Want to know where to start as a beginner photographer? In the article we give advice on choosing equipment for shooting, computer equipment and programs for processing finished images. We also provide recommendations from modern photographers on how to become successful and develop professional skills.
Photographer’s equipment: what to buy for a beginner
Technique is very important. But, as experienced photographers say, “cool” equipment will not turn you into a “cool” specialist. Below we understand how to make the right choice for a reasonable price.
Camera for beginners
It is quite obvious that it makes no sense for a novice photographer to spend money on expensive equipment. If you have never held a DSLR in your hands, even a budget simple camera can be bewildering, not to mention accessories: lenses, filters, and so on. First you need to learn how to work with the settings, and in the process, the need for certain parameters and additional equipment that you need to solve individual creative problems will already emerge by itself.
So where do you start as a photographer? Of course, from the camera. We recommend that you pay attention to Nikon or Canon products. Manufacturers have a huge selection of various equipment, designed for different levels of professionalism. Focus on the following criteria:
- full frame or crop. Professionals, of course, prefer a full-format matrix — it’s technically easier to get a beautiful picture and process it later. But the choice of a beginner is a cropped matrix. Such models are many times cheaper;
- zoom The size will depend on what you plan to shoot. For example, to capture small objects located at a great distance, you need a zoom of at least 10x;
- number of megapixels. The more of them, the more detailed the pictures will be;
- the weight. Compactness and lightness are not the last factors influencing the purchase. If you plan to take the camera with you everywhere, it will be much easier to carry it than bulky equipment, and even with a tripod.
A beginner needs to pay attention to cameras already equipped with a removable lens. Such optics are called whale optics. It is different — it depends on the specific model of the camera.
Canon EOS 850D
Suitable for creating 4K photos and videos. The weight of the camera is just over 500 grams, including the battery and memory card. The model is equipped with a lightweight general purpose lens EF‑S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS, designed for everyday shooting without a tripod in different lighting conditions. Due to the fact that the delivery includes optics, the model cannot be called cheap. At the time of this writing, the price of the camera was 74,390 rubles.
Pentax are considered more budget cameras than Canon and Nikon. The specific model is aimed at amateurs. It has excellent color reproduction, a viewfinder with 100% frame coverage, and the body of the “carcass” and the standard lens are characterized as “dust and moisture resistant”. The shooting speed is 5.4 frames per second. Equipped with a 50mm zoom lens that folds (retracts) when not in use. The price of the camera is 48,990 rubles.
Nikon D5300 Body
An excellent choice for beginners. It has a swivel display, good light sensitivity and a built-in Wi-Fi module. It can shoot 5 frames per second, but in LV mode, the picture on the screen slows down. This makes the camera unsuitable for shooting dynamic scenes, but is suitable for static shots. The model is not equipped with a lens — it is purchased separately. The cost of the camera is 27,950 rubles.
But what about savings, you ask? In this case, you can be advised to pay attention to used equipment. At first, this idea may seem intimidating, but after weighing the pros and cons, you will come to the conclusion that this is a real chance to buy those cameras and lenses that are beyond your financial limits.
What else does a beginner photographer need? Of course, a computer that will “pull” most modern photo processing programs. And the requirements of the latter are considerable.
If you plan to buy a computer in order to install Photoshop on it later, you need to approach the choice responsibly. The latest versions from Adobe (and other serious editors) are demanding on resources. For example, the processor clock speed must be at least 2 GHz, and the RAM must be at least 8 GB. The processor itself can be chosen from budget models — Pentium, Core i3. Color reproduction is highly dependent on the type of matrix, so preference should be given to IPS. But TN TFT is best avoided. Monitors with such a filling distort colors. If you look at the monitor from different angles, the picture “floats”. Of the good models, the following can be advised:
Xiaomi Mi Desktop Monitor 1C
The screen diagonal is 23.8 inches, Full HD resolution. There are several connectors: VGA (suitable if you have an old system unit) and HDMI — for modern models that do not have VGA outputs at all. Matrix type — IPS.
This model is equipped with a VA matrix, which is considered a compromise solution between TN and IPS. It provides a high-contrast picture and improves the viewing of dark scenes due to their greater expressiveness. However, at some viewing angles, the picture around the edges of the screen will look blurry.
AOC U27P2 27″
A monitor that you can’t call budget. But it has the advantage of 4K resolution. Therefore, you will see a very high-quality and clear picture on the screen. The monitor is located on a swivel stand. Of the other “buns” — built-in speakers and a USB hub.
Now you will not find a photographer, whether he is an amateur or a professional, who would not use photo editors. In the modern world, 50% of the beauty and originality of the frame is post-processing.
The most popular editor in the world with almost limitless possibilities. Here you can create complex multilayer compositions, do professional beauty retouching, draw from scratch. Most modern art photographers, portrait and landscape painters use Photoshop. Learning the program is not easy. If you want to master the editor, be prepared to spend several years learning it. Luckily, there are plenty of tutorials available in Russian online, and gradually mastering the skills will give you a boost, as you can create unusual effects and make your shots more and more original.
Another professional program for image processing and digital painting. The official website has a detailed tutorial on working with tools and AI filters. The developers of the program have relied on process automation. For example, frequency decomposition is implemented as a ready-made filter. All you need to do is just enter your values and proceed directly to the retouching procedure. There is also a function of auto-correction of light and color. However, the editor menu will seem confusing even to an experienced Photoshop user.
A Photoshop clone running on an online platform. It has almost all the functions of its “older” brother, but when processing “heavy” files, it can freeze and slow down. It all depends on the speed of the Internet and the resources of your computer. Works with RAW files, but does not support the connection of Photoshop plugins (and there are a lot of them). For professionals, it is of no interest, since a copy cannot be better than the original.
Tips for beginner photographers should be given by an expert. We will rely on the experience of Margarita Kareva, which she talks about at one of her master classes “10 Steps to Success”. Kareva is a contemporary photographer known far beyond the borders of Russia. In just two years, from an unknown middle manager, Margarita turned into a successful photographer, and two more years later she received international recognition. Now she is in the TOP-100 of the best photographers in the world, and her fees reach 200 thousand for one photo session.
Complete basic photography training
Study the settings of your camera from “A” to “Z”. This can be done independently by reading specialized literature. Or you can sign up for courses. So the learning process will go much faster. Experienced photographers will tell you how to set the shutter speed, how much to open the aperture, which ISO value to choose, focusing on lighting conditions and other shooting factors.
Practice to the max
Try to set aside time every day to shoot. Any theory without practice is dead. If you can’t do your hobby on a daily basis, hold a photo session at least once a week. Learn Photoshop at the same time. Look through the works of recognized photographers and try to analyze them (under what lighting conditions it was taken, with what settings, etc.).
Invest in your education
Today, there are many techniques for processing photographs. Some lessons can be found online for free (for example, in torrents), but the most “delicious”, of course, are sold for money. It makes sense to spend money on them, because in the future it will improve your skills as a professional. Attend master classes of your favorite photographers, since professionals often tour major cities.
Decide on a niche
As a result of practice and learning, you will understand which genre is closer to you. It is the direction of shooting that will dictate the necessary optics and “carcass” — reaching a new level will necessarily entail the need for more expensive equipment.
Register on specialized sites
There are many sites where professional photographers post their work. For example, 35photo or 500px. What will it give you? Usually, in the description of the photo, the authors indicate what type of lens, camera, and what settings the frame was shot with. By comparing information, you will learn a lot of what a novice photographer needs to know, without the “pulling the blanket” characteristic of the forums, when one praises one thing, and the second scolds the same thing.
Shoot not for sale
At first, never think about fees, likes and other people’s approval. This will only slow you down, give rise to self-doubt. Indeed, on the Internet, especially in specialized groups in social networks, there will always be those who will criticize you. Refrain from posting your work in these groups until you are sure that your photos are, if not perfect, then definitely good. Take pictures and retouch for yourself. Only then will the process give you real pleasure. The same Kareva notes that at first her work was smashed to smithereens, and in 90% of all cases, the offer to hold a photo session was refused.
Think through all the stages of shooting in advance
Learn how to prepare all stages of a photo shoot from scratch. Think about where you will shoot, what your model will be wearing, what kind of lighting you will have to work with — whether you need additional or get by with natural. If you shoot in the style of genre, portrait or art photography, in a word, you need people to shoot, you can search social networks for models working on TFP. Similarly, find beginner makeup artists and stylists who need to build their portfolio. Thus, you can conduct quite a budget photo shoot.
Be mentally prepared for a creative crisis
Photographers, like all creative people, have their ups and downs. Creative burnout is possible — the main thing is to tune in, and you will overcome everything!
Of course, no matter how many articles you read on the topic “what is needed for a beginner photographer”, you will still make mistakes, which, unfortunately, will entail financial costs. However, mistakes are normal. They are what make us better. Being a beginner is interesting. Use a fresh eye, a non-standard point of view and do not chase “cool” technique. Also, get ready for a long siege — mastery comes with time.