The following five tips I am giving you below are the five tips that I wish I knew when I first picked up a camera
1. Learn how to use your camera and understand what the different settings control.
The other day I saw a post on Facebook about someone complaining that their brand new camera was not taking very sharp images and wanting suggestions from others about what camera people recommend to improve her images. The problem with this logic is that all digital cameras these days are capable of taking very sharp and clear images, after all there have been some very big publications that have printed cover images of an iphone image. So if you images are not sharp or clear, then it is not the camera’s fault, but a lack of understanding on how to use your camera in that situation. So the more you understand how your camera works, the easier it will be for your to change your settings to fit the situation.
2. Think about what you use your camera for and how you display your images when thinking about buying a new camera.
People always ask me what gear I shoot with and then proceed to ask what camera they should get. My answer is probably not the one they want to hear. I have chosen to shoot with Canon cameras because when I first started shooting, that it the camera I first got and I have never switched over to Nikon or another system because of the collection of lenses I have accumulated over the years and honestly the differences between a Canon and Nikon camera is hardly noticeable to 95% of the photographers out there. It used to be I would advise people to get the best body they could afford and a decent lens and then build up their collection of lenses but now my advice is to get the best lens you can afford and a body that has the features you need. The reason for this reversal is that it used to be there was very little differences in camera bodies and unless you damaged your body, there was very little reason to upgrade your body from year to year. Now though, with the technology advances that make even a camera body one or two years old almost obsolete, it is better to spend your money on lenses and then upgrade your camera body as you need to without breaking the bank. Also most people who buy a DSLR don’t actually need a DSLR, especially if they only have one or two lenses so figure out what you really want to shoot, think about how many prints you have done in the last year and how big those prints were and then pick a camera based on your answers to those questions. After all, if you just want to take pictures of your kids and usually just post images to facebook or maybe print out the occasional small print, then there is no reason for you to invest in a 20mp camera that can shoot 10fps, but if you are planing on being a professional photographer and want to shoot sports, then you will need a camera like that.
3. Visit art museums and galleries to look at paintings.
Yes you can and should also look at the photographs displayed at the museums and art galleries, but you will actually probably learn more by studying how painters depict the light in their images and also how they compose their images. After all painting and photography are both about capturing the light. Admittedly, looking at modern art will not help you very much to learn about how to capture light and shadow in a landscape, but it might inspire you to experiment with bold colours, and shooting abstract composition images.
4. Share your work
One of the best ways to learn what people like or don’t like is to share your work. In today’s connected culture, it is easier than ever to get your work out there in the world. I am not saying that you should post every image you take, in fact, when posting images to social media, the more critical you when editing your images the better your post will be. After all most people will only look at two or three images before moving on the the next post. Also to really improve your photography, take part in a portfolio review or critique. Sure it is nice to have a bunch of people tell you that you take great photographs, but if someone sits down and points out some of the mistakes in your images, then that gives you something to work on the next time you go out to shoot and that is how you become a better photographer by refining and improving your technique.
5. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
The final tip I will leave you with today is to just go out and shoot. The more you shoot: the better you know your camera (Tip 1), the easier it is for you know when to upgrade your system (Tip 2), the more you start to see light (Tip 3), the more images you have to share (Tip 4). So turn off your computer and go out and explore with your camera…
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