Whether your camera cost you $100, $1000, or more, odds are that about a year into your photography hobby you’ll feel the “gear itch” – the need to get more gear to further your kid’s photography skills. Even if you have the funds; why not try improving your photography skills, rather than depending on lenses and other equipment? Odds are, you’ll find that by restricting yourself to the gear you have, you’ll become a better photographer as a result. Here are some tips:
Appreciate what you have
“Let’s see, I need a 50mm for portraits, a 500mm for bird photography, a wide-angle lens for landscapes, and a macro lens for butterflies…”
So, what if you only have a 50mm lens? This doesn’t mean that you have to forgo the bird, landscape, or macro photography – it just means you need to be a bit more creative using the tools that you have. It definitely doesn’t mean that you have to give up the shot because you feel like you don’t have the right equipment.
Challenging yourself to use a single lens will give you two advantages: 1) you won’t have to worry about losing a great shot while you are switching lenses, and 2) you’ll figure out exactly what type of lens you do need, when the time comes.
Caveat: If all you have currently is the kit lens that came with your camera, and you are really enthusiastic about kid’s photography, you might want at the least to pick up a “nifty fifty” – a 50mm f/1.8 to help you get great kid’s photos. For the low price (about $100) it’s well worth the investment.
Have a good read
A DSLR or similar camera isn’t a toaster – you can’t just plug it in, take photos, and expect everything to come out great. There is so much to learn: focus modes, white balance, autofocus points, and even different softness levels for portraits. Without reading your camera manual you won’t have any idea of how any of these tools work, akin to driving a car without learning how to use the lights or turn signals – you’ll get there but not in the best way possible.
When you’re done, check out this post for tricks on customizing your camera for even more functionality.
Use it or lose it
Like learning a new language, you can’t expect to improve your photography without regular practice. A second advantage is that, besides improving your photography, you’ll learn more about the individual settings on your camera. The next time you need to adjust your aperture or change your focus mode you’ll be that much quicker – so you don’t risk losing the “shot” while finding the right setting on your camera.
There are a ton of fun, DIY camera hacks out there that can fill the gap between your current gear and the gear you have your eye on. Check out the following pages for some fun and creative DIY camera hacks:
There are a ton more – just search for “DIY camera projects” or “DIY camera hacks” – or check out Pinterest to see what’s going on over there.
We’ll be back again next week with more tips so stay tuned!