If you have just purchased your first camera and want to learn the basics, these tips should help you to build a good foundation.
1. Learn to hold your camera
Many new photographers don’t know how to hold their camera. It's a basic thing, but it’s important to hold your camera properly to avoid camera shake and blurry images. We all develop our own way of holding the camera but there are some basic rules:
- you should always hold the camera with both hands
- use one hand under the lens to support the camera's weight
- keep the camera close to your body
- for extra stability lean against a wall or crouch down
2. Use a wide aperture for portraits
For portraits your subject should be the focus of the picture. Using a wider aperture will keep your subject sharp while blurring out any background distractions. And don't forget the subject's eyes should always be in focus.
3. Use a narrow aperture for landscapes
Landscape photographs require a different approach as you often need everything to be fully in focus. To achieve this you should use a narrow aperture rather than a wide one - towards f/22 or higher, depending on what your lens allows.
4. Pay attention to the background
Generally the image background should be simple and clutter free so that it distract the viewer’s attention away from the main subject. Subtle or muted colours and patterns can work well, after all you don’t want viewers to end up more interested in the colourful background than your portrait subject so try to keep the background neutral.
5. Be selective and learn from your mistakes
You may have shot hundreds of photos at a festival or a friend’s party but by displaying them all, you are probably hiding five or ten really great shots. Discard the average and learn from the poor, overexposed, blurry or badly composed photos - but not before you have had time to assess them and see if they could have been improved.