Getting Started

I've been asked everything about photography from what equipment I use to how to get photo passes to "What button do I push?". I really enjoy talking about it and helping other people get started so, in an attempt to share a few tips, tricks and basic info, I'm starting this blog. If you have any questions or topics you'd really like to see me write about, feel free to submit them through my contact form

Disclaimer: While I have about 4 years of experience, I am still essentially an amateur photographer. I thought myself 90% of what I know and I've just been learning as I go along. These blogs are meant to help people and are mostly just suggestions, not facts that are set in stone. Hopefully this helps people who are interested in photography, enjoy! 

This first blog will be about equipment. I know a lot of people that swear by one brand or another but, when you really break down the make-up of brands like Nikon and Canon, there isn't a huge difference. Both have a wide range of lenses, bodies and accessories to choose from and I'm sure you'll be very satisfied with whichever you choose. Just be careful when veering away from these brands as quality and selection can vary greatly. 

A couple things to consider when buying equipment: 

  • Purpose- Do you just want a nice camera to bring on vacation or is your goal to become a professional photographer? What will your primary subject be? While there are some lenses that will work for just about any project, your preferred portrait lens is probably going to be extremely different from a lens used to photograph wildlife. 
  • Budget- How much are you willing to spend? DSLRs are much more affordable now but they are still not cheap by any means. Do you want to invest in a $1000+ lens now, or start off with a kit lens and work your way up to that? Are you someone who feels like they need to stick with only brand name lenses or are you willing to sacrifice a bit of quality & buy from a third party such as Sigma? 

Do your research!! There's tons of information out there and you should definitely use it. There are side by side comparisons of comparable Nikon and Canon bodies (which usually result in them finding little to difference to be honest) and tons of lens reviews on YouTube (I love Matt Granger and Christopher Frost's reviews). 

WARNING: When buying lenses, double check to make sure the lens you're interested in will fit your camera body. Full frame lenses will fit on crop sensor bodies, but the reverse may not be true! Full frame lenses also may not autofocus on crop sensors. Be aware that Nikon and Canon have different mounts so be sure you're buying the correct version of third party lenses.

I currently own a Nikon D5100. Arguments for getting a much more expensive full frame body include less cropping of images, faster autofocus and the inclusion of two memory card slots but I really haven't felt the need to upgrade mine. I wouldn't stress too much about picking a body or a brand. Do your research and make an educated choice but the differences in between many of these bodies are minimal and won't really affect your work in the long run; you can also upgrade later. The only difference I recommend really thinking about the difference between crop sensor and full frame as if you decide to upgrade to full frame later on, you'll probably have to switch a lot of your lenses out too and that can be a hassle. I used a kit lens for years and it worked fine but, after finding my current lens, I'm extremely upset I didn't upgrade earlier. 

I've been using a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 since Christmas and I'm incredibly happy with it. The images are crystal clear, its fast enough to use at concerts and I only paid about $300 for it (although $400 is a more common price for it). The autofocus is a little slow but for the price I really can't complain. I've been using this lens for EVERYTHING and almost every image on my homepage was taken with it. 

I also have a Nikon 50mm f/1.8. This is one of those lenses everyone should own. It's inexpensive and buying directly from Nikon will run you about $220 but you can easily find it for less (I only paid about $130 for mine). I occasionally use this lens for concerts and it works beautifully, I just like having the option to zoom so I don't use it very often. This is my go-to portrait lens. The bokeh (background blurring) is very nice and having the option to open the lens all the way to f/1.8 is wonderful. No complaints with this lens, definitely the quality you'd expect from Nikon. 

My collection is tiny as I'm a broke college student but I'm saving up so I can expand it. In an attempt to keep this relatively short, I'll go into specifics on what to look for in equipment for concert photography in next week's blog!