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A Simple Guide for Starting Out In Photography

Updated on February 12, 2013

With so much reasonably priced equipment out there, it's no wonder that photography has become one of the most popular hobbies in the world. However the bevvy of choices and various photography techniques can sometimes be daunting. Where does one start? Here are some tips if you are starting out in photography:

1. Worry About Technique, Not About The Equipment

Many people starting out think they need the 'perfect' camera or lens to learn to take better photos. That's like saying that a person will ace their final exams if they had the 'perfect' pencil! When starting out, concentrate on what makes a good photo. In other words, how will you use the equipment to your advantage rather than thinking of how the equipment will help you.

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2. Don't Go Overboard With Buying Equipment

If you are just starting out, don't get too crazy thinking you'll need the latest or the highest model of something. Chances are you might not use all the features of that snazzy, full frame DSLR. Believe it or not you can produce some really stellar photos with a regular point and shoot camera. As you progress into your hobby you will more then likely think more about what you want to use in terms of equipment and upgrade if your current equipment has limitations in what you want to achieve in your photos.

Also, if you decide later on that photography isn't the hobby for you, you don't want to be stuck with a wackload of expensive equipment that you can't sell. That's hard earned money wasted sadly.

3. Be Best Friends With Your Camera

Learn all the features that your camera has to offer. Experiment with them. That's what the manual's for! Even point and shoot cameras may have some fancy features that you may not realize that you had. The more you know your camera, the more you can take advantage of those features to your photographic advantage.

4. Bring Your Camera Everywhere With You

As you get more into your hobby, you might find scenes and you'd think "darn, I wish I brought my camera with me!" You never know when inspiration strikes you or when a good photo opportunity will happen. The more you take your camera around, the more chances you'll take photos. The more you shoot, the more you can refine your technique and on your way to taking better photos.

5. Make Some Photography Buddies

It is always useful to have some friends or people you know that have the same interest. This also goes with photography. Having photo buddies can increase your chances in going out and shooting photos. They can also teach you some new techniques, help critique your photos so you can improve, and even show you new places to photograph. If they're extra nice, they may even let you borrow their equipment if you're not sure whether or not to spend money on new equipment.

6. Learn The Basics

There are loads of websites out there and it can get overwhelming. I'd recommend starting out reading some basic articles on composition and its basic rules. It might also be helpful to learn about some photography related vocabulary.

This youtube channel might be a good place to start.

7. Experiment!

Don't be afraid to:

  • Shoot the same subject at different angles
  • Edit photos to make them black and white, various colors, etc.
  • Shoot different types of subjects
  • Shoot different styles

You'll start to see the more you shoot photos your preferences and learn more along the way. You won't find out what you like if you don't even go out there and try, right?


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    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      thanks for stopping by docmo! I have friends who buy the fanciest equipment only to sell it months later. Let's just say they lost quite a bit of money.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      I've been dabbling in photography for some time and I fully agree with your simple and effective steps to approaching photography. As you say far too many people spend time and resources on the equipment while its the eye and the idea in the brain behind that lens matters most! Well done.

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      well Mhatter99, go and pick up that camera already!

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      wow careermommy, good luck to her!

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      haha hawaiianodysseus, I don't think I've ever had my writing compared to feng shui. You're the first!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. I haven't touched my camera for many moons. My last big job was for Easter Seal.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Nice tips Sarah. I will share this article with by babysitter who is trying to begin a career in photography.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hey, Sarah!

      We carry our minds everywhere--at least, that is the hope and desire!--and see a million and one potential hubs right there in front of us. The trouble is, we don't always carry our your advice to do just that is quite reasonable for aspiring hubbers. I like the nice balance and easy flow of your hubs. There's a Feng Shui thing going on with your writing, my friend! : )

    • sarahshuihan profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago from USA

      billybuc - I think carrying my camera everywhere is one of the most important things to remember when starting out. I'm glad you do!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips, Sarah! It took me a long time to start carrying my camera everywhere I went, but once I started it was amazing how many great shots were waiting for me.