These are the three most important things you should consider before spending all your money on camera gear you don’t even know how to use.
Working on a budget doesn’t necessarily make you a hobbyist – camera gear is very expensive and most of us have started with less than the latest equipment available.
Buy used gear
New cameras sure are nice, and I can certainly understand the desire to have a model with the most megapixels, best image sensor, highest ISO, fastest autofocus, and coolest bells and whistles. But, before you rush off to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a brand new model though, consider this – every picture you have ever seen was taken with a camera older than one you can buy today.
To put my money where my mouth is, I take most of the pictures on my weekly 50mm photo blog not with my new Nikon D7100, but with my ten-year-old Nikon D200, which can be found used online for a fraction of what a brand new camera costs today. It’s only 10 megapixels, and doesn’t have features like wi-fi, a tilting screen, or even the ability to use live view – but it allows me to take beautiful images and that’s often the only thing that matters.
Learn to use the equipment you already have
Recently I was talking about cameras with a fellow photography enthusiast who was a bit frustrated with his DSLR. He wanted to shoot in Aperture Priority but have his camera also take care of setting not just the shutter speed but the ISO as well. As he told me about the new camera he was thinking about buying and pondering how he could save enough money to get it. I asked if I could look through his camera menus a bit. A minute later I found that his camera did indeed have an Auto ISO setting which did exactly what he was hoping, and saved him hundreds of dollars right there on the spot.
This is only the most recent example of a phenomenon I have encountered many times; the camera you already have can probably do a lot more than you realize. If you’ve never sat down and read the manual for your camera, you might be in for a pleasant surprise when you find out how much it can actually do. You can almost always find online tutorials dealing with your specific camera with a bit of internet searching.
Get out and shoot photos!
This might sound a bit silly, which is why I’m leaving this until the very end. I often have conversation with people who want to improve their photography skills but think they can only do it by spending money. One of the best ways to improve as a photographer is to actually go out and take pictures, and if you already have a camera this requires spending no money at all.
It’s easy to think that buying a new camera, lens, flash, tripod, or camera bag will inspire you to get your creative juices flowing and take better pictures, but after a while all that gear will usually start collecting dust just like the camera equipment you already have. Whether you have a mobile phone, a pocket camera, or a full-fledged DLSR or mirrorless model, you are in possession of equipment that is light years beyond what your forebears had only a few decades ago. The secret to improving your photography is not about spending even more money on an ever-growing cache of equipment, but simply taking what you already have, going out into the world, and using it.
Source: Digital Photography School