Jul 19, 201785 views

Any advice for a beginner photographer?

I purchased myself a Nikon D3400 last week and have spent the last week taking hundreds of photos just to start to understand my camera and photography as a whole. I'm Sixteen and am taking A level photography here in the UK starting from Septembe, is there any advice you could give me in terms of starting out. I will add some images I have taken from this past week :)


aznikko, LeTortueDieu, and 1 other

I could give the regular advice about technical things, but instead I feel obligated to help keep you alive. In particular that last photo. I truly hope you set that off remotely and were not actually standing in the median of that highway in the dark. Drivers do unexpected things reacting to the unexpected. Particularly if they see a person standing almost in their driving lane when there should be nobody at all. And if a driver is playing with a phone as they drive by, well that can be bad also. No photo is worth being smeared into a greasy spot by a passing truck.
Even dashing into the median to set the camera for a remote-controlled shot in the dark is a bit too much of a risk. If you don't care yourself, at least consider the trauma a driver that hits you may experience.
I got into photography in the film days and quickly learned to take a bit more time setting up a shot because a bad shot was a waste of money in film and developing costs. Taking a picture on a digital camera doesn't cost money, but you could waste a lot of time separating the good pictures from the bad if you're too quick to snap a picture. Experiment with settings like aperture and shutter speed until you thoroughly understand them. Eventually, you'll be able to pick a setting and know how it will affect your image before you click the shutter. Most of the time, you'll be able to get the result you want in a single shot and won't have to spend as much time picking the best picture.
In terms of what to do, you're already doing it: Grab your camera, head out, experiment, play, and learn.
In terms of what to get next, the examples you posted are all nighttime or low-light photos. If you don't already have one, a tripod would be a good thing to add to your kit. (And a good idea for a drop!)
Down the road, if you want to keep improving as a photographer, you must become a ruthless editor. Each time you go out and come back with photos, ask yourself, "Would I hang this on my wall?" If the answer is yes, try to develop the photo into something you'd print and hang. If not, discard it and move on. Visit exhibits and gallery showings and try to figure out what kind of photography appeals to you. (I'm a landscape guy.) Go back to your own photos and ask yourself, "Would I put this in the gallery next to the photos that spoke to me?" If the answer is no, try to figure out why not. Go back out with new ideas to try.
But never stop playing. That's where the fun stuff happens.