Nowadays if you notice you can see thousands of photographers around you. Somewhere in our mind we all think that we are a Photographer or not? We all take thousands of pictures on our mobile phones. These days a 2 years old kid knows how to use a camera.
Can you remember any kid in your family or other family member who things Photography is just a piece of cake?
Let’s assume that we are not all photographers. If that is the case, here’s the crucial question: what is it that photographers do that those who occasionally or regularly photograph don’t do?
Populists will usually bring up the distinction between professional photographers and so-called amateurs and how that distinction is not very useful. They have a point, at least up to a point.
The distinction between professionals and amateurs can easily become useless, and it’s not hard to find examples, many of them involving money and/or success.
What is it then that separates the photographers from all the rest of us? I think its Camera Knowledge.
You might own a camera – or a cell phone with a camera built in – and takes a lot of pictures. At the same time, you might not be overly interested in those pictures. You might not be too concerned with whether your pictures are good or not. Or you might even know that your pictures aren’t “as good as what the professionals do”. As a consequence, you might not be concerned with making better pictures; or even if you are, you don’t bother working on it – other than maybe trying a new app that promises you the world of photography.
But you might also have the knowledge to make better pictures, to really work on your pictures and your skills. You might have the Knowledge to look at what other people do with photography. In that case, you’re a photographer.
Professionals Vs Amateurs
Needless to say, this distinction has nothing to do with professionals or amateurs. Many amateurs are full of knowledge, whereas many professionals go about their jobs like most people: they show up for work, get it done, and then they’re off to deal with what they really enjoy.
In other words, defining a photographer based on knowledge essentially is a judgment-free approach that allows focusing on the medium itself – instead on what is artificially being tied to it.
What do you do if you’re a photographer, and you want to learn more about the medium, in particular about its history and/or what other photographers are doing? Obviously, there is the internet. The internet is a great way to explore about new cameras, their tricks, etc but it certainly has its limits. In terms of talking about the history of camera, it’s very limited. And in terms of covering the full breadth of camera to learn more about, it’s limited as well. The various people who write about camera and photography online have their preferences for some things over others (this one included).
It’s easy to learn on the internet what’s popular in camera these days, and you’ll find the same cameras going viral every few years (like Canon Models; it’s straightforward to think of contemporary examples). But it’s quite a bit harder to see work that’s not easily accessible or that’s not very popular, or work that is widely lauded by companies or critics but is difficult to access by a wider audience. My own Camera education relied on the internet for a while, until I realized that I had to expand what I was looking at in order not to get stuck.
Books provide a great way to learn more about cameras, but you really have to find the right one. A lot of books suffer from a lack of illustrations, or from too much jargon, or from being written in such a way that reading them becomes a huge chore.
Writing a book about camera is a bit of a thankless task since the moment it’s published, there already is something else that is not included in the book. But completeness cannot be the goal of such books. Inevitably, something will be missing, for whatever reason. There will probably also be categories, resulting in debates whether artist XYZ should not have in fact been placed elsewhere, or whether some category might be missing.
The task thus is to present the camera in such a way that any reader will be able to move forward after having engaged with the book. S/he might disagree with some of the choices, but s/he will know why, and – crucially – s/he will have a much easier time engaging with the medium on her or his own. succeeds brilliantly doing just that.
For a start, the book covers the important bases, using chapters. The chapters each cover one particular topic, which could either be a type of camera (Aperture F-stop, say) or a more general topic (for example, Lens). It’s easy to find a great picture. Everybody can do that. This is another one of those ideas behind the claim “we’re all photographers now.” But it’s damn hard to find great camera on a general basis, over the course of months or years. To do so, you need a strategy. You need to know very well what you’re doing.
What makes photography interesting is that you can approach the same subject with different strategies. After all, the one thing that matters in the end is the photograph. How you get there, how you get to make or take that photograph doesn’t matter.
Top 5 Cameras for Photography and Videography
What’s the best camera you can buy right now? Okay, we admit it – it’s an impossible question to answer, but we’ll do our best to make sure you end up buying the right camera for you.
The best camera for you depends on what you need. The best camera for a pro photographer, for example, is a million miles away from the best camera for an adventure sports nut. Likewise, a novice shooter just making their first steps in photography doesn’t need all the most up-to-date tech that a pro might, more an easy-to-use camera that will help them to grow in confidence.
A brilliant full-frame all-rounder mirror less
Type: Mirror less
Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS
Lens: Nikon Z mount
Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps
User level: Intermediate/expert
Familiar and refined handling
XQD card format has limited support
Limited buffer depth
Sony A7 III
Quality results partnered with speedy operation
Sensor size: Full-frame
Viewfinder: 2,359K dots
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touch screen, 921K dots
Autofocus: 693-point AF
Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps
Movies: 4K at 30p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Great 24MP sensor
Resolution, speed and traditional controls – this DSLR still delivers
Sensor size: Full-frame CMOS
Lens: Nikon F mount
Screen type: 3.2-inch tilting touch screen, 2,359,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps
User level: Intermediate/expert
Stunning image quality
Slow Live View AF speed
Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D
Looking for a first DSLR? The Rebel SL3 ticks plenty of boxes
Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Lens mount: Canon EF
Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps
User level: Beginner
Flip-out touchscreen works brilliantly
Dual Pixel CMOS AF is great
Video is cropped
9-point AF system a little basic
Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200
The perfect travel camera – small, versatile and with a decent zoom
Type: Travel compact
Sensor: 1-inch type CMOS
Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4
Screen type: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
User level: Beginner/enthusiast
1.0-inch type sensor
Decent 15 xs zoom
EVF still feels a little cramped
We’ve rounded up the very best options across the three main categories: DSLR, mirror less and compact. Each camera stands out in some way from a sea of rivals, be it because it’s simply the best at what it does in its category or because it offers something unique and groundbreaking, or because it delivers so much for your money.
That means that while many of these cameras are new, some are older models that have now dropped in price to tempting levels. Newer isn’t always better, particularly if there’s only been a marginal increase in performance and a disproportionately high increase in price. But you don’t need to worry about that, as we’ve cherry picked both new and older models that have proved themselves worthy.
Tricks to handle Camera- Beginners
If you’re new to using a camera, I can almost guarantee that you’re currently making one of the mistakes listed below. This post should help you kick a few bad habits and show you how to hold a camera.
Since holding my camera properly, I’ve been able to reduce the shutter speed. I can hold it still for longer in low light situations.
It’s all to do with the grip you use and the point of your centre of gravity. This determines camera shake and balance.
When you have your arm out you’re barely supporting the camera. And you’re moving your center of gravity away from your body.
You want to try to keep your elbows close together. This provides stability and keeps your center of gravity nice and low.
The same is true when you’re shooting in portrait. Don’t allow your left arm to separate from your right.
- Keep your elbows together, against your chest
- Keep your left hand under the lens, rather than on the side
- Lean slightly into camera, holding it tight against the forehead
- Keep your legs open
- Same for shooting portrait, no excuses.
The lower your center of gravity, the less likely you are to move about. The closer the camera is to the core of your body, the easier it will be to hold still.
Leaning in and out with your camera might seem like a good idea. In reality, it’s much easier just to take a step back or forth – don’t be lazy!
Think of it as a game of Jenga with all the bricks leaning to one side: you’re much more likely to shake and topple over. Keep everything straight and aligned for the best results.
If you’re still struggling to keep everything still, here’s an extra technique I’d like to share with you.
There are different variations of this technique, usually differing in what to do with the left hand. This is the way that works best for me.
Use your left arm as a support by placing your left hand on your right shoulder
Then rest your camera on the top half of the arm. You can then use your camera as normal, just turning to the side of your subject, rather than being straight on.
Try it out for yourself and see what works best for you.
This isn’t a stance I use all that often because it can be a little awkward and I like to be able to zoom. But I have resorted to it in the past when needs must.
No surprises here – sitting down lowers your center of gravity and increases your balance. There is still a right and wrong way to do it.
By stretching your legs out, you’re really only partially supporting your body. And by not leaning in, your balance is going to rock back and forth.
Simply lifting up your legs means you have somewhere to put your elbows. And by leaning in, you create a solid core that you can rest your camera on top of.
Having your legs open will stop you rocking from side to side. And it will allow you to take sharper photos at slower speeds.
And yes, I realize that her left hand is not the right way around – oops!
Finally, if you have space to lean on the ground and face forward, this is the best position to be in.
Without wanting to repeat myself too much, you can see what you’re supposed to be doing here.
The position of your legs no longer matters because all of your weight is pushed onto the front of your body. This makes your arms especially important.
In the first photo, the left hand on the outside of the camera pushes the camera down. In the photo on the right, however, it’s supporting the camera from any downward action. And providing a firm platform for it to stand on.
Your arms still need to stay close together but not as much as before. They are now acting like legs and need a slightly wider gap to remain supportive.
Now you’ve brushed up on how to support the camera, read more here for advice on the technical steps to take perfectly sharp photos!
How to Take Professional Photos That Are Amazing!
The difference between an amateur photo and a professional one often can be boiled down to a few simple things.
Lighting, composition, image quality – these are probably the most significant ones.
If you are wanting to learn how to take professional photos yourself, you are on the right track. Many of our photography tips are common sense – but we’ll aim to show you exactly how small changes to your current approach can result in huge differences.
By the end of this post, your shots will go from looking like they were created by an amateur photographer and now produced by a seasoned pro!
1. What Role Camera Gear Plays
It’s impossible to talk about how you can achieve professional photo quality without discussing camera equipment – so let’s just get this out of the way!
The quality of your camera, lenses, and lighting setup will play a significant role in how your image turns out. If we were to compare images taken of the same subject, in the same light, at virtually the same time – but taken on significantly different cameras – we’d generally agree the image taken on the pro equipment turned out better.
This is just an objective fact.
Images taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV are going to be better looking than those taken on a Canon Rebel or a point-and-shoot camera.
Now, with this said, as you aspire to take professional looking images – you can work with the gear you have. Not everyone is ready to spend thousands of dollars on a pro camera (and rightfully so!).
A good photo, even if lacking some extra detail and quality that you’d get with the more expensive equipment, is still going to be a good photo.
It’s for this very reason that some professional photographers even choose to use older camera models. I can think of Sean Tucker who continues to shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II – a once professional camera body, but now very dated. He still produces beautiful images!
For the rest of this post, we’re going to leave our discussion of camera gear here. If you’re in the market for some better quality gear and need recommendations, check out our Gear Reviews and Resources for more on that.
2.Use the Right Focal Length Lens for the Shot You Have in Mind
Your choice of camera lens will determine your photos perspective in significant ways.
Professional photographers have mastered the art of determining what will be in the frame and what will be outside of it.
Our “claim to fame” is our couple’s portrait photography. One thing we are regularly asked is how we make our portraits look so good. We think our choice of focal length (i.e.: wide, standard, or long lens) plays a really big role because our choice determines how the resulting image will look. In a real sense, using a longer lens will allow us to “crop” the scene naturally. A wider lens gives a lot more breathing room and will incorporate elements of the landscape.
So – next time you are shooting and want to create better photos – really think about why you are using the lens you are.
3. Lighting is Key
The most amazing photographs ever taken feature beautiful light. There – we said it!
If you want to take better outdoor portraits, landscape photos, and similar – shooting during Golden Hour will instantly make your photos look better. During sunset/sunrise, the sky is illuminated with a soft glow and a range of colors. This translates into beautiful images with ease.
Of course – not every photographer will want to shoot during this time exclusively. We certainly don’t!
The real key is learning how to work with the light that is available.
There are a lot of best practices when it comes to getting the right lighting that will depend on the style of photography you are going for. You may or may not really love harsh mid-day light, but learning how to augment your photos using flash is definitely a good skill to add to your tool belt.
Because photography literally means “painting with light”, mastering how you use the light itself will be one of the biggest things you can do as you aspire to take professional photos.
4. Composition is Very Important
We’d agree with the idea that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but in photography, some photographers have an eye for beautiful things more than others.
With the right light in place, the next biggest thing that will dictate the quality of your image is your composition.
Many amateurs have a tendency to over think this!
In our experience, there are just a couple simple photography rules we follow when taking photographs (of any subject!):
- Simple looks great
- Use leading lines to create depth
- Use foreground objects to frame your subject
- Have an interesting or simple background (it should not be too distracting from your subject)
- Apply the Rule of Thirds for interesting compositions
- Keep your subject front-and-center
- Do not be afraid to experiment with both tight and wide shots of the same subject
- Be willing to experiment and make mistakes
We tend to believe that a photographer’s ability to compose a shot is one of the biggest things that help to make them unique. After all, we can all use the same photography gear, can all shoot during the same lighting, but composition is really the most subjective feature of photography.
If you are still learning how to properly compose a shot, one of the best photography tips we can offer you is to simply recreate and emulate the work of photographers you love.
For example, say we wanted to take a really great portrait shot – we could pull up the work of a beloved portrait photographer like Joe McNally and use it as a reference. We could aim to set up our portrait subject in the same way, and compose our shot exactly the same. This is one way to learn!
5. Clean Up the Background
When we review portfolios of photographers, one of the biggest missteps we see is messy backgrounds.
Professional photographers know to reduce clutter and unwanted things in their images. When we are on location shooting wedding photos, we will physically remove things that are interfering with our shots. In some instances, we’ll clean up the background in Photoshop later on. These unwanted things serve as distractions and removes focus from your subject.
6: Make Your Subject(s) the Focus
One of the biggest mistakes beginner photographers make is to have too many areas of focus in their shot. This isn’t something that can’t be done, but like we said earlier – simplicity is often best. Pro photographers tend to use minimalism to create really powerful shots by not trying to do too much with a single image.
Need more advice?
Want to find out more about any of these cameras? We’ve put each one to a thorough test in order to decide on what makes the list.
Just click the link at the end of each camera’s description to read our in-depth review, complete with sample images and in-depth looks at how key features fare.
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