It’s almost a decade since I took the plunge into buying my first “proper” camera, after shooting with phone cameras for a few years.
Since then, I’ve owned and used hundreds of film and digital cameras.
So, with the hindsight of all this experience, what’s the best advice I could have given myself a decade ago?
I think it would be something like this –
“That Nikon Coolpix (P300) you’re thinking about buying is a fantastic little camera and will open your eyes to photography in a way the phone cameras can’t.
Photograph, photograph, then photograph some more, anything and everything that interests you and that you find beautiful.
The Nikon will serve you well.
Maybe a few years down the line try a DSLR. Nothing new or fancy, one of the early 6MP models like a Pentax K100D. The DSLR experience is quite different to using a compact, with their interchangeable lenses, larger sensors and viewfinders.
Explore a couple of lenses, maybe a good 35-70mm zoom and a fixed 35mm or 50mm prime. You won’t need anything else, so don’t get carried away.
Again, just shoot and shoot and shoot, learn as you go, see what works and what doesn’t, what you enjoy about the DSLR compared with the Nikon compact, and vice versa.
Find the best in each of them – and in yourself.
When one of them breaks, replace it with something similar. Don’t worry about the latest or “greatest” model, stick with what you know and enjoy.”
If I’d have had this advice I would have saved hundreds of pounds and hundreds of hours watching, chasing, buying and fiddling about with cameras that didn’t really progress me much and often left me frustrated and paralysed at having too many choices.
True, I wouldn’t have had such a wide experience of different cameras as I have now, but I would have had more time and experience making photographs with one or two cameras, getting to know them – and myself as a photographer – inside out and back to front.
Which I often wonder would perhaps have given me more joy in the experience – and more photographs I’m proud of – in the long run.
How about you? What’s the best photography advice you could have given yourself a decade ago?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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