Many new, aspiring photographers often worry about which camera is best for them and how much money they will have to spend to get their gear. Often times, these photographers have never even experienced the basics of photography. That is why I always suggest to new photographers that they use their smartphone camera first, because that might be all they need. Your Phone is Always With You For any casual photographer, a smartphone camera is perfect because it is always with you. You can’t always carry a large DSLR or even a mirrorless camera system with you if you are not a full-time photographer, so a smartphone camera comes in handy more often than not. The Technology is Improving a Lot Smartphone cameras these days have improved so much over their predecessors that it’s almost unbelievable. With their wide apertures, fast shutters, manual controls, and dual lenses on the same phone, smartphone cameras are very capable of taking some amazing looking shots with not a lot of work. Apps are always Accessible Once you have taken your shot, a smartphone allows you to instantly edit them before shooting them off to Instagram or 500px. From the excellent Snapseed that lets you edit JPEG files to your heart’s content to Lightroom that allows you to take RAW images from your phone and make masterpieces out of them, easily accessible image editors are one of the biggest reasons why you might be happy shooting just with your phone rather than investing in an expensive system.
If you are new to photography or have just taken the plunge and gotten a camera with manual controls, you may be a little overwhelmed by the various options you can control. One of the biggest issues new photographers deal with is to nail the exposure in their photos. A major reason for this issue is the confusion they have to face when choosing between aperture values, ISO values, and shutter speeds, as all three have a direct effect on the exposure. Understanding Aperture and Shutter Speed The aperture number of your camera dictates how wide the aperture of your lens is open. The wider it is open, the more light the camera gets. But a wider aperture also causes your depth of field to be shallower, so it may not be ideal for landscape shots. The shutter speed of your camera defines how long the shutter of your camera stays open while capturing a photo. The longer it is open, the more light enters the sensor and the brighter your image is. But a longer shutter speed also causes moving objects to get blurred, so it may not be ideal for shooting action. Rely Lesser on the ISO The reason you should rely more on altering these options to get your perfect exposure as opposed to cranking up the ISO is because a higher ISO, while making your image considerably brighter, causes a lot of noise to creep into your photos. These days, cameras have much better processors than before and noise levels are kept in control till very high ISO numbers, but noise will still find a way into your photos the higher you take the ISO. So depending on the kind of shot you want, keeping in mind what kind of depth of field you’re looking for, try to rely more on the aperture value and shutter speed to get your shot, and keep your ISO to a level where you’re sure your camera can handle the noise.
Landscape photography can be a very therapeutic experience for anyone who like the peace and quiet of being in the middle of a calm natural scene. There’s just something amazing in capturing the beauty of the nature that you see in front of your very eyes. Waiting for the right moment, finding the right angle, and creating a photograph that shows how you felt in that particular scene can be very rewarding. Before you head out to take some landscape photos of your own, here are some of the top suggestions you should keep in mind: Get as Much in Focus as Possible In other words, use a small aperture to get even the farthest elements of your scene in focus. While you can always experiment with different kinds of settings to get your shot, maximizing your depth of field is the usual approach you’ll see most landscape photographers take. Slow Things Down To get that dynamic look in your images, with moving clouds and silky smooth water, you should lower your camera’s shutter speed. To do this, first you will need a tripod with you at all time to make sure your camera is stable. You would also need to use an ND Filter to avoid getting too much light into your camera sensor. Get the Perfect Exposure One great way to make sure you nail the exposure in your landscape photos, especially on bright days when the sun washes out all the details in the highlights, is to create HDR images. To do this, simply take multiple photos of the same scene with different exposure settings and blend them in an HDR processing software like Aurora HDR 2017. Find that Focal Point If you have too much visual information in your landscape photos, they can become confusing. To avoid this, look for a focal point in your images. A photo that has a very obvious focal point in it is much more aesthetically pleasing than one where everything seems to be of the same importance. Use the Golden Hours Dawn and Dusk – otherwise known as the Golden Hours in photography – are the perfect times for taking stellar landscape shots. The mood that is created during these hours is something that just cannot be replicated. This is because of the ‘golden light’ that is present during these hours. The sun hitting some peaks ever so slightly, or falling through the cracks of a forest roof here and there – the golden hour must be used whenever you want light to be the dramatic factor in your images. Look for a New Perspective One thing that will greatly improve your photography is to look for different angles while shooting something. It makes sense to go out and set up a tripod to start shooting a landscape, but have you ever tried to go up as high as possible and get an aerial shot of the same scene? Experiment with different angles and you’ll see how greatly the uniqueness of your photos is improved.
One of the biggest mistakes many young photographers make when they get into photography is getting the wrong kind of lenses, especially if they have never had an encounter with the art. They get a nice camera, and the first thing they think about is that the kit lens is of no use. The second thing they think about is getting a telephoto lens for all those zoomed-in photos. While telephoto lenses are useful in a number of situations, and I am in no way saying that one kind of lens should be preferred over another, but they might not be the best choice for young photographers. Now you may be asking yourselves what a good lens choice is then if not telephoto. The answer, at least for me, is a prime lens. What is a Prime Lens? A Prime Lens is one that has a fixed focal length. This means that it can’t zoom in on a subject. This is one of the reasons why many new photographers don’t go out and buy a prime lens, as a telephoto’s varying focal lengths seem more attractive. However, as I am going to explain to my readers in this article, prime lenses are far better than telephoto lenses in a variety of situations. • They Turn You into a Better Photographer The main reason why I suggest new camera users to get a prime lens is because it turns them into better photographers. Why, you may ask? Well the simplest answer is that prime lenses make you work harder. You can’t just stand in one spot and look around through your camera’s viewfinder, and then zoom into something that you want to take a picture of while using a prime lens. With a prime, you have to actually work to get the shot you want. They teach you how to look at a subject, which ultimately leads to teaching you how to view something seemingly ordinary from a different perspective. Trust me, once you move in closer to your subject, you see it in a completely new way. • They Give You Better Quality Once you start using a decent prime lens, you’ll realize that the image quality you get out of it is generally better than what you get from a telephoto at the same focal length. This is because a prime lens has fewer lens elements and moving parts inside it that can contribute to bad image quality. Images from a prime lens are usually sharper, with lesser chromatic aberration and lens flare as compare to a telephoto. • They are Faster For a lens to be fast, its aperture value needs to be low. For example, a lens that has an aperture value of f/1.8 will be faster than a lens with a value of f/3.5. This is because a lower aperture value means that more light gets into your camera sensor, allowing you to use faster shutter speeds to capture action shots. • They are Lighter and Smaller Due to lesser parts crammed inside them, prime lenses are lighter than telephotos. This may not seem like a big deal to a new photographer, but once you start shooting with your camera all day, you’ll soon realize why a lower weight matters. They are also smaller, and have a better build quality most of the time, making it easier to keep them in your bag all day without worrying about the space or weight they occupy. • They give you Bokeh Ever seen those portrait shots that have a sharp foreground with a silky smooth background? That’s background is known as Bokeh. These kind of images put all the focus on your subject and make the background fade away. Prime lenses generally allow for better bokeh, especially at lower prices. The amount of bokeh you get from a lens depends on how low the aperture value is. This doesn’t mean that telephoto lenses don’t have low f-numbers, but the ones that do are usually very expensive. In the realm of prime lenses, you can have an excellent amount of bokeh for around $200. These are my top reasons for every new photographer to get a prime lens as one of the first lenses they get for their cameras. A basic prime, usually the 50mm f/1.8, can be bought for around $200 no matter what brand you have chosen. This was my first prime lens as well, and I still use it every time I go out for a project. The image quality you’ll get from this basic prime will be much better than other telephoto lenses in the same price range. So my advice to you, as a young and aspiring photographer, is to invest in a good prime lens first, learn to look creatively through your camera, and then move up to bigger and more specialty lenses.