5 Tips for Beginners To Take Better Photos

Laurito Copyright Carla Coulson

I love helping people, especially beginners to take better pics.

Once you understand light, movement, F-stops, depth of field and shutter speed, photography becomes second nature.

I too had a lot of trouble absorbing the basics in the beginning but once you have mastered these vital components photography no longer becomes a thought process but one of feelings and emotions.

It’s magical.

Here are 5 tips if you are a new photographer that will help you take better photos.

1. What is your light source. Ask yourself every time you are about to take a photo ‘where is the light coming from’? You might be outside and it might be a cloudy day but still take the trouble to find where the sun is. If you are inside ask yourself ‘where is the light coming from’? Is it a window, overhead light etc.

2. Ask yourself what type of light you are using. Sunlight, open shade, window light, mixed light, artificial light? Know what your light quality is and what effect it will have on your subject is important. Each light source will have different properties of colour temperatures and this is really important for you to know when shooting.

3. Interference in your composition. When composing your shot take a photo and have a good look at the screen to see if there are any lines, poles that are interfering with your composition. Can you improve it by moving something in the shot? There is nothing worse that taking pics for 10 mins to find there is a pole coming out of your subjects head!

4. Move your subject. If you are working in light that you don’t like or it isn’t flattering,  move your subject to a better light source. I find open shade on a sunny day is always flattering. Mixed light can be difficult to manage unless you have lots of experience. The trick is to always find the best available light.

5. Depth of field. The amount of depth of field in a photo is really important depending on what you want to achieve. I find when shooting movement as in the above photo, it is great to have lots of depth of field i.e F16 as  my subject was moving (and I was treading water taking the photo) and if I had had a low f stop ie F2.8 it is probable that she would have jumped out of my field of range.When shooting portraits with more than one person standing in different positions be careful that you have at least F5.6 otherwise you risk someone being out of focus. If you want lots of blur when shooting just one person,  consider shooting at F2.8. Always focus on the eyes..

These are just 5 simple tips that hopefully will help you improve your photos.

My Favourite Gear

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 

Canon EF 24-70mm 

Canon EF 35mm 

Happy Snapping.

Check out my Portrait Lightroom Presets.

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11 years ago

Thanks so much for the tips Carla, so appreciated.

Shell Sherree
11 years ago

Thank you, Carla ~ if even a smidge of your wonderful tips rub off on me, I’ll be all the better for it. Have a beautiful week.

11 years ago

Thank you for those tips. Even if I only remember one of them at the time of shooting, I’ll have a better picture.

11 years ago

I always love to hear your advice and tips Carla, as you know I am now on this wonderful learning curve!

I have added a link to you on my side bar, had great difficulty choosing an image, so many pictures that I adore!

Lisa DeNunzio
11 years ago

Great advice Carla. I have no professional aspirations, but it is always fun to get that ‘great shot’. Best, Lisa

Peggy Braswell
11 years ago

Grand tips,Carla! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

11 years ago

Thank you Carla very much for sharing so generously. Learning from you is a pleasure.

mary jo
11 years ago

Always love the tips Carla. It’s so easy to forget the eye (ugh hate when I do this) when I’m shooting fashion.

xo Mary Jo

Heather in Arles
11 years ago

It DOES help. I appreciate your generosity so much, Carla! Depth of Field. Arrgh!

PS. I love that Dash added you and your beautiful work in her sidebar. The woman has phenomenal taste.

11 years ago

Just love the way you’re so generous with your talent and experience Carla.
Janine xx

11 years ago

Thank you for the tips…..always helpful!

11 years ago

Thank you very much for these helpful information. I’m going to use all of these tips. 🙂