I know cameras are a popular Christmas gift to give an receive. Two years ago I got my husband a DSLR camera for Christmas, which ultimately led me here!
Or maybe you have already bought one and don’t really know what to do with it now. I know I wish someone would have told me this info before I purchased our first DSLR camera.
1. You get what you pay for:
DSLR cameras range in price from about $500-$8000, that is quite a wide price range. Evaluate why you want a DSLR or what you want to do with yours. If you just want one to take pictures of your kids and for a fun hobby. Look into the low-mid range cameras. The Nikon D90 has gotten excellent reviews and it can record video as well. (Sorry I only know Nikons). I started out with the Nikon D80.
If you think that photography is something you really want to get into and someday do professionally, do yourself a favor and spend a little extra cash to get a nicer model. I recently got the Nikon D700 and that camera rocks my world, I kind of wonder how I got along with out it.
2. Photography is an expensive hobby:
Not only to you have to take into consideration the cost of the camera, but you will inevitably want more lenses. And lenses are not cheap. Then there are flashes, tripods, photo editing software, camera bags, memory cards, batteries, etc. Not to mention DSLR’s are constantly improving, and at some point you will likely want to upgrade.
3. You must take it out of auto mode:
I will admit I was one of the naive people that bought a DSLR thinking the camera would take great pictures all on its own. And occasionally it does. But to get really great pictures consistently you must take your camera out of auto mode.
You have to learn the exposure triangle and also how to shoot in manual mode. This will give you the most creative control and better pictures. A good place to start is to learn how to use aperture priority mode, A mode on Nikons, AV on Canons (I think).
4. Replace your kit lens:
Most DSLRs come with a 18-55mm lens, and while this lens can serve a purpose it isn’t the greatest lens. Do yourself a favor and invest in a 50mm f/1.8 lens or 1.4. They call this lens the “nifty fifty” for a reason. It delivers crisp images and can shoot in low light. While you lose the ability to zoom in and out, it is still such and amazing lens. My 50mm f/1.4 rarely leaves my camera.
5. To get really amazing photos you must learn photo editing software:
To take your images to the next level you really must learn how to use photo editing software, like Photoshop or Lightroom. And be prepared, Photoshop is initially really overwhelming. I think that Photoshop was harder for me to learn than my camera. And I still have so much to learn about it!
With all that being said, I love photography! It is such a fun, albeit expensive hobby!