So you have a new camera? And you know how to turn it on and off, and if it is in auto mode you push the button and you get a photo? But you have no idea what you are doing?
Whether you are just trying to capture some candids of your family or life, or whether you have always loved pressing that shutter button and just want to learn more, check out these first few stops to get you started.
Even if you just start with the first chapter that talks about the 3 pillars of
photography: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter, you will need to understand what makes a photograph and how you choose what to do with each of these. Even if you are planning to use your camera in “AUTO” mode for the first year, you will need to understand what the mode is looking for and what will yield a better photograph. Spoiler alert: It’s always LIGHT.
I cannot stress this enough. First, it will tell you exactly what each button is and what it does, but it’s also very helpful so you know how to change/work things. I remember I accidentally bumped my aperture ring on my lens and my camera read an FEE error message. Had I not had my manual with me (or in todays age, google would work fine too), I would have had to put my camera away and call it quits.
You will learn a lot by shooting often. Shoot in different places. Shooting in different light. Shooting at different angles. When you get an awesome photograph, stop and think about what made it so awesome! What did you like about it? What can you do to recreate it? Was it the light, the distance away from the subject, or the distance the subject was away from any background elements?
There are several websites that house message boards. They offer Q&A opportunities, challenges, friendship, and mentorship. Most have blogs that have great tips and insightful articles. Most of them offer sales on memberships throughout the year so keep a look out if you’re hesitant to try it out. I’m most active at In Beauty and Chaos.
There are several ways to dip your toes into a photography class. You can search out community colleges, other photographers, or groups in your local area or you can take online workshops. Keep an eye out on the talented Heather Chang who has an amazing class coming out.
Not not just your own yahoos that you’ve made. Everywhere I have lived I have been able to google shooting clubs. While true, some of these might be a tad bit boring or some folks out looking for birds, it is great to get with people who share a passion for the same hobby. And it is always great to find others who can share their knowledge with you.