Today I’m excited to start a photography Q. & A. series! I’m no expert, but I thought it might be helpful to write about some things that I wish I had known when I was first starting out. I hope you enjoy it! First up, I’ll be answering some questions that I often get about cameras and editing!
Disclaimer: It’s important to note that there is no one “right way” of doing things when it comes to photography… it’s vital to figure out what works best for you (and your clients, if you’re running a business) and do that! This is a long and never ending process, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you stick with it!
If you have any questions or topics that you’d like to see covered in a future post, please leave a comment below or send me an email! I would love to hear from you!
Question 1: I want to buy a nice camera! Which one should I get?
This is a tough question! Buying a new camera is kind of like getting a new car– there are so many different makes and models, and one size definitely does not fit all! When I started looking to buy my first “nice” camera, I had no clue where to start. Here are some things I wish I had known…
- Define your photography needs are and choose the camera that best meets them. If you’re looking to take some nice photos on your next vacation, a simple point-and-shoot may be just what you need. If you’re wanting to pursue photography as a career, a Nikon or Canon DSLR may be your best choice. If you’re unfamiliar with the different models of cameras, this article is a great place to start and explains the different types of cameras, and their pros and cons.
- Try it before you buy it! Sites like www.BorrowLenses.com allow you to rent a camera without the commitment of buying one! I definitely recommend checking them out if you are on the fence about a certain make/model.
- Don’t let high prices discourage you, and don’t be afraid to start small. You can still do amazing things with a lower-end camera and a little skill! (Some of my favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken were made with a little $100 point-and-shoot.)
- Purchase a camera that you can “grow” into. When I bought my first camera (a Nikon D5000– which I don’t think they even make any more), I remember getting home from the store with high expectations that it would make me a better photographer. And while it definitely improved my photo quality, it also taught me that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. This was a good thing, because it challenged me and made me want to be better.
Question 2: What camera do you use?
I shoot with a Nikon D800E and a Nikon D600 backup, and a variety of Nikon professional lenses. (My current favorite is the Nikon 24mm 1.4G!)
Question 3: How do you edit your photos?
Ah, photo editing. I remember the early days when I was just starting out in photography and would edit my pictures by uploading them to a cheesy online photo editing site designed for middle schoolers. (Anyone else remember Picnik!?) I would spend twenty minutes editing each photo, testing out multiple ugly filters and going crazy with the airbrush wand until I found just the “right” look. Looking back at those photos now, I literally cringe.
I started to realize that I was over-editing because I was trying to compensate for the fact that my photos just weren’t that great. I slowly (and painfully) learned that the purpose of editing is not to make a bad photo look good, but rather to make a good photo look better. And to do that, I had to learn how to actually take a good photo. So I set out to learn how take a good photo, and get my pictures right in camera. Have I mastered this? Absolutely not. But after a lot of practice (and a lot of mistakes) I’m happy for report that I’ve gotten much better at getting my photos right in camera- which means I spend a whole lot less time trying to “fix” them!
If you’re in a place where you’re frustrated with your photo editing style, take a step back and see if there are any changes that you could make in-camera that would simplify your post-production process. For example: are you spending hours trying to get the right exposure in post-processing? Look up a Youtube tutorial on how to get it right in camera.
Here are a few examples of some recent photos of mine taken in different lighting situations, before and after editing! The left photo is what I got straight-out-of-camera with no editing, and the right photo is the edited version. If you’re interested in learning more about my editing process, let me know and I can put together a more in-depth look some time in the near future!
(These are screenshots taken from Lightroom, so I apologize if the photo quality isn’t the best!)
Question 4: What program(s) do you use to edit photos?
I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for 95% of my photo editing! (The other 5% is done in Photoshop.) I can not say enough good things about this program! It’s simple to use and has all of the tools I need to edit. It also allows you to edit multiple photos at one time, which is a huge time saver!
Question 5: I don’t have a camera but like to take pictures on my phone! What’s your favorite phone editing app?
Well, that’s all for this week! Stay tuned for some more questions and tips next week! (And let me know what you’d like to learn about!)