If you want to dig into digital photography, you’ll need the proper tools. Here’s a primer on getting started in digital photography.
1. Pick Your Camera
If you’re just looking to see if you want to be a digital photographer, we’d suggest you get yourself a nice picture taker and see what’s what. If you’re serious, we highly recommend you buy a digital SLR. You’ll have the faculty for precisely controlling exposure processing. You’ll have RAW format support. There’s also the benefit of interchangeable lenses and a dynamically better image compared to typical point-and-shoot cameras.
Speaking of pointing, we’re not going to point you in the direction of a specific camera. Even the most professional and respected photographers would argue which resource is best. Even great mirrorless cameras can be found for less than 1000. Relatively, it won’t matter. You want a camera that feels good in your hands and takes pictures that capture the image as you intended. Grab yourself a Nikon, a Canon, or an Olympus. Just as long they produce superb SLRs images, you’re golden.
2. Grab Some Reading Material
You can learn anything with a good read. There’s a litany of resources on digital photography. Check out Ken Rockwell’s blog or Digital Photo Review. Good books include Digital Photography Complete Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks and The Digital Photography Book. Also, never overlook picture books. A compendium of photos can be a resource for learning to see visually; the most critical characteristic a digital photographer can develop.
Seeing how others caught the perfect framing, be it portraits, sports, or nature, will help you define your approach.
3. Select Your Lens
The ability to change lenses is the major reason for having an SLR. Go from wide-angle to telephoto and more, all in the same session, with the simple removal and replacement of the all-important lens. Keep in mind lenses are a significant purchase, often greater than the camera. While we think you’ll eventually want a second or even third lens, don’t feel the need to go the full monty off the bat
When you do select a lens, consider the length of focal coverage based on what you’re likely to be photographing. A digital photographer who only takes landscapes probably doesn’t need a telephoto lens.
Macro lenses are for getting the pores on your close-ups. This lens will be best at 100mm. For a wide-angle, consider a 12 to 24mm. A good telephoto lands in the 100 to 300mm range. Take these as suggestions. You could even start out with a general-purpose zoom lens of 18 to 200mm, a device engineered to manage a variety of focal measures.
As you familiarize yourself with digital photographing, you’ll have better ideas for specialized lens equipment.
Don’t forget to keep f-number, or speed, in mind when choosing a lens. Fast lenses are expensive and have larger apertures, shooting sharper images in low light.
4. Managing a Digital Workflow
It’s not just about taking the pictures and waiting for them to look good. Digital photographers use a procedure that allows them to maximize the process to get the best pictures before the process of making them even better. Trust you’re going to make mistakes. Everyone does. But once you fine-tune your workflow, you’ll lay the foundation that keeps churning out great pictures with near effortlessness.
Your workflow will include:
- What format you’ll shoot in
- The type and number of memory cards to keep on hand
- Using computer card slots, USB readers, or camera cords to download
- Storing: external drive, laptop, desktop, backups, copies, in the cloud
- The software you’ll use to process color, composition, exposure, and other elements
Workflow can also entail your complete approach to your process.
- Prepare camera and shoot pictures
- Transfer your pics to a computer
- Open images in a photo app
- Organize and sort
- Backing up
- Print or publish images
Either way, your workflow boils down to how you get things done.
With these essentials, you’re ready to set up your foundation in digital photography. Don’t let mistakes discourage you. Even Ansel Adams had to learn the techniques that made him a legend.