Photography Cheat Sheet: A Beginner’s Checklist for Great Photography

Finally made the decision to move on from your smartphone camera? Consider today’s photography cheat sheet as a checklist of the stuff you need to get started.

Photography can seem daunting to get into for anyone who started with smartphone cameras, but with today’s photography cheat sheet, you’ll have an idea where and what to begin with. This cheat sheet covers everything from the gear you’ll need to buy to the shooting techniques you’ll want to learn. Step right up if this sounds like something you need to jump-start your photography journey!

The infographic below, put together by Focus Camera, was meant to serve as a beginner’s guide to shooting great photos like the pros. If you’re struggling to choose a camera, or wondering what you can do to ensure the best photos, these tips should have you covered.

The cheat sheet is divided into three parts: gear, the right image, and technique. If you’re not yet settled on a camera, it suggests three DSLRs you can choose from based on your budget, and some lenses based on the kind of photography you would like to do. If you want a mirrorless camera instead, you may want to check out these three under $600, and some student-friendly options. You’ll also most likely need some accessories to go with your camera, like a flash or a tripod.

Now that you’ve decided to take photography more seriously, you also have to craft the right images. It’s not about taking hundreds of photos of primarily pointless things, as the photography cheat sheet noted.

Rather, shoot photos that evoke emotions, exude mystery, and tell a story. To help you land these images, you need the right technique. This is where good composition (beginning with the Rule of Thirds) comes into the picture. Also, pick the right shooting mode for the situation you’re working in. Be mindful of the light; know when to use flash (ideally with a diffuser) so you can illuminate your subjects nicely, if necessary. Lastly, shooting with digital cameras means you’ll have to do some post-processing of your work. For this, you’ll need to be able to work with one or two kinds of photo editing software so you can tastefully edit your RAW images into the final photos you intend.

We’re sure that you can use more tips and tricks like this, so make sure to check out all the photography cheat sheets that we have so far!