Essential Photography Skills for Beginners

Photography is an art that can be easily learned and at the same time is fun and specially rewarding when you see the results but just like in everything else there is a process behind. Being a photographer includes a mix of skills that need to be developed. On this blog we´re gonna talk about the very basics so you can become a photographer! 

Setting up your camera

Getting your first camera is exciting and we know that you´re excited and just want to get your hands on the job but it’s important to remember that cameras have many menus, settings and options for customization and these might change depending on the manufacturer. The first step is to make the basics configurations, for this you can use the user manual. 

For more advanced features we know that the user manual can be a little boring so here we suggest that you watch a tutorial about your camera and learn in a more dynamic way.

How does your camera work?

Before starting shooting, it’s important that you learn how your camera works; This is exclusively for the standard DSLRs.

On these cameras, the camera body contains everything needed to capture and process an image, while the lens is what focuses your image onto the sensor inside the camera. These components work together and the process looks like this: 

1- Light comes through the opening in your lens. When you are not shooting there is a mirror inside that reflects that light up through a prism (think periscope) and through the eyepiece, so you can view the image as seen exactly by the lens. 

2- When you press the shutter button to take a picture, the mirror flips up out of the way, and the lens adjusts to the chosen aperture (opening in the lens, more on that later). 

The shutter in the back of the camera then opens, allowing light to hit the sensor, creating your image. The camera saves the image to your memory card, the mirror returns to its original place and it’s all reset ready for you to shoot again. This all happens in less than the blink of an eye.

Photographer skills

At this point we’ve discussed the basic understanding of how a camera works so now we can move on and start learning about the major concepts that you´ll need to develop to become a photographer.

The main concept that you need to learn is The exposure triangle which is made of 3 components which are aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The purpose of this triangle is to achieve a result with all these variables working together.

Now, let’s discuss the components of the exposure triangle:


It refers to the opening in the lens, you can either open it or close it based on the amount of light. You will find the aperture referenced as f, for example: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22.

Here it is important to understand that the lower the number, the wider the aperture and the brighter the image.

It’s important that you remember that the aperture doesn’t just affect the image brightness but it also the depth of field, which refers to how sharp your photo will be. So a wide aperture (small f-number) will render less of the image in focus, whereas a narrow aperture (large f-number) will render more of the image in focus.

Shutter Speed: 

The amount of times that the shutter is opened and closed allows you to take a picture. Shutter speed is written in fractions of a second:5s, 1s, 1/60s, 1/250s, 1/1000s, 1/4000s. However, there are cases where you may even allow your shutter speed to be open for seconds at a time. Extremely low light photography, shooting light trails, or capturing photographs of the stars are examples of where this might be the case.

Note that the shutter speed doesn’t just affect exposure. It also affects image sharpness. So the faster the shutter speed, the shaper will be the image. Especially if the scene contains moving subjects


It refers to the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. ISOs are written like this: ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800. The higher the ISO, the brighter the exposure. The catch here is that with a higher sensitivity you might get more noise (unwanted grain or speckles) which can reduce the sharpness in your photos.

Although camera manufacturers have improved this so now many of the new cameras allow you to shoot with very high ISOs with minimal noise.

Now that we’ve discussed the basics, here’s a little cheat sheet so you can easily understand better the concepts that we discussed on this blog.

Start shooting

Now it’s time for you to go out there and start practicing. Practice will make you understand your style and you´ll also find what works for you so, just take your camera and shoot anything you want.



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