Ten Tips for First Time Photographers

Amanda Archibald just returned from an Art Teacher Workshop in France. She was a student in the program and learned a ton that she wants to share with us.

We asked Amanda to “demystify photography.” She said, “…that’s a tough one. In fact, I think that one of the reasons I fell in love with the art of photography was because the results can be quite mystical at times.” With that being said, Amanda has a few tips for any person in pursuit of the elusive art known as photography.


1.) Be patient, observe and study your subject(s), wait for the proper “decisive” moment to create an image.
2.) Practice new ways of seeing (especially the things you see everyday).
3.) Emphasize your subject - seek out a Center of Interest and/or Focal Points.
4.) Understand your camera’s functions and how to capture the kind of light you want - experiment with wide and narrow apertures/fast and slow shutter speeds/etc.
5.) Simplify and emphasize - choose the most essential parts within a frame.
6.) Embrace the rules of traditional fine art photography in order to understand composition (i.e. repetition, balance, contrast, etc…).
7.) Break any and all fine art rules in order to create something new, expressive and interpretive (i.e. abstract your subject by getting extremely close, shoot from a completely new angle, shake your camera!).
8.) Change your perspective - get low, get high, explore captivating views of your subject that you might not initially take.
9.) Attempt to make the ordinary something extraordinary.
10.) Always be observing life around you and always be open to chance.


And in the Amanda Archibald teaching tradition, we will end with one of her favorite quotes from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Decisive Moment:

“Photography is nothing–it’s life that interests me.”