Welcome to the wonderfully addictive world of photography. We have a great community. As the title says, these tips are meant for those beginning photography. I hope you find them useful.
1. Basic Equipment – There is no need to spend thousands of dollars when you just begin exploring photography. There is some basic equipment that every photographer should have though.
A Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera is a must in order to go beyond the everyday point and shoot. SLRs give complete control over the aperture (iris opening in the lens), and shutter speeds. Together the aperture and shutter control the exposure of the shot.
The basic lenses are the standard, telephoto, and wide angle lenses. If you are just learning how to use an SLR then the standard lens that probably came with it is fine for learning all of the controls. I recommend eventually getting one of each of these lenses.
Whenever possible, use a tripod. The slightest movement of the camera can cause blur. The tripod will help keep this from happening.
2. Choose a Subject – When people look at photographs they should not have to guess what the subject is. Make it prominent in the picture. There should also not be too many things drawing the viewer’s eyes away from the subject.
3. Composition – The easiest composition rule of thumb to use that gives the best results is the Rule of Thirds. This rule boasts the idea that just the right amount of stress in a photograph creates more interest.
This rule is followed by dividing the viewfinder into 9 equal parts with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines (a tic-tac-toe board). The points of interest should be located where the lines intersect.
Horizontal and vertical lines in the scene (the horizon or side of a building) should be placed on a corresponding line in the virtual viewfinder grid (tic-tac-toe board).
4. Portraits – Remember, the subjects in portraits are the people not the scenery. Get in close for the head and shoulder shots. Use the viewfinder to crop out any distractions that may be near the subject.
If there are still distractions in the background, narrow the depth of field to blur it out. A narrow depth of field will cause the foreground and background to be blurred while keeping the subject in focus.
5. Landscapes – Here the subject is the scenery. Use a deep depth of field to keep as much of the landscape in focus as possible. Most photographers use a wide angle lens to increase perspective (the lens’s field of view).
Always use a tripod with landscapes. A deep depth of field required a small aperture opening. This usually required that the shutter be open longer than usual. The slightest jostle of the camera while the shutter is open will cause blur. As states before, a tripod greatly decreases the chances of this happening.
6. Wildlife – Practice at the local zoo. You will be able to get some great shots of exotic animals without having to worry about becoming prey.
For the larger predators, ask the zoo keeper when the feeding times are. This is when you will get your best action shots. With that in mind, be ready to use shutter speeds of 1/400 or less.