For most people attracted to digital photography (which probably includes you), it is a hobby, an interest, an opportunity to take pictures of family and friends and recording life events and activities. Only a small percentage aspires to creating works of art or making digital photography a career, or even a part-time business.
Despite this fundamental truth, too many hobbyists and enthusiasts mistakenly think that the best photos are only possible with the most expensive equipment. Not only is this backwards thinking, but also it’s a primary reason so many people initially enthusiastic about digital photography eventually lose interest. This PhotographyTalk article aims to correct your perspective if you are about to empty your bank account or take your credit card to the limit to buy equipment you don’t need, and probably never will.
Digital photography is a set of skills, like any tennis, cooking, building a house or brain surgery. If you’re a digital photography hobbyist or enthusiast, then most of the skills you’ll ever need to learn don’t require an expensive camera, lens, etc. In fact, they will only make it harder for you to learn, and enjoy photography sooner.
The most important digital photography skills you must learn are basic to any camera and any type of photography you want to pursue. Professional photographers are successful because they have such a grasp of the basic skills that they know how to control and manipulate them to deliver maximum results and creativity.
Surprising to many hobbyists and enthusiasts is that the list of basic digital photography skills is rather short: Exposure, focus, lighting and composition. With a thorough understanding of these, you can become a much better photographer than you might have ever imagined.
The newest, affordable compact, or point-and-shoot, cameras have most of the features and capabilities that only DSLRs had just a few years ago. For example, during July 2012, Samsung released the MV900F, which includes a 16.3-MP sensor, fast 5X optical zoom lens, 3.3-inch LCD monitor that flips 180 degrees and Full HD video at 1080/30p. The Samsung MV900F is only $349.
Becoming a better photographer should be a challenge. Would digital photography be any fun or a worthwhile experience if the camera automatically took the best photos possible? Achievements of value occur only when you must overcome an obstacle. Focusing your mind on learning the skills to accomplish any goal is an essential part of what makes you human.
A much smarter way to use your digital photography budget is to buy an inexpensive camera, and then use some of your budget to attend photography courses or workshops or take advantage of the many online classes. You’ll find many choices among PhotographyTalk vendor partners. You can learn basic skills online at The Perfect Picture School of Photography, or MyPhotoSchool. If you live in the New York City area, then consider beginners’ classes at the New York Institute of Photography. The Chicago Photography Academy and Brooks Institute in Southern California offer similar workshops for new photographers.
When you rely on expensive photography equipment instead of the skills you should learn to shoot great images, you are more likely to become frustrated because your photos aren’t as good as they could be.
Because you’re a hobbyist or enthusiast, you simply won’t have the skills or experience to receive full value for the money you spent for expensive equipment.
Just because you’re enthusiastic about digital photography today doesn’t mean your passion or interest will continue. Save your money, learn the basic skills and accomplish all you can with an inexpensive camera, so you won’t have to relegate expensive equipment to a dusty shelf in the closet or sell it used for much less than you paid for it.
The truth be known, you don’t need expensive digital photography equipment to enjoy your hobby and take photos that everyone will want to see again and again.
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Image credit: gunnar3000 / 123RF Stock Photo
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