How to shoot photography in the maximum style
Taking photos correctly - tips and tricks to get started
A photo is worth a thousand words. Good photos can touch us, make us laugh or make us think. Especially in times when snapshots are constantly being taken with smartphones, good photos can really stand out. Many people are enthusiastic about photography, not least because good digital cameras are already available today at affordable prices. But the range on the Internet and in electronics stores is huge. As a beginner, you are often overwhelmed by this. And then there are all the technical terms such as ISO, aperture, shutter speed and different focal lengths ... And once you have found the right model, you go on the hunt for the “perfect” photo. In this article we will show you what is important when buying a camera and give you tips on what to consider when taking photos. In addition, we will introduce you to two photography courses that will make it easy for you to get started with photography.
Photography in Germany
It doesn't matter whether it's lunch in your favorite restaurant, the sleeping child or the cherry tree in bloom: Nowadays we are increasingly capturing our lives in photos and sharing the results via WhatsApp or Instagram. No wonder, because thanks to the latest technology, smartphone cameras can now do a lot and the handy ones Camera to go is usually just a handle away.
So it's no wonder that sales of digital cameras have declined as the quality of the cameras in smartphones has risen. According to Statista, only 2.29 million digital cameras were sold in Germany in 2018 - ten years ago it was more than four times as many. Nevertheless, the interest of Germans in photography has remained almost constant over the past few years. Around 8.6 million people stated in a 2018 survey that they were particularly interested in photography.
Would you like to do something more than “just snap with your smartphone” and would you like to delve into the art of photography? You want to know which camera is best for you and what you're looking for the have to pay attention to the perfect picture? We have put together a few tips for you and answered the most important questions to get you started.
Photography tips for beginners
If you want to start taking photos, the most important thing is of course the right camera for your needs. But as a beginner, looking through the huge selection of different manufacturers and models is not that easy. Especially since you first have to look through the "technical vocabulary" in order to make an informed decision. So before you blindly buy the next best offer in the store, you should first think about the basic questions.
What do you want to use your camera for?
If you enter the term digital camera on Google, it quickly becomes clear: the price of a new camera is between a few hundred and a few thousand euros - the key here is to find the right price-performance ratio for your needs.
First of all, you should ask yourself what demands you have on your camera. Should she only accompany you on vacation occasionally and take snapshots, or are you planning to do extensive photography? Professional photographers will certainly quickly reach their limits with a cheap camera, while the functions for hobby photography may be completely sufficient. There is no point in investing in wickedly expensive photography equipment if you do not use all of the camera's functions. Because an expensive camera alone does not take a good photo - you have to know how to use the refinements. So it's better to choose a camera that suits your needs - it doesn't always have to be the most expensive.
What size should the camera be?
As I said, the camera market is huge. From handy and small to large and weighing several kilos, you will find everything here. A general distinction is made between small, medium and full-format cameras, which differ in size and weight as well as in sensor size. In general, the bigger the sensor, the better the quality. However, this also increases the price. Here, too, it is important to think about the use of your camera. For example, if you want to take it with you on a hike, it makes a significant difference whether the camera weighs a few hundred grams or several kilograms. However, if you go specifically to take photos and have no problem lugging heavy photo equipment, then there is of course room for improvement in terms of weight and size.
Do you want to use different lenses?
Once you have decided on the "basic structure", it is time to choose the right lens. Macro lenses for close-ups, wide-angle lenses for landscapes or lenses like a fish eye for unusual shots - the range of lenses for cameras is very diverse. In general, almost every single lens reflex camera has a lens connection (they are also called System cameras), also called camera mount, onto which you can screw the required lens. Here it is worth taking a look at the prices if you are considering buying additional lenses later: the lenses from different manufacturers sometimes vary considerably in price and quality. In any case, lenses can expand your possibilities in photography and especially when you dive deeper into the matter, you will see the value of this. More information about lenses can be found below in the article.
At a Compact camera however, the lens is built into the camera and cannot be changed. The lens usually includes an optical zoom. So you are limited in the possible uses, but you don't have to carry any additional lenses with you and you are also much cheaper to drive.
How should the photos be processed further?
Photos can be captured in JPEG or unprocessed RAW format. Almost every camera today offers this feature. If you want to edit your photos afterwards, you should choose the RAW format, as the image quality remains uncompressed and the color and dynamic range are easier to handle.
Is the camera also suitable for bad weather?
This question is particularly important if you want to take a lot of pictures with your camera in the great outdoors. Because cameras are inherently quite sensitive and should therefore be protected as well as possible from external influences. Some manufacturing companies offer particularly robust camera housings that are more resistant to dirt, dust and water. Alternatively, protective camera covers, which are available from many companies, are cheaper.
What do you want to do with the photos later?
The resolution of a photo is very important and becomes even more important if you later want to print your photos in a larger format. Because only if the picture was taken in very good image quality does the photo look sharp even in large formats and can therefore look correct.
In addition to the megapixels, the sensor size and the processing of the megapixels per image are also important in poor lighting conditions. You should also pay attention to color accuracy, sensor noise and the dynamic range. For example, if you want to print a professional image at 300 DPI on A3 format, you should take photos with at least 16 megapixels. The abbreviation DPI stands for "dots per inch" and describes the resolution of a printed image.
Do you want to record videos?
Many cameras are not limited to photography: they also have an integrated function for filming. So if you also want to record videos with your camera, make sure that this function is possible on the model of your choice. There are also differences in resolution here as well. The same applies here: the better the resolution, the more expensive the camera.
How do I choose the right lens?
As large as the range of cameras is, so is the choice of lenses. And it is not uncommon for them to cost more than the camera itself, because they often contain expensive glass and a lot of precision work in production. System cameras are usually offered as a set with one lens included. However, if you want to take high-quality shots such as macro shots, landscape portraits or the like, you need an extra lens for each.
But what is important when choosing the right lens? Here are a few things you should definitely watch out for.
High light intensity
The light intensity means the largest aperture value of the lens. Usually this is between F1.2 and F5.6. The smaller the value, the brighter the lens and the higher the price. Fast lenses are particularly advantageous in poor light or in sports photography, where you have to work with short shutter speeds. However, the aperture value alone is not decisive. The image quality, which the lens can reproduce at the smallest aperture value, is also important.
Good workmanship and robustness
Lenses are inherently very delicate and must always be well looked after. If you shoot a lot in the great outdoors, investing in a high-quality lens that is particularly protected against dust and splash water can be worthwhile. Again, always weigh the costs and benefits when buying.
Automatic vs. manual
Lenses from well-known manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon or Sigma almost always have a fully automatic system and thus an electronic interface to the camera. This means that the aperture or focus can be set electronically, among other things. Other camera suppliers such as Voigtländer only manufacture manual lenses. With these, the aperture and focus must be set manually. As a rule, the automatic version is better suited to getting started with photography, as not so many settings have to be made.
Fixed focal length or zoom lens
Another decision that you have to make when buying lenses is whether you prefer a fixed focal length or a zoom lens - that is, whether you can zoom or not. As a rule, fixed focal lengths have a higher speed, which is a purchase criterion for many. However, you are then limited in photography. A so-called zoom lens with flexible light intensity is therefore more flexible. A zoom lens with a fixed f-number offers even more creative leeway, but these are also significantly more expensive.
To avoid blurred photos, many lenses have their own internal image stabilization. This is particularly worthwhile if you want to take photos with a slow shutter speed, as is the case, for example, with sports or children's photography.
This is how you choose the right motif
Now you already have a first overview of what you should consider when buying your camera and possibly the lens. Once you've bought the camera, you can finally get down to business. You can finally start taking photos and implement your photo ideas creatively.
But how do you find it now, that perfect Motive? First of all: the perfect picture is in the eye of the beholder and is always a matter of taste. The art of photography, like painting, is very subjective and you will never please everyone. Nevertheless, there are a few criteria that you should keep in mind when choosing a motif in order to achieve the desired result.
1) Image composition: Before you press the shutter button, you should think about what you want your composition to look like. How are the elements arranged in the picture? Which object is the focus? For example, is a point drawing special attention? These are all aspects that you should consider when choosing the image section.
2) focus: Along with the image composition, you should ask yourself whether your photo should have a special focus and what you want to express with it. In this way you can draw the viewer's attention to a certain point and thus get your very own message across.
3) Mood of the picture: Every photo conveys a certain mood. So before you take a picture, think about what mood you want to convey when looking at your photo. Depending on whether you want to capture a happy mood or something more gloomy, for example, you have to choose the motif.
4) History of the picture: Do you want to tell a story with your photo? What should the viewer of the picture see? If you think about these questions, it will make it easier for you to find a suitable motif.
5) Special moment: Photos are of course particularly interesting if you manage to capture a unique or special moment. Is there a special event coming up? Then it's best to plan in advance exactly how you want to hold the recording. But sometimes you are just lucky and press the shutter release at the perfect moment.
6) Polarize: Images that polarize are also exciting. Often it is precisely these motives that are lively discussed, as the opinions are often extremely different. Think about the message you want to convey through this.
Taking photos correctly: tips and tricks
These aspects of motif selection are just a few examples. This list can be continued at will. But you see: the more you think about what you want to express with your photo, the more interesting the end result usually becomes.
Perhaps you will also visit an exhibition by a famous photographer and let yourself be inspired (e.g. in the Museum of Photography in Braunschweig, in the Museum of Photography in Berlin or in the House of Photography in Hamburg). Or exchange ideas with like-minded people on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.
By the way, you shouldn't be disappointed if you can't implement your ideas exactly as you imagined at the beginning. With time and practice, you will understand the art of motif choice better and better. Over the years, your eye becomes more trained for the right moments. And sometimes just a little luck helps with perfect timing.
What are you photographing
There are a variety of types of photography such as landscape photography, sports photography, wedding photography, portrait photography or travel photography. Each individual species describes special moments that we can capture. Try different ways, go out and see what you enjoy. Because technology and theory or not: having fun with photography is the most important aspect and has advanced many a layperson into professional photography. You will see: if you let your creativity run free, unique images will emerge.
22places: The online photography course
If you now really feel like learning more about photography, then we have two more course recommendations for you with which you can pimp your knowledge to a new level.
First of all we want to introduce you to Jenny and Basti. The two are globetrotters and love photography. They report about their travels and their passion on their blog 22places. They also offer a highly recommended online photography course that shows you step by step which settings you can make on your camera and what you have to pay attention to for the perfect photo.
You can tell that the two of them enjoy photography and so you learn the basics of photography with the help of many practical examples. We promise you: it will never be boring with Jenny and Basti. At the end of the course you will be fit in theory and practice and can implement your photo ideas creatively.
For only 122 € you have lifelong access to the 22places course and can refresh your knowledge again and again. A clear recommendation from us!
A free online course for beginners in photography
Do you want to learn more about photography? In our free FotoMOOC you will learn from the experts at digitalkamera.de to find the right camera for you. In the six-week online course, you will also learn how to set up your camera optimally for you. You will also learn the basics of photography so that you will later be able to decide which type of recording is suitable for the respective subject. Last but not least, we will also show you how to create an archive for your photos on your computer and give you an insight into various image editing programs so that you can give your photos the final touches.
Whether in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich or even internationally: Join the course now and immerse yourself in the exciting world of photography with other interested parties!
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