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Photography tips for beginners: 6 things I wish I knew from the start

Getting started in photography can be overwhelming. There are tons of things to learn and study and this is even before you pick up your camera. Lots of confusing settings can get in the way of you learning if you don’t have a goal in mind.

My photography tips for beginners

With that said, there are a few things I wish I learning first before eve taking my first photo. Check out my list of the top 6 best photography tips I wish I knew before I started taking photos.

Photography tips for beginners - good lighting
Natural light shot in the shadow of a small building. White walls across the street for bounce.

1. Lighting makes the photo

I love natural light and I can’t get enough of this shooting style. This is one of the easiest lighting styles to start with since you pretty much let the sun do its thing during the say and evening sunsets. But with a light source as abundant as the sun, you still need to learn how to best control your lighting.

When a photo is too bright (over-exposed) or has doesn’t have enough light (under-exposed) you’ll find that your photos are hard to edit. Learning to make sure your exposure and lighting is even is the key to taking some great shots. Even in harsh sunlight you can take great photos but also make sure to control the direction of the shadows.

I’ve learned lighting plays a big part of good photos, so make sure to do your research on how to best take advantage of your environment. Take some test shots and dial in your settings before you start shooting your final shots.

Photography tips for beginners - interesting angles
Natural light with window light above model in stairwell. Model looking up as I am standing about 2 feet above her.

2. Angles can create emotion

Angles are an easy way to showcase emotions in a photo. For example shooting from high angles can make the viewer feel large and in control. Shooting from lower angles can make the viewer feel small and weak.

Use angles to your advantage and help convey more emotions in your photography. Play with angles to tell a story from your photo sessions.

Dallas Model Test Shoot Lifestyle Photoshoot Sabrina Lynn
Eyes slightly sharpened once final image was edited

3. Make connections with the eyes in portraits

When shooting portraits, your subjects eyes are the key to any connection between the viewer and the photo. We as a people are naturally drawn to the eyes of a subject.

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and this helps create an immediate connection with any portrait.

4. Consistent editing creates your brand

If you’re like me, you’ll be shooting and editing your photos yourself. Most likely, you’ll come across a preset or make your own custom presets to help you get color consistency while editing.

This color editing and style will be the beginning of your photography as a brand. Creating this consistency will be key to people recognizing your style.

Summer Portraits Dallas Photography Model Test Shoot Leticia
Started as a natural light photographer, and moved to off camera flash within 3 years.

5. Your shooting style is going to evolve

I have no doubt your shooting and editing will change over and over again in the course of your journey. Don’t let this scare you and don’t be afraid to experiment with your creativity. Your shooting style is going to evolve and you will look back at your work and see the changes over time. The more you learn, the faster your style may change.

6. There is no better time to start shooting like now

You don’t have to learn everything before you pick up a camera. I find the best way to learn is in the field shooting. Pick up your camera and get to shooting and you will learn as you go. Don’t be afraid to get started. If portraits are your passion, then start with family or close friends so you can be comfortable making mistakes on a shoot.

Don’t be held back by fear

You will make mistakes and it’s ok. Don’t be scared to make mistakes on a shoot, and don’t let your anxiety get in your way. Have fun and express yourself creatively. The most important thing you can do is just get started. Happy shooting!


Jason Dallas Portraits Model Test ShootsJason The Creative – Dallas Portrait Photographer

Photography just decided to grow on me and I never looked back. I am a portrait photographer growing and specializing in model test shoots. Every one starts somewhere and this is my story. Instagram.com/jasonthecreative


What’s in my camera bag

My Portrait Photography Gear for Model Test Shoots

Sony a7riii Mirrorless Camera
High Resolution Studio Camera
Sony a7iii Mirrorless Camera
Great Photo & Video Camera
Sony 85mm f1.4 GMaster
Best Portrait Lens
Sony 35mm F1.8
Great wide lens for lifestyle shoots
Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8
First lens I purchased – Amazing and light
Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GMaster
Best all-in-one Portrait Zoom Lens
Sony 24-105 f4.0 G Lens
Best all around walk-around lens

Secondary Portrait Photography Camera and Lens

Sony a6400 Mirrorless Camera (crop-sensor)
Small & amazing quality
Sony 16-55mm f2.8 G Lens
Super sharp and versatile

Sony Mirrorless Bodies You Should See

Sony a7rii
High Quality Studio Camera
Sony a7ii
Great General Purpose Camera
Sony a7sii
High Quality Video Camera
Sony a6600
Photo and Video Camera
Sony a6500
Crop Sensor Video Camera
Sony a6300
Amazing Budget Starter Camera

Full-Frame Lenses You Should Check Out

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
Great budget option zoom lens
Sony 70-200 F2.8 Lens
Amazing Quality Zoom Lens
Sony 16-35mm f2.8 Lens
Superb wide-angle Lens
Sony 85mm F1.8 Lens
Great Budget Portrait Lens
Sony 24mm F1.4 Lens
Sharp Wide Prime Lens

Crop-Sensor Lenses You Just Might Need

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Lens
Great budget option zoom lens
Sony 18-105 F4.0 Lens
Awesome Video Lens
Sigma 16mm F1.4
Great YouTube Lens
Sigma 30mm F1.4
Sharp & Light Weight Lens
Sigma 56mm F1.4
Go-To Portrait Lens

My Current Off Camera Studio Flash Lighting / Location Kits

Profoto Air Remote TTL-S
Remote Trigger
Profoto B2 250 AirTTL Location Kit
Portable light strobes
Profoto OCF 2×3 Softbox
Portable soft light modifier
Profoto OCF Softbox 2ft Octa
Small direct soft box
Profoto 41in Deep Medium Umbrella
Main studio modifier
Profoto OCF Speedring
Modifier connector


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