8 Do’s And Don’ts For A Beginner Photographer And Cinematographer- Ultimate Beginners Guide

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As we all know that the Photography and Cinematography world is full of competitions. In this digital world for a beginner, most of the times it’s overwhelming because there is a lot to learn and you don’t know where to start.

So, in this article I will list 8 Do’s And Don’ts for a beginner Photographer and Cinematographer. I will list simple tips as you are a beginner and don’t concern yourself with big complicated decisions. It is easy to stick by this tips and I hope this will help you as a beginner.

So, let’s get started! Here, is the following list:


List Of 8 Do’s And Don’ts A Beginner Photographer And Cinematographer Should Know:

  1. Camera’s, Accessories And Equipments.
  2. Camera Settings
  3. Always Capture/Shoot More
  4. Choose A Costume Wisely.
  5. Never Reject Because Of Less Pay.
  6. Willing To Work For Free.
  7. Portfolio.
  8. Less Is More.

1. Camera’s, Accessories And Equipments.

As a beginner, you don’t need a very high end camera and you certainly won’t need way too much high end accessories. Spending in accessories like expensive gimbal and camera’s like Canon 1DX Mark II is a waste of money as you are a beginner.

Canon 1DX Mark II is hands down the best when it comes to Photography and Cinematography but as it is a very high end camera you won’t know how to handle it because you are just starting out and your basics is not perfect. It won’t matter how good the camera and accesories are if you don’t know how to use it, it is just worthless to you and a waste of money and time for a beginner.


Instead, invest in an entry level DSLR like Canon Rebel T7i/ EOS 800D, Nikon D5600 or Mirrorless Camera’s like Fujifilm XT200, Sony A6100, Canon M200, Panasonic Lumix G7, etc. and learn the basics by going through your own experience as you start shooting you will know and learn how to perfect it yourself.

The only accessories you will need as a beginner Photographer and Cinematographer is a tripod and nothing more. Only invest in extra batteries as it is more than accessories it is a necessity.

You might think why I am emcouraging you to buy a tripod than a gimbal as it is the best satbilizer for a camera or any filters like ND Filters? The reason for it is, if you buy high end equipments like gimbal, Neutral Density (ND) filters, etc. although it may help you a lot but if you start using this equipments right of the bat you will start to rely on them and your basic knowledge won’t be as good as someone who started by capturing photo’s and shot a handheld broll.


2. Camera Settings

As a beginner Photographer or Cinematographer start by using Auto Mode as your camera settings it’s a no brainer. As you have done 3, 4 sessions of shoot start by using priority modes for example, Shutter Priority Mode and Aperture Priority Mode. As these priority modes are semi-automatic modes in a camera. If you want to know more about the above mentioned modes Click here.

Camera Settings

After you have learned how to use semi-automatic modes this is the time when you should start taking control of your camera settings manually and switch to Manual Mode. Now, these are the steps in learning and understanding your camera settings and now here is an important tip regarding these: Always take your time. You don’t have to shoot in full manual mode unless and until you have learned to use every settings in your camera. So, as a beginner my advice for you would be focus on Semi-automatic modes such as priority modes as mentioned above.


3. Always Capture/Shoot More

Whenever it’s your shoot day always capture extra photos or clips. For example: If someone asks you to shoot 10 photos shoot 15 photos or someone asks you for 3 minutes music videos shot clips for 4 minutes.

What this will do is that it will help you in post processing. You won’t have any regret after the shoot is done that what if I would have taken this photo or some extra clips if the previous ones aren’t good enough and one more important tip is never delete in camera. If you think that a photo or videos you shot is bad don’t delete it go home try editing it who knows it might turn out well than you expected.

Shooting more will help you especially in post processing because you can’t go back in time and shoot it again you have one chance make it worth it.


4. Choose A Costume Wisely

Costume just doesn’t means clothes in Photography and Cinematography it is more than it, as it sets the mood, expressions, the message you want to deliver through your work, etc.

You might think what does clothes have to do with Photography and Cinematography, well as a beginner it is very important to know the importance of choosing a right costume for your model or even if you are capturing a still life or food it doesn’t matter. What matters is you subject should be in focus.

Example: Model (subject) in this photo wears a light color clothes and has dark background helps distinguish between Subject and Background.

So, for example: if you are shooting in a room with a white wall you wouldn’t want your model to wear white clothes nor the plate of your food photography should be white. If it is white the subject will blend in and it will be hard to focus for the viewer to distinguish between them.

Here is another example: If you are taking photos of a romantic couple or shooting a romatic scene you can choose the model(s) to wear red clothes as it will set the romatic mood and atmosphere. You should also know the Importance of color theory as it will help you in post-processing/editing.


5. Never Reject Because Of Less Pay

Whenever there is client who gives you less pay always remember you are a beginner and you are still in initial learning stage. So, I would say earning something while learning is better than earning 0$. Never say no!

What this will do is, it will help you make contacts and if your client likes your work I am sure they will refer you to someone they know who needs a Photographer or Cinematographer.

There are times you need to be willing to work for free which is our next tip:


6. Willing To Work For Free

It doesn’t matter how much you earn right now because you are a beginner your focus should be fully in learning skills and perfect your basics. Also, working for free will help you learn new things every time.

Start by asking to shoot your friends and families birthday’s or any kind of event. They woudn’t mind if your work is not the best but it will work in your favour as you will learn what to do in when shooting events like birthdays which will help you in future when you land a good paying client who would want the best output.

Working for free will also help you create a portfolio in order to land paying clients. Which makes me come to our next point:


7. Portfolio

In this digital line of work your portfolio is your resume. It should showcase you best work. You can create a portfolio as a photo album or a website which shows your best work. Always remember showcase your best work in your porfolio of only the niche you are applying for.

For example: If you are applying Real Estate Photographer or Cinematographer don’t showcase photos and videos of food photography or a short film, your portfolio must and only include Real Estate photography and cinematography work.

Also, remember not to edit too much unless and until it is necessary because there are some niche like Real Estate you don’t need much editing because you would want to show how it looks like in real life. Also, don’t make your portfolio too long which make me come to our next point:


8. Less Is More

While submitting your portfolio, you should never showcase your work for like 20minutes or 30 minutes. Whenever someone hires the client go through the portfolio they wouldn’t want to see your portfolio for like half and hour because they might have other things to do or many other submissions to go through.

Always showcase your short and best work as it will help them understand what skills you have and if they like your 3 minute video or 10 photos they would want to see more of your work so just provide your extra works links at the end of your portfolio but don’t put it at the start keep the suspens for the end.

So, the bottom line is to keep your portfolio short and simple showcasing your best work.


This are just some basic tips for a beginner Photographer and Cinematographer. You can stick by this tips but there are also many more tips and things to learn and know as a beginner and to list it all in one post/article is impossible. So, stay tuned for more posts like this by following The Black Light Studios through email.


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2 thoughts on “8 Do’s And Don’ts For A Beginner Photographer And Cinematographer- Ultimate Beginners Guide

  1. When I started learning how to shoot with my Canon 5DII I used aperture priority mode so I could always get the depth of field I wanted without having to keep adjusting my other settings. As I used the camera more and more eventually I started, and I still shoot, in manual mode.

    Liked by 2 people

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