Learn as I Learn: Basic Photography

I purchased a Nikon D3300 DSLR as a self-gift for completing my exams at the end of last semester (November-ish). I had dreams of bringing my camera everywhere to snap a masterpiece of photography daily, and maybe even act as photographer for upcoming events.

Although I have taken my camera on a number of day-trips and even the occasional social outing, by far the most photographed thing on my camera is… my cat.


Don’t be fooled by the cute exterior – he is mental!

Toby the cat has been a wonderful model for practicing and developing my photography skills (when he doesn’t bite me!). From my few months of practice, here is what I have learned:

  1. Natural lighting MAKES a picture. 

Unless you know what you are doing when it comes to using the flash and properly editing an image – stick to taking pictures during the day. Early morning/late afternoon light tends to be the best.


Toby reflecting on a hard day of work.

2. Using the “brightness” feature in the provided editing software (should come with any camera) can make a bad picture good. 

I discovered this less than a month ago – shame on me! There are a lot of benefits of getting to know your editing software – benefits which I look forward to learning as much as you do.

3. Holding the camera properly – two hands on the wheel – really improves the quality of photographs. 

I blame my camera grip for the poor quality of my early photos. You should always take a photo with both hands on your camera – one holding the bulk of the camera (there is likely a grip) and the other steadying the lens.


Serious cat…

4. Learn not being afraid to try all the different knobs on the top of the camera. 

They tend to have a little image explaining what the setting is best for – and once you know what they all mean, they can be really helpful!


Cranky cat…

5. Practice makes perfect.

The first few pictures I took were shocking. Most still are to be honest. But with a lot of practice, and a lot of bad photographs taken, I seem to be getting better…


Toby not being very photogenic…

Hope you enjoyed this, and let me know if you have any tips for beginner photographers – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The GO TO place for beginner photography tips.

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