Photography Tips for Beginners

Sunday, 7 December 2014

I thought I would do this post to give a few tips to the people who are starting up with photography like me. I have always had an interest in photography as my dad has always enjoyed it and has showed me his own tips over time. I will let you know about these and give some advice of what I have found since I have started taking photos with a proper camera.

The camera I own and have used for all these photos is a Fuji S100FS. It's a bridge camera but is the same size and has nearly all the functions of an SLR, such as complete manual override settings.

Night Photography - Newcastle Quayside

These are a couple of photos I took in Newcastle down at the quayside. The key for taking these kind of photos at night is to have a longer shutter speed so that the camera can capture more light. Because of this the camera needs to be more stable. These were taken without a tripod but I lent on the railings to balance myself. I know you might be thinking tripods are far too expensive, and so did I until I started looking for one. I purchased this tripod for £12 and I would highly recommend it for the price.

Animals - Edinburgh Zoo

Taking photos of animals can be quite tricky sometimes depending of what you are taking. One of the techniques I used was to change the colour setting to black and white for the Zebras to really make their unique colour pattern stand out. This can be done on most cameras and can make for an impressive photo. When taking the Panda photo it was through glass, which often happens when going to a zoo. My advice for this is to take the photo at an angle and also make sure no reflections because then its hard to tell the picture is through glass. The one key thing to remember is not to use flash when taking photos through glass because this will bounce straight back off the glass and ruin the photo. The Meerkat photo was a little more tricky to get because they move so quick! My tip here is to set a very fast shutter speed, sometimes there will be a specific setting for this so have a check on your camera. This will allow you to get the photo without it being blurry as they move.

Outfit Photos

This photo was taken for my girlfriend Laura for her blog so she could do outfit of the day posts. If you are taking these kinds of photos it is often nice to take them outside somewhere with a nice background to make the photo look better. I took it with Laura leaning of the bridge to give it another feature in the photo. The second photo was taken in Paris by the Louvre which gives a really nice background to the photo. In this photo a slightly higher f number is used to make Laura at the front of photo in focus as well as the background.

Capturing Movement - Water

This was taken in Jesmond Dene in Newcastle which isn't far out from the centre at all. This is the small waterfall along the river which are good features if you want to capture water movement. I was stood on a bridge to take this which was useful to lean on and balance while taking the photo because I didn't have my tripod at this point. I set a longer shutter speed here so the lens could capture the water movement enough to give it the 'milky' effect you can see. The longer the shutter speed the more milky it will be but this is when you probably will need a tripod.

Sport - Tour de France, Sheffield

I took these when the Tour de France came through Sheffield at the start of the tour. For the first photo I took a telephoto shot looking down at all the riders. A tip for doing this is to focus on the point where the subject of the photo will be and wait for the it to come into this point. So for the first photo of all the riders I focused on the ground where they I wanted to take the photo and then took it as the riders crossed this point. The second photo was taken very close up as one of the riders passed me. To get this movement effect I focused on the rider further down and panned with the rider as he came past me and took it when he was nearly level with me. This is how to get the effect of movement with the subject in focus and the background blurry.

Fireworks - Majorca

Taking pictures of fireworks can often be tricky as you might end up with blurry photos because the camera has to open up the lens to let more light in. To help with this problem, you can change the ISO setting to a higher number. This will help when taking photos in the dark. This can make the photo a little 'grainy' but it allows to get a photo of things at night. Either a tripod or something to lean on will also help here. I also used a bit of the foreground when taking the photo because this means it will help to balance out the light in the photo.

Wide Angle Landscape - Majorca and Paris

This was taken on the shore in Majorca look back across a small beach area. When taking a wide angle shot with a lot of distance between the front of the photo and the far part of the photo the aperture setting needs changing to a higher f number. The brightness of the photo can also be adjusted so that one part of the photo doesn't affect another part. This is why it is possible to see the detail of rocks below the water at the front of the shot and detail on the top of the hill at the back. The second photo was taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe just as the sun is setting. To get the sunset in shot without it turning the rest of the photo dark, be sure not to focus around the sun. You can also adjust the brightness to make sure all parts of the photo are correctly shown up.

Landmarks - Paris

When taking photos of big landmarks I find its a good idea to include other features in the photo to make the photo more interesting. For the photo of Notre Dame I took it so it was off centre and also included the bridge and the river going to the left. Also try to balance what is in the photo at the top and the bottom of the photo so there isn't loads of space in one area. For the Tour de Eiffel photo I did the same thing by offsetting the Eiffel Tower and capturing a view of the rest of the city. A tip for taking these kinds of photos is to focus on the subject in the photo (in this case the Eiffel Tower) and while still focusing, move the camera to offset the subject and include more background. This will then keep the subject in focus while allowing it not to be right in the centre of the photo.

I hope these tips have helped, I have tried to show a range of photo types to help you if you aren't sure when taking pictures. If you have any questions comment down below or tweet me @andymsmithblog.

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