Photographer learning the craft as he shoots a sunrise

The Photography Tips That 96 Photographers Wish They Would’ve Learned Sooner

Photographer learning the craft as he shoots a sunrise


Two weeks ago (I know, I'm slow…) on the Improve Photography Facebook fan page, I asked our community what photography tips they wish they would have learned sooner.  I was looking for lessons that many photographers procrastinate learning and it ends up keeping them back from progressing as photographers.

Over 96 photographers commented on that facebook comment with their hard earned lessons, and I grabbed the most popular lessons from the group to share here.  I hope that this article teaches you many ways to save yourself from making rookie mistakes (like I still seem to do every day!).

Lesson #1: Envision, plan, and then create

There is nothing–at all-wrong with looking at great photography to get creative inspiration.  Spend the time thinking and thinking of what type of photo you want to create and how you can do it.  Then, get to work.  Almost every one of my best shots are the result of weeks of planning.  Rarely did I just “happen” to find a great scene or model to photograph.  Make each photo “your own,” whether it be a little bit different lighting or composition, make it feel personal (Tip submitted by Brendan Williams and Chris Mullins)

Lesson #2: The histogram is NOT optional

Spending just 5 or 10 minutes to learn how to use the histogram can make a huge difference in your photography.  Personally, I use the histogram most of the times that I go out and shoot.  I use it when shooting a wedding to make sure that the bride's dress is not overexposed, I use it when shooting landscapes in low light to make sure I am gathering enough light, etc.  Learn to use the histogram (Tip submitted by Mike Gothard, Thorpe Griner)

Learn lighting for photography

This photo would be pretty dull without great off-camera lighting…

Lesson #3: Learn to wirelessly fire the flash off-camera

By getting the flash off the camera, the lighting changes dramatically for the better.  Directional light throws pleasing shadows on the subject and highlights the natural curvature of the face. If you haven't yet learned how to fire the flash off-camera, I recommend checking out my lighting gear recommendations page.  There, you'll find a $20 flash trigger that works flawlessly. No need to change camera settings at all.  Just put the trigger on the hot shoe of your camera (the hook on the top of your DSLR) and attach the flash receiver to the bottom of ANY flash.  That's all it takes.  Take a picture and your flash will fire. (Tip submitted by Rick Walther, Teara Galbraith)

Lesson #4: Learn to change the active focus point

For most (but not all) photography, I recommend using a single autofocus point rather than allowing the camera to choose several points.  When many photographers learn to use one focus point, they often use only the center focus point.  To do this, they focus on the eye of the subject or on the correct place for a landscape, and then recompose the picture while holding the shutter button half-way down.  After composing to the correct composition, the photographer then finishes pressing in the shutter button. If you sit down for a minute with your camera manual and learn to change the focus point, then you will likely get a much larger percentage of your shots in focus. (Tip submitted by Lyndsey DeSantis, Liam Behan)

Photography tripod and dslr

Friends don't let friends waste money on cheap tripods

Lesson #5: With tripods, it's “Buy right, buy once”

Several of our Improve Photography community commented that they wish they wouldn't have wasted their money on cheap tripods.  The cheapies might seem like good deals, but you'll end up buying four or five before you finally break down and buy a good one that will last your lifetime. Not sure which tripod to buy?  Check out my recommendations of the best tripods on the market. (Tip submitted by Derek Bell-Jack, Steve McCusky, Dave McKenzie)

learn photography composition

Ahhh… yes. That'll do it. Just set down your camera, do the finger composition thingy, and everything will fix itself.

Lesson #6: Photography is REALLY about composition and light

When I saw this tip, which was submitted by Roel Knol, Chand Dumbris, Patsy J Lander, on the Facebook page, I knew this one had to be included in the list.  Personally, I spent about the first year of my photography focused on the tiny little technical details, hoping my photography would improve.  I learned too late that great photography is about interesting light and strong composition.  Everything else is just a cherry on top.

Lesson #7: Manual Mode

There is no need to be afraid of manual mode.  Just turn it on and start playing–you'll figure it out quick.  If you understand what shutter speed, aperture, and ISO do, you'll quickly learn how to shoot in manual.  Perhaps the biggest mistake beginning photographers make when starting to shoot in manual mode is that they expect to nail the shot the first time.  Manual mode is a process of trial and error.  You'll get faster and faster at judging the correct settings, but you have to accept the fact that it will take a few tries for each set up.  (Bronnie Thompson)

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Lesson #8: Bounce flash

Most photographers buy a flash with their new camera, but most beginners just aim the flash head right at the subject and shoot.  If you point the flash at the ceiling or a side wall and bounce the flash onto the model, you'll get significantly softer and more flattering light.  It's incredibly easy to learn, but many photographers are afraid to try it for the first time. (Ryan Fernandez)

Photographer with camera

This photo illustrates two principles: (1) This is a great use of exposure compensation to get a bright and warm feeling, and (2) Yes, it is apparently possible to be TOO in love with your camera.

Lesson #9: Exposure Compensation

I must admit that it took me a while to learn to use exposure compensation.  I felt like my head was already spinning just trying to understand the aperture, so the thought of changing the exposure in aperture priority was a daunting task when I started out.  Once I tried it, though, I was so glad I did! Exposure compensation is simply a way of telling the camera that the exposure it is picking is not what you want.  You simply scroll the little wheel on your camera to choose a brighter (+1 or +.7 exposure compensation, for example), or a darker picture (-1 or -.7 exposure compensation).  You set the exposure compensation and then the camera will choose the setting that it things is the correct exposure and then add or remove a little brightness according to what exposure compensation you choose.  (Submitted by Jim Thurman)

Lesson #10: It is NOT “cheating” to use Photoshop

I have strong feelings about the importance of using digital image editing in our photography.  In fact, I had a conversation with Dustin Olsen (who is working with me at Improve Photography now), about digital image editing a couple days ago and was glad to hear that he feels just like I do.  My photography is not news, my photography is art.  Just like a painter can put whatever she wants in a painting, I feel that I can do whatever I want to my photos in Photoshop as long as I don't lie and tell people it is a representation of the actual scene. If you're passionate about this topic too, check out this article on why I think digital image editing is perfectly okay.  (Idea submitted via Facebook by Terasa Lewis)

Photography gear

Some day my wife will divorce me if I don't clear all of my photo gear out of the garage 🙂

Lesson #11: Don't buy more gear until you hit a wall with the gear you already have

I often get emails from brand new beginning photographers asking what lens they should buy because their 18-55 kit lens isn't sharp enough.  I'll be perfectly honest… I've never met a photographer who has less than one year of experience who is better than the kit lens.  I'm not saying that their pictures couldn't be helped out a tiny bit by a sharper lens, but I  am saying that there are about 100 more important things for a beginner to master before anyone is going to notice that the picture is barely less sharp from the lens.  99% of sharpness problems that I see are caused by poor shooting technique, and not a cheap lens.  Once the photographer masters the fundamentals, then a new lens is an important investment and the sharpness will definitely improve. The same is true for many other photography gear items.  It isn't necessary to buy $3,000 in studio equipment unless you've already learned how to use a bare bones $120 lighting set upto its full advantage.  It probably isn't necessary to buy a $1,500 macro lens until you've reached your limit by using a simple close focus filter.  It probably isn't necessary to buy a 5d mark II until that is the weak link in your photography. I love gear, but I feel bad when I hear photographers say they feel limited by their beginner gear when, in reality, they should probably just get out there and shoot more.  (Abby Krim)

Lesson #12: A $15 reflector will do more to improve your photography than a $2,000 portrait lens

I read this comment by Krista Barton DeVries on our Facebook fan page and I knew this one had to be included in the article.  Lighting… is…. everything!  I'm amazed at the number of photographers that invest in a $2,500 70-200mm f/2.8 lens before even buying a simple lighting kit for $120.  There are few photographers who love getting a new lens in the mail more than I do, but I have to agree that if you really want your pictures to improve, spending a little money on a reflector or other cheap lighting accessories will do much more to improve your photography.

Lesson #13: Get a deposit before booking a shoot

I read this hard-earned lesson sent in by Troy Browder and I had to laugh, because any pro photographer who has been around for a while has been burned.  I learned the hard way, too.  Get a deposit and get a contract before ever putting a client down on your calendar.  It's just good business.

Photography Tips

Don't you wish the camera manufacturers would get on the ball with adding swivel screens to all DSLRs? It's such a pain to lie down prostrate on the ground just to get a low angle.

Lesson #14: Shoot many DIFFERENT shots, but don't waste time getting 10 copies of the same scene

I'll admit that this lesson is a bit controversial.  Many photographers (including a lot of great photographers) like to take 10 or 15 shots of each shot.  Personally, I like to make sure that every picture I take is different from the previous one, even if the difference is only slight.  If I see a scene, I'll shoot it once, analyze the picture, change my angle or the exposure slightly, and then shoot again.  Rather than just ripping the shutter to get multiple shots of the scene, I like to change each shot just slightly as I work the scene.  This makes me slow down and not get stuck with the first shot of the scene, but rather keep changing until I find the exact right angle. Work your photography like a surgeon making tactical strikes rather than a trash man just trying to do the same thing over and over again.  (Dawn Fort)

Lesson #15: Learn where to focus when shooting a group of two or more people

Incredibly important!  When shooting a group photo when you want to use somewhat shallow depth of field, make sure to focus on the person closest to the camera.  This is also true for shooting couples where one person is slightly in front of the other person.  Many, many times I have made the mistake of focusing on someone in the group who is one or two rows back, but this always make the shot look blurry.  With time, I've learned to ALWAYS focus on the person in the group closest to the camera.  (Paulette Gollan)

Oh, and you DEFINITELY don't want to miss this article on posing people for group photos.


  1. Jim, there are a lot of lists out there for photographers to keep in mind. This has got to be one of the most useful I’ve seen. I especially appreciate numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, 7,….ah heck, they’re all good. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Another helpful post from IP! 5, 7, and 14 are definitely my top 3 lessons. I don’t do any studio shooting right now but if I decide to go that route later on, I’m sure a few of these will be helpful to know going in!

  3. Author

    @Rick – Thanks for the kind compliment. It’s a lot of work to put these posts together, so I appreciate the encouragement.

  4. Very helpful tips indeed! I have only been shooting DSLR for 2 years and found them all helpful and true especially 2 and 3 both of those I need to research more!

    Love this line: interesting light and strong composition


  5. I discovered a few weeks ago, and I must say that this is one of the best websites I have come across thus far. Thanks for posting this awesome list and keep up the great work.

  6. I’m a enthusiast and very beginner one but I do appreciate to read tips like these. I like to experiment constantly. Great work!!!

  7. Good thing I stumbled to your post before I started a serious habit in photography. These are indeed very useful tips. Thanks!

  8. Love this list but I have to disagree with one point. A good lens makes an incredible difference no matter what your skill level.

  9. This list is fantastic! And even though I know some of them, there were a couple I needed a reminder about. Fantastic!

  10. Great post. I wish I had learned to shoot in Manual sooner. I used to shoot in Aperture Mode. When I would put my flash on I noticed that my pictures were not very clear. It finally hit me that my camera would default to 1/60th shutter speed and that was not fast enough to catch a small child witout it being fuzzy. I changed to Manual Mode, cranked up the shutter speed to 1/125th or 1/160th and my pictures are clear all the time now.

    Thanks for a great site.

  11. Jim, thank you for putting together this wonderful list. I’m keeping it front and center on my desktop. (I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has had trouble learning exposure compensation!)

  12. Hi:

    Three points:

    The histogram is based on a JPEG not a RAW file. Maybe you shouldn’t put so much faith in it.(BTW, I still shoot film.)

    I don’t consider a zoom lens, 70-200mm f/2.8, the same thing as a portrait lens. A portrait lens on a 35mm/full frame camera is a fixed focal length 105mm. Otherwise you’ve made an excellent point.

    I don’t agree with #15, focus point in front. Sometimes putting person nearest to lens out-of-focus can point your audience to the real subject of the photo.

  13. Excellent article! Another really important lesson is having adequit back-up equip. Don’t want to learn this the hard way at a wedding when 2 cameras fail.

  14. Very interesting, just starting out,at the moment any tip is a good tip…..cheers Grossy

  15. Couldn’t agree more with the purchase of a $15.00 reflector (Tip #12). It’s been one of my best purchases this year.

  16. In regards to #9. Is there any reason to use Exposure Compensation other than to put the meter in the middle, or does it actually have an effect on the outcome of the picture?

  17. #11: I’ve reached a point where a Rebel really is the weak link in my gear. I’m pulling the trigger on a 5DmkII as we speak. Well, that, and it’s not under $2kUS, which has been my price point for one of those.

  18. Thanks for posting this! Everything in this post is definitely true. #13 is one i’m trying really really hard to work on.

  19. @John

    Not entirely true. I’m a stock editor by day, and the pile of garbage I see churned out in a day with Canon L glass would make you shudder. There are some people who should just save their money.

    Good post. My own tip is never buy anything, be it lens, filter, flash, whatever, without knowing its exact purpose and what advantage it will give you. And yes, it tales work to find this stuff out. Whenever I see one of those “what lens should I buy?” or “what lighting kit should I buy?” questions on the forums I just cringe, because many times the poster will offer no info as to what he wants to shoot, and even if asked, he still doesn’t know. Define needs, and only then, fill them. Had I known this 30 years ago, I could have saved myself thousands. But I had fun, I just learned the expensive way is all.

  20. #15 is the one I’ll take away with me the most! I’ve learned to read, read, read, research, shoot, photoshop and then read some more. I always take something different each time. I’ll try this one to see if I keep getting less frustrated with group shots!

  21. Interesting. Great ideas.
    With #14 if you are shooting weddings, there is no way you can do this…you have to take more then one shot with group shots.

  22. The last “tip” kind of set this article up for failure, for me. Even if you focus on the front person, you’re going to end up with blurry OOF back people. You MUST adjust the aperture to make everyone come into focus!! You simply cannot take a lens with the lowest f stop being 1.4 and expect it to cover 5 people, depth wise, while at that setting. My, personal, rule of thumb is one f stop per person… so if I have a large group who is six heads deep, a minimum aperture of 6 is what I’d use.

    1. Author

      @Jessica – Where in the article did you read that you could still use an aperture that is too low? It doesn’t say that at all. All I said was that the focus is to be placed on the front person. No matter what aperture you chose, you still have to know where to focus…

    2. I agree Jessica. The rule I use is to focus 1/3 of the way in to the group if they are in multiple rows. If you focus on the front person the entire back rows of people will be out of focus.

      1. Author

        @Beth – You’re right that the hyperfocal distance is usually about 1/3 the way into the group, so you’ll get the longest area of focus by focusing there… but after shooting more groups than I care to recall…. I promise you’ll get better results by focusing on the front row of the people. Try it for yourself. The difference is dramatic.

  23. Wonderful article. I’ve had trouble learning exposure settings – I know what they each DO but how they work together hasn’t really registered in my brain yet. I shoot with a Nikon D90 I got in mid-October, so I’m still learning all the features which makes it more difficult. This list of tips has been very helpful to me and I’m sure I’ll refer back to it from time to time to refresh my memory. 🙂

  24. Loved this article I’ve learned so much!! I have been shooting since I was a teenager but only had my SLR a few years. It never fails to know that no matter how much I read I still don’t know how to make it do everything (obviously)that I want it to LOL.

  25. # 1 is so important and pay great attention to it but I must admit I’m not using histogram [#2] as much I should, relying on experience. This have failed me on many occasions. Lesson learned 🙂

    Thanks a lot for this article

  26. I am an “early” learner of photography. I need all the help I can get! Just found your site and plan on spending a lot of time reading! Thank you!

  27. YOU are amazing and these tips kill me! SOOO helpful to an amateur like myself! 3 of the tips dropped my jaw. So simple. So profound. Keep up the good work!

  28. I sometimes find myself in the frame of mind that I’m not going to have good shots without better equipment and I’m thankful for articles like this that help put my feet back on the ground. Thanks for all your hard work in improving my photography! 😉

  29. Great tips! My MIL is totally getting a $15 reflector for Christmas next year, lol. I disagree though with not taking many of the same shot if you are talking people (especially kids!) instead of nature/still lifes though-not as a photographer, but as a mom who has been disappointed many times by photographers who seem to only take each shot once, and I end up with a pose I love but someone blinking or wiggling. I’d rather have one amazing picture than 10 mediocre ones.

  30. Heh, I forget that a lot of people have started on DSLRs where for those who started on manual film SLRs, a lot of this is just common sense! Single point manual focusing, planning composition and taking fewer, more different shots etc, because you HAD to back then! 😀

  31. Wow! What an insightful and helpful post! Thanks for sharing. I’m a Singer-Songwriter by trade but often do most of my own photography and video work. This article definitely gave me some new ideas for
    the next time I’m behind the trigger.

  32. Canon 60D has a swivel screen! Not exactly a “pro” photographer camera but it has one. 🙂

  33. I don’t think there is a photo that I’ve taken that I haven’t learned something from it. Thanks for all the great tips!

  34. Ok but, what’s the point of the exposure compensation? Why not just manually change the exposure to what you need and skip the extra step? It has always seemed like a pointless option to me. Because all you have to do is step into a different lighting situation and you’ll have to re-adjust your exposure compensation. Like I said, why not just manually expose for what you need in any given situation?

  35. Thanks for the great tips. Hopefully I’ll lean closer towards the professional level after this.

  36. Lesson no.14 is all well and good when shooting landscapes, or even adults who will stand still – it does NOT, however, work when shooting children or infants. In those cases, you must take 10 of the same set up, just to get one where the child has their eyes just right and their mouths just right and are not moving too much.

  37. I am just getting started with the photography thing for real and this is a fantastic list of tips! Thank you!!! I got an awesome camera for Christmas and had my first unofficial “official” shoot this last weekend. It was kind of terrifying because I’m still not 100% confident in my camera knowledge. Lol. I am so grateful for the experienced photographers out there, such as yourself, who take the time to help those of us who are starting out. THANK YOU!!!!

  38. New photographer here…just stumbled across this list thanks to pinterest. Thanks for all of the great tips especially to live with my canon rebel kit for a while. Looking forward to some great shooting!

  39. Jim, I love #11 — it’s always the photographer first and the equipment secondary. I constantly see so many people obsessed with equipment, they keep buying the latest and greatest without devoting time to improve their photography skills. Thanks!

  40. Fantastic article! I must have said out loud three times while I was reading it ” wow I love this article!”. :-). Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  41. Related to the last couple tips, always take at least two pictures. For example I take pictures a lot of people dressed up at anime conventions and such. I may have all the settings setup so the exposure is exactly what I want but I used to just take one picture and be on my way. Then I get home and noticed the person was in mid blink or was maybe looking at someone else. Now I take at least two, usually more.

    To elaborate this is from when I’m walking around a convention, see people dressed up and I want to take a picture real quick so they can get to wherever it is they’re going to go. Not for a photo shoot where I take two pictures and call it a day. Although I do the same strategy though where any certain pose I’ll tap the shutter at least twice.

  42. Full of passion and good tips to always remember! Good job man!

  43. These lessons are wonderful. I’ve been brushing up ever since!

  44. Awesome*So gonna keep this in mind* this will really help when i start my photography and blog, bt 4 now it doesnt really help (bt im sure it does 4 sum ppl) Thankyou!!LOL

  45. Thanks for sharing I’m a newbie and a very dry sponge trying to soak up all I can!

  46. Thanks for sharing I’m a newbie and a very dry sponge trying to soak up all I can!

  47. Love this. I just had the equipment conversation with a lady few weeks ago. After watching people try to convince that she should get a bigger better camera, just because she could. Even though the features that made it better were not anything she actually would use.

  48. Great article!!!…..At least what I have been able to read so far. I can’t seem to find anything beyond Lesson/Tip #15. I am sure I am not seeing whee to go to find the rest of the tips. The article mentions 96 tips….I am only able to access 15.

  49. Rule 15 is bad advice. If you have a very large group of people where the depth from front to back is extensive you do not use a shallow depth of field number one. Rules of optics say that from your critical point of focus the depth of field extends in both directions. More so to the back than the front. So you want to pick a focus point that corresponds to the f-stop that will give you the correct depth of field from front to back to cover the subject matter. Every lens is different and you should shoot tests to determine where the sweet spot is for that lens/fstop combination. Saying you ALWAYS focus on the front person in the group is wrong.

  50. @Lloyd- I agree with you but my rationale is different.

    If its a wedding and the bride’s in the picture, focus is ALWAYS on her.

    Any other type of shoot, I generally focus on the person that’s paying

  51. love love my camera! when I grow up I WANT TO BE A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER! ok before I turn 60 heehee,thank you ….

  52. Depth of field ( DOF) is dependent on focal length of lens, f/stop and proximity to subject. On a normal scene (not macro) DOF is from the critical plane of focus, 1/3 towards camera and 2/3 back. In macro mode it will change to a 50/50 split in both directions.

  53. WOW!!!! there is so much more to Photography than i 1st thought….will you be my Yoda…lol

  54. I am sort of an unwilling photographer in that while I dabbled years ago as a hobby, I now have to do take the pictures for my own website. I have learned my camera but it seems that product photography is a totally different breed. Any tips for me on this? I feel my images suck and have no clue what to do to improve no matter what do. That’s what I meant by an unwilling photographer?

  55. thanks for this. planning is key manytimes. i found myself very inspired recently after an exhibit of antique japanese prints. my current project is to recreate the composition in those very edited ink paintings and perhaps even display them in the same manner, mounted on a scroll at top and bottom. i’m usually shooting for slide shows or videos so doing vertical for a while will be a nice change. CEB

  56. I am just rediscovering photography after throwing out my 35mm Canon AE1, additional lenses and filters because, I thought I would never use them again.
    I regret most throwing away a big Braun flashgun and bracket that is going to cost me a lot to replace.

    As I develop my website I am focusing on improving my composition and sticking with a little Nikon point and shoot until I get better. That doesn’t stop me reading the reviews and pricing up the MILC’s that are on the market,even though I know that for the most part they will not take any better pictures.
    It was good to read the tips from others in this article and I agreed with most of them.

  57. I love your site. Such a great resource. I just received my very first pro camera as a birthday gift. I’m going to be all over this 🙂

  58. These are excellent insights. I plan to start learning my camera because I have failed at getting a decent photographer to take unique pictures of my twins (yes, I’ll use my new found knowledge for toddler photographer). I just have so many ideas and visions of perfect photographs and no one has been able to siate my visions. So, I figured I would take matter into my own hands and now I stumbled upon this great article. Love it!

  59. Have been shooting a lot of performers in low light lately with wide open apperture in manual mode at relatively slow speed. So getting the focus right is critical to the value of the pic. #4 is right on. I use spot focus and on my Nikon, I can move the focus point up/down, right/left as I have my eye on the subject through the lens and move to compose – all in real time. For people shooting dynamic situations, I think this is a critical thing to learn. Also did this in shooting the America’s Cup races (VERY dynamic) with an 80-400mm lens – have to be changing the focus point constantly as I reframe the image constantly in response to changeing positions of the boats. Learn to do this and your dynamic (and dramatic!) shots will always have the focus you want!

  60. Great photography tips!!!
    All these tips really helps beginners to improve their photography i specially loved the 6th point its really play key role in photography. Thanks for sharing it…

  61. Thank you for posting these tips they are very helpful. I have a question though: I was wondering if you could help me to buy my first professional camera. I have always used digital cameras. There are so many choices. My budget is $200-$500. What are my options?

  62. Buy used! There are so many good deals to be had… an example would be the original Canon 5d at 13MB … you can pick one up for around $500. The benefit would be that it is a full frame sensor. Originally that camera cost $2500.

  63. This article is amazing, plain and simple. I’m currently exiting my first year of photography and while I was familiar with a lot of this information, I can say that I am so grateful for the very last tip! I always wondered where to focus on a group shot as a lot of mine have returned blurry. Yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve been eyeballing the 70-200 and the macro BUT stopped myself the other night because, well, this article is true. I have not mastered the kit OR the 50mm 1.8. I am grateful for Pinterest and you-tube because I’ve learned sooooo much that I get excited to use my old gear all over again because I found another tip. Until that ends, I’m ok. Now, I’m just curious about the close filter focus I just learned about!

  64. my Nikon 5100 was 549 and I love it as my first non-point and shoot… 4000 images in last year wonderful depth and COLOR is spectacular. Optional remote is well worth 20. digital zoom and manual override

  65. One of the best websites I have read in a long time, easy to read clear letter type, Information is also to the point and not a lot of junk in between. Chapeaux

  66. Really great article. I have been shooting with my new camera and I have found there is a lot to making a good picture. Thanks for these tips.

  67. I really enjoyed this article and very useful tips indeed.

  68. I don’t agree with #14. You can take shots from many different perspectives and still take a few each time. The times I haven’t taken multiples of each scene, I’ve regretted it. It reduces the risk of something ruining a photo that you may not notice until you load the pictures onto the computer (for example, a bird flying across the scene, a branch shaking in the wind, etc.)

  69. Thank you for a very helpful article – I’m firmly in beginner territory with my Nikon D3100 and food photography is my thing. It’s not coming naturally to me at all but I am progressing. I think shooting every day or at least often as you can manage, at different times of day and therefore natural lighting is one of the best teachers. There’s no substitute for practising and then critiquing your own shots 🙂

  70. So you are saying that using photoshop is not a cheating at all. Then which photoshop technique people do use frequently after taking their shots? Is it the background removing and place the images in white background or the retouching task?

  71. I am not a photographer , but photography is my hobby. I am having Nikon Coolpix S33oo digital camera .This is a Very good & interesting Article with useful Tips. Thanks for these Tips. Now I can improve my photography with these tips. I would like to know more on good photography by using this Camera.

  72. just fyi – surgeons don’t try over & over to get it right. they’re very decisive, striking only once for each step of the procedure.

  73. I learned a lot of lessons from this post. Charge to my experience.

    Please continue to post informative tips like this so that many beginners be reminded.

  74. I told my dad that that’s what I want to be, but he said I’ll never make it and I shouldn’t waste my time and money on it and pick a more practical career option…would I be wasting my time?

    1. Morgan,
      With hard work and dedication, you can be anything you want. If I were you, I’d learn as much as I can about photography and how to take pictures and just start experimenting. You don’t need expensive equipment to do that. Learn how to shoot in manual mode, learn about the settings (iso, aperture and shutter), learn about composition and lighting. You can find a decent priced, entry level dslr camera. And there are numerous photography blogs online that offer free tips and tutorials ( Get out there and start shooting! Good luck to you!! 🙂

  75. I love this article, but the link to the digital editing being okay (which I really wanted to read) leads to a book about landscape photography. I may be doing something wrong though.

  76. i have never read some like this the has given me an ideal i will say thank so much .

  77. I’ve learned SO much just riding the bus home! Some of these tips I truly DO wish I’d have learned a while ago but, better late that never. Thank you!😎

  78. check out Michel has been teaching and giving tips on flash for years. His sight and e-books will educate and make your enthusiasm for flash a real goal.

  79. I’m doing a project on photography and this helped extremely well so glad I found this!

  80. The tripod selection is a very crucial thing. I realized that i needed a tripod which i could carry easily as i mostly shoot landscapes travelling on a bike so i invested in a strong monopod which gives me the support needed while clicking pictures. The usual entry level ones are not reliable and cannot hold ground properly.

  81. Really very helpful tutorial but i want to buy it via payoneer master card . Can i buy by my payoneer master card ? Please let me know . Thank you very much for this important tutorial .

  82. I am doing also Photography project . I really appreciate for this tutorial because i found here many information for Photography .

  83. I am an amateur photographer and overload myself with “tips”. This is one of the best I’ve read. You’ve convinced me to finally get a great tripod instead of ok (I’ve gone through 3 already). Thank you for the work

  84. Thanks for the tips i will try to put them all up once i am out for shoot. Also i would like to know which flash should i buy i am but confused. Currently i am using the in build flash of my camera canon 600D. Please advise on this as i want to learn to bounce the light.

  85. Really great Tips. We don’t need expensive equipment to take great pictures. There’s no substitute for practicing and then creating your own shots. Thanks a lot for sharing your tips. Some tips are really helpful.

  86. Great article. Especially the historgram. It’s essential. It’s the truth about your shot where the screen is just a guide. Good point on the tripod as well. Teach heaps of people with $2000 worth of gear on a $50 plastic head tripod. Camera shops have a lot to answer for sometimes.

  87. After learning a bit about photography, I found myself in love with using the photos I shot and creating montages, wallpapers, etc… I particularly enjoyed creating photo calendars! And for photo calendars, it’s a whole other beast, and I definitely needed help doing this. This article provides great guidelines on creating a photo calendar.

  88. Good stuff. Not necessarily eye-openers but absolutely good reminders. Especially number 5 and 10 are so true.

    Number 14 is debatable indeed. If the scene doesn’t change there’s no need to take 20 shots. But if there is moving water or clouds in a scene I always take tons of shots and pick the best wave/splash or cloud formation.

  89. Thanks a bunch for your tips. Photography has been my hobby most of my life and your timely tips have provided me with new and improved knowledge on how to take the best digital photos…knowledge I have needed ever since I started doing digital photography with a small Canon SX160 IS 16-megapixel camera I purchased 4 years ago along with first my Apple iPhone 4 which got stolen from me last May when my apartment was burglarized and now my Apple iPhone 5 I now keep on my person most of the time just in case opportunity knocks which happens from time to time for me to get that sought-after shot. I am hoping to soon be able to get a DSLR I’ve been wanting for quite some time.

  90. Thanks a bunch for your very-helpful tips. Photography has been my hobby most of my life (I am now 74.) and your timely tips have provided me with new and improved knowledge on how to take the best digital photos…knowledge I have needed ever since I started doing digital photography with a small Canon SX160 IS 16-megapixel camera I purchased 4 years ago along with first my Apple iPhone 4 which got stolen from me last May when my apartment was burglarized and now my Apple iPhone 5 I now keep on my person most of the time just in case opportunity knocks which happens from time to time for me to get that lucky shot. I am hoping to soon be able to get a DSLR I’ve been wanting for quite some time. By the way, I own three 35mm SLR’s including a Yashica FX-3 with 8 lenses, a vintage Voigtlander Bessamatic plus an Asahi Pentax ME which I actually found in a dumpster along with 2 lenses for it all in good usable condition. Call me a “hybrid photographer” if you like as I plan to use them right alongside my digital cameras. Although film photography may have been relegated to second place, I don’t believe it will ever become obsolete as there are millions of film cameras still in use out there.

  91. I think learning Manual mode and not buying more gear until you have mastered what you have is very important. As are the tips on lighting, flash and reflectors. Great Post!

  92. Hello. My name is Tracey. Photography is a huge hobby and I absolutely love it! Although, there’s still SO much I don’t know, I would love for some of you to look at my work so far and give me your opinions and tips. I would greatly appreciate any help!! Thanks!

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