Thursday, January 5, 2017


What basic equipment should a new
photographer have?

This is a question that I get asked a lot, and I usually answer with:  "well, it depends".  Not really a fair answer, because the recipient doesn't want to hear that answer.  But, there is a certain amount of truth to that isn't there?  All photographers who have been taking pictures for a long time, have developed a skill in a certain area of photography so they use only a certain type of equipment.  Right, BUT (here is the big BUT!), you have to realize, also, that many new photographers don't really know what will be their ultimate skill in the end.  So, if we give them a list of basic equipment then they can change as they grow and develop their skills.  So, let's get a list together and see if this will help all of you who are looking at becoming a photographer. 

This means a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera.  That way you are looking through the lens you take the picture with.  You will actually see what the picture is that you are taking.  A novel idea.  Better than those ideas of a camera you call a "cell phone".  That is a whole other subject.  This type of camera will give you the ability now to be creative, to see the picture differently, to control things that you have never been able to do before.  Then the next question I am asked:  Which one is the best?  I always answer:  "Well, it depends". 
There is certainly a lot to choose from, and I know if I say one, then they might run into a friend that will say, they should have bought this one, or that one.  So, I say:  "go to a real camera store, and pick them up, feel them, see which one feels the best to you in your hands, and buy that one".   There is not a bad camera out there in the camera stores (usually), but, I also caution them to find someone who is reputable in selecting your camera.  If you can tell that the salesman seems to be pushing a certain brand, then they are making a big commission on one, then I don't get too excited about that sales person either.  So, what do you do?  Do your own research on the different brands, and see what everyone is saying.  Then go back to your favorite store and buy the one you have sold yourself on.  Personally, I have owned Nikon, Pentax, Minolta (now Sony), Olympus, Fuji, Canon, and even Rollei back when they had 35mm.  Which one did I like the best?  All of them.  Which one do I own now?  Not saying.  I could change my mind next week, haha.  But, what I would recommend is buying one of those "Kit" deals.  The one that gets you a body with a small zoom lens, like a 18-55 zoom lens in the kit.  Then you have a nice lens that gets you wide angle, mixed with a normal lens.  And you have a lens you will use most of the time.

No, I don't want one of those at first.   YES YOU DO.  Just trust me on this.  Get one.  It will save you a lot of heartache if you don't have one. 
I know it seems like one of those things that is big and bulky to carry.  But, it is a matter of a blurry picture or not in some lighting situations.  Or, when you learn how to use slow shutter speeds in your photography, it is a must.  Or macro photography (close-up work).   This is just something that you will need.  Every good photographer has one, so, if you want to be good, just get one. 

Now, some will say that this may not be needed at first.  And I may agree, but, it won't be long before you wish you had a second lens.  So, if you can pull it off at first, then this is the lens to add to your first basic equipment list.  This just rounds your basic equipment needs out.

So, what does this lens do for you?  It magnifies your subject and brings it closer to you.  If a 30 mm lens is about the same thing as a normal lens, or about the same thing as what your eye sees, then if you had a telephoto lens or zoom lens that went to about 300mm, then you are pulling a subject closer to you by 10X.  Does that excite you a bit?  Yeah, now you have become a wildlife photographer.  Or something like that.  That is what is fun about this.  Caution with this type of lens.  I have to mention that it magnifies your image, including your shaky hand.  So, now item number 2 (the tripod) may become an important tool in using this fun lens.  I know people who try to use this lens by hand holding it, and they get pretty good at it, but you do need a lot of light, and you do need to use a fast shutter speed.  (Something to learn about). 

Oh my.  Really?  Can't I just take pictures with my camera without having to fix it in the computer?  Well, the more you take pictures, and the more you look at all the other photos out there on the internet and what is becoming famous and spectacular, you will find that most photographers use the creative tools of the computer darkroom, such as:  Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.  Either one or both, or there are other ones out there that some photographers love. 

I have known photographers who use PicsArt a lot, and I have used that and I am really happy with that one.  I know some who use Topaz.  There are a lot of good ones out there.  So, it is fun to see what you can do with your creative juices once you have taken a photo.

A good photographer is like a doctor.  He or she never stops learning their trade.  If they didn't they would still be shooting 35mm.  Ever tried to find 35mm film lately?  But, you have to learn where to learn and where you can get lots of good quality good information.  Some good sites that are on the internet, or on Facebook, Twitter:, Popular,, etc.   Always good advice touching different ideas.  Read from different photographers all the time, get their ideas.  See famous photos and find out how they did that.  Learn about composition.  Learn how your camera works, etc. 


If you want to become a serious photographer, you must learn to have fun with it.  Take a lot of photos.  With digital photography, if you don't like the bad photos, you can delete them, but, take a lot.  Try different things.  And before you know it, your photos will be winners some day.

Entertainment & Learning for the Photographer

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