Photography is a wonderful hobby. By following some essential tips and guidelines when you get started, you’ll have more success in your exciting new pass time.
1. Don’t Go Nuts Buying An $8,000 Camera Out of the Gate
The Canon S95 PowerShot is a great little point-and-shoot
There is no need at all for a beginner in any hobby to buy the most expensive gear out of the gate. In fact, it might even hinder you. A good, basic camera will take good pictures but will not have so many features and options to distract you. A great choice in the point-and-shoot category is the Canon PowerShot above. This camera proves that you can get really high quality photos with a basic camera for under $300.
Another reason to save your money early on is you’ll get a better idea what you want after you have more experience. Save your money for your second camera purchase. A point-and-shoot like the Canon will serve you very well for the first year at least.
2. Buy a Tripod
Another plus of saving your money is that you can now buy an essential: a tripod. You can get a decent starter tripod for 50 bucks. Most new photographers find that the quality of their photos skyrockets when they use a tripod.
3. Carry Your Camera Everywhere
Good photographs don’t happen on your schedule. A good photo opportunity will crop up at the most inopportune times, and it really sucks if your camera is in the car when it happens. You also can take quick shots with your phone’s camera and come back later with your camera.
4. Write a List of Shots You Want
Ok, you can’t always carry your camera. But what you can do is carry a little notebook and pencil to write down the places and scenes you see that you want to shoot. Don’t try to memorize every shot you want; you won’t remember everything. It’s key to write down the key details of the shot opportunity you see, such as lighting and angles. That way you can come back tomorrow at the right time and light of day. Another option is to send an email to yourself on your cell.
5. Don’t Overlook the Obvious
You see your backyard every day, but you could be shocked to learn that you can get some great shots there. Don’t overlook the places you see on a daily basis. Try to view your familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You always can find an interesting shot from an interesting angle or unusual lighting situation.
6. Use the Internet
In writing, it’s always a good idea to read a lot to learn what other writers are writing about and how they do it. In photography, it’s the same. It’s always a good idea to regular browse sites like Flickr, or the Digital Photography School Forum to give you some inspiration for your next shoot.
7. Get Experimental
Even a basic point-and-shoot camera such as the excellent Canon PowerShot has quite a few settings. Read your camera manual from cover to cover. Discover what all those little cute symbols on your camera’s setting buttons mean. As you are checking out the settings, take a bunch of pictures of the same shot with the different settings. Learn what the effects look like in reality.
One of the singularly greatest things about digital photography is that you have unlimited ‘film.’ Making mistakes costs you zilch. Go crazy. Shoot the same shot 20 times. Delete everything that you don’t want.
Cool tip: When you are viewing your photos on your PC, you can get into the EXIF data (check file properties) to see which settings you were using.
There is a mind blowing amount of information on the Internet, but don’t be intimidated. Start off with a few articles on the basics of photo composition.
9. Try to Shoot in RAW If Possible
If your camera allows you to shoot in RAW mode, do so. This means that you can go into that photo with Photoshop and improve and edit the shot. If you shoot in JPEG, you can’t do this. Of course, shooting in RAW takes a lot more memory, so have some extra memory chips on hand.
10. Don’t Be Lazy
All decent starter cameras have a nice optical zoom. This can be a crutch for the lazy photographer. Don’t let your zoom allow you to stand in one place for all your shots. Get moving. Get different angles for your shots. Get up close and personal.
Get out there with that camera and start shooting!