So, I am, by no means, an expert — I mean really, is anyone? However, here are a few tricks of the photography trade that I wish someone had compiled into one nice article without so much technical jargon that you need to have a dictionary beside you.
First and foremost, the two big DSLR camera manufacturers, Nikon and Canon, are both amazing companies. Now, if any of you are like me, you did/are planning to do research about which is better, right? Through all the articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc., I learned one thing: it's all about personal preference.
The best way to figure out which camera is going to be the best fit for you is to go to the store and test one; see what fits in your hand the best, which is the most user-friendly, which has a better interface, etc. It's these components together that will help you at least narrow down your choices. At this point, then you can delve into the specifics of each camera and make a final decision.
Second, once you get your new camera home, go out and take some pictures! Grab your boyfriend, girlfriend, mom, dad, pet, and go for a spontaneous mini shoot! Take note of your settings options, any "guide," options your camera may offer, etc.
Third, and most crucial, is learning what each camera setting means, and how to adjust it according to your environment. Number one: aperture. Aperture controls the amount of light that can reach the lens and regulates the exposure of a shot. It is noted with an "f/" followed by a number. It is also important to note that a large "f/" number indicates a smaller aperture (i.e. "f/8"), and a smaller "f/" indicates a larger aperture (i.e. "f/2) which allows for MORE light to reach the image sensor.
Aperture also controls the depth of field, which determines how much of an image is in focus. For example, an image set to "f/2.8," will have the foreground of an image in focus, thus creating a bokeh effect (pronounced like beau-kah), or blur, for the background. (See photo below for example.)
A Bokeh Effect
Number two: shutter speed. On average, shutter speeds can range from about 1/4,000 second to 30 seconds and deals with motion. A high shutter speed freezes something in motion, allowing for a crisp shot, and a lower speed blurs. Note that the higher the shutter speed, the image will be much more crisp, but will require more light and vice versa.
And number three: ISO. This is the setting for sensor sensitivity to light. So, the more light you have access to, the lower you can set your ISO. ISO usually ranges from 100 to 3,200. A higher ISO means a brighter image, but less detail. A lower ISO allows for a cleaner image with maximum detail, as long as the light source is adequate. ISO is definitely a very important menu to master on your camera.
At this point, you've mastered your settings, and you've completed your first shoot. What now? Editing, which is my favorite part. In my personal opinion, the Adobe Creative Cloud collection is amazing. It allows you to download Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. for a one time cost, or a monthly fee. Now, I'm not going to go into editing in this article, but I will certainly create another about my process and favorite features of both Lightroom and Photoshop!
To wrap this up, I want to talk about all the extra accessories you'll need to purchase, if photography is going to be your career. What does that mean? It means external flashes, battery packs, and lenses! Battery packs and flashes are relatively easy to find and don't require a whole lot of research, just look up your camera brand and the process is quite easy. However, lenses are more fickle.
Whether it comes to weddings, portraits, landscapes, whatever your craft is, after-market lenses are a MUST. So, with that being said, I'm going to leave an image below that saved me SO much time and energy.
What is it, you ask? A guide to what lenses you'll need for what the different categories of photography. And the best part about it? It encapsulates both Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras.
Keep an eye out for that Lightroom editing article I mentioned earlier! I may have a few ideas up my sleeve about future tips and tricks so stay tuned!