i too have limited experience, but here's what i try to do after having some less than enjoyable experiences digging into the hives:
1. avoid very early and very late in the day, most of the foraging bees will be out in the middle of the day.
2. avoid very windy days, it's hard to get the smoke to work effectively when the wind is strong.
3. bright sunny days are best. even with my bifocals it's much easier to see eggs when the sun is shining and i don't worry so much about finding the queen if i see eggs.
4. stay behind the hive. i usually place the telescoping lid upside down and to the side of the hive and use it to place supers on diagonally, and i lean the inner cover against the front toward the entrance.
5. i always wear a veil, and i like the disposable nitrile gloves.
6. i like to use a frame perch, but once i get two or three frames out i have enough space to just put the next frames to the outside of the box.
7. i also use a frame grip, but it's not absolutely necessary.
welcome to beekeeping, and good luck with your first bees!
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf