Hi friends! Welcome to the BHP Education Series! I've had a few people express interest in getting started in photography, and I want to help! I've been wanting to do a series like this for a while and I'm so excited to be writing this first post!
In this post, I'm going to be talking about:
The best and most affordable gear to get you started and the BEST way to edit your photos.
In future posts I plan to cover:
Shooting in manual mode
Soooo.... Let's get started!
A Beginner's Camera Gear Checklist:
A DSLR camera body (the point and shoot you took MySpace selfies on in 2007 isn't going to get you the results you're looking for)
A DSLR camera lens(es)
Memory cards (you can't take pictures and get them on your computer without them)
A camera strap (the one that comes with your camera will be just fine when you're starting out)
A total kick-butt editing program so your pictures look awesomeeee
OK! So let's go into more detail about all the things you will need!
The camera body:
You will need a DSLR camera body. When I say body, I mean the camera without the lens. All DSLR cameras use interchangeable lenses. A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera is going to give you those high quality, high resolution images that you're looking for. When you're shopping for a DSLR camera, you're going to find two different kinds: crop sensor and full frame cameras. I'll talk about the difference between the two in another post, but when you're just starting out, a crop sensor is going to be more affordable and will be just perfect to learn on!
Now, you've probably heard the big debate... Canon or Nikon? Totally up to YOU!
Whether you invest in Canon or Nikon gear is completely personal preference. One is not better than the other. I'd recommend renting both and seeing which you like better and is easier for you to operate.
The two cameras below are both under $500 with a kit lens (a beginner's lens) on Amazon. But if you're looking to save a little cash money, you can always buy used, refurbished, or on Greentoe, a website where you can name your own price on camera gear! Both of these cameras, or older models in the same series are all perfect for learning on.
Most starter DSLRs will come with an 18-55mm lens (also called a kit lens), and while it's ok, there are a few better options that will give your images that extra somethin' somethin'. The lenses I'm about to tell you about are called prime lenses. Prime means that they do not zoom and are one focal length. This makes the lens sharper, and the background behind the subject will be blurrier, which is always dreamy. When I started out, I bought a camera body that didn't come with a lens and I bought a prime lens, this made a HUGE difference. Even then, I believe getting a lens besides the one the camera comes with is worth the couple extra hundred dollars. Here are my recommendations:
The memory cards:
Before I get into anything else... Do NOT skimp on your memory cards!! These babies hold precious cargo... If a cheap cards craps out on you... Bye bye beautiful images... and what if that happened with someone's wedding images? That's every photographers worst nightmare.
Do stick with high quality brands! The top two are Lexar and SanDisk. I don't have personal experience with Lexar but the reviews are mixed... so I personally stick with SanDisk and I would recommend you do the same.
So there are 2 kinds of memory cards. SD and CF cards.
Some cameras take one, some take the other, some take both (these cameras are ideal for weddings, because you have 2 copies of the images in case one of the cards corrupts.)
Whatever cards your camera takes, get good ones! You will see on your memory cards something along the lines of "100 mb/s". This is the card's reading speed. This basically determines how fast you can take your pictures. The faster your reading speed is, the more pictures you can take in a row without your camera stopping to load. I personally wouldn't go below 80 mb/s, for weddings especially when you have to capture quick moments.
Check out these cards, these are my favorite and have never given me any trouble.
Last but certainly not least, editing software:
All you will ever need in life is LIGHTROOM (and Photoshop here and there). I would marry Lightroom if I could (fingers crossed my hubs doesn't read this post) but Lightroom will change your life. It's made by Adobe, the same peeps who make Photoshop.
How is Lightroom different than Photoshop?
Photoshop is meant to fix skin, images in the background, and other little details.
Lightroom changes your exposure, colors, tones and so much more. The best part is, you can edit a photo how you want, save that edit as a preset and then copy and paste it to all of your images at ONCE! Huge time saver and makes all your images consistent. Plus, if you shoot your images in raw file format, it can change an image like this:
You MIGHT be able to do all of this in Photoshop.. but that would take you a MILLION times longer and you'd have to do it over and over to each image... Ain't nobody got time for that!
I HIGHLY recommend the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, you get Lightroom and Photoshop for 9.99/month! It's a sick deal, and I swear by these programs, especially Lightroom.
That's it for this first blog post! I hope you learned something, and if you have any questions, PLEASE shoot me an email! I'd LOVE to help you! Happy shooting friends!