The only FIVE things you need to get started in photography
Have you always wanted to learn photography but keep putting it off until you can afford the gear? You’d be surprised at how little you really need as a beginner photographer. Sure, once you “catch the bug” it can get expensive, gear envy can be catching and it can be tempting to splash out on the latest and greatest, newest gadget, accessory, lens, bag, book, prop, guide . . . . you get the idea. Take it from me, don’t waste your cash. Get started with just the essentials. Once you start to progress from beginner to more advanced you’ll quickly understand what it is you need next. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wasted my cash on things I just didn’t need or don’t use. Just like buying that pair of jeans a fraction too tight – because you’re soo going to drop a few kg’s – don’t do it! Chances are you won’t and will never fit them. On the other hand if you do lose the kg’s, reward yourself with the new jeans. Once you’ve got the basics sorted, you’ll quickly know where your current gear can’t take you and what you really need next.
So what five things do I recommend for beginner photographers?
One | A camera
Okay, so maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but to get started in photography, you need a camera. What you don’t need is a whizz bang, high end DSLR. Any camera where you can change the settings (aperture, shutter speed & ISO) is a great start. Even better if you’re able to change lenses. As you learn, lens choice becomes a big part of the creative process. Look around for a second hand camera, you don’t need the latest one to get started. Entry level DLSR camera’s are also becoming more and more affordable, take a look at my DSLR buying guide for more tips on buying your first camera.
Two | A fast prime lens
Kit lenses are great to get you started, but they have limitations and you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck by investing in a “good glass,” a fixed prime lens. The good news is the next best lens is also the most affordable! Most professional photographers out there agree you can’t go past a 50mm prime lens. The f1.8 version in most popular makes is less $200. You’ll be able to shoot with less light, create a shallower depth of field (that lovely blurry background look) and failing a catastrophe, outlive your camera body so it’s money well spent. Read more about the all the benefits of the nifty fifty here.
THREE | A step by step beginners guide
Let’s face it, once you start to move beyond point and shoots, photography is confusing! Getting to know all the settings and understanding the basic concepts is like learning a new language. Forget about the manual, you pretty much have to already understand the basics to make any sense out of it. You can find lots of information on the web, gather great nuggets of information here and there and piece it all together and start taking photos you love. But let’s face it, even with great free resources like Club Lilypad out there, doing all the research yourself is time consuming and it can be hard to find what you need with out know what your looking for. A good step by step guide to get you off auto and confidently using your camera is like your fast track golden ticket to the fun park! You can skip all the frustration and be guided right to the fun part of playing and taking great photos. If you love taking photo’s of your family, you can’t go past our online beginners course, Photography Launch Pad – learn your camera and how to take great family photos at the same time!
FOUR | Partners in crime
Learning something new is always better with friends. It’s always great to have someone to bounce ideas, problems and successes off. Learning with other people can also bring in some accountability, like having a fitness training partner! Why not find out if a friend wants to learn together, set some goals and have fun learning together. If your on facebook, there are a lot of communities out there for beginners and don’t forget the good old camera club. You can gain a lot of meeting up face to face and the wide variety of people and skills in camera clubs can be a gold mine! Many workshops and courses also form spin off groups and communities to help facilitate learning.
FIVE | You time!
Ok so this isn’t the easiest on to find. I get it, I’m a Mum, whether you work or don’t, finding time to yourself can be hard. Trust me – it’s really worth making it happen! Not only will you be a better Mum/wife/partner by spending time on you. The only way your’e going to learn is to practice. The good old saying practice makes perfect could have been written for photography. The more you shoot, the more you play, the more you start to understand how to get the look you want. Take your camera with you everywhere you go, keep it out on the kitchen table, or even set yourself a photo a day project. Whatever it takes to get you snapping!