How to Start Photography – A Beginner’s Guide

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Photography essentially refers to capturing light, through a digital sensor included in a camera, to form an image. 

Colour photography gained immense popularity after Eastman Kodak released the film ‘Kodachrome’ in the 1930s. Soon after,  photography went from being just a hobby to  becoming a real profession.

How To Get Started With Photography?

There are various areas to cover before understanding all the technicalities involved in photography. If you’re just starting out, then the first step to ensuring a great photograph, is to stay true to your inspiration. 

In response to the question ‘How to learn photography?’ – while some professionals recommend using a DSLR, you can always start by using a smartphone with a good quality camera as well. 

However, if you feel that you would be best suited to a digital camera, there are several options available that would give you a headstart into photography.

Before you invest in a DSLR, make sure to research well. The best DSLR would be perfect in terms of features, modes and durability. 

Read the article ahead for some helpful information on how to get started with photography.

1. Inspiration 

More often than not, amateur photographers get overwhelmed by the details of photography. While the perfect camera gear and right settings contribute to capturing a great image, they aren’t the only significant aspects to consider. 

Before you take a picture, think about why you started with photography. It is essential that you find a muse that helps you express your personal creativity. Your subject will keep you interested in practicing photography and be a constant source of inspiration for you.

2. Composition 

While finding the right composition for your image may seem difficult, in reality, it’s quite easy. It basically refers to your perspective of the world. 

There are only a few fundamental rules that you need to get acquainted with before finding one that best captures your subject. 

  • Rule of Thirds

This rule is one of the most basic concepts you will need to understand. Rule of thirds divides your image into a nine block grid that helps you frame your subject proportionately. 

  • Leading Lines

Since an image is a representation of a third dimensional space, it’s important to add proper balance to make it look realistic. 

When it comes to how to start photography, the rule of thirds is an excellent option to try out. However, if you’re not comfortable with this setting, you can always use the leading lines that naturally occur in the environment. 

These lines ‘lead’ you to align your camera based on the intersection points of the subject. For example, if you’re capturing an image with mountains and waves, you can easily form an ideal image composition by letting the mountain lines guide you. 

3. Introduction To DSLR

If you’re aiming to use a smartphone camera, then you can skip this part. However, the process of how to learn photography would require you to at least be aware of DSLR modes and essentials. 

There are several DSLR cameras for beginners that include basic shooting modes; auto, portrait, macro, landscape, sports, TV and manual. 

Beginners can simply stick to the auto mode to shoot great images. However, it might not prove useful in the longer term, since it will restrict you from learning  the technicalities. 

You can also try shooting on the manual mode to get to know all the features that your camera offers. Manual mode allows you to set the exposure triangle, which consists of the aperture, ISO and shutter speed, according to your own preference. 

4. Aperture 

The aperture measured in f-stops basically determines the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor and the depth of field of your image. 

Aperture is basically the hole inside the lens which allows the light to pass through. It has a simple concept – as the aperture hole widens, more light enters the camera and the f-stop number decreases. 

A low f-stop will allow you to capture images in low light areas but will also decrease the depth of field.

5. Shutter Speed

As soon as the light passes the aperture hole, it reaches the part of the camera controlled by the shutter. 

The shutter speed is measured in fraction of seconds and can be used for stop motion images or to darken the exposure. Therefore, the longer your shutter speed is, the longer your shutter will be open, and thus allow more light to enter in. 

6. ISO

Last on the exposure triangle is the ISO setting. Amongst the steps on how to start photography, learning the ISO can prove to be the trickiest. 

As you increase the ISO, the exposure increases as well, but the image quality decreases by producing digital grain. Ideally, the base setting of ISO at 100 is perfect for capturing light shots. 

However, if you want to capture shots in dim areas, then you would have to forego image quality to allow more light to pass in.

Thus, all these three elements together affect the exposure which is an integral part in determining your image’s quality. 

7. Expand Your Gear

Once you’ve gotten yourself acquainted with the basics of photography, you can go ahead and invest in camera accessories to expand your photography range. 

Once you start shooting on manual mode efficiently, you can opt for wide aperture lenses, tripods or even better camera straps and filters. While some may end up increasing your budget, it will still be a valuable investment that will enhance your photography skills. 


Hopefully the article has been successful in answering the question of how to start photography. Everyone takes pictures with their cameras, but very few learn the intricacies that turn photography into a professional hobby.

To take your skills to a higher level, try drawing inspiration from skilled and established photographers to learn even more tips and tricks. Try your hand at different modes and switch between multiple subject portfolios before you decide on your muse. 

Perfecting any skill requires time and patience, so ensure that you keep reminding yourself of why you started with photography in the first place. Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment and you will find yourself clicking some pretty great shots!

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Marco Downs

Marco Downs

Marco Downs is our second founder and he is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers. 
Marco Downs

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