Tips for Photography Beginners – Know Your Equipment

This series of small articles are designed to help the beginner photographer become more comfortable, and quickly improve their photography skills. I am a beginner myself and realized that some of the things I have learned along the way, may help ‘jump start’ other beginners. I will try to include the items that I wish someone had told me when I started. I hope you find these useful.

1. Know Your Camera

It’s very important to know your camera. Read the manual, then get out your camera and try a few things, then read the manual again, and again, and AGAIN. Try keeping your camera and the manual on you lap while watching TV, reading and experimenting, and taking shots of the your surroundings even the TV. The only way you can learn how your camera works is to practice, practice, practice. Try doing the things your manual explains. Its very helpful to be able to reference the manual when you have a question, but this isnt always convenient. That is why it is very important to become comfortable with your camera and all of its settings. Also keep the manual in your camera bag for those times when you do have a question and it is actually conveinent to refer to it.

2. Have BackUps

Be sure to always have back up batteries and memory cards available if needed. There is nothing worse then setting up a shot and then hearing your camera power down due to low battery. Or taking a shot to see your camera say memory card full, and you just missed the shot of a lifetime.

Along the same lines here, be sure to back up your photos after you transfer them to your computer. Why take a chance of loosing all your original photos due to a computer crash or virus.

3. Acclimate Your Equipment

Always take a little time to acclimate your equipment to the temperatures. If you store your camera inside a nice cool air conditioned room (or you happen to be in a car) and go straight outside to a hot humid day, you are sure to get some condensation. The same is true if you go from a hot house to cold temperatures outside. Something that has worked for me, is to take my camera bag and open it up to let the air circulate and sit it on my back porch (its enclosed) for 30 minutes or so before heading out.. this lets the camera warm up (or cool off) slowly and let the condensation dry..If you use your camera while it is damp with condensation you are also taking a bigger risk that you may damage your camera. Also Try to not leave you cameras in the car due to the extreme heat which may cause damage to the sensitive electronics in the camera as well.

Another good tip which is along those same lines, is to keep those little silica gels that you find in your medications or other items that need to resist moisture, inside your camera bag.. I use the ones from my allergy meds, they are in a hard round cylinder and I drop a few in my camera bag.

4. Protect Your Lens

Always keep a UV/skylight filter on your lens. This will help to avoid damaging your lens. A scratch that damages the filter is much easier to replace then a whole new lens/camera. There are many available for Point & Shoot cameras now too!

5. Use The Straps

ALWAYS ALWAYS use the neck/wrist strap. Why take any chances on dropping your camera. Everytime you pick up you camera you should automatically wrap the strap around your wrist, or better yet use the neck strap. You never know when a clumsy moment may cause diasaster. So dont take chances by relying only on your grasp to save your camera.

6. Keep Plastic Baggies

Plastic baggies are perfect to keep your camera in during misty, rainy, or snowy days. All you have to do it cut a hole for your lens. Although this doesn’t totally waterproof your camera it does buy you a couple minutes to shoot without getting the camera wet. Just don’t get carried away, the outer lens is exposed to the elements so keep that in mind.

7. Tripods and Bean Bags

Invest in a GOOD tripod. It really does make a difference. I have made many tripod useless due to stripping the threads or breaking the little plastic pieces on the cheap tripods I have broken. I could have invested in a good one to begin with and saved the money. Besides why trust your investment to a cheap tripod? Also those little bean bags are perfect for those occasions you need something to support the camera so you can lay it down. I use mine to support my camera and hold it level when lying it on rocks or car roofs instead of using the tripod. This comes in really handy when you want a perspective you just cant get with the tripod or you are just too lazy to get the tripod out.

Source: Photos Of The Year