My photography class was so full of information, and so many of you emailed and asked questions about the class, that I decided to put together a small series of photography tips, tricks and how-to's. Some of what I am going to share I learned in class. Some of what I'm going to share I've learned by trial-and-error.
I read somewhere that modern photography is not original, that people no longer have their own creative ideas but rather try to copy anyone else's photograph. I'm going to tell you that I absolutely disagree with that. Each point of view is unique, and that's part of the appeal of photography - for me, at least.
So lets get started, shall we?
In the following weeks I'll cover learning your camera's computer, composition and editing. These posts will be high level coverage, as I can only write about what I know... and since I'm not a professional, I'm learning right along with you all. :)
Lesson One: on being prepared and the right equipment
You would not believe how many times I've set out on photo adventures with friends... and they've forgotten their cameras. Even in my photography class there was a student there who had to leave to retrieve their camera from home. It sounds silly and redundant, but remember your camera! In fact, my recommendation is to get in the habit of carrying your camera everywhere. You never know when inspiration may hit.
Always, always, always make sure you leave home with a full battery. With the newer models of DSLR's you don't necessarily have to take extra batteries if you're just going out for the day as they tend to be long-lasting. My Canon typically lasts me a week before I have to recharge the batteries; and I use mine almost every day. When I get home and I'm putting my purse away, I always check my battery level and if need be, I just pop it into the charger while I'm making supper or working out. If you leave your charger somewhere you pass by frequently, you'll remember to charge it AND to put the charged battery back in your camera.
Tip: never leave your battery in your camera for long periods of time if you do not plan on using your camera. It's bad for both the same way it's bad to leave your computer on overnight. If I know I'm not going to use a particular camera for several days or weeks, I just remove the battery.
When I see tourists downtown or at the beach that are using their camera without a strap, or without their strap around their necks, it takes all of my willpower to not run over to them and be all "DO YOU WANT TO KILL YOUR CAMERA?! USE YOUR STRAP!" I'm so dramatic in my mind. ;)
You strap your kids into their car seats and seat belts - strap your camera in, too. Safety first.
4. Memory Card
This is pretty subjective. I recommend at least a 4GB SD memory card. They tend to be fairly cheap these days. I have several 16GB SD cards that I use, and keep with me. If I'm heading out specifically to take pictures, I can fill one or two cards fairly easy.
Tip: NEVER delete from your card on your camera. It is tough on your card and can cause it to fail before it's time. Another reason to keep several cards with you at one time.
5. Lens Cap
Your glassware is one of the most important components of your camera. Take care of it. If you're not shooting, cap it. If you're sitting down reviewing your photos, cap the lens. And please remember that if you are somewhere that is extremely dusty or misty, be mindful of your lens - you don't want to ruin it.
Tip: get your glassware cleaned and detailed at least once a year. Most camera shops will clean your lenses for you for a minimal fee. It's worth it.
6. Bag or Case
You spent a lot of money on your camera (unless you stole it...which I obviously don't recommend), so you definitely want to take care of it. Lenses, too. I always keep my camera, and lenses, in neoprene cases. It's a way to ensure that there is one extra layer of protection for my camera, and if I'm using a purse or a backpack instead of my camera bag, I don't have to worry about my camera getting banged up, or a lens getting scratched if a cap comes off. I bought mine off of Amazon and got a killer deal.
Obviously a camera bag is the ultimate carrying tool for your camera, lens and other equipment, but those can be quite pricey. I have a bag I received as a hand-me-down (seriously... it's from 1981 - older than me!), and a backpack I use for hikes or camping. My bag fits my camera, my four lenses and all of my equipment (tripod included) but my backpack only fits my camera, two lenses and my SD cards.
Tip: know how you will use each bag or backpack before you purchase. Load it up and try it on before you buy. You don't want to spend money on something that you won't use later on.
I think we're ready to get down to it, then! I hope you're as excited as I am! See you next week for Class Two: learning your camera.