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The Basics Every Beginning Photographer Should Know

So you’re wanting to get into photography? Well, here’s where to start.

Defining Your Subject

Many beginning photographers assume that to define a subject, you place it in the center of the photo. Although this may be the case in some situations, there may be a better option.

In some phones, like the iPhone, you can go into your settings and choose to have a grid shown on the screen when taking a photo. This can help any beginner who hasn’t yet engraved in their mind that “oh, I should be placing my subject here!” mindset. Be aware of where the lines are, vertical and horizontal, and where the intersections are. It’s almost always a good idea to align your subject with one of those lines whether it’s the right one, the left, the top, the bottom, any line that you see.

Now ask yourself.. “If I was looking at a photo and the subject was a person, where would my eyes go first?” You may or may not have answered “the face” but if you did, you’re thinking the same way most people do. Many people are immediately drawn to a person’s face before anything else about them. So, keeping this in mind, you would want to place your subject’s face (if it had a face) where one of the two lines intersected. That way, your audience will immediately be drawn to that subject and understand what you’re trying to focus on.

Decluttering Photos

When taking a photo, you usually want it to be clean and crisp so your subject can be determined within an instant. 

In some cases, the background of a photograph you’ve taken may have a lot of clutter and it distracts the viewers’ eyes from the intended subject. To prevent this, choose somewhere to shoot that may not have a cluttered background. In the case that this is your only option or you feel it’s an appropriate setting, editing the photo to be just black and white can help subtle the background more.

Difference is key.

This one's short and simple. Explore different perspectives. Try a bird’s eye view, or something a worm would see looking up from the ground. There are endless possibilities and they’re all creative and efficient in their own way.


DO NOT ZOOM if you’re using a phone. If you have a camera made for zooming, have at it! Although, phones do not do the best when you’re having to zoom. If you need to, try getting closer to what you’re trying to shoot. If you can’t, it’s probably not the best bet to choose that subject. Zooming in on a phone will cause the photo to go pixely and grainy and have worse quality.


There are two ways you can get the exposure how you want it. One, adjust it manually. If you’re using a phone (like the iPhone), you can tap on the screen and drag the sun icon where you want it. And two, adjust it in an editing app after taking the photo. There are many different editing apps you can use for this (plus much more) so just do your research and see which one suits you best!

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