A Beginner’s Guide To Photography

Hello, the photographer of this blog butting in here! How do you do?

The other hot, devilish lady behind this wonderful idea repeatedly poked my rotund derrière with her fiery pitch fork and demanded that I write a post titled: A beginner’s guide to photography… I jest. She asked me kindly and I merrily agreed. We may be devils, but I assure you, we come equipped with those infamously crippling British manners. Well, she does. I am far more slovenly. So, get your reading glasses on and your scrolling finger at the ready. I cannot write a single post that covers all aspects of photography for a beginner ( I do feel it would provoke an instantaneous deep sleep state in any reader due to dire boredom) who is new to photography. However, I can provide a post which describes my own meandering, home grown experience which may or may not give insight into the irrevocable journey taken, once bitten by the pleasantly life changing photography bug.

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Dash my Wig! Where on this wretched keyboard do I begin? Write, you fool! It’s just pushing black and white keys. Oh, very well. I don’t know why but I always feel it’s good to include a snippet of my inner monologue, for some odd reason. When I first considered taking up photography I thought ‘Surely it can’t be that difficult a hobby to take up?’ So I got about doing research about cameras and it soon transpired what I thought was a little pleasant garden pond that I could dip my hesitant toe in and then yank it out if didn’t take my fancy, suddenly morphed into a terrifying Charybdis that threatened to swallow me whole. Partly because the dizzying array of camera manufacturers, camera models, lens types, accessories and the massive price range between them all etc. It genuinely scared me. However, I really needed something to keep me sane and out of jail, being out of a job and all that jazz. Once I ordered my first camera on a whim it soon felt natural to have it, and I didn’t regret it.

I felt absolutely clueless (and self-conscious) walking around my city snapping away at random things and people which caught my eye. I was literally learning from scratch but after a while I found I didn’t care what people thought; I’d taken up photography to have fun. After three years, I’m still not that great at the whole technical side of photography. But who would want to be unless they were studying it or were a professional?

When I first started out, I soon found that I liked to completely disregard the rules of photography, like the devil I am. I found it helped me to develop my own style as I was thinking purely in the ‘now’, not how it would look on my laptop later on. Besides, if one decides to tickle their fancy with a camera and goes about learning all the rules, they may struggle. I still struggle with all the rules of how to compose a photograph and the infuriating rigmarole of post editing etc. Someone who is just getting to grips with the settings of their camera doesn’t need to complicate it even more with all that added thinky pain. I’m not saying the rules are to be ignored. Go ahead and read up on them and if they float your boat.

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I’m just saying that photography is an art. I think a lot of people forget that it is open to interpretation. I must stress I am not one of these arty farty types of people who enjoy disassembling another person’s photography pixel by pixel, quaffing away about how contrast makes me feel and such, with my pinkie to the side of my mouth. If it’s a good photograph for me, it’s a good photograph. If it’s not, it’s not. Simple. By no means do I have a professional opinion.

There are so many aspects to photography that it would be very difficult to be able to shoot each and every style to perfection. Once a person has been bitten by the photography bug, they will soon find what aspect of photography gives them the most enjoyment when shooting. Once that’s figured out, then move onto developing and honing your skills. You can take as long as you need.

I first started out with a bridge camera, using the automatic setting until I got to grips with shutter speed and aperture and how they interact with each other. Any photographer will tell you, as soon as you can, wean yourself off the auto setting. You will reap the rewards in the quality of your photographs! I used the auto setting for a good seven months, and when I finally bit the bullet and got to grips with manual, I kicked myself for using auto for so long! I even tried to get my friends to get off it (but they were having none of it) You can even use the Aperture mode and shutter speed mode to help you get yourself off that awful automatic mode.

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Manual Mode is your friend. Not that horrible, confusing, scary setting that is impossible to use. Putting it simply: all it is, is the aperture and shutter speed setting smooshed into one. You have full control over the settings. In some aspects Automatic is a good option, say if you don’t have time to gauge the situation and faff around with the settings getting the exposure right. For example, if an okapi unexpectedly jumps put in front of moving traffic in your home town causing a scene and scaring confused passers-by and then beelines it out of there then yes, Auto or Sports Mode is ideal. However, you will notice, once you start to use manual mode, your photos are much more vivid, they have more depth and certainly look a hell of a lot better than whatever the camera’s choice was producing. There’s no going back to Auto once you shoot Manual. Fact.

Hmmm. What other information ricocheting around in this cavernous noggin could possibly be of any use to all you budding shutter bugs out there? Start small, especially if you are on a budget and work your way up to a more expensive model if you’re completely new to photography, it will make things much, much easier. Your skills will improve with time and you will find that you will ‘outgrow’ your camera and then if you find the time is right, upgrade. That’s what I did, and I don’t think I would have it any other way. You can purchase very decent cameras for very little these days. Do your research and the right camera for you will soon stick out. Once you have your shiny new device, go forth with unbound glee upon the world and click clack away.

unnamed-3.jpgHere is a camera that I would thoroughly recommend popping in your basket if you are considering taking up photography. A more detailed post on this topic is to follow. The link will take you to Amazon. 

Canon SX60 HS PowerShot Digital Camera

Stella French’s Photography

Stella French’s Twitter

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