So, you want to buy a new camera….


City Garden (33 of 1)
This is a three shot photo take with a Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 17-50mm lens at 17mm. The three photos were combined in Lightroom into a HDR Photo. Other specs on this photo: ISO 1000, average exposure: 5 sec., f7.1. A tripod was used and no flash.

By: Ted Engler

Are you thinking about taking better photos? Perhaps you have been using an iPhone camera or other cellphone device and want to produce something more interesting. If you want outstanding photos, there are two things that you need to do: 1. Invest the money in equipment and software and 2. Invest the time needed take the photos and process them.

You will need higher end cameras and software. Using digital cameras eliminates the need for an investment in film. However, you will need to invest in software needed for processing the photos and spend time learning to use that software. Entry level Nikon cameras cost about $450 and go up to $750 for the higher end entry level camera (if you are wondering, the highest pro level DSLR is the Nikon D5 at $6,500. Other types of cameras go far above that). Here is a link for Nikon’s entry level cameras. I also suggest you look at Cannon, Pentax and Olympus.

In the Nikon category, I would suggest the D5500 at $750 ($1,050 with lens). This will give you some great options that the D3XXXs do not have.

Here are steps to follow:

  1. Invest in a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera) These are the cameras that have interchangeable lenses. They also have large number of features that help you get the photograph you want. I suggest you go to a full service camera store to purchase your equipment. These places are usually staffed with people who can discuss the wide variety of equipment available. Be sure to give some thought what interests you. Do you want to start a photography business? Do you want to produce more interesting photos? Do you want to just share photos on social media? Do you just want better photos of your family? Discuss this with the sales person and they can send you in the right direction. In St. Louis, where I live, Creve Coeur Camera or Schillers are great resources.
  1. Invest in software like Adobe Photoshop. However, I suggest you start with Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is a very powerful editing system and filing system for your programs. As you take photos, it is important to have a way to file and sort through them. Also, these software programs will require several hours of training just to start. You will find free on-line video instruction on Adobe’s website and on Youtube (use Youtube tutorials to learn about your new camera also).
  1. Shoot in RAW (vs. JPEG). This is completely unprocessed data from your camera and this gives you more information to work with in your editing software. For example: say the photo is under exposed. The data is all there, you can use your software to change the exposure after the photo is taken! Any camera you purchase must have this feature!
  1. Technology is the key. Keep up to date by reading monthly photography magazines.

Click on the “Photography Tips” tab on this blog for more information.

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