• Agatha Kempf

How to: Beginner photography during lockdown


Finally, the end of the lockdown-tunnel is approaching, but there is still a bit of time remaining until a slow return to a ‘normal’ life starts. As spring is gradually making a comeback, why not pick up a new hobby to practice outdoors and to enjoy the outside world ?


Here is a guide for beginner photographers to learn online and practice the craft of image making, in the comfort of your home or at your local park.


By Agatha Kempf


EQUIPMENT


Technically speaking, anything that takes pictures is great. There is no need for the latest Nikon or Canon DSLR camera: it would actually be preferable to avoid, as their complexity would be too confusing for beginners. For now, the simpler the better.


Mikael Klasson, 22, photographer, says not to worry too much about the equipment when first starting: “ Don’t focus on gear, learn to use your current equipment before upgrading. A new lens is way more important than a new camera: the camera is just a tool, the lens is what makes your photography style, so keep your old camera and focus on what lenses to invest in.”


Our pick: The NIKON D3500


Although it is a beginner’s camera, do not be fooled by its simple controls, as it is very performant and has a great sensor. This camera is easy to get around thanks to its interactive guide to different shooting modes that it offers. Once you get comfortable with the iconic beginner’s lens, which for this camera would be the Nikon AF-P DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, you can switch to another one to explore new horizons. The D3500’s efficacy and easy handling are totally worth the price.



LEARNING THE BASICS


Thanks to the Internet, it is now possible to learn practically anything, and most of the time, for free! Whether through articles, videos, virtual classes or online platforms, there is information everywhere, but only a couple of resources really are worth your time.


Our pick: Digital Photography School


This website truly is the Holy Grail of photography learning. Not only it features a countless number of free tips and tricks for both beginner and advanced photographers, and also offers the chance to take paid courses and buy e-books to widen your knowledge further.


Explanations of how cameras work, tips on portrait and landscape photography, articles on new gear and even post-processing tutorial, this platform surely has it all.



TRAIN YOUR EYE


Now that you have your camera and learned the basics on how to operate it and what makes a decent photo, it is time to put your skills to the test. Here are several project ideas you can train your eye with.


1. Revisit your regular walk, and pay closer attention to what you think is picture worthy.

2. Photograph one object in 10 different ways. You can alter the angle, how close you are to it, its background, lighting or change the object’s context.

3. Outdoors, take pictures only of yellow elements (or any other colour).

4. Sit down near a pond, and wait for its residents to show up!

5. Rule of thirds: for the time of your artistic outing, photograph anything, but you have to respect the rule of thirds.


Klasson shares his project ideas: “Write down some photo challenges: "Shoot black & white only", "Only use manual focus", "Shoot without looking into your viewfinder" and take one of these notes randomly everytime you go out for a photoshoot .”


“Some of the best scenes in London are the awesome landscapes, landmarks and vibrant areas like Shoreditch, Hoxton and Soho.” says Sachin Ghataaura, 22, Photographer and Art Retoucher.


Bonus idea to train your creativity: find and photograph five objects you would take with you if you were to go on board a spatial mission. Forever.


POST-PRODUCTION


Now this is where beginners either sweat in apprehension, or jump of excitement. The world of post-production can be somewhat frightening when you first open Photoshop. To be honest, depending on the work you are producing, Lightroom can be a preferable program as not only it looks clearer and easier to navigate, but it is all you need to learn the basics of editing. However, Photoshop is not to be ignored or underestimated as it is a pure goldmine in terms of editing, which is more convenient for heavier work (a.k.a. commercial photography).


Our pick: Ed Gregory


This YouTube channel covers more or less all aspects of photography, including editing. He has a 15 minutes Lightroom tutorial for beginners (which has 2.4 million views) if you want the ultimate basics, but we recommend you to take the time to learn more thoroughly and to go through his Lightroom training course playlist.


One last advice


? Klasson emphasises that one should “not take others' opinions too seriously. If someone does not like your photography style, it does not mean you are a bad photographer.”