There are a few things you should consider before you continue to jump further into Photography, that’s why we have created a comprehensive collection of photography tips for beginners.
One major consideration is your Investment Priority.
At certain times, Photographers focus their investment on the wrong equipment in Photography. The biggest and most common mistake a Beginner Photographer invest in is the Camera Body. While having the top of the line Camera is great and all, they are also incredibly expensive and can be a black hole for your money, leaving you unable to invest in other important equipment. Nonetheless, Photography is nothing cheap, so having a good idea on where to throw your money at is crucially important.
So, what is the main equipment a photographer should start investing in? Well, it depends but the principle is the same. Your Investment Priority should be as follows:
- Lighting Equipment
- Camera Body
- Other little Dongles and Gadgets
Notice how the Camera Body is at the bottom?
Why is that?
Because just about every camera does the same job, if not similar. The only time to invest in a new camera is if you need to a specific feature (i.e. HSS, Higher Mp, Higher FPS), which really you don’t need to do so often. Having the camera body at the bottom of the list does not mean to chimp out on a cheap camera that doesn’t do the job. What it means is to do some research on what you need and get the camera that is sufficient, that will last for years – even if it means second-hand!
Consider a good illustration: “If you put a $5 antenna on a $10,000 radio, it would ultimately result in the radio’s quality being $5 equivalent. But if you put a $10,000 antenna on a $5 radio, then the quality of that radio would be equivalent to $10,000” – Ken Wheeler. The bottle neck is not the camera, its the lighting and lenses.
Now this Investment Priority is only in Principle but essential if a beginner photographer is on a budget. The Three main areas to focus on first is Lighting; Lenses; and then the Camera Body. The real Question for a beginner photographer is: What Category of Photography are you pursuing?
Photography tips for Beginners – For Portraiture, Product, Retail, and Commercial Photography
If you are a considering any of these Categories, then stick to the list above.
Lighting Equipment is the upmost important area to invest in. It will seperate you from the “Natural Light Photographers” – very quickly! Flash Photography allows the possibility to create light that is incredibly difficult to find Naturally. It allows for the ability to make cinematic portraits or dramatic scenery that Wedding, Retailers and Product Businesses crave for.
“If you can’t find the light, you make the light” – Ken Wheeler
If you haven’t already, I will quickly say this: Buy yourself at-least one speed light/flash gun and various light modifiers such as Soft-boxes, Beauty Boxes, Snoot Cone, and Colour Gel – to name a few. I personally recommend the Godox TT685 Flash Guns, as they are amazing for the price (about $250), allowing for High-Speed-Sync (HSS), plus they have an inbuilt radio receiver in them which is essential for off-camera-flash (Requires X series Transmitter). They are perfect for learning Flash Photography. In summary this is the minimum photography lighting basics – One flash unit (preferably two), 2 soft boxes of different sizes with grids, reflector and diffuser and finally light stands (obviously). Eventually, strobes will be a major factor for studio work or on field, giving more power output and control over lighting, but the prices do sky-rocket, but is worth it!
Lenses is another investment, being the second most important area to invest. A good quality lens makes the difference in the final output of a photo, and can stay in service for a very long time!
If any lens, the 85mm f1.8 is the goto lens for portraiture as it is the sweet spot range that will guarantee beautiful images and is reasonable for the price – New around $700 whilst second hand $500. If going for the best of the best, then something like the Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 T* Planner will be the best of the best with incredible colour and tonal rendition and bubbly bubble bokeh.
For Product, Retail, Commercial or Landscape, a “Do-it-All” Lens is more ideal, for the sake of portability and versatility. A 24-85mm mid-zoom (or equivalent) is ideal, with the price being roughly about $600-800 new or $500 second hand.
Camera Body is the last important area to focus on. Here is a few photography tips for beginners for those doing Portraiture or Landscape: you should have in mind the cameras Sensor Size. A Full Frame Camera is ideal for portraiture as the larger sensor gives a Shallower Depth of Field – large ideal bubble bokeh, better ISO noise performance (for low light), better tonal and colour rendition and, often in some cases, better dynamic range. Another important factor to consider is make sure the Camera allows HSS (not needed for landscape) as this feature will allow you to shoot at high aperture settings with a flashgun (e.g. f/1.4 @, 1/1000th/s). Once you got a body that has those features, you are all set in those regards.
Photography tips for Beginners – For Sports Action, and Wildlife
In the case of the Sports Action, Wildlife, and Landscape Photography, the only thing that changes from the list is Lighting. Lighting wont be much of an Investment at all since it is not relevant in the listed categories.
However, these categories do spike up the level of importance in Lenses as some of the lenses needed can cost unto $10000 – Especially Telephoto Zoom Lenses and Large Aperture Lenses alike! A reasonable zoom would be a 70-300mm, which is a good versatile lens to start out. But eventually, consider Prime lenses such as a 200mm f/2.8 or a 500mm f/4. Having these lenses will make it possible to capture Wild Life at a distance and get the front seats in photographing Sports – all with a lens that can produce cinematic moments!
Camera Body wise in regards to Sports Action and Wildlife, you want to focus your attention towards Cameras with a Crop Sensor and a high FPS burst rate. An APS-C crop sensor will give you a crop factor of about 1.5x. What does that mean?
Here is an example of this info being applied: If a photographer had a 500mm Lens on a APS-C Camera, the crop factor would cause the lens to become a 750mm Lens. This is a bonus in regards to price. Instead of buying a buying a 500mm lens, a photographer can buy a 300mm lens, which with a camera having a crop factor of 1.5x, can imitate a 500mm lens for a lower price!
So in a nutshell, focus your spending on Lighting first, then Lenses, and finally the Camera body, if you really need to upgrade.