The Best Things To Photograph When You're A Beginner

Way back when I first started taking pictures and studying photography nearly 10 years ago. I remember getting set a brief at college that I thought was possibly the most boring project to ever be given. But now I'm really grateful for that incredibly dull brief because it taught me so much about photography as a whole and pushed me out of my comfort zone. When you first start taking pictures it can be really hard to know where to start. And setting yourself your own little briefs of photographing certain subjects can help you not only hone in on your style but it can also teach you so much about the practice. So here are a few things that I think are really helpful for any beginner to practice photographing. 


Photographing possessions around your home might seem like a slightly strange exercise but it's one that can be incredibly beneficial. Even though I've been taking pictures for nearly a decade [a very scary realisation]. I will still make myself set up different scenarios to stretch my photography legs. Photography inanimate objects is really helpful for teaching yourself about aperture and depth of field and how they work together. It's also a really awesome way to get to know how colours compliment each other and work well in images. Because even when something looks awesome in real life that doesn't always come across on camera. Shooting still life is not only about knowing your camera either it's mostly about styling and making things look aesthetically pleasing which is certainly a practice in itself. The flat-lay just tipped out on the floor style is something that might look effortless but it's not at all. Some objects that are especially good to photograph when you're just starting out are glass, anything reflective and anything with different textures. 


Not only are all fur babies adorable and deserve to have their picture taken but it's really good practice for building on your patience. Which sounds ridiculous but shooting anything that's alive teaches you a bunch of skills that photographing flowers doesn't much to my dismay. Also dealing with different fur colours and textures is a whole other learning curve to deal with. 


Besides beauty products, I have a serious love for photographing anything floral [which probably isn't a surprise to any regular reader of this blog]. It still fits in the still life category in a way but because you're out and about in nature you have to take into consideration all that challenges that can throw at you. Flowers are something that are really easy to manipulate. And you can turn them into a beautiful abstract image or photograph them in their regular form which is all something that can all be achieved which just a change of aperture. As well as learning things like composition, angles and depth of field it's also one of the best ways to understand lighting and how it can change things. When I was studying photography I was always told that photography works to this equation: 40% composition, 50% styling/lighting, 5% camera knowledge and 5% luck. And that's an equation I totally believe as pressing the button is such a tiny part of the entire process. 

Take for instance landscape photography which is probably the most popular genre in the world. It might seem like something that's super easy when you have a beautiful scene around you but getting the right angle and waiting until the lighting is just at that sweet spot [golden hour for example]. Are all things that come into play when it comes to a beautiful landscape image. And of course you can manipulate things in the editing process but nothing quite beats getting it all in camera. 


Photographing people is something I still find incredibly difficult because it goes so much further than placing someone in front of a camera and snapping away. You need to have great people skills to make people feel at ease so you can photograph them in a natural way rather than being wooden and forced. And then, of course, it's vital to know how to photograph people in a flattering way. Sitting down in front of a camera and just practising different poses and positions might seem like such a silly task and you might feel like a bit of an idiot doing it. But I think it's incredibly important to do to understand how people work with a camera if portraiture is something you're interested in. 


If photographing your own face is your worst nightmare bringing in a loved one is also a good practice. I've always been a big believer that there is nothing better than someone who truly knows you and loves you photographing you. As they're able to capture things that other people might not be able to. And when you're photographing a loved one it lets you practice directing and posing someone else which isn't something you get to do when you're photographing yourself. 




Do you have any photography tips for beginners?

R x

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