Exploring Gear - Beginners Essentials

August 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

OK - so you've been browsing the internet,trying to figure out how to get started shooting great photos...and you landed here. 

If you're just getting started, (and you've managed to find this obscure blog), you probably already have the two most essential pieces of gear you need.  First, you need a camera - and you're probably carrying one with you right now.  Nearly every phone built in the past 15 years has included a camera - and these days, it seems like the camera is the most advertised and most reviewed piece of hardware on every new phone.  Why?  Probably because if you take a moment to look at the photo sharing site, Flikr, you'll see that the two most used "camera manufacturers" are Apple and Samsung, and the most used "cameras" are iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones. 

The second essential piece of gear you need is the head on your shoulders with a thirst to learn.  Learning to use your camera to its fullest capabilities is a life long endeavor.  It's not just about selfies, snaps of your friends or your latest meal, and quick shots of things you think will get you attention on Facebook.  Being a photographer is a journey - and you choose the paths you want to explore and the boundaries you want to push.  There are essential things you will need to understand before pushing boundaries and getting really creative, but the desire to do so needs to be there.

So there it is - you have the two most essential pieces of gear already. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on a Digital SLR, lenses, speedlights, studio flashes, filters, and other "essential" gear that other sites will tell you you need to get started...you just need your phone and the thirst to learn how to use it to it's fullest potential.

​OK - so I'm being a bit facetious here.  The best photographs taken by any phone camera probably came from an experienced photographer with one or more of the following:

  1. Several thousand dollars worth of lights just off-camera.
  2. ​A whole boatload of time to sit and wait for the perfect light on the perfect subject
  3. ​A whole lot of PhotoShop.

 

​Buy I was serious about people being able to take really great photos with phones.  It just takes practices and the willingness to learn HOW to take great shots with a phone.  They are becoming easier and easier to use, but you never really learn the subtleties of making a great photograph.

​So here it is - what you should buy when you are fed up with trying to make truly great photos with your phone:

  1. ​A digital camera that allows you to change the following (This does not need to be a DSLR - most mid level point and shoot cameras allow these changes):
    • ​​Aperture
    • Shutter Speed
    • ISO
    • ​White Balance
  2. If you're purchasing a DSLR, a good starting point for lenses is a mid-zoom (something in the 18-105mm range - there are many flavors) and a 35mm f/1.8 (DX/crop sensor) or 50mm f/1.8 (FX/Full Frame) prime lens
  3. A Tripod (Something that will hold your camera steady without you touching it)
  4. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (Yes , a book, but it's mostly pictures)

If you're confused now, I understand.  I'll try to be more clear and concise in future posts about gear.  This was really just to get you started.

 

Go out and make great photos!

 


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