Digital Photography For Beginners – Basic Tips

When we start in the world of photography, we make many mistakes, mistakes necessary to level up. When you manage to go up to a higher level, you will make other mistakes again and so on until you forget some mistakes you made on the first step and have to go down to review them.

I want to review the typical mistakes that photographers usually make when we start because they will surely be useful to those who are beginning. Those who have been there for a long time will do well to go down to the first step, even if it is only to greet the new ones. For this reason, I have created this category of ” The Photography Workshop,” where I will remember tips that were useful to me in my day-to-day life.

Not reading the instruction manual.

I recognize that I do not usually read the instruction manual for anything; I think, why if everything works the same, but many times I end up looking on the internet, how to do…? How does it get…? Me ……. does not turn on why it can be? How much time and bad times would we save by reading the manual.

When I had my first SLR, I tried to transfer the knowledge from the analog world to the digital one, and yes, the basis is the same, but how do you set the burst mode here? How do I format the card? What is this Raw for? Sit down and read it calmly with the manual in one hand and the camera in the other; try each setting several times, even if you read how to practice it.

If you have lost the manual, you can get it in your brand’s website’s support area.

Handle your digital camera with your eyes closed

Imagine you are a cowboy, and you are in a gun duel; when it is time to turn and shoot, are you going to think about where the trigger is? If you have a loaded gun?

Photography is the same; the camera is your gun; if you photograph a still life, you will have time to think about the settings of your camera but, in street photography, wildlife photography, fashion photography, etc., no. The time will come when you meet a bird that was believed to be extinct for thousands of years, and it will perch two meters from you; you will regret not knowing how to adjust the shutter speed without looking at the screen you will remember this post.

Some will defend auto mode use, but when they shoot, the focus will detect 10 or 20 points to focus on, and you will lose the delicious bokeh that we love so much when we started. For that reason, practice adjusting the necessary settings without looking at the camera.

The more accessories, the better

Remote triggers, backpacks, tripod, monopod, ND filters or neutral density, etc. Making a list of what we want and ordering it to prioritize will force us to see everything from another perspective. Anyway, I leave you some alternatives that you can use while saving:

  • The triggers remote are an essential accessory, but until you get to use your external flash’s sympathy with your built-in flash. If your external flash has this option (read the manual because most basic flashes bring it ) it will activate when it detects the light from your camera’s built-in flash. If you are looking for remote triggers with a good quality/price ratio, these Yongnuo RF-603 are the most recommended.
  • Decathlon mountain backpacks are a good option; you can always prepare the padding yourself. I use this type; it fits perfectly in a 40 or 50L backpack, and the equipment is well protected. There are also much more reliable options in photographic backpacks for trekking.
  • The monopod seems like a very comfortable accessory, maybe it is, but they don’t quite convince me. If I need some stability in action situations, my trick is to pick up all but one of the tripod legs. In this way, you will gain some stability to use a slower shutter speed or increase our photos’ sharpness. Still, I am one of those who prefer to carry the Manfrotto 055 up the mountain, quite a brave man.
  • The silk effect in water is one technique that we tend to like the most when we start; we cannot wait to try it. But you need a quality neutral density filter, which is not usually cheap. Although the photos’ quality is reduced, we have alternatives to increase the exposure time, such as a soldering iron glass that, although they tend to give green or lilac dominants, in the development they can be reduced entirely, if not, black and white is your friend. Another option, without loss of quality and cheaper, waits until the sun goes down or dusk, and you can leave your shutter open without problems.
  • Flashes, don’t go crazy with the light; your camera’s built-in flash can last your first sessions until you buy one. Use a piece of cardboard to bounce the light off the walls to soften it. If you will purchase an external flash, Yongnuo is the solution again; this Yongnuo YN560 III is one of the best sellers. I recommend taking a look at the Flash for Canon and Flash for Nikon recommended articles.

Learn the famous basic rules of composition, rule of thirds, learn to use lines, which areas to cut a person in a photo, position the horizon well, etc.

You can look at the article on the rule of thirds to understand how it works and how it can help you pose your photo before shooting.

Train your “photographic eye.”

Some people have more facility or sensitivity to see where the photo is; if you are not one of those lucky ones, you can train your eye.

  • Watch, watch movies or series awarded for their photography. Enter social networks like 500px and spend hours in your popular section browsing images.
  • Cinema is more enjoyable when you appreciate why the elements are positioned like this; choose specific lighting or camera angles that will make your skin crawl. Take a look at the article on why not everyone does a photograph; you will see the importance of learning composition and training your photographic eye.

Shoot on Raw

Another of the most common mistakes. Having not read the manual, we do not even know that it exists or listened to it without paying much attention.

It’s something essential, the editing flexibility that a RAW file gives you will never give you a JPG. RAW captures much more information, even things that your eye does not see at the time of the photo but that are there and that you may need when editings, such as shadow areas (within normality) or colors.

If you want to know more about Raw, go to the article What is Raw?

Photography forums

You will end up looking for and finding one in which you feel comfortable. Soak up others’ opinions and participate; it will help you above all to not feel alone and see that there are many of us.

I also warn you that there are too many gurus and people on the internet who get up on the wrong foot every day. Accept constructive criticism from others by “canoeing.”

Don’t go overboard with the effects.

More than advice is a personal opinion; in the beginning, when you discover the “bar” of clarity in Lightroom, the vignetting, or the HDR of Photoshop, you will commit atrocities that you will end up regretting, who has not passed by scrolling some bar and applying exaggerated effects?

This is up to you; if you like it, go ahead and move that bar without fear!

Use social media

I am thankful that I was born in this era because I can enjoy the internet. In social networks, you can show your work and observe the rest. Receive comments on your images and comment on yourself; the exchange is fascinating as you can see.

To me, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, 500px, Twitter, Youtube, etc. It is crazy to manage them all, but it will be worth it, see you in them !!


And these are some of the tips that I would have liked to know when I started, although indeed I read them on a blog like you now, and I still committed them. These mistakes will help you grow as a photographer, and although I think there is no goal in this career, there are a series of guidelines that will help you breathe better.