Must Have Photographic Items for Beginners

Today I want to focus on some items that are a must have if you are starting out in Photography.

Compared to other people that will recommend things that you don’t even understand how to use or apply to your photography path, I will be focusing on itms that are generally useful to every single starter photographer no matter what their main subject is.

Spare Memory cards/ batteries

Nothing is more stressful than being in the zone and taking those amazing images when you’re card gets full or battery dies on you. Having a spare charged battery with you when you are out and about can be a life saver. I know it saved me so many times. At the moment I have 3 batteries for my camera in total and I never ran out of power.

As for memory cards, same thing applies. Make sure you invest in some good quality ones (I personally use Sandisk and never had an issue with them) and in a tiny case to store them in. Never delete images from the card, they might look bad on the back of your camera, but there might be a different story on a computer. So have a spare one just in case you have one of those days when you are a bit clicker happy.

A good camera bag

You don’t have to spend a fortune on a camera bag (even though the Bilingham ones are still high on my wish list) but having a sturdy, well padded one can be a life saver.

Especially if you live in the UK or like travelling a lot, having a bag that can hold your camera safely is a must. Remember if you take care of it, she’ll take care of your images.

Key things to be looking for, are the padding, a rain cover is preferred and lots of dividers or pockets to make sure you can organise your items and never misplace anything.

Some of the bags I recommend are: Manfrotto Shoulder Bag

Lowepro Backpack

UV Filters

I honestly can’t stress enough how important is to have a UV filter on your lens, especially if you are shooting often outdoors. They were initially created for film cameras in order to remove the Uv light, but now on digital cameras everyone is using them as a form of protecting the lens. They won’t affect the quality of your images so you should have one on the lens at all times.

ps: make sure when you get one you get the right size. On the front of your lens you should have your diameter size or on the back of your lens cap. Then you simply screw it on your lens, and you’re done.

On my recent trip to Trinidad, i stupidly took mine off, and 2 days later camera was dropped in the sand, lens cover went over it and that managed to create a very “beautiful” mark on my lens. My camera had to be sent away for a repair and as we speak I’m waiting for its return.

Tripod

Even if you don’t do long exposure images (where a tripod is essential), there are so many ways that a tripod will make your life so much easier.

Think about the sort of photography you do and get one that will suit that. It can be helpful if you do macro, product or even portrait photography. A lot of people ignore it and choose not to use it, but having one can easily change for the best the way you take your images.

Even a small one to have in your bag can come in handy when you are out and about.

Some Tripod recommendations: 3 Legged Thing

Manfrotto Mini Pixi

Cleaning Cloths

Making sure your lens is clean at all times is a must. If you wear glasses you might already have a couple of them laying around. Microfibe cloths are a life saver. I have one for my glasses always with me and an extra one for the camera, though I usually end up using whichever I find first.

Even if you are using a compact camera or your phone, making sure your lens is clean will make a huge difference. It will make your images look a lot sharper and it will help with the focusing.

If at times your camera seems to have troubles focusing just check your lens, if there are any smudges or dust on it, that might be your problem.

You can get a pack of 12 here.

Camera strap

Most cameras will come with a strap in the box (or a wrist string if you are getting a compact camera), so you probably have one already. Having a good strap to keep the camera around your neck, chest or hand will help out when you are out and about.

I have seen people dropping their camera because the strap just untied itself so make sure you go with a good one and most importantly you tie it correctly to the camera so that it will never happen to you.

For straps I personally use this one and even though the price does not fall into the “cheap” category is worth every penny!

What do you think is an essential item for a photography beginner?

Keep on shooting!

Why the Photographic community is TOXIC

“Yeah, but if you don’t have a lens with a f 1.4 then why do you even bother?”

“You need a better camera. Have you looked at full-frame?”

“You’ll never make it by taking pictures with a cheap camera or your phone.”

“I’m a professional photographer and unless you use the kit I have you’ll never be as good as me”

I bet if you’re passionate about photography you have heard or seen a comment like this at least once in your life. And if you’re on any photographic groups you probably see one of these at least once a day.

Photographers are a different breed of people. They put a lot of effort, money and time in their work and when they feel like they are achieving the level they were aspiring to, they forget where they all started.

They forget that the first camera they used was a small compact or bridge camera and they can’t remember a time when terms like “aperture”, “DOF”, “focal length” meant nothing for them.

This attitude puts a lot of people off taking photography as a hobby, or even discourages some to share their work, not to mention the bad advice that they can receive and in most cases. And this is how they end up starting their photographic experience in the wrong way.

If you have been doing photography for a while now, you need to remember that everyone’s journey to this passion is different from yours. If you get asked for advice, be wary of the person in front of you and their needs and what they want to achieve, don’t just start throwing camera makes and terms at them because at that point it time they won’t be able to filter that information.

Often I try to stay away from commenting on other people photographs, and even when it comes to advice I choose to be a bit quiet, as the subject is very sensitive. Photography is an art, and like every art, the artist gets attached to it and can get quickly upset if others will disagree with their vision.

As someone that worked for 5 years in a camera store, I learned that it doesn’t matter what camera I have at home or use if the person in front of me is going to use it differently than me.

Had so many customers ask me what camera I have and use, and when it was something different than what I recommended them, they were surprised and the inevitable question will follow:

“So why are you not recommending me that model?”

“Because it will not suit your needs. It’s perfect for myself, but you will struggle to get along with it.”

In those 5 years I had 1 single person return a camera they purchased from me, and the reason will make you laugh “My friend who does weddings said that this model is not good for me and I’ll buy what he has” – should I even mention that they were going to do mainly landscapes and wildlife?

This is an appeal to all you photographers out-there to listen to your friends when they say they want to get into photography and ask for your advice.

Find out what exactly they want to do with their camera, find out their budget and then try and offer advice.

Yes your images are looking amazing coming out of your £3000 camera, but maybe your friend budget is only £300. If you don’t know what camera might suit them, help them search for the right one. Go with them to a shop where you can handle the cameras (if COVID-19 is not around 🙂 ), and help them make a decision. If you feel like you can’t help them out as they want to focus on a different area of photography, just tell them, but please stop recommending wrong cameras.

I have 2 articles on the subject that will help both you and your friend when thinking of getting a new camera, so please have a look at them, or suggest them to your friends:

LET’S TALK CAMERAS

Tips to know when buying a new camera

Let’s start helping our friends in their photographic journey the way you wished you were helped when you started!

Keep on shooting!

Photoshop VS Lightroom

If during this lockdown you found a passion for photography, you most certainly started hearing about different editing softwares, and unless you have been living under a rock, you heard the names Photoshop and Lightroom being thrown around.

Can you guess which one is better?

I have been using Photoshop for the past 6-7 years, and until about 2 years ago I was trying to steer clear from Lightroom as much as possible, maybe because i was so used to Ps already and a new editing software would have messed up my editing creative process (or maybe I was scared of it).

But now that I have been using both for a while and people keep asking which one is better, I thought I would shine some light on the subject.

The versions I will be talking about today are the Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC versions.

First of all when it comes to Lightroom you have to keep in mind there are 2 versions out there. You have Lightroom Classic and Lightroom Cc and they both come in the same pack.

Lightroom Classic is the actual editing software that I want to focus on, as Lightrom Cc is a simpler version with less editing options that I personally never used and occasionally I happen to open by mistake.

What is Lightroom best for?

If you need a way of organising your images in folders and make them easy to find, then Lightroom will help out. You have options to categorise your photos, pick your favourites and have them all in separate collections ready for editing.

With this one you can easily adjust most of the settings of a picture, from brightness, contrast, saturation to colour tones and sharpening. You can also make local adjustments using the brush option that has been introduced fairly recently as well as a spot removal tool.

Most people would think that Lightroom is not powerful enough to edit a picture from start to finish (and I have to admit I was in that category too), but after you get familiar with the settings and have a good play you’ll realise that you might not even need the use of Photoshop.

Another great advantage is that editing your images through Lightroom is non-destructive for your photos. That means you’ll always have access to the original file anytime you wish.

One of the great perks of using Lightrrom is that it does make your life really easy when it comes to editing a batch of images or adjusting the same setting to a number of files as you can easily do that in one click for all of them.

Exporting the files is also made easier with built-in settings for different purposes but you can also create your own ( for example for the intagram files you could have a different setting than from your website).

For me Lightroom gets a bit thumbs up!

Why do we need Photoshop then?

My love for Photoshop started a while back, when as a beginner photographer I thought relying on a software to make your images pop is all it takes to be a good photographer.

It took me a while to realise that a software can’t make a perfect image, but can only improve it slightly, but by then I learned most of the tricks available.

Loved changing the hair colour, removing backgrounds, adding things, making the skin look like a doll and so on. And those are some of the things that Ps excels at.

While let’s say in Lightroom you adjust the overall look of the image or correct the settings you might have missed in camera, in Photoshop you can go crazy with your editing.

Apart from the Photography side of things, Ps is also designed to deal with Graphics and Web design, 3D, Motion and even Painting.

One downside of Ps is that, if not used well it can be quite destructive for your images. Meaning that in the editing process your changes are permanent and you’ll never be able to return to the original file.

So should you bother with both?

Even though I have been using Lightroom more often than Ps recently, I still prefer to have the option of both, especially if you look at the available plans.

These are the monthly plans offered by Adobe

As you can see for the price of Lightroom you can get ps as well but with less cloud storage – that to me is a great deal especially since nowadays we all keep our files on external hard-drives or we already have some form of cloud storage option for saving and storing our files.

You can also purchase a year plan that will offer you access to the 2 softwares

Final Thoughts?

A year ago I would have said that I prefer Ps over Lightroom, but gosh how times have changed. I tend to use Lightroom more now and sometimes don’t even need the need to open an image in Photoshop. Don’t choose one over the other because what people are saying. You can get a trial for both, test them out and make a decision after.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’d happily help you out.

Keep on shooting!