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- Photography can be a fun way to document your life or learn about the world around you.
- We spoke to two professional photographers about the best supplies and tips for beginners.
- Below, they share their recommendations for the best DSLR camera, SD card, books, and more.
It might seem like everyone is a photographer these days, with great cameras built into smartphones and apps like Instagram available to edit and upload all your snapshots.
But there are techniques and skills behind taking the best photos, and working with a physical camera can be a rewarding experience in itself.
“Photographs have this ability to take the familiar and make it new, transforming the world around us into something completely different and emotionally charged,” says Andre FrostMFA, Photographer, Speaker & Senior Media Tech at the University of Vermont. “Unlike most other art forms, photography tends to use raw material from the world around us.”
“I love photography because it freezes time and creates lifelong memories,” says Mena Darre, professional photographer and entrepreneur. “The world is constantly changing and photography allows you to document the journey.”
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If you’ve been wanting to switch from your iPhone to a Canon DSLR, here are the best tips and supplies for photography beginners.
1. Get a versatile camera and (if available) an SD card.
When it comes to deciding which camera to use, Frost is practical: “Every camera in the world is just a black box with an opening on one end and some sensor on the other — at the end of matter, it’s what you do with it that matters.”
According to Frost, the best way to start is to use what you have access to, whether it’s a phone or a physical camera. “I tell my students that ultimately you want to be in control of your tool, so the more settings you can adjust, the more control you can have,” he says.
“For a beginner, I recommend a DSLR because these cameras are on the cutting edge of modern technology,” says Darré. DSLRs allow you to change lenses and take different types of photos.
But she is clear on what not to buy. “If you don’t want to buy a DSLR, I wouldn’t recommend buying a point-and-shoot; you’re better off just using an up-to-date smartphone because most people have one.”
So what should you consider if you’re looking for a camera? “It’s hard to go wrong with something like Canon’s Rebel range for entry-level DSLRs; they’re nothing fancy, but they’re awesome,” says Frost.
Another excellent non-DSLR Canon model is the Canon EOS R, which, according to Darré, “is light, [has an autofocus that’s] so much better than the Rebel, and has 30MP, which is great for a beginner’s camera.”
Once you have your camera, SD cards allow you to take many photos with them. “SD cards must have the ability to track camera speed [or] you can end up losing your photos,” says Darré. For Frost, he recommends smaller card sizes and simply removing photos from the card more frequently.
2. Invest in a few useful extra items.
A tripod may not be a fundamental part of getting started with taking pictures, but using one can help you take them in a different way. “[Tripods] force you to slow down – when you’re starting out, and even when you’ve got a ton of experience, it’s easy to go too fast and get sloppy,” says Frost.
Tripods also give you more options, such as shooting in different lighting conditions and greater stability. “I think the ZIKZOK has a good starting tripod,” says Darré. “The camera load is 33 lbs, it allows you to attach a phone holder, and it can be used as a monopod.”
When it comes to your camera, an easy way to take care of it is to invest in microfiber cloths to clean the lens and sensors. “Imagine how quickly a pair of glasses can get dirty,” says Darré.
3. Learn the basic techniques and principles of photography.
For absolute beginners, “Complete Digital Photography Course” “is a great resource because it covers digital photography from A to Z,” says Darré. “Although I think you will only get better with practice, I think it is good to understand the principles of photography.”
And to help you stay motivated, “The Photographer’s Playbook” is full of photography ideas so you can go out and practice using different techniques and concepts. “It’s a great starting point for the ideas and assignments of some of the best photographers,” says Frost.