A strong start
Chris Stott is new to photography – where should he start?
About three months ago I was looking for a new hobby and had a few friends who were already interested in photography. I decided to give it a go and picked up a D3200, along with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.
I was amazed at how quickly I fell in love with the camera. I started looking for ways to improve my skills. I’m really into black-andwhite photography and that seems to be what I focus most of my work on. I did snatch up the Manfrotto Lumie Play light that was advertised as a free gift for new subscribers to N-Photo. I used it to help with one of my most recent images, the bowl of pot-pourri , and was quite amazed at how much it helped the image. This definitely convinced me to get a flashgun as soon as I can. I’m working with the kit lens at the moment, but I’m planning on spending some money on some new gear pretty soon. Any advice that you can give on how to improve my work and take things to the next level would be great!
Chris, our best advice is to experiment with everything you have, and use that kit lens to its fullest extent. A lot of your time should be spent adjusting lighting conditions, or working in different natural light – get up early and get that sunrise, stay out into the evening and capture the clouds as they burst into yellows and pinks. It can be tempting to zoom in and out with your kit lens, adjusting every few seconds, so set yourself mini-projects. Give yourself a day where you only shoot with the lens at its widest, or zoom in as far as you can and keep it there. You’ll teach yourself the discipline of moving around to create your shot. This is an easy way to hone your compositional skills and handy practice for when you buy more expensive lenses. It would be very easy for us to suggest buying this or that lens, but we’re not sure that would help. Your kit lens does almost everything you need at this stage, and if you don’t know what effect you want, a lens isn’t going to help. Also, get a tripod and a remote cable release. The tripod will allow you to take your hands off the camera and be more creative with your choice of position, and the remote will give you the flexibility to trigger the camera when it’s in awkward situations (and remove blur caused by shooting handheld).
02 Bo keh Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 1/13 sec, f/5.3, ISO100
03 Wat erfall Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 1/13 sec, f/5, ISO100
01 Pot -po urri Nikon D3200, Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, 1/1000 sec, f/3.8, ISO800