To be a new photographer can be daunting. You’ve just finished reading the manual that came with the new camera you got for Christmas with no idea what you just read. Now what?

You’ve taken your new toy out for a spin and have decided to start a photography business…(just joking, but sadly, it happens). You’re hoping to learn everything you can about how to use your camera, but where do you start? Google provided pages upon pages of tutorials to read and countless YouTube videos to watch.¬†Who has time to sort through all that?

If you find yourself in that scenario, you’ve come to the right place. But I’ll be the first to admit that the amount of content on the site can be overwhelming, and the search function isn’t the best (though we are working on that). So, here is a list of five basic things every new photographer should know and some tutorials to help you get started.

Olympus OM-D EM-5 Camera Modes

1. Manual Mode

Raise your hand if you are shooting (or started shooting) in ‘P’ mode. There’s no shame in that. ‘P’ mode, or automatic, is where many of us begin. We let the camera do all the work, we just point it in the right direction and press the button. The day I was taught how to shoot in manual mode, I never looked back. I love control and so naturally, being able to control my camera and what it sees, is appealing. From time to time, I’ll shoot in shutter priority, but rarely do I leave the decision-making to my camera.

Check out this article by Michael Henson which explains the differences between Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Mode and talks about which mode is best.

2. White Balance

White balance is when your picture looks too yellow or too blue when you take pictures in different lighting conditions. This is the color temperature, and it is measured in Kelvin. Watch the video below or read this article where Pye gives six tips to understanding white balance and color temperature so your photos look just the way you want it to.

3. Exposure Triangle

The three components in the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed will help you control the exposure of your image so you’ll understand how your camera captures light. This is the foundation of your photography education, so pay attention. Figuring out how the three work together can be confusing, but¬†eventually, it will click (pun intended) – it did for me.

Read more here or watch the video below.

4. RAW vs. JPEG

This might be the greatest debate of all time in the photography world, right up there with the age old question, Canon vs. Nikon? Should you shoot in RAW? Should you shoot in JPEG? What the heck does that even mean? Check out our ultimate visual guide in this article here for all the answers.


5. Metering Modes

Spot Metering, Matrix Metering, 18% Grey…huh? Watch the short video below or read the article to figure out which mode you should shoot in and when.

There is so much to learn when it comes to mastering photography. If you are looking for more, check out this YouTube Playlist which highlights all of our Photography 101 excerpts.