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Photography Tips and Skills for Beginners

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

Whenever I think of a useful photography tip, I always write it down for later. Most of them are forgettable, but some are so helpful that I try to tell them to as many photographers as possible. This article contains 20 of the best. These bite-sized photography tips are easy to understand, covering everything from beginner camera technique to creativity and composition. If you’re learning photography, these should be especially helpful for you along the way.

Photography gear

I’ve also made a video with a separate list of tips, if you’re more of a visual learner. It has some more “advanced” tips (mainly some lesser-known photography techniques I like to use) that are different from the tips in the rest of this article. You can watch it here:



Now let’s take a look at my favorite photography tips for beginners.


Work with Your Composition

To take engaging photos, you need to be engaged with what you’re doing. Don’t just fly by on autopilot. Instead, put thought into your composition and try to make your photos as good as possible.


That starts with knowing the basics of how to compose good photos. Don’t cut off important parts of your subject with the edge of your frame. Keep your horizons level, and try to eliminate any distractions in your photo by adjusting your composition. See if your photo has a sense of balance and simplicity. And if the photo doesn’t look good on your first try, keep experimenting until you get it right.


NIKON D800E + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, ISO 400, 1/100, f/5.6. Photo by Nasim Mansurov.

Use the Camera You Already Have


Camera gear is not all that important.

There are countless cameras, lenses, and other accessories on the market today. We spend a lot of time reviewing them at Photography Life, and it’s true that some are better than others (or better suited for a given job). But once you’ve tested enough of them, the real takeaway is that pretty much everything today is excellent. The differences are almost always minor, especially at a given price.


So, use the camera you already have, and don’t look back. In almost every way, today’s entry-level DSLRs are better than the top-of-the-line film SLRs ever were. Yet somehow those film photographers managed to capture beautiful, iconic photos that still look great today.


Much more important are your creative skills and knowledge of camera settings. Focus your effort on those, not on collecting camera equipment.


Taken with the Nikon D5100, an entry-level DSLR from 2011, and its 18-55mm kit lens

Learn Which Settings Matter

There are a lot of camera settings, and it takes some practice to get them right, especially as a beginner. Even advanced photographers won’t always do everything perfectly. But it’s worth learning how to set your camera properly, and which camera settings matter the most, so you have the best chance to take the photos you want.


First, try practicing with camera modes other than full Auto. You won’t learn anything if your camera is making all the decisions for you. It might be confusing at first, but hopefully our articles on aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will