Outlining your photographic needs is a task that must be taken seriously. It would be wonderful if you could do this before buying your first camera, but most people can’t. You will probably buy a camera or two before you fully understand what your photography profile is. There are five aspects of your personality and photographic tastes that should be considered when creating a description of your needs. Until you can comfortably answer all five questions, you won’t know for sure what you want from a camera or photography system.
When are you going to take photos? Will you be exposing film in low light conditions, such as early morning or late at night? Wildlife and nature photographers often work in these dark conditions. Will you use your camera during special events, such as school games, ball games, or similar situations? If you wish, you should evaluate the specific needs of your uses. For example, a built-in flash on a point-and-shoot camera may not be powerful enough to illuminate the subject at a distance. Are you dedicated enough to be in the rain or snow with your camera? If so, you should look for equipment that is made to withstand the rigors of inclement weather.
The use of your camera influences the type of camera you should buy. If you are an instant photographer who responds to photo opportunities on short notice, you need a system that is lightweight and easy to use. This could be the case for parents who want to record magical moments with their children in the most unexpected moments. On the other hand, if you are going to take your shots in a studio, you can opt for a more extensive equipment.
Where will you do most of your photography? The simple answers are inside or outside. But this is not enough breakdown. Let’s start with interior photography. Is your home the main place for your photo shoots? If so, you will have to deal with incandescent lighting that will require the use of an electronic flash or filter to retain the true colors in the color film. If the camera you buy cannot accept filters, this may be a problem for you. Most simple cameras don’t allow the use of filters, but they overcome this obstacle by making a built-in flash available.
Indoor photography in large buildings can be too demanding for small flash equipment and short focal length lenses. While a pocket point-and-shoot camera may work well on a museum tour, it will not produce satisfactory results in a sports arena. The key to success with short lenses and small flashes is getting closer to the subject.
Many people like to photograph flowers and other settings in makeshift studios. If your interests are along these lines, consider purchasing a component system that allows you complete flexibility. A fixed flash on the camera is rarely a good choice for any type of studio photography.
Outdoor photography can be very demanding on both the photographer and the camera. There are many situations where using the camera outdoors will result in disappointing images. How many times have you seen people taking pictures on the beach? Would you believe that most of the photographs taken will have poor and uneven exposures? They will do it. The bright background tricks the camera’s meter into making subjects darker than they should be. Light reflecting off sand or snow will fool the best in-camera meter, unless a spot metering system is employed.
A photographer standing in the sun and shooting a subject in the shade will get poor exposures. People believe that electronic flash is rarely necessary when taking pictures in good sunlight. Not so. Natural light often creates shadows on a subject. If the subject is a person, this may result in one side of the person’s face being too dark. Fill flash should be used to illuminate a subject evenly when there are shadows. A full flash will be overwhelming and create a harsh effect. If you expect to do a lot of work outdoors, you should consider purchasing a flash system where you can adjust the power of the flash.
Why are you taking photos? Most people take photos to commemorate travel and family members. If you want to go to a zoo and come back with a selection of images that will remind you of the animals you saw, almost any camera will do the job. But, if you have aspirations to see your zoo photos on the cover of a magazine one day, you will have to invest in some serious component kits. Getting an up-close shot of Uncle Fred and the big trout he just caught is easy. Framing a grizzly bear’s eye in your viewfinder is not that simple.
When you wonder why you want to take pictures, you open the door to more questions. Is your goal to have a camera at home for when the kids do something nice, or are you looking for a hobby you can grow up with? A point-and-shoot kit is all you need for quick family photos. If you want to build a serious hobby around your passion for photography, a component system is in your future.
Who will you take photos of? Are your subjects going to be fast-moving children or relaxed adults? Will you take group photos at family gatherings and similar gatherings? Are you going to pin your press pass and go looking for celebrity photos? Define who your subjects will be before committing heavily to any type of camera system.
What are you going to take photos of? People are a frequent subject for photographers. Any decent camera can handle the requirements of people photography. Landscapes are a popular subject for outdoor photographers. If you like this type of work, you will need a component system with a variety of lenses. Maybe your idea of fun is crawling through the woods looking for rare insects to photograph. If this is the case, you will want a component system that can handle macro lenses and bellows.
The subject you will search for with your camera often dictates your needs. It is unreasonable to think that quality wildlife photography can be taken with a pocket camera and lens. It is also not rational to consider using a large format camera to record the movements of butterflies. While a vision camera works well for photographing the Grand Canyon, it is a bit clunky to set it up for home photos.
It is difficult to find a camera that works well for all needs. However, few people feel the desire to do all aspects of photography. Once you define what you want to achieve with your camera, deciding on the right camera to buy will be much easier.