6 Insightful Photography Tips for Beginners

6 Insightful Photography Tips for Beginners

General How-To

6 Insightful Photography Tips for Beginners

Photography Tips For Beginners

When I was first starting out in photography – I mean the very beginning when I wasn’t even sure which end of the camera to look through – it was difficult to find information about learning photography. It was difficult to get good information, I should say. And now, while there are photographers all over the Internet willing to teach you how to take photos in different places and media, there is very little in the way of just good, solid advice for those who know next to nothing. So after some thoughtful consideration, here are my top 6 photography tips for beginners. 

#1 No Camera, No Problem

If you’re just starting out in photography, it’s obviously useful to own a working camera with which to practice, especially one with manual control over exposure. But given the cost of even an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera these days, you can still get started with even the most basic of tools – your phone, for instance – while you save up for sometime with more control and options.

You can effectively use your phone to help in learning composition and image frames (what to include and exclude from the photo) to get a head start with one skill that even many advanced photographers struggle with. Ideally you would have a real camera with more control over the final image but in reality, a smartphone camera is better than no camera at all.

#2 Invest in Good Glass

When you do get to the point where you’re ready to invest some money in photo equipment, please take the following advice. Invest in good glass (hipster photography lingo for “lenses”) and less in the camera itself. You should almost treat digital cameras as disposable. Just as a car has a limited number of miles in it before it gives up the ghost, so does a camera with regard to the number shutter actuations before it dies. Also, the sensor technology in your brand-new digital camera will be obsolete in a couple of years. Lenses, however, can last a lifetime, as long as they are maintained properly and your camera manufacturer doesn’t change the lens mount. Bottom line, if your funds are limited, the better investment is in lenses, not cameras.

#3 Your Photos Will Suck

The French documentary and street photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson mused that your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. This is true of photography and most other things you try to learn as well. Your first 10,000 steps as a toddler were probably your most wobbly and unsteady too. Yes, your photos will suck at first and that’s ok. In fact, they might not be very good for many years. The important thing to remember is that you’re striving for improvement, not perfection. Improvement, not perfection. One day you’ll look back on the photos you took during your first year and find them absolutely revolting. And that will be the best feeling because you will know you made improvements along the way.

#4 Follow Your Passion

Ask yourself this question. What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning or the last thing that crosses your mind as you drift off asleep at night? I guess you can say this is a rhetorical question since what I really want is for you to realize is what makes you tick. What are your passions? If they are flowers, then photograph flowers. Wildlife? Photograph wildlife. Cars, beaches, people, pets? Find out what your passions are and train your lens on those things. I would advise against investing too much time on subjects that you are ambivalent about. What a waste! Share your passions! I talk more about this in my recent Twitter AMA.

#5 Experiment and Have Fun

Learn and absorb all you can about photography from books, classes, blogs, online tutorials, and social media. Learn, learn, and learn some more. But in addition to all that learning, make sure you make time to have fun too. Play with your camera. Choose the wrong lens purposefully just to see what you can make of the photo opportunity. Play with different settings and filters so you develop an intuitive understanding of how your camera works and what photography is all about. Your formal learning will be even more powerful when coupled with and intuitive feel for photography.

#6 Take Care Of Your Health

Take good care of your health. Eat well, sleep well, and take care of your body by exercising it regularly. Meditate if you are into that sort of thing. I sure am. If you’re not healthy, it will be difficult to be productive or to have any fun. If you’re not mobile, you will miss shots and opportunities which is frustrating. If you’re tired and exhausted all the time, it’s nearly impossible to be creative. Take that one to the bank.

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By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Gear Reviews

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

It’s the most frequently-asked question and perhaps the least important. “What’s in the bag?”

I say it’s the least important since it’s usually the first (and easiest) avenue beginning photographers take to try and improve their photography work. They believe that better and more expensive gear will create a better photographer but more often than not, it only leads to disappointment. A better investment would be in time – time spent practicing their technique and honing their personal vision. Still, photo equipment is not unimportant either. if you’re not convinced, just try doing photography without it!

So with that said, let’s have a look into my photo bag (all links to Amazon):

Photo Equipment

Camera Bag: One of several MindShift Gear bags, depending on the trip or assignment. Moose Peterson MP-1 V2.0, FirstLight 40L, or Backlight Elite 45L

Currently, my favorite photo backpack is the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L Camera Backpack. Just Superb in every way!

In addition to the actual bag that I choose for a particular trip, the contents in the bag also depend on where I am going, what I will be shooting, how remote the area, and how much hiking there will be. Here is some of my basic photo equipment:

Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (when weight is an issue or for bird-in-flight images)
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
Canon Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash (2)
MagMod 2 Basic Flash Modifier Kit
Lee Filter Holder with polarizing filter
Breakthrough Photography’s ND Filters (no color cast)
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 Tripod
Really Right Stuff BH40 ball head (2)
Really Right Stuff BH35 ball head

Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Head II
Lexar digital media
Mac Book Pro 15.4″ Computer with Retina Display, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core…
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C 4TB Portable Hard Drive

* Post includes affiliate link*

Join The Adventure!

By subscribing to my monthly newsletter, you'll get timely updates on events, stories, my latest photos, and my favorite photography tips. Let me share this amazing world with you directly to your computer or phone. Come on, join the adventure!

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 


Think Tank Photo Retrospective Shoulder Bags

Think Tank Photo Retrospective Shoulder Bags

Announcements

Think Tank Photo Retrospective Shoulder Bags

Think Tank Photo upgraded Retrospective Shoulder Bags feature increased photography gear security as well as lighter weight.

My friends at Think Tank Photo have just released Version 2.0 of what may be the most popular shoulder bags in photo industry history, the Retrospective V2.0. The Retrospective V2.0 retain their classic look but include many innovative new features. Keeping the soft, form-fitting design, they are lighter than the original. For greater security, they added a zippered opening under the main flap that tucks away when not in use. Each bag has a dedicated interior tablet or laptop pocket, luggage handle pass-through, and a compressible water bottle pocket. They even improved their “Sound Silencer” technology to help you work quietly.  Be sure to use the link below to order as you will receive free gear and free shipping!

Think Tank Photo Retrospective V2.0

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.

New MindShift Gear Exposure Shoulder Bags

New MindShift Gear Exposure Shoulder Bags

Announcements

New MindShift Gear Exposure Shoulder Bags

Mindshift Gear – my personal camera bag of choice for several years now – has announced the new Mindshift Gear Exposure Bags which offer unprecedented comfort and protection from the elements in a shoulder bag!

There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. MindShift Gear’s new Exposure shoulder bags are storm-resistant carrying solutions for the active photographer in virtually any outdoor environment. Built with high performance waterproof sailcloth panels, strategically placed storm flaps, water-repellent DWR fabric, and a sturdy Tarpaulin bottom; the Exposure protects camera gear from the elements and withstands the rigors of adventure photography. And, with its cross-body stabilizer strap, the Exposure moves with you while you’re active or is removable for more causal environments.  A waterproof rain cover is included when it’s time to put the camera away and hunker down. Exposure shoulder bags come in two models, the Exposure 13 and the Exposure 15, and in two colors, Black and Solar Flare.  The Exposure 13 fits a 13” laptop; the Exposure 15 fits 15” laptops.  A 10” tablet fits in zippered pocket.  And if you use the special link below to order, you will receive free gear and free shipping!

Get your Mindshift Gear Exposure Bags here: Mindshift Gear Exposure Bags.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.

MindShift Gear’s New PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags

MindShift Gear’s New PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags

Announcements

Mindshift Gear – my personal camera bag of choice – has announced the new Mindshift PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags, which offer unprecedented comfort and protection from the elements.

Adventure photographers need a camera bag that’s as tough as they are. With its rugged materials and faceted design, MindShift Gear’s new PhotoCross sling bags protect a photographer’s gear from punishing trips into the wild. The PhotoCross is built to withstand the elements, yet comfortable enough to wear on long days in the field. These sling bags stay out of the way when scrambling but offer quick camera access when ready to take the shot. They feature weatherproof zippers and abrasion-resistant materials, plus a carrying system for tripods or jackets.

The PhotoCross comes in two sizes and colors, Orange Ember and Carbon Grey. The PhotoCross 10 fits an ungripped DSLR and one to two lenses, plus a 10” tablet, or a Mirrorless body and three to five lenses, plus a 10” tablet. The PhotoCross 13 fits an ungripped DSLR, two to four lenses, including a 70–200mm f/2.8, and some 13” laptops.

“The PhotoCross sling bags are significant because they meld two concepts that are often in conflict in outdoor gear design: protection and comfort. An example is how we’ve integrated the waterproof Tarpaulin bottom panel with a body-conforming design, wide shoulder strap, and stability wing for superior comfort,” said Doug Murdoch, MindShift Gear’s CEO and Lead Designer.

Get your Mindshift PhotoCross here: Mindshift PhotoCross Adventure Photography Bags

For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.