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Tips for New and Aspiring Photographers

Updated on May 15, 2017
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John Tuttle is a young Catholic man who has taken courses in media and history. He is interested in writing, photography, and video-making.

With the rise of the digital age and the rapid growth of the necessity and popularity of the web, photography has entered a new age. It has taken on a larger role in modern media. Nearly every person in America is an amateur photographer on a regular basis, taking selfies and snapshots with friends and family. This article proposes several steps which ought to be taken by any photographic enthusiasts who wish to improve their photography skills for personal goals and/or publicity and monetization of their work.

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An Introduction for Beginners

You probably have a phone with a built-in cam, but the lens is small, and it probably doesn't have a very high resolution. If you want to capture sharp images and make them become great pictures, you should really invest in a digital single-lens reflex camera, commonly referred to as a DSLR. You can buy a decent DSLR for around $500, and it will be worth it in the long run.

The DSLR's I use are a Nikon D3300 and a Nikon D3400. Each kit came with two alternating lenses of different lengths, and that is very nice to have. So I would not suggest buying more specialized lenses to a beginner right off the bat since they are rather pricey. However, if you are interested in taking macro photography of insects or spiders, you could purchase inexpensive macro lens filters to fit on your shorter lens which is typically an 18-55mm lens. If you did do this you would also have to be extremely close to your subject in order to capture it sharply and in focus. Otherwise, even if you are but an inch too far away, the picture could turn out blurred.

Though not necessary for all genres of photography, a tripod can be a photographer's best friend in many circumstances. Its main function is to keep a camera steady and not shaky. It should reduce vibration and aid in producing a clearer, crisper image in comparison to a photo taken with a hand-held camera. A tripod is key in wild animal photography; it is also absolutely vital in any photography which involves using a shutter speed longer than 1/200th of a second, such as starry nightscape photography. The quality of a tripod is closely related to its price. Usually, the more expensive the tripod, the more durable it will be.

Practice Always Makes Perfect

If you have a DSLR, the chances are that your first subjects will be family and friends or familiar objects around the house. Some might consider this boring or pointless, but it's not! Having patient family members who are open to having their pictures taken is a blessing as well as a great opportunity to hone in on your skills in portraiture and still life scenes.

Shooting photos of the family or of inanimate objects allows you, the photographer, ample amounts of time to create and set up the shot. For this reason, flower photography is also a good pursuit for beginners. These genres can help shape a photographer's mind, helping him or her to discover new angles and aesthetically-pleasing perspectives.

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Those are some ideas for angle creativity, but what about the actual settings and effects on the digital camera? Well, the best advice I can give you is this:

1) Look at your camera's User Manual! [I did not do this right off the bat, so I actually didn't even figure out how to turn it on until the next day.] This booklet supplies numerous diagrams of the camera's buttons and digital screen settings which clearly label the names of the buttons and menus and how they work.

2) Experiment. This step is the most important. That is, just start messing around with the camera's buttons, settings, and especially the features of the Shoot menu. Try to take pictures every day and see how they turn out. In this way, you will surely become more familiar and faster with your DSLR.

3) Look up questions you have regarding your camera model online. You will almost always be able to find articles or videos with answers.

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Great Exposure Opportunities for Your Photos

How do you get the world to see your beautiful work? The best free options are posting your photographs on blogs which are searching for photos and also by uploading them to the following sites: National Geographic Your Shot, ViewBug, and pixoto. National Geographic is the world's leading photography society. If you sign up to National Geographic's website, which is free to do, you are able to become a Your Shot photographer, meaning you can enter your photos in certain contests. If you win a contest, your photo will be published online and perhaps even in the printed magazine.

ViewBug has contests constantly going on in numerous genres. Some are free to enter, but it's always free to become a member of the ViewBug community. Prizes for the contests can include cameras, lenses, additional equipment, or even presentation in a photography gallery. Pixoto is similar to ViewBug but as well known. Like ViewBug, pixoto is a free site where you can upload your photos and get feedback from other people around the world who also love photography. You can even post your images for sale on pixoto. However, most of its contests' prizes do not have physical or monetary prizes, but they do assign awards to top-ranking images.

The Best Places to Sell Your Photos as Stock Online

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This is probably the part everyone wants to know about the most: how to make some money off your photos. If you are age 18 or older and you have some good photos you have a fair chance of being able to sell them to businesses or individuals via a stock website. Some of the best sites to sell stock imagery through include: Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Getty Images. A good photographer can make some extra money by doing this. This also might establish a photographer's reputation and name for future work.

All the photographs in this article are copyrighted by me.

© 2017 John Tuttle

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