Skip to content
10 Questions Beginning Photographers Need to Ask

10 Questions Beginning Photographers Need to Ask

When you are a beginning photographer, you just want to capture your first shots and move on to capture the next moment with your first digital camera from However, getting in the habit of asking some simple questions can help take your images to the next level. Here’s 10 questions to get in the habit of asking while framing your shots.


What’s the Story?

This is an important question and one that should help you to make decisions in terms of composition, framing, exposure etc. You need to decide why you are taking this shot. What the purpose is and what you’re trying to convey. Are you trying to keep a record of a moment, trying to capture the emotion of a moment, is it possibly a shot to give to someone, is it part of a larger series of shots or will it be the only shot to commemorate the moment, etc.? Basically, what story are you trying to tell with the photo?

What is the Focal Point?

What will viewers of this picture naturally have their eye drawn to in this scene? Once you’ve identified this focal point you can think about where to place it in the frame.  A good example to use would be the rule of thirds.

Are There Competing Focal Points?

Once you’ve identified your focal point and have placed it in the frame – scan over the shot and see if there are any competing focal points and decide whether they add to or take away from the image. Secondary focal points can add depth to shots but they can also be very distracting and so you might need to reposition yourself or adjust your focal length and/or depth of field to accommodate or remove them from your shots. Also keep in mind that if your shot has more than one focal point that it might be worth taking two shots, one of each focal point, in order to keep things simple.


Is There Anything Distracting in the Background?
One of most common places for distractions in digital photography is the background of your shots. Look over the space behind your subject to see what else is in the image. Decide whether you want the background in focus or nice and blurry.  Also, don’t forget to check the foreground as well. 

Am I Close Enough?

Another common mistake in beginning digital photography is taking shots where your subject is too small in the frame. Shots that fill the frame with your subject tend to be much more dynamic and show a lot more detail. To get this effect you move yourself closer, move your subject closer or use a longer focal length to give the effect of closeness.
What is Your Main Light Source? To maintain detail and clarity in your image, always give consideration to how your subject is lit. Without proper lighting, your camera will have to compensate by doing things like increasing ISO and lengthening shutter speeds, leading to noisy and blurred images. So you need to decide the main source of light and where is it coming from, if there is there enough light, or if you need artificial light sources, and if you need to stabilize your camera on a tripod to stop camera shake due to low light.

Is My Framing Straight?

It’s amazing how many otherwise good photos are spoiled by framing that is slightly offline. Sloping horizons and slightly leaning people or buildings should always be in the back of your mind to check.

What Other Viewpoints Can I Capture this Subject From?

Make your images stand out from the crowd by finding creative and fresh angles and perspectives to shoot from.


How Would Holding the Camera Differently Change this Shot?

Many beginning photographers always holding their camera the same way. Changing the format from horizontal to vertical, or vice versa, can drastically change the impact of the shot. Don’t forget you can also hold your camera at an angle for an effective result too.

How Will the Viewer’s Eye Travel Through This Image?

This is related to asking about focal points but gets in touch with the fact that while you’re photographing a still image your viewers’ eyes don’t remain still as they look at an image. People tend to follow lines and are attracted to shapes and colors so considering all of these different visual elements can help improve your shots considerably.


Of course you probably won’t remember all the questions and you’re unlikely to go through each of them with every shot you take – however next time you head out with your digital camera from concentrate on asking yourself at least one or two of them as you take your shots.
Previous article Tips to Take The Perfect Holiday Card Photo

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields