A few days ago I asked my readers about their photography tips. It’s fantastic what knowledge and experience has come back.
I am incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to share their tips with me. Without you this article would not exist! Thank you!
I had asked the questions:
What are your best photography tips?
What would you advise a beginner to get better in photography quickly?
What helped you the most?
From the answers the following 36 photography tips were developed.
#1 – Practice
Going out and taking pictures
#2 – Camera mastery & image design
Learn to control the camera. If you can operate the camera while sleeping, you can learn more about the subject. And that brings us to the next tip. The basic rules of the picture organization learn example: Golden section, or third rule…
#3 – Bring along time & patience
Quickly better is such a thing, time and patience are definitely very important. What helped me in the first place was the following:
1.You should have seen the spot for a shot beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises.
2.The time, for this I use the app “Photo Pills” for the position of the sun at sunrise / sunset.
3.Observe weather, Weather Radar and Weather Pro are also apps that I use for this.
4.Reasonable graduated filters, if necessary ND1000 filters for LZB, tripod, remote trigger, manual focus.
#4 – Aperture, Time, Know ISO and photograph manually
You should first understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to quickly leave auto mode with the camera and shoot manually. I have attended a photography course for beginners, but most of the time I have worked myself through books and YouTube videos and tried to put what I learned into practice.
#5 – Passion
I think you should develop a passion for visual effects. The play of light and shadow, shapes, colours and lines. Enthusiasm for the visual experience of a scenery.
#6 – Exercise, Inspiration & Criticism
Practice, practice, practice. Do not stop. Go out with other people and get inspired. Asking for criticism of his works and then accepting it. Attend workshops.
#7 – Make & get to know camera
Tip 1: Do it!
Tip 2: Get to know the camera (my 365-day thing helped me back then. Even if I never finished it, I discovered functions and setting possibilities)
#8 – Learn to see
Learn to see! The camera is not so important from my point of view, basics like the effect of aperture and times are a must. Read a lot and on YouTube there are also many tips. But you have to see first.
#9 – Omit
I assume that ISO, aperture, shutter speed and other technical terms and their application have already been clarified. A sentence I once read has been following me ever since with every picture. “Don’t think about what you want to get on the picture, but think about what you can leave out.”
#10 – Use fixed focal length
Fixed focal length for beginners to deal with the “picture”.
#11 – Find your own line
I think that a passion for his camera is a real prerequisite! Then will, patience and time to try it out, to find your own line.
Even the most expensive equipment doesn’t make you a good photographer, but the view to the picture and the result counts.
#12 – Practice, know the technique and then take it off
1.Good musicians, writers, athletes, etc. practice several times a week, many even daily. As a photographer you shouldn’t expect to get better from taking pictures once a month.
2.Look at less focus diagrams on websites (or other photographers on Facebook/Instagram, or camera reviews on Youtube), go out more and actually take pictures (see point 1).
3.Learn technique and then understand that it is just brush and paint. Photography is not the technique, but what you do with it (the painting).
4.At some point for a longer time (6+ months) you only have to work with a camera and a fixed focal length and see what this does with your own pictures / your own gaze.
5.At some point work on a theme for a longer period of time (6+ months).
6.In the end understand that there is no right and no wrong and start looking for your own way.
#13 – Book a course
It’s hard to teach yourself. That’s why booking a course at the VHS or workshops. Hardly any questions should remain unanswered.
#14 – Read the camera’s owner’s manual
To be honest, the first thing I did was to read the complete instruction manual of the camera as bedtime reading and then try out the technical things with experiments. How e.g. aperture and shutter speed affect the picture. I put 3 objects (e.g. glasses) in different distances to me on the table and always focused one and then played around.
#15 – Participate in Fotowalks
I met with several photographers for photo walks and learned a lot from them… Prerequisite… You know what the buttons on the camera are for…
#16 – Establish communication
What I can’t see, I can’t photograph… Photography is a very personal thing, I have to learn to communicate with my eyes – they are the ones who perceive something and I have to learn to understand what captivates them… Then, with the help of the technique given to me, I can reflect my personal perception of the world with the help of a photo…
#17 – Learn to see
As Peter and Günther have already written, learning to see… perspectively and two-dimensionally… being able to omit seeing… and knowing the rules of design (golden ratio, rule of thirds, etc.)… going to the museum and looking at the paintings of the old masters and photos of famous photographers… then also knowing what you want to photograph… portraits, landscapes or whatever and then concentrating on it… camera comes next… camera should be mastered…
#18 – Practice with a specific goal
Practice! And have above all a goal, what exactly one would like to improve… what I have practiced or what I am practicing at the moment: Setting focus exactly e.g., being able to read histograms, speed and accuracy when operating the camera – but also, no matter what you take, getting a good and interesting image composition (there’s a very good tip to leave it out ) – above all, even if you don’t have a camera with you, packing everything you see into an imaginary photo…
#19 – Join a photo club
Join a photo club and learn from and with like-minded people! Once you’ve mastered aperture and shutter speed, you can still specialize and take courses. Also keep looking back at your older photos and watch your progress and see for yourself what mistakes you’ve made in the past and learn from them.
#20 – Walking step by step
Is it about technology, ISO, aperture, white balance and the many other settings or geht´s um´s Photographing? The basis of photography is the subject, the perspective, the message of an image. It doesn’t matter which technique or camera is used. So simply photograph, no matter what and have fun with it. And when the day comes when you want more than just photos, when you want to create special lighting moods, when you want to work with different focus areas, etc., then you get to grips with the technology, work step by step towards the desired results and learn an incredible amount in the process.
#21 – Photo TV
What helped me the most was photo TV and your tips!
#22 – Getting to know the camera
The most important tip for me is that you get to know your camera first. This means that you know its functions and the meaning of the individual control buttons inside out, because then you can concentrate on the photography and the subject, because every movement is done. Then comes the interplay of aperture, ISO and shutter speed.
#23 – Photo club
The membership in a photo club helped me enormously in the early years. Weekly meetings, pictures had to be put on the table, there was discussion, praise, tearing,…
The worst part, however, was not having your own pictures with you.
1.This leads me to tip no.1: Take a picture, take a picture, take a picture. You only learn from the object. You have to force yourself to work a lot and regularly. At least that’s no longer a cost issue for digital photography today. My advice: A small photo project – one picture a day, for a month. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. Last year, by the way, I also needed three attempts to do that.
2.This leads to tip no. 2: A great single picture is something beautiful, no question. The enhancement is and remains a thematic photographic work. The theme doesn’t matter. “My cat”, “My city”, “Cars of the 60s”. Such a theme forces us to take pictures (see tip 1) and to deal with the theme and its feasibility in the medium of photography.
3.Tip No.3 is for advanced users. SW photography is still the biggest challenge for me when it comes to image design. A good color image might live from a color blob, with SW only good image design helps.
Finally a product tip: “Bigger Picture Photo Learning Cards”. Also available as Junior Edition. I just bought it to my son (13 years old). Simply explained basics and then task cards. Combines Tip 1 and 2.
#24 – Set image section later
There are many well known tips like “The best zoom lens is your feet”, etc. Something in contrast to “as close as possible” is my tip:
I found the most helpful tip to leave enough “meat” all around when selecting the image section in order to be able to select the optimal section later during editing.
Also the image format can be changed (within limits) (4:3, 3:2, 16:9). Of course, this requires a decent resolution (20MP).
#25 – Take photo workshops
I have after forty years of experience in underwater photography about 2 years ago – with the beginning of my (in)retirement – to extend my underwater photography activities to the “above water” area, after all, you can not always be under water and certainly not in the tropical seas, my favorite travel destinations so far.
My approach over the past two years has been influenced as follows:
1.Selecting and identifying for me interesting areas (with me: architecture / landscapes / ..paired with a little street photography … (e.g. also Venice in carnival ….))
2.Finding and identifying suitable photo workshop partners with preferably direct on-site experience, e.g. through workshop trips in Germany or worldwide, e.g. Southwest USA
3.Book and participate…
4.The organizer and the other participants attach great importance to the daily critique of their own pictures by the organizer and the other participants …
Conclusion from the last two years: Continuous and extensive improvement of one’s own level of experience, approaching third parties to provide certain recordings for exhibition and/or presentation purposes.
#26 – Finding your own focus
Search for focal points or work out/find them for yourself: Macro, landscape, street etc. and become aware of why I like something – or not.
Building on this knowledge, “play”, i.e. use frog and bird’s eye views, filter use, black-and-white, image editing, etc.
Read and learn the basics of color theory (complementary colors etc.). Why do some color combinations work better than others?
Look for suggestions to motives, composition, picture construction etc. in the Internet and books. How did other photographers “construct” their image and how did they reproduce it (keywords light, dark, lines and structures)? Don’t be afraid of your “own copy”.
A photo is good if I would hang it on the wall at home. If not DELETE to avoid file corpses. Exception: personal memories associated with the picture.
Going on a photo tour with a concept/destination: Using only a fixed focal length or a certain color (e.g. red) is mandatory for the motif.
#27 – Getting everything out of your own equipment
1.Do not buy too many accessories at the beginning (lenses etc.). You get overwhelmed quickly and should get everything out of the equipment you have.
2.Look for like-minded people. The advantage, one can always exchange oneself. Everyone brings different ideas and shows you new perspectives.
3.Out of the automatic and into the manual mode. You get to know the camera much better and can adjust the settings according to your taste.
4.Look at pictures from other photographers and discover new ideas when you’re in a creative hole.
5.The most important thing: Go out, just go for it and don’t worry too much about everything. In the end the fun should be in the foreground.
#28 – Accompany photo workshops & friends
The most and fastest way to learn is to attend one or the other workshop of a photographer whose pictures are the most appealing in terms of expression and technique. Of course, it is even cheaper if you know a friend who has been photographing for a long time and accompany him as often as possible on his tours, asking for tips directly on the spot and about the respective situation. Maybe photograph the display with the attitude of the friend and the resulting picture.
#29 – Try out the direction
Everybody should try out what suits him (portrait, landscape etc.) but not only once but with many exercises. One develops such a feeling for it. The person should definitely register for a workshop that teaches the Basic. Many don’t even know which wheel to turn. Or how the lenses behave, etc. Practice, Practice, Practice, Possibly join a photo club, which will give the new one a helping hand and not make the pictures verbal.
#30 – Book tip & Technique
Book Tip: I can recommend Joe McNally’s Basics of Photography: Taking Photographs in Style. The book is only available second-hand, but it’s worth buying, especially since McNally is one of the world’s best photographers and can also tell exciting stories.
I advise a beginner to familiarize himself thoroughly with his camera, no matter what kind of apparatus he has. The more someone knows about his camera, the more he can get out of it. And if he knows how to handle it, it’s easier to concentrate on the subject on holiday or generally on the road. That sounds like a truism, but it’s not at all.
Those who seriously want to do photography as a hobby should take pictures in RAW and with a tripod in order to improve the image quality.
Another concrete tip: If you don’t have a tripod with you, you can often use the self-timer and a bean bag/punch cushion for long exposures (e.g. in churches). Support the camera, set the self-timer – that’s all.
#31 – YouTube Tutorials, Books & Tripod
With me it was in such a way that I was active approx. 12 years in the photography, without taking really beautiful pictures. My pictures were always pale and relatively blurred.
I have always been fascinated by the sharpness and brilliance of professional photographers’ photos. The following points have helped me the most to become a little better:
1) First, I took a photo editing course in Lightroom. Then I took pictures in RAW and could really get sharpness and brilliance out of the pictures.
2) Then I watched many YouTube tutorials. On the one hand I did some image editing in Lightroom and on the other hand I talked about landscape photography in general.
With the two points mentioned above I already noticed how the pictures became better and attracted more attention on Facebook.
3) Added some books about photography, which I have read, and
4) The purchase of a tripod!!!
In the beginning the tripod was a bit annoying, especially because you immediately noticed when you dragged a tripod around. But I got used to it and couldn’t imagine taking pictures without a tripod in the landscape. From then on I could really get more out of the pictures.
Little by little the understanding of the camera and filter technology came more and more. In the course of time also the photographic view strengthened and I found great spots or ideas for pictures while going for a walk, jogging or driving a car.
You never stop learning. So I still work on my creativity and try to improve my equipment (as far as the financial budget allows).
As a beginner you often want to get EVERYTHING on one photo. I would advise a beginner to pick out certain details from nature and to go out only with a fixed focal length. This forces you to look for details, find another position or just think more creatively.
#32 – Blogs & Books
Especially for beginners it is first of all of importance to find out what kind of photography suits you the most, it is landscape, architecture, portrait, sports etc..
At all weddings dancing becomes difficult and the equipment would be huge and very expensive.
Above all, it is important to be well informed. Good books and of course especially the internet is full of information… Especially on the internet the choice is huge. On the one hand this is very good, on the other hand it is not always easy for a beginner to separate the wheat from the chaff.
When purchasing the equipment, one should proceed carefully and check whether one really needs the things. I have often got the impression that there are two types of photographers, one collecting cameras and lenses, the other photographing.
What helped me most were the blogs on the Internet, which are important to me, and good books.
and then, of course, practice, practice, practice!
#33 – Planning & thinking
The best tips are as always
trial and error
take one’s time
work with only one lens for a change
learn from mispurchases
and think about what you are: hobby photographer or professional
The article “21 Ways…” has a deeper meaning.
Doesn’t “only” apply to photography.
(This is a great all-rounder!)
#34 – Take time
Always have enough time to take pictures, if you want to do something fast you certainly won’t succeed.
Attend basic courses, read a lot, there are tons of very good photography – books, but also YouTube is a medium, which is not to be excluded today any more.
Learning by Doing, reading something and then trying it out for yourself. Read the operating instructions for newly purchased cameras thoroughly.
#35 – Questioning
Try to understand the way the camera works and look at the photos only as a suggestion of the camera to represent a particular situation. Then look for aspects you like and aspects you don’t like. Think about how you can change the camera settings (aperture, exposure time, ISO) and your perspective to improve the result. Work on each subject until you are satisfied and understand why the camera “sees” things differently than you do. Look at many photos of other photographers and learn from the good and bad photos. Why do photos look good, why others look less? Which design elements appeal to you, which don’t? Find a role model whose photographic style you like. Try to recreate these photos or at least take similar photos. Take the things that are good and add your own style. Do an individual coaching with an experienced photographer whose way of photographing you like. Don’t give up and practice a lot. Look at your good photos as long as your bad ones. You can only learn from both.
Don’t always buy new equipment, use what you have. It’s not up to the camera or your lenses if you take pictures that neither you nor others really like. Only buy new stuff when you really need it and your existing equipment can’t get you any further. Buy a good used lens instead of a new camera. Stop dragging the camera with you, use it! Take your time for your motives. A yield of 10 good photos from 100 releases is great! Don’t take everything you see. Search for things that really interest you and photograph them. Take your time and don’t be satisfied with the first photo. Get busy editing your photos, but don’t make a science out of it! – Stop taking pictures and start (consciously) taking pictures!
Every year I undertake a new project and try to implement it in the best possible way. My first project was macro photos. After that I worked with long exposures, then with motion blur. Then I collected all my existing knowledge about photography in an eBook and published it – and it sells until today. Finally I wanted to make portraits, first took part in a portrait workshop and then rented a model and a photo studio. – Then I knew that I could take photos that not only appealed to me.
#36 – Ask the Internet
When I started taking pictures, I just went out into nature. There I experimented with shutter speeds and apertures, and with experimentation I understood how photography works.
When I couldn’t get any further with my technique, the internet was a big help.
So I searched for photographers who passed on tips and techniques, so I ended up on your site.
Here are some tips from me:
Not be intimidated by the camera technique – getting to know the technique comes during taking pictures
out into nature and take pictures – that’s how you get to know your camera
a polarizing filter is highly recommended for landscape photography
Tripod and remote release have upgraded my photos
Patience when photographing – the light conditions can change in a few minutes, e.g. when the sun suddenly shines through clouds and nature is enveloped in warm light
accept that 90 percent of your images are for the Recycle Bin
a good monitor for the subsequent photo processing
a good image editing program
Friends, family members and colleagues ask what they don’t like about my pictures – wrong praise (even if it’s well meant) won’t get you anywhere
Summary & book tips
While reading these photography tips you will find some points again and again:
Do not lose in technology
Learn image design
Take photo workshops and courses
Watch YouTube Tutorials
Bringing in your own ideas and thoughts
Visit local photo meetings
Planning before photographing
Using a tripod
Many of these topics remind me of the 21 ways to improve your own photography articles. I have learned a lot from these sources. With my tutorials I help you to expand your photography.
Finally, I would like to recommend three books, which are very interesting in this context.
Image composition is one of the topics that can improve your own photography incredibly. This book by Michael Freeman helped me a lot.
Then I notice again and again that in my photography I do what I can already do and what works for me. But that also means that I move more often in somewhat stuck paths. This book has helped me to try something new from time to time.
A book that I recently read, but which made me think a lot, was “Bruce Barnbaum’s “The Art of Photography”. It’s about bringing one’s own thoughts into photography, using photography as a means of communication and finding one’s own style. Great cinema! So big that I will soon be writing my own book review here in the blog!