Beginners Photography Advice: Aspirations

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Before we set off...

Think about what kind of photographs you’d like to take

People often ask me what to look for in a new camera and my reply is almost always, “well what sort of photographs would you like to take?”

Some people might want to take close-up pictures of flowers and insects, others want a camera to go travelling with. A lot of people just want to take better pictures of their kids growing up.

If you’re in the market for a new camera, then I would suggest having a think about what sort of pictures you like taking now and also any areas you might wish to explore in the future. You might not be 100% sure, and that’s OK, but we need a place to start.

If we think about a car for example, they come in many different shapes and sizes. It might have three doors or five doors, have a manual or automatic gearbox, run on petrol or diesel… you get the idea. Your choice of car is influenced by the needs of today and with an eye on tomorrow. Perhaps you’re planning to start a family in the next couple of years, so a five door option just might seem that little bit more appealing.

You need to take a similar approach to buying a new camera – because let’s face it, they’re not cheap. Any bad decisions at this stage might put you on a road that is expensive to get off. And it just might be the case that spending a little bit more money now could save you a lot of money later on.

sports photography

Sports photography can be very demanding on your equipment and technique.

Do you want to take pictures of people? If so, where? At family gatherings? Indoors? Outdoors? Do you wish to try your hand at kids portraits? Or are you more interested in capturing them playing sports or in the garden? Still life? Product photography? Macro photography? Food photography? Street photography? Landscapes? Travel?

At what level do you aspire to be working at? Do you want to “be a photographer”? Semi-professional? Share a hobby with a friend? Or perhaps just for fun?

The point of this post is to encourage you to have a clear idea in your mind about what kinds of photographs you aspire to take and how far you might want to go. If you can’t choose between them, then at least prioritize.

In a future posts we’ll discuss how your aspirations and other considerations can help get you on the right road to taking the pictures you want to take.


I did originally start writing a “5 tips for buying a new camera” article but it became so large I decided to split it up. This is the second part of five (the other being “Gear Heads“), and when I’ve published all five I’ll provide links to the other parts. I also decided to abandon numbering them so I could retrospectively add more parts should I feel the need to without messing up the post titles! I just thought it was worth explaining to regular readers why they might seem a little disjointed referring to posts that don’t yet exist… hope that clears things up somewhat. 



Filed under Beginners Resources

6 responses to “Beginners Photography Advice: Aspirations

  1. Eposure

    great blog – lots of thought goes into a great shot. Its not just point, press and hope for the best!

  2. Thanks! Some people take it one step further with high FPS cameras and literally “spray and pray” 😉

  3. Carlos Ferreira

    Is there such thing as tooo much variety these days, I wonder?

  4. I think broadly speaking there is a camera for every situation, from compact cameras all the way up to the professional bodies. With huge variations in size, weight and performance, though, it’s hard not to see the spectrum as a bit overwhelming in terms of choice.

    The problem is you can’t really have a camera that is both compact and will balance well with a huge lens, or reap the benefits of an SLR camera without the added moving parts and noise. Then you also have the artificial segmentation of the marked by manufacturers who would rather offer you a camera that excels at A or B and not both.

    It’s a bit of a jungle out there if you don’t really know what you want.

  5. The Jagged Man

    Thanks for taking on what may very well be a thankless (and a semi-controversial) subject. Most people simply have no idea how many choices are out there. They simply listen to the marketing machine and look at sample photos taking with said camera and buy accordingly.
    I appreciate and compliment you on your approach in this matter. Think first then act after having a direction of your choosing. Nothing will put out the flames of aspirations of future photographers as having high hopes and the wrong tool to get them there.
    I am look forward to the follow up posts.

  6. Jagged Man, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think, as with a lot of things in life, a bit of knowledge and direction can create shortcuts to your goals (or at least make the journey a bit easier).

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