Improving your digital photography


Smart phones have turned most of us into photographers without us really realising it. We’ve slipped into the role of a photographer and videographer capturing images and footage of everyday things that inspire us to record. We’re also driven by the constant need to feed our social media streams with ever more interesting images of ourselves and our lives.

Many of us have inadvertently become self-portrait photographers having created a seemingly unlimited image bank of selfie shots from every conceivable perspective and context.

With the abundance of phone camera images out there you might want to take some time out to learn how to shoot with a full frame DSLR camera. The main drawback will be the initial outlay, which at about £400 for a new camera, is quite a large investment.

You can however pick up a decent used camera, which will meet your requirements just as well.

You’d be advised to only consider cameras with a low actuation count, (shutter count) setting your limit to below 10,000 ideally. The pixel quantity depends not just on the amount of megapixels but also the sensor size. If you intend to print your images and use a full frame camera then an 8 megapixel camera will give you great prints of 8 x 10 inches or less.

Most cameras come with at least one interchangeable lens but you can buy the camera body and lens separately. Note that you’ll need to use the same brand of lens as the camera so if you intend purchasing more than one lens it might be worth pricing the lenses first as these can be quite pricey. You might want to buy a 85mm lens for portraits or a wide-angle lens for landscapes.

For now, a standard 18-55mm lens is all you need to take superior quality portraits, lifestyle and holiday photos.

With your camera ready take a step back and give a little thought to the lightening.

Natural light can either be direct sunlight or the broad and diffused light of an overcast day. Neither is better or worse to shoot in as the variations in light throw up opportunities for you to test out you photography.

The direct morning sun will give you stronger shadows while the softer light of a spring evening could help you create softer neutral shots.

The challenges and additional weight of a camera may not be as handy as your phone but you’ll be surprised at the difference a DSLR can make.

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