Learn Photography in a Month: Practical Tips for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 13 min read


  1. Familiarize with your camera
  2. Learn about exposure
  3. Practice composition
  4. Get acquainted with photographing in different light
  5. Understand color theory in photography
  6. Explore photography genres
  7. Try black and white photography
  8. Experiment with shutter speed and ISO
  9. Practice photo editing
  10. Review and analyze your own photos
  11. Get feedback from others
  12. Keep practicing and have patience

Ever wondered how to learn photography in a month? Well, you're in luck because it's entirely possible! All it takes is a sprinkle of passion, a dash of dedication, and a handful of practical tips to guide you. Whether you've just picked up your first digital camera or are looking to refine your skills, this guide will help you navigate the world of photography in just 30 days.

Familiarize with your camera

First things first: get to know your camera. It's your ultimate tool in this journey, and understanding it inside out is your first step on how to learn photography in a month.

  • Read the manual: It might not be the most exciting part, but it's a step you can't afford to skip. The manual will introduce you to the features and functionalities of your camera. Even if it's a simple point-and-shoot or a high-end DSLR, knowing what each button and setting does is the foundation for taking great photos.
  • Explore the modes: Your camera probably has a variety of modes, from automatic to manual and several in between. Spend some time experimenting with each of them to understand their impact on your photos.
  • Understand the settings: Shutter speed, aperture, ISO—these are your camera's holy trinity. They control how light or dark your image is, how much of it is in focus, and how sharp or blurry it is. Don't worry if these terms sound alien right now—we'll delve deeper into them later.
  • Get comfortable with the physical aspects: Hold your camera correctly, adjust the viewfinder for your eye, learn to change lenses smoothly. These might seem minor, but they can greatly influence the ease and speed at which you can operate your camera.

Remember, mastering your camera is like learning a new language—the more you practice, the more fluent you'll become. So take your camera everywhere you go, and snap away! By the end of the month, operating it will feel like second nature, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled photographer.

Learn about exposure

Now that you're familiar with your camera, it's time to tackle exposure. Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor and it's the backbone of every photograph. In other words, it's the difference between a photo that's too dark, too light, or just right.

Here's the catch: exposure is controlled by three variables—shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Think of them as the Three Musketeers of photography; they work together to control how much light enters your camera and for how long. Let's break each down:

  1. Shutter Speed: This is the amount of time your camera's shutter is open. The longer it stays open, the more light it lets in, but it also captures movement, resulting in a blurry shot. If you want to freeze action in your photos, you'll need a fast shutter speed. But remember, a faster shutter speed means less light.
  2. Aperture: This is the size of the opening in your lens. A larger aperture (represented by a smaller number) lets in more light but also reduces the depth of field, meaning less of your photo will be in focus. Smaller apertures (represented by larger numbers) let in less light but increase the depth of field.
  3. ISO: This represents your camera's sensitivity to light. A higher ISO means more sensitivity, which is great for low-light situations. But beware—higher ISO settings can also increase the amount of grain or "noise" in your photos.

Think of these three variables as a balancing act. If you adjust one, you'll need to adjust the others to maintain the correct exposure. This might seem a bit daunting at first, but don't worry. With practice, you'll start to understand how they interact and you'll be able to adjust them instinctively. And remember, there's no "correct" exposure—it's all about what works for your creative vision.

So, how can you learn about exposure in a month? Experiment! Try different combinations of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. See how they affect your photos. Before you know it, you'll be controlling exposure like a pro, taking you one step closer to mastering how to learn photography in a month.

Practice composition

Once you've got a handle on exposure, it's time to focus on composition. Composition is the arrangement of elements in your photo. It's like the blueprint of your image—it guides the viewer's eye around the frame and helps tell your story. And the best part? There are no hard and fast rules. It's all about what you find aesthetically pleasing.

However, some techniques can help you strengthen your composition. Here are a few:

  1. The Rule of Thirds: Imagine your frame divided into nine equal parts by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. The idea is to place your subject at the intersections of these lines or along them. This technique helps create balance and interest in your photo.
  2. Leading Lines: These are lines that lead the viewer's eye toward your subject. They can be anything from a road, a fence, or a river. Leading lines create depth in your photo and draw the viewer into the scene.
  3. Fill the Frame: If your subject is small or far away, don't be afraid to get closer and fill the frame with it. This technique eliminates distractions and allows the viewer to focus solely on your subject.
  4. Negative Space: This is the empty space around your subject. When used effectively, it creates a powerful contrast that can make your subject stand out.

Remember, these techniques are not rules but tools in your photography toolbox. Use them as a starting point, but feel free to break them if it serves your creative vision.

So, how can you improve your composition in a month? Practice, of course! Take your camera everywhere you go and shoot as much as you can. Experiment with these techniques and see how they change your photos. By challenging yourself to think about composition, you're taking a significant step to learn photography in a month.

Get acquainted with photographing in different light

One of the most exciting—and challenging—aspects of photography is working with light. You see, light isn't just a tool to illuminate your subject—it's a creative element that can dramatically change the mood of your photos.

Understanding how different types of light affect your images is key to becoming a better photographer. Here are some types of light you'll encounter:

  1. Golden Hour: This is the hour after sunrise or before sunset. The light is soft, warm, and directional, which creates long shadows and brings out textures. It's a photographer's dream!
  2. Blue Hour: This is the period just before sunrise or after sunset. The sky takes on a deep blue hue, and the light is soft, diffused, and cool. It's perfect for cityscapes and landscapes.
  3. Middle of the Day: This is when the sun is high in the sky, creating harsh, strong light with deep shadows. While it's often avoided, you can use it creatively to create dramatic photos.
  4. Overcast: When the sky is cloudy, light is diffused and even, reducing contrast. It's excellent for portraits as it softens skin tones and reduces shadows.

Now, you might be wondering: "How do I get comfortable with all these different lights in just a month?" The answer is simple: get out there and shoot! Try to photograph the same subject in different lighting conditions and see how the light changes your photos. Experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them. This hands-on experience is the best way to learn photography in a month.

Remember, light is unpredictable, and that's part of the fun. Embrace the challenge, and soon you'll start seeing light in a whole new way!

Understand color theory in photography

Color is a powerful tool in photography—it can make a photo pop, set the mood, and even tell a story. But to use color effectively, you need to understand color theory. Don't worry, it's not as complicated as it sounds!

Color theory is all about how colors work together. Ever wondered why a sunset photo is so appealing? It's because of color harmony! The warm hues of the sun perfectly contrast the cool blues of the sky, creating a pleasing visual experience. This is color theory in action.

  1. Color Wheel: This is your guide to color harmony. It's a circular diagram of colors that shows how they relate to each other. The color wheel is divided into warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) and cool colors (blues, greens, violets).
  2. Complementary Colors: These are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, like blue and orange or red and green. They create high contrast and are great for making elements stand out.
  3. Analogous Colors: These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like red, orange, and yellow. They create a harmonious, calming effect.
  4. Monochromatic Colors: This is a color scheme that uses different shades, tones, and tints of a single color. It creates a cohesive, sophisticated look.

Now, how do you use color theory in your photography? Start by observing. Look at your environment and notice how colors interact. Pay attention to color combinations that catch your eye. Then, experiment with these color schemes in your photos. Remember, the goal isn't to follow the rules strictly, but to use them as a guide to make intentional color choices.

Learning to see and use color is a skill that takes time to develop. But once you get the hang of it, it can transform your photography. Plus, it's another step closer to learning how to learn photography in a month!

Explore photography genres

Just like there are different types of movies, there are different genres of photography too! Each genre has its own style, techniques, and challenges. Exploring different photography genres is not just fun, it's also a great way to find out what you like and hone your skills.

Here are a few photography genres you might want to try out:

  1. Portrait Photography: This genre focuses on capturing people. It's all about bringing out the personality of your subject. You can play with lighting, poses, and backgrounds to create compelling portraits.
  2. Landscape Photography: If you love nature, this genre is for you. Landscape photography is about capturing the beauty of our environment. It involves a lot of planning and patience, waiting for the perfect light to show off a stunning view.
  3. Street Photography: This genre is all about capturing everyday life in public spaces. It's spontaneous and unpredictable. You never know what you'll find, which makes it exciting and challenging.
  4. Wildlife Photography: This genre is about capturing animals in their natural habitat. It requires a lot of patience, but the reward is worth it. There's nothing quite like the thrill of capturing a perfect shot of a wild animal.

These are just a few examples. There are many more genres to explore—macro, sports, architectural, food, fashion, the list goes on. Don't limit yourself to one genre. Try out different ones. Experiment. See what you enjoy and what challenges you. After all, part of learning how to learn photography in a month is finding out what kind of photographer you want to be!

Try black and white photography

Black and white photography isn't just about draining the color out of your photos. It's a whole different way of looking at the world. When color is stripped away, other elements of the photo become more prominent—like texture, shape, and contrast.

Here's how you can start experimenting with black and white photography:

  1. Look for Contrast: A high contrast scene can look stunning in black and white. Look for scenes where there's a clear difference between light and dark areas.
  2. Play with Textures: Without color, textures become more noticeable. Whether it's the rough bark of a tree or the smooth surface of a lake, textures can add a lot of depth to your black and white photos.
  3. Emphasize Shape and Form: With color out of the picture, shapes and forms play a bigger role. Look for interesting shapes or patterns that can stand out in black and white.
  4. Use Light Creatively: In black and white photography, the direction and quality of light can dramatically alter the mood of your photo. Try shooting at different times of the day to see how the changing light affects your photo.

Remember, not every photo will look good in black and white. It's all about finding the right scenes and subjects. So, don't be discouraged if your first few attempts aren't what you expected. Keep experimenting, and soon enough, you'll start seeing the world in a whole new light. After all, figuring out how to learn photography in a month includes learning to see things from different perspectives, right?

Experiment with shutter speed and ISO

Have you ever wondered how photographers capture those silky smooth waterfalls or freeze a hummingbird in flight? The secret lies in understanding and manipulating shutter speed and ISO settings. Let's dive into these two important settings and see how they can help you master photography in a month.

  1. Shutter Speed: Simply put, shutter speed determines how long your camera's shutter remains open. Slow speeds allow more light to enter, which can create the impression of motion, making waterfalls look smooth or stars appear as streaks in the night sky. Fast speeds, on the other hand, freeze motion, making it possible to capture every detail of a moving subject.
  2. ISO: ISO controls the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to light. A higher ISO makes the sensor more sensitive, allowing you to capture brighter images in low-light conditions. But beware—higher ISO settings may also lead to more noise (grain) in your images.

Now, how can you start experimenting with these settings? Start by taking the same photo at different shutter speeds. What happens when you use a very slow speed, compared to a fast one? Next, try adjusting the ISO. How does the image change as you increase the ISO? Remember, photography is all about light, and both shutter speed and ISO are crucial tools for controlling how light is captured in your images.

Mastering shutter speed and ISO won't happen overnight, but if you're wondering how to learn photography in a month, playing with these settings is a great step in the right direction!

Practice Photo Editing

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words". But what if you could make your pictures say even more? That's where photo editing comes into play. After all, knowing how to learn photography in a month isn't just about taking photos—it's about making them shine.

First things first, you'll need a good photo editing software. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are widely used, but there are plenty of other options too. Once you have your software, it's time to start exploring.

  1. Color correction: This is where you tweak the colors in your photo to make them look more natural. You'll adjust things like white balance, saturation, and vibrance.
  2. Cropping and straightening: Sometimes, the perfect shot isn't perfectly aligned. That's where cropping and straightening come in. You can remove unwanted parts of the image and make sure your horizon lines are straight.
  3. Exposure adjustments: Did your photo come out too dark or too light? No problem. With exposure adjustments, you can make your photo just right.

Remember, editing isn't about changing your photo into something it's not. It's about enhancing what's already there and making it the best it can be. So, go ahead and give it a try. With a little practice, you'll be amazed at what you can achieve.

By now, you might be thinking, "Wow, there's a lot to learn. How can I possibly learn photography in a month?" Don't worry! It's all about taking it one step at a time. And remember: practice makes perfect. Happy editing!

Review and Analyze Your Own Photos

So, you've been snapping away and editing your images—great job! But how do you know if you're improving? The answer is simple: review and analyze your own photos. This is a key step in understanding how to learn photography in a month.

Take a moment to look back at the photos you've taken. What do you see? Are you happy with them? Are there any you'd do differently? Here's what you should be looking for:

  1. Composition: How well did you use the Rule of Thirds, leading lines, or other composition techniques? If something seems off, try to pinpoint what it is and think about how you could have captured the shot differently.
  2. Lighting: Was it too harsh, too soft, or just right? Did you manage to capture interesting shadows or highlights?
  3. Focus: Was the subject of your photo sharp, or was it a bit blurry? Remember, sometimes blurriness can be used creatively—just make sure it was intentional!

Don't be afraid of making mistakes—they're just opportunities to learn. The goal isn't to be perfect; it's to be better than you were yesterday. So keep taking those photos, keep reviewing them, and keep learning. Remember, learning how to take great photos is a journey, not a destination. So, enjoy the ride!

And there you have it. You're well on your way to learning photography in a month. Happy snapping!

Get Feedback from Others

Learning how to take stunning photos can be a challenging journey, but not one you have to take alone. One of the best ways to improve is to get feedback from others. This could be friends, family, or even online communities of fellow photography lovers.

When you share your work with others, don't just ask, "Do you like it?" Instead, ask specific questions like:

  1. "Do you think the lighting works well in this photo?"
  2. "Is the subject of the photo clear and in focus?"
  3. "What emotions does this photo evoke for you?"

These kinds of questions can give you a fresh perspective on your work and help you see things you might have missed. It's also a great way to learn new techniques or approaches you may not have thought of.

But remember, while feedback is invaluable, it's still just an opinion. Some people may love your work, while others may not. That's okay! The important thing is that you're learning and growing as a photographer.

So, put yourself out there and start a conversation about your work. You never know what you might learn or who you might inspire. After all, learning how to learn photography in a month also involves learning from others, right?

Keep Practicing and Have Patience

Here's the thing about learning a new skill, especially something as nuanced as photography—it takes time and patience. But don't let that deter you. Remember, the goal of learning how to learn photography in a month isn't to become a world-class photographer in 30 days. It's about laying a solid foundation that you can continue to build on.

Think about it like learning to play a musical instrument. You wouldn't expect to be a virtuoso after just a few weeks, would you? Of course not. You'd expect to know the basics and be able to play a few simple tunes. That's exactly what you're aiming for with photography too.

That said, here are a few tips to help you keep improving:

  1. Set aside regular time for practice: Whether it's 10 minutes a day or an hour every weekend, having dedicated time to practice can make a big difference.
  2. Try new things: Don't just stick with what you're comfortable with. Branch out and try different styles, subjects, or techniques. You never know what you might discover!
  3. Don't be too hard on yourself: Learning takes time and everyone progresses at their own pace. If you don't nail a shot or concept right away, don't sweat it. Keep trying and you'll get there.

Remember, the journey of learning how to learn photography in a month is just as important as the destination. So take your time, enjoy the process, and most importantly, have fun!

If you're just starting out with photography and looking for practical tips to improve your skills quickly, don't miss Andrea Orejarena's workshop, '1 Hour Photography Challenge.' This workshop provides a fun and engaging way to learn photography through hands-on challenges that will help you become a better photographer in no time.