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Need advice from photographers!


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Ok...I have always been into photography, and by that I mean I bring my camera everywhere and am always the one taking pictures of all my friends and places I visit. I really would like to learn more and become a "professional" of sorts, most likely just as a hobby. I currently have a compact digital Nikon, which really restricts what I am able to do. So, my questions to the photographers of the forum are:


1. I don't have extra money right now to take classes, so the next best thing would be books or videos. Any suggestions? Do you think I will be missing out on valuable lessons without having an instructor/mentor in person?


2. I am saving up for a digital SLR. How much should I expect to spend for a quality camera that won't break the bank? I would like a camera that will be easy to use for a beginner, but not something I will grow out of once I figure things out (hopefully that makes sense)u. Any specific camera suggestions?


Feel free to throw in any other random advice.


With all the great photographers on this forum, I couldn't think of a better place to ask! Thanks for the advice!

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I'm total photo geek, so bear with me.. :)


for your question #1 - I would say so much of this depends on how you learn - one of the best places to start would be to check out photo books at the library - ones on portraits and landscapes (and any other area that you're interested in)

there's a great series of photo books published by Amherst Media


but if you're serious about wanting to pursue it, I'd get enrolled in a class. There are a lot of adult-ed classes offered through local community colleges that don't necessarily require an entire semester commitment. Definitely worth checking into - just having a person who can talk you through stuff can make a world of difference.


And another option that you should consider - a lot of camera shops offer a series of free introductory classes when you purchase a camera. I'd take advantage of those, especially when you get your SLR. Also the Magic Lantern guides for digital SLRs are a whole lot easier to understand than the manual. There is also a DVD series done by Blue Crane Digital that is a camera-specific guide - similar to a manual but a whole lot easier to follow.


(and as for brand advice - Nikon and Canon are probably your best best. Both make relatively affordable consumer DSLRs that are high quality.

(and just so you know, I'm a Nikon gal :)


good luck!

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Thanks for the suggestions so far! I have started with a book so that I can make an educated decision when choosing a camera. Two more questions for the time being...what is the #1 or #2 feature that you look for in a camera? Also, do you have a favorite store (online too) that you purchase most of your equipment from?

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I buy everything from B&H. They have great prices and a stellar reputation.


It is really hard to give a #1 and #2.


For example - a lot of people think that how many megapixels a camera has is a deciding factor - but there is so much more to it - for example - the size of the image sensor. You can have two 8MP cameras that produce photos of totally different quality.


I am a Canon girl - so I can tell you about the. If you are planning to stay non-pro - then a later model Digital Rebel would be fine for you. If you have plans to go pro, I would spring for a 40D. You can find a used 20D or 30D online - but be sure to know how many shutter clicks it has.

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ditto what Jill said about B&H - they're superb

I'd be wary of any online deal that seems too good to be true (unfortunately that usually means that it is!)


if you're gravitating towards Nikon, I've heard good things about the D40 (if you're looking for a consumer model)

and amazing things about the D300 (if you're looking to invest in something a little more advanced)

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