100 Photography Tips for Beginners (downloadable)

If you’re new to photography, it can be quite daunting. There is so much information on the internet about photography, but a lot of “mis-information” as well. If I started photography all over again, this is the advice I would give myself.

Through my personal journey of photography, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. This list is a distillation of all the lessons I’ve learned so far. None of these are “right” or “wrong” — they are just opinions of mine that can hopefully spark some new ideas in you. Feel free to pick and choose what resonate with you, and throw away the rest.

Table of Contents

Table of Content
  1. “When in doubt, click.”
  2. Be selective about what you decide to photograph; but once you find something good, shoot the hell out of it
  3. Big cameras are overrated
  4. Don’t “take” photos, “make” photos
  5. Focus less on technical settings; focus more on composition and framing
  6. “Set it and forget it”
  7. What you subtract from a frame is more important than what you add to a frame
  8. The most important question to ask yourself in photography: “Why do I make photos?”
  9. Buy books, not gear

  10. Photography workshops are a better “bang-for-the-buck” experience than attending photography schools
  11. Aim to make 1 good photo a month, and 1 great photo a year
  12. More megapixels, more problems
  13. Some useful compositional tips
  14. The best investment for a photographer is a good pair of shoes
  15. Photograph what you’re afraid of
  16. Creativity is about constraints, not about having unlimited options
  17. It is hard to make a good body of work in exotic countries
  18. Seek to make connections, not photos
  19. “Shoot from the gut, edit with your brain”
  20. The point of photography isn’t to become a great photographer, but to live a great life
  21. Every photo you make is a self-portrait of yourself
  22. Have a strong visual anchor in your photo
  23. The 3 things that make a great photograph
  24. How to capture emotions
  25. Don’t crop your photos
  26. Share fewer photos on social media
  27. You can never get enough “likes” on social media
  28. Seek to unlearn photographic myths
  29. Do you like your own photos?
  30. Would a master photographer from the past shoot with an iPhone today?
  31. Don’t just take 1–2 photos of a scene (work the scene)
  32. Never compare yourself with others
  33. Aim to improve your photography by 1% everyday
  34. Aim to make complex photos, not complicated photos
  35. Distrust social media
  36. Print your work
  37. The journey is the reward
  38. Photograph everyday for 5 minutes, rather than photographing for 5 hours once a week
  39. The best camera is the most invisible camera
  40. Seek to have fewer people like your work
  41. Cross-pollinate your photography to be more creative
  42. If nobody else existed, would you still make photos?
  43. The photos you decide not to make are more important than the photos you do make.
  44. Photography is 90% editing your work (choosing your best photos) and 10% actually making photos.
  45. Aim to make one memorable photograph before you die
  46. Photograph like a child
  47. Aim to reduce the size of your camera
  48. “Creepiness is proportional to focal length.”
  49. The best “zoom” is “foot-zoom”
  50. When in doubt, drink more coffee
  51. A good way to judge your compositions: flip your photos upside down
  52. Be a flaneur

  53. The more time you spend on social media, the less satisfied you will be with your photography
  54. You are only as good as your last photo
  55. Aim for longevity in photography
  56. “If you aren’t busy being born, you’re busy dying.” – Bob Dylan
  57. Seek to know a few photographers very well, rather than many photographers superficially
  58. Apply the 80/20 rule in your photography
  59. Print your work as small 4×6’s to select your best photos
  60. There are no “good” or “bad” photos, but there are certainly “interesting” and “boring” photos
  61. Purge your photos once a year
  62. Aim to get one good photo from a thousand photos
  63. Make your own website portfolio
  64. Don’t be suckered by nostalgia from the past
  65. Train your eyes daily like a bodybuilder trains his body daily
  66. Be a lazy photographer
  67. Don’t “chimp”
  68. How to kill envy in photography
  69. Only take photos when you feel like it
  70. A question to ask yourself: “Is photography adding stress to my life, or removing stress from my life?”
  71. Shoot both horizontal and vertical photos
  72. Use minus-exposure compensation in harsh light
  73. A photographer’s best tool is his/her smile
  74. Shoot with your flash more often
  75. For portraits, put your subject’s eye in the direct center of the frame
  76. If someone criticizes your photo; remember, they aren’t criticizing you as a human being
  77. If you travel, always try to pack as light as possible
  78. “Kill your babies”
  79. Sequence your photos like a movie
  80. How can you turn your obstacles into an opportunity?
  81. Make interesting photos out of boring things
  82. Shoot RAW+JPEG

  83. Don’t buy a photography book you don’t plan on re-reading
  84. Bokeh is overrated
  85. Don’t just study photographers
  86. Don’t define your photography
  87. The more you give, the more you receive in return
  88. When shooting, look down, and look up
  89. Assume other photographers know better than you do
  90. Don’t trust photography editors who don’t know how to make photos themselves
  91. When conflicted between buying two cameras, buy neither
  92. Why do we take photos of strangers with cameras worth thousands of dollars, whereas we photograph our loved ones just with our iPhones?
  93. Don’t take photos of everything; know when to just enjoy the moment
  94. Start off shooting black and white, then transition into color later
  95. Post-processing, filters, and presets are not “cheating”
  96. Don’t think years, think decades
  97. Shoot everyday as if it were your last
  98. Give away your old gear
  99. Start your own photography blog
  100. Create your own list of 100 tips

  101. Download link