I had been blogging for a couple of years before I decided it was time to upgrade to a DSLR camera. It’s hard to take appetizing photos of food with an iPhone and bad lighting. So I scoured the internet for reviews and deals and decided on a Canon Rebel for my first DSLR. Once it arrived, I couldn’t wait to start taking pictures, but I wasn’t really sure how to use it. Even in automatic mode I got some good shots, but they weren’t in the same caliber as some of the pictures I was seeing on other blogs.
I started reading blogs, watching tutorials, and soaking up all the information I could find about my camera and how to use it. Some of the most helpful resources I found were The Pioneer Woman’s photography series, Click It Up A Notch, Clickin Moms, and Digital Photography School. I have yet to pay for any classes or training, although at some point I am sure I will, because there are some great ones available.
It has been about a year and a half since I got my camera, and here are some of the most important things I have learned.
Bring your camera with you. Some of my favorite shots have been at random times and in random places. I bring my camera when I take the kids to the park, to family events, even when we go for a walk in a scenic area. Practice will improve your skills more than anything!
Buy equipment that matches your skill level. Photography equipment tends to hold a good resale value, so there is no need to buy a $4,000 camera when you don’t know how to use it. That is why I went with an entry level DSLR because the quality matched my skill level. In a couple of years, I will definitely want to upgrade to a higher end camera, but even still I have not maxed out the potential of the camera I have.
Focus on taking good pictures, not editing bad ones. While there is no question that photo editing software can rescue a lot of seemingly bad pictures, your focus should be on taking great pictures straight away, not learning to edit out mistakes. I see a lot of new photographers launching businesses with a lot of technically bad pictures that they have edited the living daylights out of. It takes a lot longer to edit things post camera than to just take a few steps to ensure a good picture straight of out the camera.
So don’t be intimidated by your camera right out of the box. Take lots of pictures, and have fun with it!