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3 Tried and True Techniques for Beginners

  • 3 Tried and True Techniques for Beginners

If you have taken some forms of photography training, you probably have heard of the saying “quality comes from quantity.” It is true that the more we practice, the better our skills are. In the few months after getting my first camera, my pictures are usually dull and uninteresting. Although I wouldn’t say that my pictures today are works of art, I’m confident they are more appealing to the eyes than my earlier pictures. As I shoot more pictures and accumulate more experience, I began to realize that I am utilizing some techniques that I’ve learned from other photographers. The following techniques are what I have tried and am confident to work for everyone.

Technique #1 – Less is More

It is said that in photography, you must always have one, and only one, subject in the frame. It is okay to have many secondary elements in the frame, but none of them should be prominently shown in a way that they compete for attention with the primary subject. When you have multiple elements that are equally prominent, try to reposition yourself or take the shot from a different angle so the additional elements are not within the frame. Also, you have the opportunity to edit out any unwanted elements using photo editing software, and I almost always crop my pictures before publishing them.

Technique #2 – Avoid Too Much Bokeh

Bokeh” is a Japanese term that describes the quality of blur in the out-of-focus area of an image. By blurring the surrounding, photographers can make the subjects stand out more among the many elements in the frame. However, in certain situation total blurriness may not have as good an effect as less blurriness on the secondary elements. For example, when I took a picture of, say, a lecturer in a classroom setting, I prefer to include some recognizable figures of students in the shot to make it look like an actual lecture while keeping the figures from being too clear and compete for attention with the primary subject – the lecturer. If these human figures are blurred to a point that they are just blobs of colors, the image will carry a totally different atmosphere and may not be desirable to the photographer.

Technique #3 – Get Closer

Not too long ago, I was browsing one of the photography forum and saw a post by beginners asking for advises, and one of the advises that was given is to “get close” to the subject. Getting close is a technique mostly associated with street photography, but it can be used in all kinds photography. Just this past week, I was photographing some abandoned rail tracks when I decided to give it a try. At first, I got down to my knees next to the track and snapped a few shots at the nails holding down the track. When I find the photos not very appealing, I got closers and was basically laying down to take the shot. The image featured above is the actual shot I took.

I have tried all three techniques and got satisfactory results from them. If you are a beginner, I strongly suggest that you practice them by combining at least two of the techniques the next time you take pictures with your camera. If you feel that there’s anything equally important but I did not cover, please share them by leaving comments below.


  • Matthew Boyce

    I think the picture is fantastic. Your blog has inspired me to get a better camera and to take more interesting pictures. Thank you for the tips.

    • Kevin Chan

      Glad to help, Matthew. Photography is really fun, and I hope you'll find it enjoyable as much as I do.

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