Photography is one of the easiest and most immediately rewarding hobbies to take on. This beginner photography guide will help show you the basic steps to get started in this fascinating, life-long hobby.
The instant gratification of seeing your hard work come to life can be exhilarating. More than anything else, this hobby is about capturing moments. Anyone can draw a picture and with a little training even make it look good, but only a real artist can capture an essence, a mood, or a moment.
Similarly, photography is not just about showing people what things looked like but how they felt and the impression they made on you. Thus this hobby is about more than just taking a photo – it is about expressing how you see the world to others and yourself.
The History Of Photography
Aristotle was among those who described some of the first pinhole cameras hundreds of years before Christ. This primitive machine took centuries to improve but in the early 1800’s a French inventor created the first permanent photo etching. Nobel Laureate winning inventor, Gabriel Lippman, popularized color photography in the early 20th century.
Thanks to the digital age, amateur photographers can now set their focus on capturing those moments almost immediately with just a little help from a beginner photography guide, and without having to worry about shutter speed, aperture, lens exposure, and the dreaded dark room. Photography has become more about joy and color than the technicalities that used to plague would-be point and shooters.
Beginner Photography Guide – Getting Started
The beauty of photography is how simple it is to get started with it. You need a fairly decent camera with a good pixel count, an SD card to store your photos on, some batteries, and a good beginner photography guide. Training comes with practice and often the best way to get trained in this hobby is to learn a few basics and then go out and take a bunch of pictures. You’ll catch on quickly.
Getting started with photography can cost as little as a few hundred dollars or literally as much as you want to spend. A good quality camera with everything a beginner will need including a strap, carrying case, and extra batteries can even cost less than a hundred dollars if you are willing to wait around for a good deal. You may also find used equipment for sale but you should really know what you’re getting into before buying a used camera.
When buying your first camera, it’s usually best not to splurge on top of the line equipment. As your skill improves, you can upgrade your camera but it’s not necessary to start with spending a fortune. The amount of time it takes to get started is the amount of time it will take you to finish this beginner photography guide, decide on your camera, put the batteries in, and turn it on. You really can get started in this hobby pretty quickly.
Thanks to the digital simplification of the photography hobby, photography now uses very few terms that will not already be familiar to the average beginner. The flash provides light in a dark environment. The focus makes the important part of the image sharp and clear. The zoom can either pay attention to detail or allow for the bigger picture to be seen. Almost all of these settings can be automatically calculated by today’s digital camera or set to a specific value if you need to fine-tune the automatic settings.
Beginner Photography Guide Steps
Get a camera. Although you might be tempted to get an expensive camera with tons of features, cameras become obsolete quicker than they can be sold. Get a nice camera with a solid line of features, but cheaper is better to just get started. Assuming you will be choosing a digital camera, be sure to research your options, as everything from pixel count to zoom capacity makes a difference. If you will be going the film route, your options are much more limited, although still varied enough to require some research time. Purists aside, we strongly recommend buying a digital camera versus one that uses traditional film.
Learn about your camera. There is nothing worse than a shutterbug that doesn’t know how to use a camera. Take some time to learn about the features it has such as a zoom, f stop, aperture and more. Understanding those features will help you to be a better photographer. You don’t need to know all of this to get started – the important part is to start shooting pictures. But over time you become comfortable with the different settings and advanced features your camera provides.
Learn about photography techniques. There are easy to learn and easy to master photography techniques that can create fantastic photos. One common photography rule is the “rule of thirds”. Basically this rule means you should frame your images within an imaginary grid of nine squares (a 3×3 rectangle). This is an important rule to start with, as it will help you properly align your photographs for the best results. Once you have researched a few of the most common techniques, you are ready to take them out on the town and try out your new hobby. Most beginner photography guides will show you all of the basic techniques you need to master.
Look for opportunities to shoot. The more you shoot, the better you will be and the more you will understand. Whether you use film or a digital camera, the more photos you take, the better you will get. Be sure to shoot both indoors and outdoors, individuals and groups, and any other situation you possibly can. Working with different lighting types and in different times of the day will also enhance your skills and build up your shooting repertoire.
Get reviews from friends and family and look for feedback on how to improve your photos. The Internet has tons of resources for you, including websites that allow you to post photos for free. A Flickr account, for example, allows you to post photos for others to see. If you have a social networking page such as Facebook or MySpace, you could also post your photos there for your friends to comment on.
Growing With Your Photography Hobby
One of the most important things to remember when getting started with photography is to take your camera with you everywhere you go. Never leave it behind. The more photos you take, the quicker your skills will improve, and the more likely you’ll be to catch one of those beautiful, priceless moments that will make it all worth it.
As you grow beyond your beginner photography guide, here are a few ideas to help you expand your photo hobby…
- Go on photography trips. Many experienced photographers host photography trips that allow you to learn from the best.
- Support a photography group. There are tons of photography user groups that learn together and can provide tons of additional resources for you.
- Put your photography out there for the world to see. The more photos you take, the better you will get. The better you get the more likely it will be that you will inspire someone else to get into photography.
- Sell your photos on stock photo sites. While they do not pay much, it is still a way to get your hobby working to earn you some money.
Related Photography Resources
Check out the following online resources for more information about photography…
Flickr – a great and commonly used website for posting and reviewing photos for friends and family to see.
Chromasia – a great website with blogs about photo techniques. Visually stunning!
DPReview.com – a leading online resource about photography equipment and techniques related to photography.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.