What have I gotten myself into? Chuckling, I quietly told myself as I flipped through the pages of my new camera’s menu options. It has been a little over a month into my beginner photographer journey and I find it as one of the most fascinating and intimidating hobbies I have ever done.  Contrary to what some may think, there is much more to just composing your scene, pressing the shutter button, and editing images. With a steep learning curve, it challenges you to be fully aware of your environment on top of being technical and creative within seconds for that perfect shot. For a beginner photographer, this can be a daunting task.

During the first few days, I would hastily switch back to automatic mode in order to capture a moving object. At times, as I reviewed my work, I found myself missing my iPhone X. The ability to configure the buttons, lighting, and exposure all at the same time were my main focus, while composition, a key element, became an afterthought. At one time or another, the perfectionist in me started to feel defeated. So what keeps me motivated? Capturing moments; my blog to make myself accountable; and most importantly, reminding myself that like any other craft, it takes time, patience, and lots of practice.


Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. -Henri Cartier-Bresson

As days and weeks went by, I started to show improvements.  Little breakthroughs are cheered by my biggest fans- my little family, mostly my husband.


The TOP 5 Things I Have Learned So Far…


ONE :  New Camera? Read The Manual.  Have you ever read a manual cover to cover?  If you have, good for you! Like any other manuals, it can be an unexciting thing to read. In fact, this sleep-deprived mother fell asleep halfway through it; but determined to get myself up and running, I pushed through and it paid off.

To help guide you through the buttons and menu settings, the manual is a good place to start. It enables you to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your equipment’s functions.  While folks out there are eager to share their default camera settings, note that their type of photography may not be exactly the same as yours. As an example, sports photography with burst shots as a default setting may not be ideal over single shot setting for still photography.

For easier lookup,  download the electronic copy on your phone or personal computer.

Click here for the Sony a7iii manual.


TWO: A Good Lens Makes A Difference. Better glass, better images. During my research on which brand to pick for my first camera, many articles stressed the importance of investing in good lenses.  They say, it is more important than the body itself.  I opted for a basic Sony 28-70mm lens to just get me going, but after adding a couple of decent quality prime lenses, the difference is noticeable. From bokeh (aesthetic quality of a blur), image sharpness, to overall build quality, I agree with the experts.   When you can afford it, invest on a good one!

Beginner Photographer Camera


THREE :  Make Use Of The Natural Light. After all, photography is painting with light. Being new to this, although the market is flooded with inexpensive options to choose from, I have refrained from committing to buying artificial lighting until certain of my  application.  So when I worked on my site’s launch article , The Capsule Wardrobe, natural lighting was my only option. I did a few head scratchings during my trial and errors. Originally aimed for white photography, the lack of indoor lighting and experience resulted to underexposed images, with post production yet to be a strong pursuit.  I then decided to go for plan B, utilizing the natural light from my window with a dark background.  It ended up accentuating the neutrals of my project’s clothing collection.

Project 1 Using Natural Light For Photography


FOUR:  The 10-minute Daily Sessions.  Aperture what? Trying to learn the exposure trifecta (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO) is like me dancing in stilettos for the first time where I know rhythm; but without knowing how to balance in them, it can be equally entertaining and painful to witness.

When it comes to practicing, the changes in lighting, scenarios, and sometimes the needed break to research and troubleshoot, my quick daily sessions proved to be more productive over the hour long, a couple of times a week ones.  It enables me to rethink my approach especially when I start to aimlessly press that shutter button.  You know how fun it is to hear that sound!  Also, when I use my little models, they typically don’t last more than 10 minutes and 5 is already pushing it!


FIVE: Taking Workshops Help. The training tools, and ample resources online especially  when it comes to YouTube are absolutely helpful.  It is flooded with many experts in their craft, however, my questions were better addressed in the class setting.  It provided me some important tidbits that I would not have known unless I knew to ask or research about it.   With a good instructor,the two day, totaling 6 hours of workshop was worth my time and money.


So there you go, my top 5 learnings as a beginner photographer.  Hope it helps!


Onward!  9,101 more photos to go…