These days, anyone and everyone with a smartphone nestled in their pocket can try their hand at a bit of photography. With razor-sharp cameras on our phones, it’s easy to take a snap of our favourite moment, but what if you want to get a little more creative with photography?
For those looking to take up photography as a hobby, splashing out on a bit of kit that is slightly more professional is always the best place to start. Most amateur photographers pick up a cheap DSLR for their first camera and progress from there. However, you could always go a little more hipster with photography and grab yourself a Polaroid or film camera, but they’re not quite as fun to play around with.
Where to Start
Getting your hands on a DSLR is the first port of call. DSLRs come in all different price ranges, and the budget cameras are often amazing quality, lasting you well into becoming an intermediate photographer.
Photography Kit for Beginners
The most common cameras for beginners are the Nikon D3300 and the Canon EOS 750D. Both are extremely affordable for top quality DSLR cameras and offer enough manual control to keep you busy while improving your images.
Other cameras to look out for would be the Nikon D5500, Canon EOS 760D and Nikon D3400. However, these are creeping closer to a higher-end budget, which for a beginner, you may want to stay away from.
There are two types of lenses you’ll want to purchase to kick-start your beginner camera kit. The first is the kit lens, which will be included in camera and lens bundles. This lens is usually an 18mm-55mm lens and is a good all-rounder lens, for both landscape and portrait photography. The other is a top quality 50mm, which is perfect for portrait photography. It really depends on what you’re looking to photograph, but these two lenses are a great place to start.
The Little Extras
Other little extras you may want to pick up for your kit are things like a remote, so you don’t have to be behind the camera at all times. You can also look at getting cleaning kits for your lenses, an external flash and of course, a good sturdy camera case. May we suggest our amazing Dave 500 camera case? Waterproof, dustproof and generally the best case available without breaking the bank. Discover our full range of camera cases to keep your beginner equipment safe. Our workshop can even provide you with custom cut foam to perfectly fit your new camera and accessories.
How to Use the Manual Setting
The one thing that many newbies stumble over when picking up their DSLR for the first time, is the ever confusing ‘manual’ setting. It can be so easy to switch it to auto and head off on your picture taking adventure… but it’s often not as exciting.
The beauty of digital cameras is that you can inspect your images before you use them. So no matter how badly you might mess up your settings, you have all the time in the world to experiment and learn.
If you’re planning on using manual settings, here are a couple of features you’ll need to get to grips with.
What is ISO?
ISO is basically the number that tells you how sensitive your camera currently is to light. If you find that your images are a little dark, turn to a higher ISO number to make the camera more sensitive to light, and therefore bringing a little extra light to your images.
The easiest way to remember ISO is the lower the number, the darker the image and the higher the number, the brighter the image. You will also find that higher ISO numbers can result in your images appearing grainy. To avoid having to use a high ISO, make sure there is plenty of light when taking your photo.
Shutter Speed Explained
If you’re keen to take some amazing action or night-time shots, you’ll need to know a thing or two about shutter speed.
The shutter speed basically decides how long the camera is exposed to light. When taking images at night, you’ll need a slower shutter speed in order to capture every detail. For moving objects, it’s best to have a fast shutter speed in order to capture the image as quickly as possible.
If you are going to be playing around with different shutter speeds, it’s highly recommended that you get yourself a sturdy tripod. If your camera is set on a low shutter speed, any movement in the camera, whilst the shutter is open, will result in a blur. So invest in a tripod to make sure you keep everything perfectly still.
As well as shutter speed and ISO, you can also look at things like aperture and F-Stops. However, these might be something to leave alone until you’ve mastered the above settings.
It can take a while to fully get to grips with all the different settings at your disposal, however, the internet is a magical place and it’s filled with tutorials, infographics and blog posts on how to use various cameras. The important part is to experiment, don’t follow the rules too closely and get creative.
Start Taking Photos Like a Pro
Once you’ve found the perfect photography equipment to get started, it’s time to learn how to shoot like a pro. Whether you’re planning on photographing people or places (or both), we’ve got plenty of resources on our blog to help beginners like you learn how to use their camera. Check out our guides on image attribution, optimising your images for the web and editing photos like a professional.