5 Photography Tips For Beginners - Kirsten Barbara

Kirsten barbara

kirsten barbara

5 Photography Tips For Beginners



Wondering where to begin with your camera? Looking for some photography tips to help you get started? You’re not alone! I remember exactly how overwhelming it felt trying to learn my camera just so I could get a few good photos of my little guy. It’s ridiculous how much information you have to retain! So, I’m here to help you and make that big camera feel a little less intimidating.

After receiving countless emails asking for help and answering questions about photography, camera gear and business, I decided to write about what I know and what helped me. Let’s be honest, people have a hard time asking for help and if a lot of people are asking questions, that tells me there are 10x more out there who have the same questions.

Alright, let dive in!

The most common question I get is “where do I start?” so today I’m sharing with you some tips and photo companies that made a HUGE impact in how I started. These have helped me learn, grow and discover new products.


1.) Priority, then Manual

Start out using priority mode to get familiar with your camera before moving to manual mode. If you’ve been reading blogs or searching Pinterest for photography tips you’ve probably seen all this talk about manual mode and it probably looks like another language, right? It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of manual. I always tell people it takes at least a year if not longer.

If you’re just getting started,  use priority mode until you feel comfortable camera. It’s not a completely automatic mode, there are a few settings to change depending on the lighting and your creative style. Personally, I loved priority because it takes the stress off of worrying about your settings so that you can focus on your subject and learn lighting and composition.


2.) Backgrounds

Shooting outside of a studio? Pay attention to what is in the background of your photo. I have learned this lesson WAY more than I’d like to admit. There is nothing worse than getting home and realizing your have someone or something distracting in your background.


3.) Shutter Speed

Blurry photos? Check your shutter speed. If it’s too low, your photos will have the blurry, out of focus look! However, if you’re shooting the northern lights or the night sky, you will want to keep it lower.

If you want sharp photos and have people as your subject, keep it higher. My hands aren’t very steady (thanks caffeine!) so I like to keep mine higher than the usual photographer. My shutter speed is usually around 1/160 or 1/200 for portraits, except when I have a fast moving kiddo, I’ll crank that baby up to at least 1/500!

General rule of thumb – Don’t let it fall below 1/125 when photographing a person.


4.) Lightroom

Before Lightroom I would edit my photos on my old MacBook in the iPhoto app. Does anyone else remember this?! So many weird color filters, everyone looked like they fell asleep in a tanning bed. It was terrible so I started looking for an editing software and a friend suggested lightroom so like the impulse buyer I am, I jetted off to Best Buy because I had to check it out! Since then I have fallen in love with it. Editing is so much easier and the colors? Look a little less like fake and bake. 😉 Don’t go running to the store right away now, Lightroom is now an app within Creative Cloud that you download right from the Adobe Website. You can check it out by clicking here!

(If you’re wondering if I use Photoshop, I do! Just not nearly as often because I find Lightroom so much easier to use.)

5.) Borrow Lenses

Borrow Lenses is so amazing and has saved me so much money! They are a website that rents camera and video gear for as little or as long as your want. During my first year of wedding photography I discovered them and they helped me out so much by renting gear that I couldn’t afford at the time so that I could create the images I dreamed of. And with expedited shipping, they are my saving grace some days!


BONUS TIP! If you’re looking to photograph the Northern Lights, click here for all of my tips and tricks! 


Before you go, don’t forget to post your thoughts and questions below! I can’t wait to hear from you!






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