I would love for people to chime on in below and share your thoughts with enthusiastic photographers out there looking to learn more about stepping into the world of the photography profession. If you have any helpful advice for would be photographers that would be great!
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Blog- Entering the Photography World- Where to Start?
I thought I’d write a post, drawing on lessons I personally have learnt over the years, about entering the photography world giving some suggestions for beginners and amateurs to make their journey easier for entering a photography profession.
So, you want to be a photographer? Well you’ve made the choice you want to get into photography but what do you next?
Looking at this from the perspective of an amateur who has decided they want to be a photographer.
The question they face before them is what gear do they buy? They may have heard of the age old argument “Nikon is better than Canon”.. and “Canon is better than Nikon!” Not only that but there are so many other brands to choose from with great DSLR packages Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung, Fujifilm…
So my advice is that you should really decide on a brand, e.g. Sony, and model your lens choices around that specific camera body! The reason for you selecting that brand could be as simple as your favourite photographer on Google+ uses them or your cousin is a wedding photographer and that is the brand he/she uses.
After selecting a brand the next biggest telling factor will be your bankroll… Now people think they are going to spend up to $1,000 and they will be in the pro ranks. I thought this myself but I slowly realised this is not the case! The reason is the glass (lens) prices are very expensive the higher up the levels you go. For example I purchased my Nikkor 14-24mm lens for close to $2,000. It’s a great lens! and I love it to death but that is the price of a Sony A7r body alone. So looking at what you realistically can get for your money I have come up with this guideline below.
Realistic guidlines for a very basic setup for each level of DSLR’s- “1 Camera body + 3 Lenses”
Entry Level DSLR– Total approx. = $1000 ($700 camera body + 3 cheap lenses $100 each)
Mid Level DSLR– Total approx. = $2500 ($1200 camera body + 3 mid range lenses $400 each)
PRO Level DSLR– Total approx. = $7000 ($3000 camera body + 3 high end lenses $1000-2000 each)
Lenses, or glass as they are reffered to by photographers, are the most expensive part of photography.
…You should really spend more, much more, on your glass than on your camera body and thats what photographers new to the field dont realise.
I myself didn’t realise this and thought “oh I can get a camera body for say $800 and lenses for $300…” and I could be able to shoot any conditions. No this is not the case as the cheaper cameras and lenses have limitations and you learn this as you progress. The reason good glass is more expensive than cheap ones is not just that they sharper but they can do a lot more than cheaper lenses can. For example shooting at lower ISO’s in low light conditions or getting that fast shutter speed when zoomed right out.
What level should you enter in at?
If you have the $7-10,000 enter in at the PRO level because even if you aren’t competent at using a DSLR you will learn as you go. Plus having a camera that has a really deep set of functionality can only be good for you moving forward because you won’t be held back by limitations.
Being a HDR photographer I remember being so frustrated that I couldn’t shoot brackets of images, or even adjust my EV settings, to make HDR images like the pro’s. I could shoot the frames manually and individually by adjusting the shutter speeds after each frame, but this is soooooooo cumbersome and it will often be hard to edit the images later due to large changes in the scene between frames, e’g moving ocean tides and street ojects like people and cars, or movement in the camera on the tripod.
Your mid-level DSLR range is also great for amateurs on a budget who want to upgrade gradually to the pro level. So they can purchase full frame DSLR glass as they go and use these on their smaller APS-C until they get the Full Frame sensor, for which the pro level lenses are really designed for.
What if you can only afford entry-level DSLR’s?
Thats fine… as long as you are still making images! If you love photography than its more important that you are practicing your art and now just saving your pennies for that pro level, which may take years!!!
My suggestion- Enter in at the entry-level DSLR range and get as much work as you can, be it prints, weddings, stock images, whatever you can find… ! Use the money you make from this photography work- and upgrade to mid level or PRO level DSLR’s as you go. Another reason that this is a good way to proceed in a photography career path is that you learn a lot about the inner workings of a DSLR without having too many advanced settings to distract you. Im talking about getting an understanding of things like apertures, white balance, auto v manual focus.
So, don’t be too sadden by the fact that you can’t jump straight into the pro’s! Use this time to get creative with your photography and build up an impressive portfolio.
What about Mirrorless?
Everyone is talking about mirrorless and you should be aware that it is a game changer and is in the industry to stay. I personally switched from a Nikon D800 Full Frame DSLR to a Sony A7r over a year ago now and there are many differences between the two systems and indeed cameras. But, I think discussing these differences is a large topic and would make a good topic for a future blog. For now all you need to do is be aware that they are often 50% less weight and often 60% of the price of a DSLR. There are lots of great mirrorless options out there and it just depends on what your needs are as a photographer. Each camera suits a specific purpose and you need to discover yours and then relate this to a camera’s strengths.
Other costs and extra things to consider!
Extra batteries, filters, tripod, bags, chargers, computer/laptop, monitors, chargers and of course software. It’s often these other small items that start to add up that you didn’t think about… like a good set of filters can set you back $600 and a professional tripod $1,000. It’s all these extra costs that can also have a defining roll on which level of DSLR/mirrorless system you enter.
It’s important that you have one complete photo editing suite! because there isn’t much point in shooting great images if you don’t have the software to make it pop. The two packages below have every module to take your photos from A to B and get you ready to print and share them at industry standards. I have both packs because I like to have creative options when editing my images even though they are very similar packs. I also like to be able to try and share the software with you guys as much as I can in my video tutorials.
– OnOne Photosuite – is the complete collection of photo editing software from OnOne. OnOne just released this bad boy and it has got a tonne of upgrades from Photosuite 8. I am really enjoying using it and I can highly recommend Photosuite. It is amazing!
– Topaz Collection- The Topaz collection is huge! and it has many creative modules that other software packages don’t have , so this is just one of the reasons why it’s great. Head to this link to check out the complete Topaz Collection.
Plus you will need a HDR software program and my favourite, which I recommend to everyone, is HDRsoft Photomatix
Hope this was helpful to some of you and would love some feedback or questions below. Give advice to others or share your experiences below!