How can I be­come a bet­ter pho­tographer?

T3 - - Hype -

AGuru’s key tech­nique for skill im­prove­ment in­volves sneak­ing into the fam­ily’s heav­ily guarded money vault, dodg­ing the laser net and spike traps, skim­ming off a few coins that won’t be no­ticed, then sub­tly throw­ing money at the skill that needs to be im­proved. His cam­era bag, over­flow­ing with lenses, bod­ies, fil­ters and the rest, is per­haps the most glar­ing ex­am­ple of this need­less ex­cess.

It won’t sur­prise you to learn that Ol’ GaGu wasted most of that money. Con­vinc­ing one’s self that poor qual­ity re­sults are the fault of the ex­pen­sive, exquisitely en­gi­neered equip­ment and not the slightly drunk op­er­a­tor is the curse of the open-wal­let gad­geteer. A small pho­to­graphic tool­kit will carry you a long way, and re­al­is­ti­cally you only need three items to get started as an am­a­teur: a good body, some ver­sa­tile op­tics and a method of keep­ing that gear steady.

You ap­par­ently want to get bet­ter, so Guru will pre­sume you’re not at the en­try level and look a lit­tle fur­ther up the price scale than the £499 Nikon D3300 and £779 Canon EOS 800D, both tremen­dous begin­ner DSLRs. And we’ll avoid mir­ror­less cam­eras; prac­tice with a viewfinder is all but essen­tial. In­vest, then, in proper DSLR kit priced in such a way as to stab you di­rectly in the wal­let. GaGu wouldn’t like to push you ei­ther side of the great di­vide – it’s re­ally up to you whether you se­lect the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (£1149), the Nikon D7200 (£920), or one of Sony’s tremen­dous snap­pers like the Al­pha a77 Mark II (£949).

Don’t skimp on the tri­pod; Van­guard’s tried-and-tested Alta Pro 263AB 100 (£165) is hugely ver­sa­tile, and slightly less bonkers than spend­ing £819 on the Gitzo GK1555T82TQD Trav­eler. Your lenses are go­ing to de­pend on the body you choose, so GaGu will re­frain from spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions, but make sure you have at least a 18-55mm lens (of­ten sup­plied as a kit lens), a de­cent-bud­get 55-200mm tele­photo and a fast lens – some­thing along the lines of a f/1.8 50mm ‘nor­mal’ or ‘por­trait’ op­tic.

A small pho­to­graphic kit will carry you a long way and you only re­ally need th ree items to get st arted as an am­a­teur

above Lis­ten to Guru’s tips and be­come a killer pho­tographer!

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