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Photography for Beginners : How To Start

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Photography for Beginners : How To Start Tips

Do you like photography and have been trying to take better photos for some time? Or maybe you read several articles on specialized sites and don’t always understand everything they say, perhaps because you miss some basic concepts. If so, you are not alone and there is nothing to be ashamed of. After buying a camera, many people end up leaving it locked in a drawer and their interest in photography becomes just a passing fad.

☑ Choosing a digital camera

Choosing a digital camera

Already have a camera to use? Well, any camera is good to start with , you could already skip this paragraph. I’m serious, that’s all you need for now.

It’s something I often repeat: the camera doesn’t take photographs, and the camera doesn’t make the photographer . Even with the best one on the market, bad photos are taken and those that can be considered “beautiful” certainly do not depend on the equipment, but on the light, the framing, the moment in which it is taken, the right composition and choice of subjects, etc.

So, which camera to choose? There is a large offer of digital cameras of all kinds, from compact to more professional reflex cameras, through bridge and mirrorless cameras, which are slowly carving out a lot of space for themselves. The initial choice is not easy, it should be the camera that best suits our needs but also the budget we have available.

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How To Choose The Perfect Camera

How To Choose The Perfect Camera

Choosing a perfect camera can be a daunting task, especially with the wide variety of options available in the market. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a camera that best suits your needs:

  1. Purpose: The first step is to determine what you will be using the camera for. Are you a beginner or a professional photographer? Do you want to take landscapes, portraits, or action shots? The type of photography you intend to do will help you narrow down your options.
  2. Sensor Size: The sensor is the part of the camera that captures light and turns it into an image. A larger sensor typically results in better image quality, especially in low-light conditions. Cameras with full-frame sensors are the most expensive, while those with APS-C or micro four-thirds sensors are more affordable.
  3. Megapixels: Megapixels are not the only factor that determines image quality, but they do play a role. A higher number of megapixels allows you to crop and print large images without losing quality. However, if you only intend to share your photos on social media, a camera with fewer megapixels may be sufficient.
  4. Lens Options: The lens is an essential part of the camera, and some cameras have a wider range of compatible lenses than others. If you intend to do different types of photography, it’s essential to choose a camera that has a variety of lens options.
  5. Image Stabilization: Image stabilization helps to reduce blur in photos, especially when shooting handheld or in low-light conditions. Some cameras have built-in image stabilization, while others rely on the lens for stabilization.
  6. Size and Weight: The size and weight of the camera are essential factors to consider, especially if you intend to travel or hike with it. Compact and mirrorless cameras are typically lighter and more portable than DSLRs.
  7. Budget: Finally, it’s essential to determine your budget before choosing a camera. Cameras can range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. It’s essential to find a camera that has the features you need while still being within your budget.

By considering these factors, you can choose a camera that best suits your needs and helps you capture the moments that matter to you.

Best DSLR cameras for beginners – Best Starter Camera for Photography

Best DSLR cameras for beginners - Best Starter Camera for Photography

If you are a beginner looking for the best DSLR camera, here are some options to consider:

  1. Canon EOS Rebel T7i / 800D: This camera has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, a fast and accurate autofocus system, and a fully articulated touchscreen. It also has a user-friendly interface and a wide range of compatible lenses.
  2. Nikon D3500: This camera is an excellent option for those on a budget. It has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, a fast and accurate autofocus system, and a comfortable grip. It also has a guide mode that helps beginners learn the basics of photography.
  3. Pentax K-70: This camera is an excellent option for outdoor and nature photography. It has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, a weather-sealed body, and a built-in image stabilization system. It also has a variety of customizable controls and a wide range of compatible lenses.
  4. Sony Alpha a68: This camera has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, a fast and accurate autofocus system, and a high-resolution electronic viewfinder. It also has a user-friendly interface and a wide range of compatible lenses.
  5. Fujifilm X-T200: This camera is a mirrorless option that has a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, a fast and accurate autofocus system, and a fully articulated touchscreen. It also has a user-friendly interface and a wide range of compatible lenses.

When choosing a DSLR camera for beginners, it’s essential to consider factors such as sensor size, autofocus system, user-friendly interface, and compatibility with lenses. These cameras are excellent options for beginners who want to start their photography journey.

The most common mistakes when buying a reflex

The most common mistakes when buying a reflex

When buying a reflex camera, there are some common mistakes that people often make. Here are some of them:

  1. Focusing too much on megapixels: While megapixels are important, they are not the only factor that determines image quality. A camera with a lower megapixel count can still produce great images if it has a good sensor, lens, and image processing.
  2. Not considering the size and weight: Reflex cameras can be quite heavy and bulky, especially with larger lenses. It’s important to consider the size and weight of the camera and lenses before making a purchase, especially if you plan to travel or carry it around for extended periods.
  3. Not trying the camera before buying: It’s essential to try out the camera before buying it to make sure it feels comfortable in your hands and that the controls are easy to use. Some cameras may have features that are difficult to access or menus that are confusing.
  4. Buying too many lenses at once: While it’s tempting to buy multiple lenses at once, it’s often better to start with one or two high-quality lenses and gradually build your collection as you gain experience and determine your specific needs.
  5. Not setting a budget: Reflex cameras and lenses can be quite expensive, so it’s important to set a budget before making a purchase. It’s also important to consider ongoing costs, such as batteries, memory cards, and maintenance.
  6. Not researching enough: It’s important to research different camera models, read reviews, and compare features before making a purchase. This will help ensure that you get a camera that meets your needs and is within your budget.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make a more informed decision when buying a reflex camera and ensure that you get a camera that meets your needs and helps you capture great images.

The best compact cameras of the moment

The best compact cameras of the moment

There are many excellent compact cameras available on the market today. Here are some of the best compact cameras of the moment:

  1. Sony RX100 VII: This camera features a 20.1-megapixel sensor, a fast and accurate autofocus system, and a versatile 24-200mm zoom lens. It also has a high-speed continuous shooting mode and can shoot 4K video.
  2. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III: This camera has a 20.1-megapixel sensor, a 24-100mm zoom lens, and a tilting touchscreen. It also has a microphone input and can shoot 4K video.
  3. Fujifilm X100V: This camera features a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sensor, a fixed 23mm f/2 lens, and a hybrid viewfinder. It also has a classic design and excellent image quality.
  4. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II: This camera has a 17-megapixel Four Thirds sensor, a fast Leica 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 lens, and a built-in electronic viewfinder. It also has 4K video capabilities and a compact design.
  5. Olympus Tough TG-6: This camera is designed for outdoor and underwater photography. It has a 12-megapixel sensor, a 25-100mm f/2-4.9 lens, and is waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof.

When choosing a compact camera, it’s important to consider factors such as sensor size, lens quality, image stabilization, and overall image quality. These cameras are all excellent options for those who want a compact and versatile camera that can deliver high-quality images.

Which instant camera to buy

There are several instant cameras available on the market, each with its own features and capabilities. Here are some of the best instant cameras to consider:

  1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11: This camera is an affordable and easy-to-use option that produces credit card-sized prints. It has a built-in flash, automatic exposure, and a selfie mirror.
  2. Polaroid Now: This camera has a vintage design and produces larger prints than the Instax Mini. It has a built-in flash, automatic exposure, and a self-timer.
  3. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6: This camera produces square-shaped prints and has a retro design. It has automatic exposure, a selfie mirror, and several creative modes.
  4. Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat: This camera has a sleek design and produces credit card-sized prints. It has automatic exposure, a wide-angle lens, and several creative modes.
  5. Polaroid OneStep+: This camera has a classic design and produces larger prints than the Instax Mini. It has Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for remote control and creative effects using a smartphone app.

When choosing an instant camera, it’s important to consider factors such as print size, design, ease of use, and available features. These cameras are all great options for those who want to capture and print instant photos.

However, if you already have a camera and believe that to better practice this passion it is time to buy another one, I advise you to wait. Take the first steps more consciously, gain experience and try to understand what the limits of the equipment you use now are for you. When you are sure of what you need and what you can’t do with this camera, then start the search for a new one, with the certainty of buying something you really need.

☑ Learn photography from the basics

With a camera at your disposal, you can start taking your first steps into this fascinating world. Is there much to learn? Yes, continuously, but to benefit from your photographic passion you can experiment and learn over time , always trying something new. Even an expert photographer never stops learning new things .

Learning photography can be divided into two different parts of the same discipline, the one that can be defined as artistic and the technical one.

The artistic part particularly concerns the composition of the photo , with all the elements that compose it and are evaluated when judging it from a visual point of view. In the world of photography they are defined as “rules”, but there is nothing obligatory and everything must be considered case by case, both individually and as a whole: a point of interest that guides the gaze, the presence of lines and geometric shapes that can help in this, elements that give dynamism or staticity to the image, the presence of warm or cold colors, the depth of field of focus, the use of space and the positioning of subjects according to the rule of thirds or the golden ratio, etc.

✔ What does a beginner absolutely need to know? The rule of thirds .
This is one of the first compositional notions you learn, due to its simplicity and effectiveness in the results. Look at a photograph and mentally divide it into imaginary thirds, both horizontally and vertically; thus the image will be divided into nine equal parts, with four points of intersection of the lines. Those are called “highlights” and are the points where we place the subject or subjects of our photo, unlike the common habit of placing them in the center of the frame.

rule of thirds photography

By applying the rule of thirds the photographs will have a greater sense of balance , more interest for the viewer, more sensation of depth and more strength in general. Even in photography, however, the rules can be broken and there are many cases in which this too is not applied, in particular if there are vanishing points with parallel lines or other elements that work better if placed in the center of the image.

So far quite intuitive, but what about the technical part? It’s about all the camera controls and the way light is captured, without which we couldn’t even talk about photography. Once you have decided what and how to frame, a good photographer moves his fingers to rotate dials and press buttons in a fraction of a second, modifying many elements that influence the image to be obtained in different ways.

✔ Aperture : defines the opening of the optical system through which the light passes to reach the image plane and is measured through an “f number” or ⨍ that you have probably already seen written on your lens, where the maximum and minimum opening. The larger this opening is (indicated however by a smaller number), the greater the amount of light that can enter it and consequently the shorter the time needed with the diaphragm open to obtain the same exposure.

Aperture Camera

Using a smaller or larger aperture affects the sharp or blurry area that will appear in our photos, the one usually called depth of field . The actual depth of field will depend on a combination of the aperture, the focal length used and the distance from the subject we are focusing on.

✔ Shutter speed : it is another of the fundamental parameters of photography, which allows us to indicate to the camera the shutter speed of the image, and consequently the amount of light to let into the camera.

✔ ISO sensitivity : together with the aperture opening and the shutter speed, it is one of the basic factors on which the exposure of the photo depends. It is a function of digital cameras that allows you to emulate the behavior of analog cameras when they worked with chemical films of different sensitivities.

As a rule we should work with the lowest ISO value that our camera guarantees us for correct exposure, based on the aperture and speed values ​​that we have decided to set. In low light conditions, as in the case of night or astronomical photography, higher ISO values ​​are preferred to capture even the dimmest lights such as those of the stars, together with large aperture openings and trying to keep digital noise within acceptable limits .

✔ Light measurement mode : digital cameras measure the amount of light present in a scene thanks to a small device called a light meter, to adjust the exposure level of each of the elements in our photo. The camera lets you decide how to measure light, through three different metering modes: spot, center-weighted (or semi-spot) and matrix.

In spot mode the light meter measures the light only in the central point of the scene being framed, discarding any light value in the rest of the sensor. It is a method to be used with great caution, preferred by professionals who have great experience with light and an excellent knowledge of their equipment. In center-weighted mode the camera takes into account the light across the entire sensor, but gives much more weight to the central area, typically around 75% of the value in the central region and the remaining 25% in the outer area. The most complex metering system of the three is the matrix mode , which is fine for most situations. This way the camera’s exposure meter measures light through an array of points across the entire sensor area, calculating the final exposure value based on the values ​​measured at each point.

✔ White balance : this is a camera control used to balance the level of the basic red, green and blue (RGB) colors so that the brightest part of the image is actually white and the darkest is black. If the white balance is correct, the whites and blacks will be pure, without any color cast.

The colors that are captured by the camera depend on the lighting, but we know that ambient light is not always the same. We can have natural or artificial light sources, with a different color temperature ranging from warmer to colder tones. The three RGB color components are not evenly distributed: on a cloudy day, bluish tones will predominate, whereas in a room lit by incandescent bulbs, red tones will predominate.

Our eyes have the ability to compensate for this color difference in light, but the camera cannot do so in the same way. For this reason, the white balance — WB — serves to indicate what color temperature there is in the environment , in order to set the correct white color and from it the rest of the tones in the photograph.

☑ 7 exercises to practice for Photography Beginners

The best way to better understand many concepts and master the technical aspects related to the camera is to practice and practice, even making mistakes without fear. With these photography exercises you can become familiar with the theoretical knowledge you have acquired , with all the time it takes, constantly improving the results of your photos.

✔ Test the rules of composition : there are a series of rules on how to arrange the elements in the photographed scene, to obtain a technically perfect composition. I referred to the rule of thirds, but it is not the only principle to keep in mind. Deepen this knowledge, try to assimilate it and learn to compose from the first glance. Later you can also break the rules and give space to your creativity.

✔ Use lines and geometric elements : horizontal and vertical lines, symmetry, recurring patterns and geometric shapes are excellent ingredients for learning to compose photographically. Learn to identify these factors to be able to best use them in photographs and take advantage of the help they can give.

✔ Have fun with depth of field : controlling depth of field through the three parameters that define it — aperture, focal length and distance from the subject — is one of the first exercises that every beginner should do. Even if you have a basic SLR you can get good results and discover something magical, like the ability to completely blur the background to make the subject stand out.

✔ Do panning tests : this is a very particular way of capturing a moving subject, which will appear well defined, with a moving background that gives a great feeling of dynamism. Do you know photos of cyclists or speeding cars? To achieve this effect you must follow the moving subject perpendicular to the camera, with a relatively slow shutter speed of around 1/60s or even less. With a lot of practice over time you can obtain spectacular sports photographs.

✔ Take long exposures : you will have seen many photos of waterways or the sea with what is often called “silk effect” and you have been attracted by it. This technique is achieved with rather long exposures, which allow the water to appear in motion in the photos, situations in which a tripod (and often also a neutral density filter) is essential. The ability to take exposures of several seconds or even hours opens up many other perspectives, such as night photography.

✔ Take portraits of people : starting to photograph friends or family is a very common way to decide to approach photography and also within anyone’s reach. To obtain a good portrait it is not enough to pose a model and ask him to smile, there are many things to keep in mind and even more mistakes that can be made. It takes patience, practice and a good knowledge of light to bring out the expressions and physicality that characterize a subject with a good portrait.

✔ Try taking macro photography : An advanced and quite attractive area for a beginner is macro photography, although there is a need for some additional accessories such as a macro lens or extension tubes. Even with the minimum focusing distance of our lens we could have interesting results, to be improved later if we are passionate about this genre and continue to require better equipment. Learn more by reading the post with tips for photographing flowers .

☑ Management and post-production of photographs

With analogue photography, much of the photographic process ended at the moment of shooting, then all that was left to do was develop the film and print the photos to keep in an album. With digital photography, the management of photos, or rather of files, continues especially afterwards: you can make presentations of them to show them on video and you particularly like sharing them on social media and on the web, to show them to the whole world.

Take Picture after Photoshoot

Another of the tasks that most involve the digital photographer is memorizing a mountain of photographs . An archive of this kind should be organized well, in order, so that we can easily find the photos that interest us later. Many image management software allow you to assign tags and labels to each file to search for photos based on the topics they concern, such as Twitter #hashtags.

There is never a shortage of searches by reference date, the organization of albums with clear and understandable names, etc. But the most important part of not losing your work is to make backup copies , on DVDs or other media such as memory cards, preferably protected from accidental writing.

Before definitively storing a photo, it is better to correct or improve a series of basic factors: the inclination of the horizon, the framing, the exposure, the white balance, perhaps following an ideal workflow that allows us to optimize the times .

Digital photography offers us the immense possibility of processing images as we wish . To do this, obviously, you need a photo retouching or graphic editing program: the choice is practically unlimited, but the most important and used are Lightroom and Photoshop. There are also photography applications that can be used online or from smartphones/tablets, such as Snapseed, which offer good results.

☑ Continuous photography training

As an essential part of any path we decide to undertake, training cannot be missing even in photography. Reading books, magazines and photography blogs like FotoPost is a quite enjoyable way to continue learning. The most advantageous way of learning photography is always taking photographs and making mistakes is necessary to improve, but to increase learning, practice must be combined with reading a lot of material, sharing experiences with other photographers, participating in workshops and being present to photographic exhibitions.

Some recommended books for those approaching the world of photography and want to learn in a simple and effective way? Here are the three guides most purchased and appreciated by newbies and beginners.

The only thing not to do is to neglect this passion, not to postpone a photographic outing out of laziness: it is fine to dedicate yourself to reading, but alone it is not enough to make progress and become good photographers.

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