12 photography tips for DSLR beginners

- December 7, 2016



A dozen photography tips for DSLR beginners or those getting serious about photography. Advice covers equipments, lenses, aperture, f-stops, ISO, shutter speed and organising an archive.
Video transcript:

Hi, this is Tom Greenwood from sydneyportraits.com.au and Greenwood Photos. Now in this clip I’m going to provide 12 tips for anyone who is really starting get serious about photography. Now, they’re quite general and also quite subjective, but without further ado, let’s get stuck in.

1. It’s not all about gear. Equipment is important but don’t become obsessed with it. Great photos have been achieved even with cheap plastic cameras. These are some of my favourite shots from my early days. It took them all with a $200 zoom lens.

2. It is all about light. Photography is really all about light and it’s worth taking time to understand how light works. It’s not actually that complicated and it will stand you in such good stead as you developed a photographer.

3. Learn your f-stops, ISO and shutter speed. F-stops, ISO and shutter speed are, if you like, the holy trinity of photography. It’s a bit like learning your times tables. This basic knowledge will set you apart from the vast majority of other photographers. Believe me, great things will follow!

4. Big is not best. Many photographers starting out – I have to say particularly young males ones – can’t wait to get their hands on the biggest camera and biggest lenses available. Big does not mean best. This is my 70-300mm lens – it’s a fair sized, chunky thing – and it’s a lovely lens but to be honest I’m probably happier using my 50mm lens, which is nice and small, nice and compact, and the images I get from this are probably every bit as satisfying as from this.

5. Get a prime lens. Now it’s really worth getting at least one fixed or prime lens. In this case I’ll go back to my 50mm lens. This one’s a bit more expensive but you can get a perfectly good 50mm lens for about $100. So what do you gain from a prime lens? A prime lens tends to have a wide aperture – maybe f2, f1.8 – and that gives you that beautiful shallow depth of focus, lovely blurry background – very nice. You also get a sharpness and image quality that it’s difficult to get with a zoom lens. It can be a bit subtle but as you develop as a photographer you’ll really be able to see the difference.

6. Use the aperture sweet spot. If your lens isn’t that great – perhaps it’s a cheap zoom lens – try using it between f8 and f11 eight. That’s really the sweet spot in terms of sharpness. Now without going into lens optics f8 to f11 is sort of the mid range of the aperture and it gives you really sharp shots. So if your lens is a bit soft go for the f8 to f11 zone.

7. Get close. Most of the images I love, particularly of people, were shot close to the subject. If the photographer is close the viewer feels close too.

8. Don’t let your zoom replace your legs. Your decision on what focal length to use should depend on what’s best for the shot. So don’t zoom in if you can get a better shot by just moving closer.

9. Get dirty. Now, be prepared to do physically what ever it takes to get the shot you want. It might mean crawling around on the floor, it might mean climbing a tree – whatever. For this shot I was neck deep in muddy. It was the only way to get the image I wanted and was also really fun.

10. Organise your archive. When I was starting out as a photographer, I was very impatient. All I wanted to do was go out and shoot, so I would come home and just dump the photos willy-nilly on my computer. Of course later, when I came back and want to find a certain image, it was a complete nightmare. My photos were a mess — all over the place. It is really important to have a safe place to put your photos, to organise them properly and then to back them up. If you’d like more on this please click here from my video on organising your images.

11. Use batch editing software. When you’re coming back to edit your photos, use batch editing software such as Lightroom or Aperture. It’s is really worth taking a few hours to properly learn the software before you leap in and I guarantee it will save you days or weeks of time in the future. When it comes to Photoshop use it for that really really special image — don’t use it for a whole bunch of images.

12. Be hard on yourself. By all means appreciate the great things about your shots but it is more important to develop a critical eye and to work out what could have been done better and how you can improve next time. To state and the obvious: learn by your mistakes.

So, those are my 12 photo tips. http://pa-z.us/dslr-video-guide

Comments (115)

  • Hi! I am loving your videos! I’m binge watching them right now, I am a beginner in the dSLR world and this is helping me so much! I recently bought a prime 35mm 1.8 Nikkor and the image quality in great, so sharp and good to learn how to use manual! What do you think of this lens? Do you have it? If yes can you make a video about it? It would be really helpful!!

    Photopassion - 2 weeks ago

  • I love this Channel

    Nur Aini - 1 month ago

  • Thank you this video is very useful for me. Thanks for sharing it with others and keep doing what you are doing.

    Tina Purvis - 1 month ago

  • A very helpful video. You hear one or two of those tips every now and then but no one really explains them. You really helped a lot.

    ExDe - 1 month ago

  • My Canon 70-200 mm f2.8 IS II is tack sharp from 2.8 and as sharp as my Sigma 35 mm f1.4 art, so the advice about zoomlenses vs prime lenses and the sweet spot isn't 100 exact

    johan bauwens - 2 months ago

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