.
After learning all of these photography tips for beginners, you will be shooting like a pro in no time.
This post is all about the best photography tips for beginners.
Best Photography Tips for Beginners
1. Find the Best Light
If there is only one piece of advice you take away from this post it should be this: Lighting Over Location!
Photography literally means to create an image using light (photo). So it stands to reason that lighting should be the number one consideration when taking a picture.
If you are taking a picture of your coffee in a coffee house, and you put it in front of a really cool wall that doesn’t have good lighting, you will not be happy with the picture. If you take that same coffee and move it by a window with natural light, you will get a much more pleasing picture.
Just because the first picture had a really interesting aground, you won’t like it as much as second picture with the better lighting.
The same thing goes with taking portraits of people. If you put them in a dark corner with low or mixed lighting, you will not get a flattering photograph. If you move them into an area that has brighter, even lighting, you will get a much more flattering photograph.
As a natural light photographer, the first thing I do when I get to a location is look around at the lighting . I am looking for places where I am able to place my subject in the shadow/shade but still have a bright background.
My absolute favorite lighting scenario to look for is when the sun is shining on the leaves of the tree. I always place my subject in front. It makes for the most beautiful background.
2. The Best Depth of Field Tips for Beginners
Your natural inclination is to take your subject, be it a person or a coffee cup, and put it up against the background. But if you pull them off of the background you will create depth of field.
This should soften your background a bit, making your subject appear more in focus and prominent. The farther that your subject is from the background, the softer the background will appear. This is something you can experiment with until you find a distance that you like.
Depth of Field can also be achieved with lenses and settings. Read about that more advanced topic here.
These are two very affordable lenses that are great for adding more depth of field to your photography.
3. Choose the Correct Time to Shoot
The old saying, “Timing is Everything” really holds true in photography.
There are only two times a day that I will book a session, either just after sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. This is when the sun is lower in the sky so the light is much softer.
The closer to the middle of the day that you shoot, the more difficult the light will be. The shadows will be very harsh and even if you are able to find some shade to put them in, the sun is so bright that it will be difficult for them to smile without squinting.
Morning sessions will be much cooler than evening sessions. This means they will have a bit more of a blueish tint to them. Nothing really to worry about. Just something to keep in mind.
Evening session will be much warmer. Golden hour is definitely the preferred time for photographers. This is when you get the beautiful, soft, golden light that everyone loves.
One last consideration: While the evening sessions will have a little better light, morning sessions – you will pretty much have the place to yourself.
4. Sun Placement
This is a VERY important step and one that I see many people getting wrong.
You want to place your subject so that the sun is BEHIND them. This allows the light to wrap around your subject giving even lighting to their face.
A way to practice this is to just look at their face. You don’t want any direct sun or shadows on their face. If you do, just keep turning them until all shadows are gone.
There is one exception to this rule. The last 20-30 minutes before sunset, you can have your subject face toward the sun. At this time the sun is very low and perfect for photography. This is the epitome of golden hour – not too bright, not too dark, just right.
5. Use a Reflector
Now that you the sun at the back of your subject, you want to make sure that they have plenty of light on them. You can use a reflector to bounce light from behind them onto their face.
Below are the reflectors that I use, but honestly you can just use a .50 cent poster board from the grocery store.
6. Shoot from Different Angles
So its golden hour, you have your subject pulled off of the background with the sun at their back and you are taking some amazing photographs.
Dont forget to MOVE AROUND! You don’t always have to move your subject around to get a different image. You can move too! And let’s be honest, Its typically a lot easier for you to move around than to move them around and have to readjust their pose each time.
One of the biggest things you will notice here is, even though your subject doesn’t move, the lighting will change as YOU move around.
7. Add something to the Foreground Photography Tips for Beginners
This is a little more of an advanced technique and doesn’t work with every scenery. But if the opportunity presents itself, adding something to the foreground of a picture can really elevate it.
This can be anything from a tree limb to a bush in front of a bench. I’ve even seen some photographers actually hold a fake flower in front of the lens to create a blurred effect.
Bonus Photography Tip for Beginners
Just have fun!!! If you or your subject are stressed, the camera will capture it and you won’t be happy with the images. Most of my clients are a little uncomfortable and nervous when they show up. My rule is that, I never correct them.
Even if what they are doing is completely wrong, I tell them how amazing they are doing. Before you know it they are relaxed and killing it. If I had kept correcting them, they would not have relaxed and it would show in all of their images.
So!!! Basically just relax and have fun!