Photography Tips for Beginners

by Matic Broz

Photography isn’t a skill you learn overnight. It takes a lot of practice to master. They say that to master a skill you need to invest at least 10,000 hours into it, and photography is no different. To become somewhat decent at photography you should tackle it from every possible angle such as reading this of the photography tips for beginners.

I’ve compiled a list of the best 10 photography tips below because these are the ways that helped me learn photography, as well as thousands of professional photographers worldwide! If you find these best 10 photography tips for beginners helpful, you could share the list with your colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

If you like these photography tips for beginners, you can also subscribe to my newsletter (for FREE) to gain access Members’ Area, where you’ll receive my Step-by-step guided tutorial and discounts exclusive to Otterreviews.

1. Read a book

photography tips for beginners book

Reading a book is number one on my list of photography tips for beginners for a reason. It is the most undervalued way of learning, especially if you consider, how handy they are, and how easy and fun they make the learning process.

Photography books are an amazing and way too often an underestimated approach to learning about photography. No matter if you’re reading an e-book or own a physical copy, you can (and should) take the book with you when you go shooting.

You might not expect it to happen to you, but the following happens way too often, especially to a beginner:

You arrive at your destination, find the composition, set up the tripod, mount the camera, the light is perfect, but is rapidly changing. You’re nervous because it’s all happening so fast and there are too many settings; aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, focus – you choke and forget what they do. You come home and realize that, for example, the aperture was too wide and you’re left with a very shallow depth of field, or the shutter was too slow and the photo isn’t sharp.

You might think that this won’t happen to you. But believe me – it has, it does, and it will happen to a beginner. Take the book with you if you’re just learning the basics.

Here are two books I recommend for a beginner:

2. YouTube

photography tips for beginners youtube

You can find a lot of great photographers on YouTube. These are world-class photographers who make money taking photos – so who better to learn from than them? Keep in mind that these people spent years, if not decades, perfecting their photography prowess.

I decided to include 3 favourite photographers of mine on this list of the best photography tips from beginners from whom I learnt the most,

Mark Denney

photography tips for beginners Mark Denney

Mark Denney is my all-time favourite content creator. Since he left his corporate job of 18-years to become a full-time photographer, he’s has uploaded well over 100 detailed video tutorials on YouTube.

His videos are to the point tutorials, which cover both basic and advanced techniques that every (landscape) photographer should at least understand and know of.

His fast-growing channel can be an inspiration to anyone caught in the same routine that he once was.

YouTube | Website | Instagram | Facebook 

Thomas Heaton

photography tips for beginners Thomas Heaton

Thomas Heaton started with photography when he was 16. His love for the outsides and capturing “that feeling” you can sense only when in nature.

On his YouTube channel, he takes you with him on his shoots and travels, giving you an insight into a photographer’s day.

His channel is exceptionally diverse and contains everything photography related, from A to Z.

YouTube | Website | Instagram

Henry Turner

photography tips for beginners Henry Turner

Henry Turner is a landscape photographer from the north-west part of England. At the age of 21, he travelled through Europe, followed by Canada and New Zealand – ever since Henry fell in love with landscapes. 

He runs a successful YouTube channel, where he uploads videos from his shoots. He explains his compositions and camera settings in a very clear manner with a super-calm and soothing voice

YouTube | Website | Instagram

3. No need to buy expensive gear

photography tips for beginners camera gear

When you’re just starting out with your photography journey, you DO NOT need pro-tier gear. Obviously better gear means better results, but the beginner needs to learn about basics first.

A beginner with top tier gear is not guaranteed to succeed, whilst a professional with a cheap camera will still take great photos.

Actually, it is even better to start with a simpler camera and learn the basics, and progress over-time, than to buy a piece of equipment that you won’t know how to use.

Here are some of my suggestions for beginners:

Although I do not recommend it, you can take good photos with every half-decent smartphone. If your aim is landscape photography, a smartphone camera isn’t really an option, however, you can make it work for portrait or street/city photography.

The smartphone will adjust camera settings for you (unless you’ll be using “Pro” mode) and you can focus more on the composition, which is usually the most difficult aspect of photography to master.

If you’re not willing to buy a camera, these are the smartphones with great cameras I tested and recommend.

However, remember that these are the photography tips for beginners – photographer should have a camera, and not just a smartphone.

4. Buy a tripod

photography tips for beginners tripod

This is list of photography tips for beginners wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention tripods. Tripod is an essential tool for almost every photographer who wants razor-sharp photos. The only exclusions might be portrait and sports photography, where you need freedom of movement.

Tripods are a must for any kind of long-exposure photography, such as waterfalls, night sky, traffic lights, or if you’re trying to focus stack or make an HDR image.

As someone who has tried several tripods, I highly recommend using a tripod with a tilt-head. You can find some links for the tripods (I use the first one – Slik Pro 700 DX – and it is fantastic) down bellow:

5. Explore your local area

photography tips for beginners local area

Although your local area might not be as interesting as the Faroe Islands or New Zealand, you can still take amazing photos 10 minutes from home.

There are a lot of lessons to be learnt.

  • It is a lot easier and cheaper to reach,
  • You can train and hone your skills when you’re at home. Even if you’re in the most beautiful place in the world, your shots still wouldn’t be any good if you’re not good at photography. Just go out and have fun with it,
  • If you’re not satisfied with your photo, you can always go back and optimize/perfect the composition,
  • You’re taking photos in a very uncompetitive area, and locals will be more likely to buy your photos.
  • Just explore your area and have fun with it. Even after several years, you might find new scenery

6. Learn the basics

photography tips for beginners learn the basics

Photography is art. Your success with it is also dependent on your artistic and creative capabilities. This, however, doesn’t mean that an artistic person will take great photos right from the beginning, or that an un-creative person cannot take a good photo.
You need to learn the basics first. This list should be a good starting point:

  • Composition
  • Light
  • Shutter speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO

Here you can apply the very first 1 tips on my list of photography tips for beginners.

I recommend Scott Kelby’s The Landscape Photography Book. His book The Digital Photography Book was my first photography book and the one I learnt the most theory from. His writing style is to the point and seasoned with some humour.

7. Experiment with your camera settings

photography tips for beginners camera settings

Your camera is probably much more powerful and flexible than you realize. It is time that you pick up the manual, that you probably forgot all about and dive into details. Try to understand every symbol and what it does, and how you can use it to improve your photography.

Also, every camera is different. It takes some time getting used to it and after you do, not only will you be much quicker on the terrain (being able to choose the optimal settings within seconds is key sometimes), you will also understand know your camera’s shortcomings.

You will be surprised by how much potential your camera has. It’s waiting for you to unlock it.

8. Arrive early

photography tips for beginners sunrise

This tip is the most important for landscape photography. If you’re planning to shoot sunrise (i.e Golden hour), try arriving at your destination AT LEAST half an hour early. It takes some time to find a composition. You don’t want to rush it. After all, this is your hobby. Take your time. Enjoy nature and its beauties.

The light around sunrise and sunset changes extremely fast, so be sure to have your composition and camera setting locked and loaded for when it starts.

If you want to learn in detail how I do it, check Creating the Perfect Photo, Episode #2.

9. Edit your photos

photography tips for beginners editing photos

Contrary to a popular (especially laic) belief, post-processing photos is a must if you want realistic looking photos. You should always shoot in raw and then edit the photos. This way you will get the most out of your camera.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with photo editing. You can always revert any edits you have applied. Keep trying new things and discover your style. 

There are a lot of decent free photo-editors available, such as Photopea. However, if you’re aiming for something a little bit more professional, and – let’s be honest- better, you should check my comparison guide between Luminar 4 and Lightroom, both are amazing tools to edit and improve your photos.

For a total beginner, I recommend Luminar 4, because it is easier to use and has more creative options. To learn even more about it, read my extensive Luminar 4 review.

10. Shoot, shoot, and shoot

photography tips for beginners shoot shoot shoot

The last on the list photography tips for beginners is a very easy one if you really like photography. You need to practice as much as you can.

Everybody knows that practice makes perfect, and this also applies to photography. Every professional photographers was a beginner once. It took years for most to acquire the skills needed to take outstanding photos.

Try to go shooting as often as possible. It doesn’t even matter if the light is perfect. Don’t limit yourself with sunrises and sunsets. A lot of great pictures are taken in the middle of the day. 

And even if you think that you need a sunset light, you can achieve it with post-production, as described here.

Bonus Photography Tip: Skillshare

best cameras for beginners

Skillshare is an online learning and education platform, that offers lessons in virtually every field – and photography is no exception. It also has a very straightforward and user-friendly interface, that is very easy to use. 

It is very easy to use, has an abundance of content, and is reasonably priced.

What is more? You can try it for free

Are you ready to start improving your photography skills faster than anyone else? Would you like to do it for free?

Conclusion | Photography tips for beginners

Photography takes time to master. Try not to rush it and don’t expect to get good overnight. 

Always save photos you take, so you can come back later in your learning process and admire the progress you’ve made. I don’t notice any significant improvement to my photos on a daily bases, but looking back all I can do is giggle at photos I took and thought were good.

To end this list of photography tips for beginners I’d like to leave you with one thought:

“Don’t give up if you don’t see the progress immediately, it will come to you over time”.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Amazon Associate program and Skylum affiliate program I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases made using links in this post of the best photography tips for beginners.

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and are based on my experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. This post may contain affiliate links.

Leave a Comment