People often think that the most important thing about photography is composition or the type of camera they have. In my opinion, that’s not the case at all. I always begin my lessons with the basic three: lens-cap, batteries, posture.
You first and fore-most need to have the lens cap on your camera so as to keep your optics clean. If you have dirty optics, nothing else matters. Your pictures will have smudges and you will be spending a lot of time in post processing. If you are doing vide, it will be even worse! Most people will never do post processing so having a clean lens is numero uno.
Nothing worse than arriving somewhere with depleted batteries. I always buy extra so I can replace the low batteries. It is a common rookie mistake and I try to get my students to think of this early and often right off the bat. If you don’t have batteries, you don’t have a camera.
An important addendum to this is memory card. Make sure to clear space on the memory card right after shooting so you can go to the next event without worries. This will also ensure that you don’t loose your pictures. Uploading pictures to a cloud service like Flickr is an affordable way to share and save your photographs. Back UP is key!
This one few talk about but how you hold the camera is important for three reasons. First, you look good. When you look good, people trust you. When people trust you, they relax and you get better pictures.
The second reason is when you have good posture and you hold camera correctly, you take better pictures, you’re relaxed and get tired less.
Last reason is that if you hold the camera right, you don’t put hands in the wrong place so that the fingers don’t get in the view of the lens. Don’t put fingers in front of the lens, you get good shots.
What’s a good posture? I call it a tripod: keep elbows in, one hand on side with finger on the shutter and the other on bottom of camera like a pedestal with fingers on bottom of the lens so as not to get in the way of it. That’s how the pros do it!
So now you know the basics of photography. You look good, you don’t take bad shots and you’re always ready! Everything else is just details.