4 Tips for DSLR Photography Beginners

February 23, 2015 separator Blogging

4 Tips for DSLR Photography Beginners

 

Guest Post: Stacie, the creative mind and awesome hair behind Stars for Streetlights, is here to help alleviate some of your biggest photography concerns. What’s aperture? What does shutter speed do? Read on for all the details!

 

The first time I touched my little Nikon D40 DSLR camera, I was so excited that I could barely hold the camera steady. I had saved up for months to buy that little camera, and while I knew I would use it all the time, I never realized how influential that camera would become on my life.

Since the day I got that brown Amazon box in the mail, I’ve made it my mission to learn as much as I possibly can about my camera – I read books, blog articles, and ask for advice wherever I can find it. Photography has become my favorite hobby… tied with crafting, of course. ;D

Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way and I love sharing them with others because I love it when people share their advice with me. Read on for my 4 tips for DSLR photography beginners!

4 Tips for DSLR Photography Beginners

Compositionthis photo: ISO-200 f/1.8 Shutter: 1/400

  1. Composition: Composition, to me, is one of the most important lessons of photography. If you don’t have a well-composed photograph, then lighting and exposure don’t matter much. I love composing photos in a square format, but for a rectangular photo, I still love a good rule-of-thirds image.

  1. Aperture: I love playing around with the depth-of-field when it comes to aperture. I recently bought a prime lens, (50mm with f/1.8 aperture), and I can’t express how impressed I am with it. The colors, the control – it is incredible. If you are looking for a cheaper upgrade to your kit lens, (the lens that comes with your camera) you can’t get a better option than the one I just mentioned.

 
Photo Tips

this photo: ISO: 200, f/14, Shutter: 8 seconds 3.

  1. Shutter Speed: Shutter speed is another really fun trick to play with on DSLR cameras. Whenever you have shutter speeds slower than 1/100 of a second, though, you probably need a tripod or something to rest your camera on. I took the photo above in the High Line Park in NYC– I didn’t have a tripod, but I did use a bench. ;D Whenever you have a shutter speed over 1/125, you can freeze the motion.


This photo was taken on my film camera, my Pentax K1000. (I love collecting and using vintage cameras. :D If you have a chance to take a film class, take it. I only took one during my time at college, and I wish I had taken more. There is nothing like working in a class with a film camera, it teaches you so much about equivalents between aperture and shutter speed, how to get a feel for lighting, and photography confidence.

Photo Tipssome of the photos from my collection of Polaroid cameras

  1. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot: Photography is one of those art media where you have to do it over and over again before you get better. Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more until your camera becomes second nature to you. Shoot until you don’t even need to calculate what shutter speed, ISO, and aperture you need– your fingers just automatically adjust it. And by all means, stay away from the “Auto” setting! Don’t cheat. ;D

For more resources, check out my photography guide for beginners, or join my Project 365 and pledge to take a photo every day for a year!

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4 Tips for DSLR Photography Beginners

29 comments

  1. Great post! I just got a new Canon Rebel t5i and this is exactly what I was looking for to get me on the right track!

  2. Such a great post! To be honest, my photography sucks. But then, what can you expect from a cell phone? Certainly not high quality pictures such as these, right? I am in the process of buying a DSLR. Saving up my money and all.. Your tips are so helpful. Thank you :)

  3. Thank you IMMENSELY for this! I’m a new blogger and could really use the tips for taking my photos. Thanks a trillion.

    xx
    A Simple Sophistication

  4. The photo with the girl blowing the confetti is absolutely breathtaking – I couldn’t stop looking at it. I’m currently trying to improve my photography – I have a dlsr and have recently bought an Olympus PEN as it’s more compact and I can take it everywhere with me to practice practice practice so thanks for the article and tips! Francesca

  5. I’m a beginner, but I wanted to know more on photography. I’m not trying to become a professional , but I wanted to know some of the basics on using a DSLR camera.

  6. Thank you for this! I always forget my f-stop and this image made my realize some of the issues I am having right now.

  7. I’m getting my first DSLR (Nikon D3100) and I am scared to death but more excited than I can explain. I just can’t wait to learn everything I can, and this helped me tons! (:

  8. Awesome tips – thank you!!!

    I just bought my first nikon dslr (D5100). I skipped the kit lens and I’m trying to figure out which one lens I should start off with. I’m thinking I might be better off starting with a prime lens. I would buy a bunch, but I want to spread that out since they are pricey.

    I’m pregnant so soon I will want to take lots of baby pictures and eventually child pictures, but I don’t want to limit myself too much.

    In short, do you think you could get by and still enjoy your camera with only the 50mm lens?

    Thank you!!! love.jenny.xoxo @ gmail

  9. Photography, like any other profession, needs a lot of practice and experience. The more you shoot, the better you shoot.Nice tips

  10. Hubby just bought me a DSLR camera and I’m so giddy to get it in the mail I can’t contain myself. Thanks so much for the fabulous tips!

  11. Hi Lindsay, new to your blog and I am just fascinated with your vintage camera collection. Where do you buy your Polaroid film? My father-in-law gave me an old Polaroid but I can’t find film for it.
    Thanks,
    Sharon

  12. This guide is so helpful. I took a class on this in college and I still struggle with manual mode. I can’t wait to get shooting again! Thank you!

  13. Barnicles – Point 2 is actually about aperture, so the ‘mini guide for exposure’ goes with that point, not Point 1. Sorry if there was confusion and hope that clears it up.

    Thanks for sharing with friends! :D

    – Lindsay

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