Choosing the right camera
Whether you’re a hobbyist or if you dream of being a pro, I believe the first step in any photographers journey is choosing the right camera for you and familiarising yourself with the important settings. What do I mean by “important”? Good question, I’ll come back to that later.
Now, I agree that the best deals are found online these days but get yourself down to your local camera shop and pick up several different cameras. Hold them in your hand and see how they feel. Consider the weight, size, display lay out and how easy it is to hold and access all the controls (this list is not exhaustive, there may be other things that are important to you).
Forget the details
Don’t get caught up in the megapixel race or how many shots it can take in a second or whether mirrorless is better than DSLR (or vice versa). When buying an entry level camera these details don’t make enough of a difference to be important in your decision making.
The first camera I bought was a Sony A6 because I was stupid and didn’t hold one in a shop. I didn’t like the way it felt (the grip felt too small for me) so I returned it, went to a shop, held on to several cameras and bought a Nikon D5300. This isn’t to say I think mirrorless cameras are rubbish because they’re too small. It just didn’t feel right for me.
Read the manual
Got your new camera? Good. I hope it brings you many years of happiness.
Now take out the manual and read it. Spend a good hour at least alone with your camera without distractions. Remember I mentioned important settings earlier? Well it’s easier to say what I meant by pointing which features I don’t think are important: the pre-set modes. By all means play around with them and have some fun but my advice would be to figure out how to change the camera settings. You don’t need to understand them yet, just know what all the buttons do so you can easily refer to them later when you do understand.
Now for the fun bit…get outside and use your camera in full auto, yes that’s right, FULL auto (sacre bleu…a photographer told me to use my camera in full auto?!). Just enjoy your new purchase and patiently await my next blog post where I’ll help you out with some compositional tips. I see a lot of tutorial based websites covering exposure before composition but personally I think you need to be able to see a great shot before you can capture it.