For those who currently just use the Auto setting...
Switch it to manual. It’s gunna be tough, but anything worth having takes a bit of struggle...and the sooner you start the sooner your progress!
Shoot: Take photos of everything and anything. Play with angles, distances, focal points, and natural frames.
Shutter, Aperture, ISO
If you don’t know much about shutter speed, aperture, and ISO watch YouTube videos about them till it sticks. If you want I can send you written info about them too if that helps. Just start playing around with the settings to what you think looks good.
Get your camera settings right: all the tiny details will help you keep organized (setting the correct time and date) and make sure you have full range in editing (shooting in RAW). Also make sure to have ALL the info/helpful diagrams and things showing on your screen (you can do this by clicking Q on the back). Watch all these diagrams/info graphs and just see what different settings do to them as you shoot.
Alright this is where I may differ from other photographers...I started in film and transitioned to photo, SO with film I use the screen to view, focus, and change my settings...and now doing photos (most people shoot by looking through the view finder, BUT I am so use to using the screen and it works well for me, so Austen said don’t change what’s working, but I use the view finder occasionally. SO use what’s best for you! But know that what you see through the view finder won’t look anything like what you shoot. The screen will look closer to the actual image captured, but if you're shooting in RAW (which you should be) the image on your screen will give you an idea of it colored, but when you export it will be greyscale so you have more play in the editing room. Just things to be aware of.
When you start out make sure your settings are on Auto White Balance. Once you start feeling comfortable with all the other workings start playing around using other white balances. If you’re ever shooting indoors with lights on use the Tungsten setting-it will counteract the yellowness that the camera pics up on people’s skin. But for travel photography (like sunsets and such) play around with different white balances to see what colors come out. Remember—use your creativity to its extreme and have fun with it! Once you feel comfortable with the pre-programmed settings you should move into using K or Kelvin--you will be able to get exactly the look you want once you master this.
Keeping the Details
Once you understand Shutter, Aperture, ISO take a look at the histogram and equalizer scale thing?? When editing you want to have as much detail still in the shot to play with editing. To do this you want to shoot your images a tad darker than you’d like them. If you shoot them lighter they will be blown out, hence lost detail. If they are darker you can brighten them while keeping the details sharp. For this histogram you wanna (for the most part) keep it balanced, so it should mirror itself the best it can (once you understand the basics you can break the rules and be creative/you may not even need to use the histogram after awhile because you’ll know what looks good).
I hope this helps! Check out my Instagram Story Highlight for "Mentorship" details where we can dive deeper into all the questions you may have!