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Beginning Photographers Need This Equipment To Get Started

Beginning Photographers Need This Equipment To Get Started

Take a look on Instagram real quick, and you’ll undoubtedly see hundreds of pictures taken by “fauxtographers”: selfies, pictures of food, and videos of cats – all poorly taken in a rush to upload them and start receiving comments and “likes” from strangers.

The fact is: taking pictures is now incredibly easy to do. However, taking a good picture is still incredibly difficult. Anyone with a smartphone can take a picture; if you want to consider yourself a photographer, you need to fully dedicate yourself to the craft.

You’ll need to pick up a couple items, too.

Camera

Well, duh.

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Of course you need a camera to get started as a photographer. But with so many out there to choose from, how do you decide which is right for you?

In truth, your first camera doesn’t have to be anything too special. Most cameras nowadays work well enough to get you started, and will allow you to try your hand at photography while you decide whether or not you want to dive deeper into the hobby.

The different specs can be confusing for a beginner, so don’t worry too much about comparing megapixels (or figuring out what that even means). This will all come in time.

One thing to pay attention to is the camera’s ISO sensitivity. Quite simply, a higher ISO means the camera is better able to take pictures in darkness. If you’ve narrowed your decision down to a couple different models, choose the one with the highest ISO, and try your hand at nighttime photography.

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Lenses

Purchasing lenses is perhaps where you’ll have to do the most research. Depending on your purposes, you’ll want to check out multiple lenses which can be used in different situations.

You’ll definitely need a prime lens to get started. Prime lenses have one focal length, and zero zoom capabilities. It’s recommended that you purchase both a 35mm and 50mm prime lens to use in different photographic situations.

A macrolens is useful for 1:1 magnification. In other words, with a macrolens, you can create a life-sized replication of a specific object. This lens is best used when aiming for intense, crisp detail in your photographs.

If you’re looking to photograph moving subjects – such as animals or athletes – go with a telephoto lens. The faster shutter speed on these lenses means you won’t end up with a bunch of blurry shots of an event that might not be too easy to replicate, such as a track meet or an encounter with the first robin of spring.

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Tripod

Once you have a tripod, you can probably consider yourself a serious photographer.

Tripod stands work wonders for patient photographers who wait for the perfect moment to snap their picture of a natural scene. Since your camera is safely snapped into the stand, it won’t budge unless you need to move it. This allows for a much steadier shot than would ever be possible by hand. This is especially important if you’re taking video of a special moment.

Tripods are also great for self portraits or group photos in which the photographer doesn’t want to be left out. Used in conjunction with the timer on your camera, the tripod allows you to take a picture with your family without having to resort to using an iPhone and a selfie stick.

Memory Cards

Gone are the days of having to bring your camera’s film to a department store to be developed. Nowadays, you can store thousands and thousands of photos on a small memory stick smaller than a baseball card.

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In fact, for a 32GB memory card, you’ll probably only need to shell out about twenty bucks. Just make sure to check your camera for whether it requires an SD or CF card. Otherwise, there’s not too much else to it.

Editing Software

This is a nonessential for photographers, but you should definitely consider investing in a good photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop if you really want to dive into the world of photography.

While you don’t want to use editing programs as a crutch in place of actual photography skills, you can certainly use it to touch up photographs and issues such as red eye to make family pictures more presentable.

On the other hand, perhaps photography is only part of your overall process, and your true artistic talent lies in creating collages or other edited pieces of work. If that’s the case, by all means cut, paste, crop, blur… just don’t try to pass it off as true photography.

Featured photo credit: Photography / Ocean / Flickr via farm7.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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