Photography – What do I need to start

Happy New Year Photography lovers!

Last year (lol), I shared with you an article on low light photography and since then a couple of people have asked me what they need to start photography, so here’s what we’re looking at today: ‘What I need to start photography’.

Now, this is a really broad topic so here’s what we’ll do; the article would be divided into two parts i.e ‘What you need to start photography as a hobbyist’ (like I am doing) and’ What you need to start photography as a professional’.

In my experience so far, these are a few insights I have learned on starting photography as a hobbyist that you might find useful.

Don’t Wait Until You Have A Camera(Dslr) To Start Photography

Many a time, people give themselves excuses as to why they haven’t started making pictures yet.

You do not necessarily need a dslr to make the best pictures as a hobbyist. It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point- and- shoot. Your phone could do the job as well( if it’s got an awesome camera).

“Limitations spur creativity”.  Your phone is definitely not a dslr, but if you use it and learn how to use it, you’ll learn the hardest part of photography: seeing the shot and getting it. With your  phone being with you always, you are likely to  create amazing photographs as you may almost always never miss a shooting opportunity and you don’t have to set up to get your photo.

Develop a unique style that sets you apart from everyone else with your creativity and you would be just fine. But if you do have the means,you could get a dslr that would serve you well.

Learn Your Ass Off And Master Your Art

Yes, this is a hobby but it doesn’t hurt to know a few technical stuff on it. If you can,visit sites that offer tutorials in all forms. I could recommend a few( photzy lynda , digital-photography-schoolchristina greveSLR lounge videos). Visit these sites as often as you can to build your skill because your hobby could probably become a second source of income for you at some point and the fulfilment that comes with knowledge is satisfying.

Take advantage of free resources to learn.

The best part of having a hobby like photography is never running out of things to learn. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

Often a simple subject makes the best shot.

Take Pictures

This one seems obvious, but most of us don’t get out enough and just take pictures. Make a point to go out on a regular basis and photograph with no intentions except to learn your camera better. Plan an outing and make a rule that you can only shoot in a certain mode, like Aperture Value. Or take pictures one day with only one lens. Another challenging thing you can do is to only take a 1 gig card with you. Or the smallest card you can find. This will challenge you to really think about your shots before pressing down the shutter release. Make sure you don’t bring any other cards too, so you know there are no outs. This will cause you to slow down and really think about your camera settings.

Samples of my beginner photos

Shoot Manual And  In RAW

When I first got my camera,all I did was shoot in  aperture value  using jpeg with full auto settings because it seemed to me like the easy way out  until I learnt to set my camera  manually and to shoot in RAW. Shooting in raw has been awfully fun and I’m loving it, you would too, I hope. Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know.

This Is An Expensive Hobby

When you prioritize buying gear , you’ll find that photography is an expensive hobby. After buying your first dslr camera, you’ve committed yourself to buying into a “system” of lenses and flashes that work only within the walls of your camera brand.

photography gear

Avoiding the more expensive side of photography is a two part approach: first, don’t connect your success to the gear you use. This means not buying into the mindset that one more piece of gear will perfect your work. There are no magic bullets when it comes to gear; the best way is to acquire gear is slowly and carefully,having in mind what each gear can help you achieve.

Second, reduce cost in the ways that count. Buying used gear can be a  bit daunting but it  proves to be a move that would help you afford cameras and lenses that are otherwise out of your reach.

Seek Constructive Criticism And Learn From It

Ask questions. Show your pictures. Do not just seek approval from friends and family. Talk to the pros about your work and let them help you get better. Be mindful of who you talk to though because seeking opinions from many artists on a matter may leave you confused and unsure of which option to go for. Play dumb when rolling with pros,allow them teach you even what you already know- learning is easier that way.

Be grateful for all the praise your family and friends will always give your work but remember they will always love everything you do and may find it difficult to point out any faults.

This Is Not A Competition

You are sure to make mistakes,but don’t let them hinder you, every beginner and most pros make mistakes too.Don’t be afraid to fail,you’ll learn better that way.

Space And Editing Softwares

If you are shooting in RAW, you would need space to store your work and what better option than an external hard drive. In my experience, I find that having just one storage device isn’t enough, it’s therefore best if you have two storage devices,say an external hard drive and a pen-drive. In the Ghanaian  photography world, the most common editing softwares used are adobe lightroom and  adobe photoshop. Take the time to research on both and even explore other options and decide on which software would help you create stunning images.


If you are like me, photography would  change you. You may not be able to view an image or watch a movie without critically analysing it. You might catch yourself analyzing photos for how they’re lit and imagining how to recreate them. Once you’re hooked,you won’t mind staying up all night or waking up really early to perfect a shot. Take your camera with you everywhere(you never know when you would get a great image) and don’t let fear intimidate you.Experiment with your camera more often and make time to practice.

The only evidence of your memories is  photography, so treat it right.

Have fun and create awesome photos!

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