10 February, 2016 by Simon Descoteau
Getting Started with Photography: Part 1 – Introduction
It’s been an awful long time since I first started my journey into photography, and I’d like to think there’s still a fair amount of time ahead of me still in this hobby. The people that know me often ask what got me started, and indeed where I did end up starting with my journey. Sometimes they’re just curious, and other times they are looking for some direction on where they too can get started.
I started photography almost 7 years ago with a Fuji Finepix S9600 which was a fairly modest bridge camera by all rights, and over the years my gear got more and more expensive as I eventually started full time employment and my disposable income went up, but honestly I can say I had just as much fun back in those days with frankly very modest gear as I have done in recent years with significantly better bits of kit. It goes to show really that you don’t need the most expensive kit to have fun, though it does certainly help!
So as a result, I have decided to write a mini series on how to get started with photography, with the aim to answer frequently asked questions, and provide a good basis for any budding photographers to get some kit together and get started without great initial outlay and expense.
In order to prove that it is possible to put together a reasonable kit for a modest outlay and explore the world of photography, I have set myself a challenge of spending no more than £300 to purchase all the gear I need to reasonably experiment with the areas of photography that would interest most budding photographers. To put this into perspective, a brand new entry level Canon DSLR body (without any lenses, or other accessories) is currently £220 from WEXPhotographic (no affiliate, however they are one of my preferred suppliers for my own gear).
The purchases shall be in stages so as not to stress the wallet all at once (and to appease She Who Must Be Obeyed). This gives you, as a new photographer, time to fully understand where you are finding your current gear lacking, and where your interests lie, before investing too much money into the hobby. It is far too easy to get G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) in this hobby and by going slow and understanding your gear, you have a good chance of avoiding it.
By the end of this series, I intend to have the following gear:
- Serviceable DSLR body of sufficient quality for all but the most demanding of hobbyists.
- General purpose walk around lens suitable for the majority of tourist or daily life photographs.
- A telephoto lens with macro capability for casual sports, wildlife, portrait and macro photographs.
- A standard prime lens for low light, indoor, and loosely framed portrait photographs.
- (Optionally) A basic flash if budget allows for very low light or just for fun photographs.
- Basic camera care equipment, media cards and batteries.
- A suitable bag to put it all in.
At the end of the series, I will pass on the camera gear to a budding photographer to start their journey into the world of photography.
When I first stepped into the world of photography, my initial outlay was not a lot higher than that, but as technology has moved on, it is now possible to purchase much more capable gear for such a modest outlay. Though I will purchase items from eBay and other auction sites if necessary, I will only do so around their reasonable market rate so as not to artificially lower the total spend limit for this challenge.
As this is a series primarily for you, dear readers, to have questions answered and for advice please do comment so I can tailor certain parts specifically to your requirements as appropriate. At the very least I can respond privately and start a conversation with a specific note on your requirements.