Whether you’ve just purchased your first DSLR and want to learn the basics or are looking for simple ways to update your existing photography skills, the following tips should help you build a strong foundation. Keep in mind, however, that photography is an art you’ll never really be ‘done’ learning.
The best way to keep improving is to practice often, make mistakes and be open to learning from others, whether they’re well-established photographers or newcomers to the craft.
1. Learn to hold your camera properly
This may sound obvious, but many new photographers don’t hold their camera correctly, which causes camera shake and blurry images. Tripods are of course the best way to prevent camera shake, but since you won’t be using a tripod unless you’re shooting in low light situations, it’s important to hold your camera properly to avoid unnecessary movement.
While you’ll eventually develop your own way of holding the camera, you should always hold it with both hands. Grip the right side of the camera with your right hand and place your left hand beneath the lens to support the weight of the camera.
The closer you keep the camera to your body, the stiller you’ll be able to hold it. If you need extra stability you can lean up against a wall or crouch down on your knees, but if there’s nothing to lean on, adopting a wider stance can also help.
2. Start shooting in RAW
RAW is a file format like jpeg, but unlike jpeg, it captures all the image data recorded by your camera’s sensor rather than compressing it. When you shoot in RAW you’ll not only get higher quality images but you’ll also have far more control in post processing. For instance, you’ll be able to correct problems such as over or underexposure and adjust things like colour temperature, white balance and contrast.
One downside to shooting in RAW is that the files take up more space. Additionally, RAW photos always need some post processing so you’ll need to invest in photo editing software.
Ultimately, however, shooting in RAW can transform the quality of your images, so if you have the time and space, it’s definitely worth it. If you’re not sure how to switch from jpeg to RAW, check your camera’s manual for detailed instructions.