Following the last article on choosing a camera, I decided to add another giving some advice. Once you have purchased a camera you will need to buy some additional equipment. Many accessories are optional and can be bought over time. Upfront you may wish to consider the purchase of the following to start building your kit.
- A tripod: useful if you want a stable platform for shooting landscapes and wildlife with a longer lens.
- A camera bag: size is important here, it should be big enough to accommodate the kit as you grow your equipment.If you travel a good deal a hardshell case may be ideal.
- Memory cards and a cardholder: a spare memory card is useful, just in case something goes wrong. An extra battery is also worth taking if you are shooting lots of images.
- A polarising filter: a polarising filter can improve your landscape photography it transforms dull images, highlights blue skies and increases the saturation of green foliage.
- A cleaning kit: one needs to care for your equipment and keep it clean. I generally do this at the end of the day before the evening meal.
- A camera strap: many cameras stint here, it’s worth getting something well made and comfortable.
Then you need to attend some training, one can do online courses and attend courses offered by the manufacturers of most cameras. Many manufacturers also offer access to brand ambassadors who run regular sessions. Familiarise yourself with key terms related to photography. A good way to do this is with the body of an analogue camera.
- Aperture: this is the opening of the shutter in your lens, think of the pupil of your eye. You need more light in the dark and when it is bright you decrease the size. A wide aperture will be a low number, say f/3,5, this allows a good deal of light in darker situations, in lighter conditions you can adjust to a smaller aperture.
- Shutter speed: this is the time that the sensor of your camera is exposed to light and is key to understanding photography. Shutter speeds are displayed as fractions of a second such as 1/125, slow speeds will be displayed as seconds i.e 2, 30 etc. For normal photography, one operates between 1/200 to 1/600 to get a clear, sharp picture without blur.
- ISO; is a bit more complex and relates to the sensitivity to light, the higher the ISO number used the higher the exposure to light and the brighter the resultant image. An ISO of 100 tends to be the norm, boosting it can increase digital noise which makes your picture grainy.
Furthermore, you will need to understand some basics, photography is seen as an art form, the composition is key. How you frame a picture is how you communicate and tell a story. The rule of thirds is a basic guideline, your viewfinder more than likely has a grid to guide you to composition. The basics here are to place your subject on a cross-section of the grid, this draws the viewers eye to it. It is a good starting point and one that you may defy as you improve and break the rules. One can also use leading lines as a form of composition, they can be as simple as a set of train tracks or footprints along a beach as long as it is a natural line that pulls your view into a picture.
As you continue you will understand the importance of composition. You may explore advanced concepts such as visual weight and balance. Now get out there, practise and have fun!