A strong start

Chris Stott is new to pho­tog­ra­phy – where should he start?

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

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 [1], 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

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