CHAPTER 2-: This is the second chapter of “A Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Professional Photographer.” – If you were to ask world class photographers about what they would like to do if they knew that they only had a handful of days to live on planet Earth, then most of them would gladly tell you that they will be spending the remaining days of their lives travelling to their favourite places with their beloved cameras.
Such is the great importance and significance that the camera holds in the life of a photographer. If you aspire to have a successful career in photography, then the camera will be your one and only best friend in your journey towards becoming an internationally acclaimed celebrity photographer.
Understanding the Bond Between a Photographer and a Camera
The camera and the photographer are two inseparable entities. Your love for photography is defined and described by your love for the camera. The camera and the photographer are incomplete without the other. You must become one with the camera if you want to materialize your hopes of becoming a photographer that is acknowledged and applauded all around the world. It is similar to how the greatest stars of soccer develop a mesmerizing relationship with the football itself.
Some of the most recognizable figures of world soccer are known to have the ball stuck to their feet figuratively speaking while playing matches for their clubs or national teams. They move with the ball, and the ball moves with them. They understand that dynamic of the ball, and the ball in return understands the intentions of the player. From a distance, it seems as though the player and the ball have created for themselves a symbiotic harmony that can neither be broken nor be hindered by any force employed by the opposition.
The Soul of the Camera
Using this analogy, you must develop an understanding of how you need to merge your characteristics as a photographer with the features of the camera itself. It is not simply about holding the camera in your hand and taking random clicks at anything and everything that pleases your eye. Being a world class photographer of unassailable expertise is all about understanding the advantages and limitations of a camera, and manoeuvring your actions as a photographer to get the most out of this magical gadget. The camera maybe an inanimate object from a logical point of view, but those photographers who have a certain degree of belief in philosophy will have no problem in admitting the fact that they feel that their cameras have a soul, the kind of soul that guides them towards artistic excellence during their endeavours as a photographer.
Photography Basics 101 – It All Begins with a Camera
What Makes a Great Photographer? Is It the Camera?
With that being said, it would be quite erroneous to assume that the camera holds the power to shape the life and the career of a photographer. The blatant truth is that the camera does not make the photographer, but rather it is the photographer that makes the camera. In order to be a world class photographer of the highest calibre, you do not necessarily require possessing the most technologically advanced camera in the world. The amount of money that you spend on buying a camera will never be a clear indication of how good you are as a photographer.
Surely, there is no denying the fact that the more technologically advanced, innovative or expensive a camera is, the more conducive will be the device for state of the art photography. If anything, a high end camera from a world renowned brand will provide you with numerous options to explore your hidden talents as a photographer. However, whether you can make the most out of these options given to you or not, is entirely up to you.
Finding the Right Camera
When it comes to selecting the camera that is most suitable for you, you need to invest a certain amount of time in trial and error. The market for cameras in the world today is humongous, and it is certainly not possible for you to have a taste of all the cameras out there. With that being said, there is a great variety of cameras that are available in the market, and the more variety you can cover during the initial learning stages of your career as a photographer, the easier it will be for you to find out which cameras place you in the comfort zone and which cameras expose your weaknesses. Once again, it is all about finding a camera whose features are in sync with your characteristics as a photographer.
Expensive Cameras Need Not be Bought
There is very little point in buying a high end expensive camera that is loaded with the latest features only for you to struggle to use the camera and employ the features during your sessions of photography. As a beginner you should keep your ambitions low and thinking about getting hold of the mid-level cameras that are not too flamboyant in their features and the ones which are well within the budget of most photographers. As you gain experience and expertise over the years, you will find yourself in a position where you will have no problem affording and operating the most advanced cameras in the world.
What is the Best Camera for an Aspiring Professional Photographer?
When you are out there visiting the various camera stores, you are likely to get really flustered and perplexed by the huge number of options available to you. You may find yourself standing in front of a large shelf studded with numerous cameras asking yourself questions such as, “What does SLR stand for?”, “How many megapixels do I really need?” and “Should I go for the Nikon ones, the Canon ones, or the cheap ones that are on sale?”. There is a lot of homework that you need to do before you can answer any one of those questions.
What is the Difference Between SLR and Point-and-Shoot Camera?
The first thing you need to learn is the difference between a point-and-shoot camera and an SLR. These are the two main or elementary categories in which all cameras can be divided.
Point-and-shoot cameras-: These cameras are compact, lightweight and therefore perfect to be taken along during your travels. Most of them have zooming features which can be both digital and optical. As the name of the camera suggests, these can be turned on, pointed towards a certain direction and used to take instant shots without you having to make any additional and mind boggling adjustments. For most novice photographers, this is the camera that they begin with, given the uncomplicated nature of its features and the ease of its use. To put things into perspective, all the highly impressive cameras that are embedded in our modern day smart phones are basically point-and-shoot cameras.
SLRs-: Since the point-and-shoot cameras are suited for beginners, it should come as no surprise that the pros in the world of photography prefer using the SLRs. The question to be asked right now is, what exactly makes a SLR so advanced and complex? To begin with, the major difference between a point-and-shoot camera and a SLR is that the lenses in an SLR can be removed and interchanged.
In addition to that, these cameras are heavier, bulkier and certainly not as colourful or portable as the point-and-shoot cameras that have been described above. It’s safe to say that you cannot fit a SLR into a smart phone (although there could be researchers working on that somewhere in the world today) With the SLR, you are presented with a plethora of options with which you can control and manoeuvre the camera to suit your own preferences. In other words, there is a greater room for customization and personalization with the SLR, which is why the experts in photography pick SLRs over the right and generic point-and-shoot cameras.
a. SLR Provides Higher Image Quality
So what if you are the kind of photographer who does not like playing around the camera too much and instead prefers to make most out of the options handed to you? Should you opt for a point-and-shoot camera rather than an SLR camera in that case? Well there is something else that you need to take into consideration before you can pass your judgement on both of these cameras. SLR cameras produce photographers that have a distinctly higher quality than those produced by a point-and-shoot camera. The point-and-shoot cameras have their own bucket of advantages that can benefit anyone, photographer or non photographer, but when it comes to image quality, there is no chance for a point-and-shoot camera to stand toe to toe with a SLR.
b. Point-and-Shoot Cameras Will be Of Little Help
As a photographer, your goal is not to have a lightweight, compact and funky camera. Instead, your objective is to produce brilliant photos that showcase your talent as a photographer. Thus, under the circumstances, anything other than a SLR will not really help you to launch a successful career in photography. Once again, this does not invalidate the statement that the camera does not make the photographer, but if you want to compete with the very best names in the world of photography, then a point-and-shoot camera will unfortunately not help you achieve victory over any of your rivals.
Why Are SLRs So Good?
What exactly makes the SLR so good at producing high quality images? Well the answer lies in its larger image sensors. Is the size of the sensor is increased, then the quality of the picture produced is automatically upgraded. It is quite a simple equation that you need to bear in mind at all times as an aspiring photographer of the future. You can try your luck with pictures taken with a point-and-shoot camera, but you will soon find out that none of those pictures will be as saleable as the pictures taken with a SLR. Perhaps now you can understand why there is so much hype surrounding SLR cameras and why every “wannabe photographer” buys expensive SLR cameras.
i. Best Medium for Creative Expression
At this point in time, you might be wondering what a DSLR is, since it is more commonly mentioned than the word SLR. Without being too technical with the definition, a DSLR is nothing more than a Digital SLR, hence the name DSLR. When you buy a DSLR, you can choose from a myriad of different fixed and zoom lenses that gives you unimaginable creative control over your photos. In other words, the DSLR is often considered to be the best medium for photographers to express their creativity.
ii. Megapixels Don’t Always Matter
One of the biggest misconceptions that mislead people into buying the wrong kind of cameras is that the greater the megapixels are, the better the camera is. A simple example can prove this statement wrong. Take a look at the mega pixels in an iPhone. The megapixel count in an iPhone is not nearly as much as that of a high end Samsung smartphone, but phone reviewers around the world will agree that the iPhone produces better quality images. You can test this out for yourself. What you need to understand is that the megapixel count alone is not enough to determine whether a camera is as good as the camera makers claim it to be. You also need to take the size of the sensor into the equation. For example, since a 12 megapixel SLR camera has a greater sensor size, it will always outperform a 12 megapixel shoot-and-point camera. In this case, the megapixels were hardly a factor.
iii. Durability, Water Resistance and Focus Response Time
It is not simply the image quality that you need to be concerned about when it comes to DSLR cameras. You also need to think about the durability, the water resistance and the focus response time. Shortcomings in any one of these three fields can limit freedom as a photographer and make it difficult for you to come up with the perfect shots. Some of the top shelf DSLR cameras come equipped with impressive features such as noise-free images at higher ISOs. This particular feature is conducive for low-light shooting.
iv. Image Stabilization
Image stabilization is another one of the features that you need to be looking out for when going camera shopping. Most of the world renowned brands such as Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic have image stabilization incorporated in the individual lenses that they sell. Some of the manufacturers like Olympus build the image stabilization feature in the body of the camera and hence you can enjoy this feature with any lens that you place on the camera.
v. Video Recording
Photographers do not only take stills. Taking videos has now become a very important part of modern day photography. This is the reason why most of the DLSR brands fit video recording features into their signature cameras. If there is a need for you to record videos in your DSLR, then make sure you buy a DSLR which gives you the option to plug in a wireless microphone. This is done to drastically enhance the sound quality of the video.
Should You Go for Entry Level or the Extravagant?
Now here’s the most important question that you need to ask yourself. Should you buy a pricey extravagant DSLR or simply the entry level one that fits your budget? The good news is that the entry level DSLRs will work fine in just about any condition. However, if your interests lie in sports and wildlife photography, then you may have to break that piggy bank and spend splash some extra cash for a high end state of the art DSRL.