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The Ultimate Guide to Photography: Tips and tricks for beginners

When it comes to documenting the world around you, nothing beats the power of photography. A good photo can capture a moment with such poignancy that it feels like it will last forever. A great photo, however, requires an understanding of both technical and artistic factors. This article will help you learn how to take better pictures with your camera or phone as well as tips on composition and lighting for photos that are sure to wow anyone who sees them. Improve your skills by learning new tips and tricks from the pros. Get inspired to take new approaches to your next photo shoot. Expand your knowledge of photography with these helpful tips and tricks.

Image Source: Unsplash

Use the rule of thirds for better photos

While many rules of photography have been debunked, the rule of thirds is still as relevant as ever. This rule states that you should divide your frame into nine equal parts with two vertical and two horizontal lines. These lines should act as guides for your composition, helping you to frame your subject in a way that’s visually appealing. When applied, the rule of thirds can transform a mundane photograph into a work of art. This rule is ideal for landscape and architectural photography, as well as portraiture. To apply the rule of thirds to your photos, first, frame your scene using the viewfinder or screen on your camera. Next, imagine your frame divided into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. Zoom in and out until your subject is positioned along one of the lines on either the left, right or centre of the frame.


Utilize lighting properly

Lighting is an essential part of photography. It can make the difference between a stunning photograph and one that looks uninspired, boring, or downright bad. Fortunately, though, lighting doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few simple things you can do to ensure your photos look great. You may have heard the term “fill light” before. Fill light is a light source that’s placed on the subject with the goal of illuminating shadows. This type of light is ideal for outdoor scenes, as it ensures that parts of your model aren’t hidden behind dark shadows. Another term you may have heard is “back light.” Back light (or kick light) is a light source that’s behind your subject, casting a glow on their body. When photographing indoor scenes, this type of light makes for a dramatic effect, visually separating your subject form the background.


Learn to Use Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the length of time the shutter is open when taking a photograph. The longer the shutter is open, the more light that’s let into the camera, resulting in a brighter image. While shutter speed is definitely important, it’s often overlooked as a photographer’s tool. When taking pictures, you should try to keep your shutter speed as fast as possible to avoid unnecessary blur. If you’re taking pictures of moving subjects, you should keep your shutter speed above 1/60 of a second. When photographing landscapes, you can get away with slower shutter speeds, as little movement is likely to occur. If you’re photographing a cityscape, for example, a shutter speed of 1/15 or 1/30 is ideal. If you struggle with blurry photos your shutter speed may be to blame.


Know When to Use Aperture

Aperture is the size of the opening inside the camera lens. This opening can be manually or automatically adjusted to control the amount of light that enters the camera. Aperture is often used in conjunction with shutter speed to control the brightness and sharpness of the image. Aperture is measured in f-stops, with a lower f-stop resulting in a larger aperture opening. A large aperture like f/2 allows more light to enter the camera, which results in a brighter image but will also have a smaller focal point. This can also be used to adjust your focus to just one area, blurring the background and achieving that classic bokeh light behind the subject. A smaller aperture opening like f/8 allows less light to enter the camera, resulting in a darker image, this can also be used to adjust your focal point to include multiple subjects, sharpening the background and achieving a fully in focus image. Aperture is most commonly used when photographing people or animals. If you’re photographing a friend at night, for example, you’ll want to use a small aperture like f/16 or f/22 to allow as much light as possible into your camera.


Utilize Brightness Zones

Brightness zones are nothing more than the various brightness levels in a photograph. The brightness of a certain area can be adjusted using your settings or editing software. When adjusting brightness levels, keep in mind that you shouldn’t go overboard. If a certain area is too bright, it will loose detail and not be recoverable in editing. If it is too dark, you may retain detail but increasing the light to a visible point will create "noise" giving your image a grainy and blurry look. Once you’ve mastered adjusting brightness levels, you’ll be able to fix an array of issues in your photos, including reducing glare, increasing saturation, and balancing shadows and highlights.


Change your point of view

If you’re struggling to find new ways to approach your photography, simply change your point of view. Instead of standing directly in front of your subject, try to find a fresh perspective, whether it be from above, below, to the side, or from behind things in the foreground. This can be achieved by standing on items like chairs, tables, ladders, or anything else you can find or crouching below items around your subject. Once you’ve found your new perspective, be sure to move around, you'll know when you've found the perfect view!


Summing up

Photography is an art form that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. It is simply about finding the beauty in everyday life and sharing it with others. That being said, photography is still an incredibly complex art form. There are so many factors to consider when taking the perfect photograph, from aperture to shutter speed and with new tech constantly emerging, photographers never stop learning and being students of the art. If you are just starting out on your photography career you are in the right place and hopefully some of these tips help you know what areas to study in your new journey as a lifelong student of photography!

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