Beginner Photography 101: Learn Photography Fast!

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Learning photography can be difficult and confusing. I made this guide to take away the confusion and explain photography with simple language that anyone can understand. I made many mistakes when learning photography. With this guide,  hopefully you won’t have to.

Photography should be accessible to everyone. This step by step guide will teach you everything you need to know to go from absolute beginner to photography master.

Table of Contents

Getting To Know Your Camera

Before getting into settings, composition, lighting, and the rest of it, we’ll start with a basic introduction to your camera. You either have a DSLR or Mirrorless camera. Read the article that pertains to you, or both if you’re interested.

     • What is a DSLR camera?

     • What is a Mirrorless Camera?

EOS Rebel T7
A DSLR camera from Canon's popular EOS Rebel series.

The Exposure Triangle

Every picture you take is controlled by just three settings: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Read these articles to get to know these vital settings.

     • Understanding Exposure: What is Aperture?

     • Understanding Exposure: What is Shutter Speed?

     • Understanding Exposure: What is ISO?

It’s not enough to understand how these settings work separately. You need to know how they work together. Time to apply your knowledge and start exposing pictures for real. Read this article to learn how.

     • What is Exposure? The Exposure Triangle Explained

Lenses and Your Camera

Interchangeable lenses are the key feature that makes DSLR and Mirrorless cameras so great. The world of lenses can be confusing though. There are many different categories of focal length, and not all lenses work on every camera. Read the following articles to cut through the confusion.

     • Complete Guide to Focal Length and Lenses

     • Perspective in Photography: A Complete Guide

     • Everything You Need to Know About Lens Filters

Canon EF 17-40 f/4
My Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 lens.

Composition

Composition is king. Knowing how to expose properly is great, but without thoughtful composition your photos will fall flat. Composition has rules and can be learned like anything else. Read the following articles to take your composition to the next level.

     • Beginner’s Guide to the General Rules of Composition

     • Beginner’s Guide to Composition for Landscapes

zero-point perspective example
A thoughtfully composed landscape.

Light and Color Temperature

Lighting is just as, and sometimes even more important than composition. Taking a picture with the correct amount, direction, and color temperature is vital to great photography. Read the following articles to master light and color.

     • Beginner’s Guide to Lighting For Your Camera

     • Everything You Need to Know About White Balance

An image with soft, warm, interesting directional lighting.

Sensor Size Matters

One of the most important and most under-talked-about parts of photography is sensor size. The size of your sensor changes how the three exposure settings and focal length work. To learn more, read the following article.

     • Everything You Need to Know About Camera Sensor Sizes

Above image demonstrates the difference in size between APS-C (left) and Full Frame (right) cameras.

Mastering Sharp Photos

Now that you know how to properly expose and compose your images, it’s time to learn how to make them come out tack sharp. Read the following article to learn how.

     • How to Take Sharper Photos

A pin sharp photo of Japanese figurines.

Editing Your Photos

Being able to take well-composed, sharp, properly exposed images is only half the battle. Editing your photos is the other half, and is crucial to making your photography stand out. It’s not cheating and it doesn’t diminish what you do in-camera. You should edit every good photo you take to make it excellent. It’s easier than you might think. Read the following articles to learn how.

     • Beginner’s Guide to Photo Editing in Lightroom

     • 7 Steps to Perfect Exposure Blending

Before After Original RAW imageExposure inc at end example

An image before and after editing.

Copyright and Your Rights

Taking great photos is wonderful. You’ll probably want to share them with friends, family, and even strangers online. It’s important to know your rights. Can people steal your photos if you put them online? What can you do if they do? Learn all about copyright in the following article.

     • Photography and Copyright: The Definitive Guide 

An example of copyright notice.

Conclusion

You made it to the end! Congratulations! I hope this guide was helpful in starting or continuing your photography journey. This guide is updated regularly, so come back for more when you’re ready to learn.

Thank you so much for reading! Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

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