Digital photography plays a fundamental role documenting our lives, and many smartphone users are discovering a hidden talent for snapping shots. Charlie Blevins shares some tips for those looking to take their photography to the next level. [Article courtesy of Fujifilm.]

Taken with Fujifilm X-T3 and 56mm F/1.2 lens.

1. Check out professional photographers’ work

Before moving into any kind of photography you need to build a basic understanding of what constitutes an impressive photograph. A great way to start is by looking at the work of photographers from every possible genre.

Go beyond mere browsing and study the science behind the photo, such as composition, brightness and subject position.

Through this, you will learn about the strategic elements of photography. Absorbing professional techniques will help motivate you on your photography journey.

2. Pick your genre and learn about it

There are many genres in photography. Once you build a general understanding of photos, you may want to start honing your focus into the genre you’re most interested in.

Each genre has certain techniques that you can apply as a starting point. For example, when taking landscape photos, use a small aperture to keep objects in the foreground and background sharp. Or for wildlife photography a single auto-focus point allows you to pinpoint your focus on a constantly moving animal.

My expertise is in human portraits and my goals are to bring out the best in people and capture details in a creative way. This means I do two things. The first is to connect with my models through a warm-hearted conversation or a joke that sparks their authentic emotion. The second is to ensure shots are taken at the perfect moment.

From a technical perspective, I often go for a compact body, such as the Fujifilm X-T3, and pair it with the Fujifilm XF 56mm lens that comes with a large aperture of f/1.2. In the images above and below, the lens allowed plenty of light to come through the shot, capturing details within the images and enabling a strong sentimental flow.

Taken with Fujifilm X-T3 and 56mm F/1.2 lens.

3. Channel your knowledge through an entry-level camera

It’s essential to have the appropriate hardware to put your knowledge into practice. Smartphones are a convenient medium, but they provide limited functionalities. However a dedicated camera has plenty of versatile functions that can open your eyes to the thrilling world of photography.

An entry-level all-rounder is a good place to start. At this stage, it is important to incorporate your knowledge without losing the joy of experimentation with photos.

For day-to-day use, I recommend using the Fujifilm X-T100, a budget-friendly model to get the basics right. Once you’ve built up some experience, you can upgrade to the X-T200 or X100F to make the most of premium features that are suitable for more sophisticated photography.

When using these cameras, you can always start off in Auto mode and experiment with different settings, then change to Manual mode as you gain more confidence.

Taken with Fujifilm X-100F.

4. Practice makes perfect

Like every other hobby, photography relies on constant practice and experimentation. Besides taking as many photos as you can, try joining a community to connect with like-minded people, or follow online tutorials for more in-depth analysis on how you can sharpen your skills.

In the beginning, you may see traces of imitation and an unstable quality in your photographs. But with learning, practice, and experimentation, you will pick up your own rhythm and style.

And whether or not you have the perfect gear, always take what you have and leap at every opportunity to snap a good shot.

Learn more on Fujifilm cameras here