new camera

It’s not quite time for the big fella in red to climb down the chimney just yet but when he does, if he happens to leave you a camera under the tree this post should have you poised to point and click along with the best of them.

Just in case you’re the lucky recipient of a shiny new piece of photographic kit this year, we’re getting back to basics and sharing some top tips for getting started with photography.

In this short guide you’ll find snippets of advice to get you started snapping whatever type of camera you receive, so you should have plenty of images worthy of being turned into custom canvas prints in no time at all. Of course, we’d love to hear your advice for beginners too. Why not head over to our Facebook page to share your knowledge and experience with any New Year newbie photographers?

DSLR

For many, the first DSLR camera will always hold a special place in their heart, after all, it’s a serious piece of kit that opens up new photography possibilities, but working with a DSLR is a continual learning curve. Get yourself off to a good start by getting to know your camera and its capabilities. Read your manual and experiment with any lenses you may also have received. You’ll be able to take some fairly good shots using the camera’s automodes but you’ll need to progress beyond these to access special shots.

If you learn well by demonstration, check out some of the great online tutorials on YouTube – they cover everything from setting up your tripod and basic settings of ISO shutter speed and aperture through to achieving special effects.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, start playing with light and forget the flash, doing this early on will help you learn how to set up shots and to make use of good natural lighting when you’re out and about. Not sure of your strengths and weaknesses? Transfer some of your best images to canvas on your own customised prints and you’ll not only be able to track your progress but have some great sentimental shots to keep hold of too.

Point and shoot

If Santa brought you a point and shoot, rejoice and be thankful. Whether it’s a handheld digital or a smartphone, you’ll be working with a light and agile camera that will allow you to capture shots other photographers might miss. Again, as mundane as it may sound, the first thing you need to do is read your manual as this will guide you through any auto-features. To avoid becoming over-reliant on these, learn to use natural lighting early on and beware of the zoom, it can lower the quality of your images and make them grainy so use the lightness of your camera to move closer to the subject and really nail the perfect angle when you can.

If you suffer from an unsteady hand you’ll need to practice becoming sturdier or look at other ways to avoid the dreaded shake.

Try snapping self-timed shots with the aid of secure flat surfaces or if you have a smartphone you might want to invest in a selfie stick!

Whatever type of camera you’re starting out with, the main message for beginners to shoot a lot, that way you’ll get to know how and what you like shooting. We’re strong advocates of carrying your camera at all times as it can help you snag some fantastic street photography shots in particular.