Bit of a shutterbug? You can up your photography game with cheap gadgets that won’t break the bank and will elevate your imagery to another level.
Some skill is involved, and learning some of the methods and techniques required for better pictures takes time. But it would be best to remember that photography gadgets are tools, and it is the photographer, not the camera. Here are some of the most affordable camera tools, from lenses to remote switches.
NOTE: This is a general guide to getting more use out of your DSLR camera. Some tools mentioned may or may not be compatible with your chosen model, so always check first.
Get Aerial Shots with Drones
Before you go shouting from the rooftops that you can’t afford a drone and are too expensive, they have dropped significantly over the past few years. When they were first released, yes, drones were costly. But that’s no longer the case. Of course, you have higher-end drones, like the DJI Mavic, as reviewed here at drdrone.ca. But there are more contenders for the drone industry than ever, with excellent beginner models.
Drone models offered by DJI are excellent for aerial photography and getting otherwise impossible shots. These can elevate your videography game too. And you don’t need to break the bank. For example, you get an Airon beginner quadcopter in the UK for as little as £39.99 (yes, you read that correctly) with most of the features of a professional model. The specs are much lower, but the entry-level cost is not a bummer if you crash.
Non-IS Telephoto Lenses
There are generally three types of photography, and they are all based on range. You have macro for close shots, standard, and telephoto for long-range shots. They all have their uses; some photographers only bother with one and specialize in it. Telephoto is an exciting method because it allows you to take sharp images from a long distance. A telephoto lens has a focus range of between 200mm and 80m or somewhere between.
Some are for specific photography, such as sports, wildlife, and aerial shots. However, the issue with these is that you need a steady hand the further you zoom in to avoid image blur. The answer to this is lenses that come with “image stabilization.” But the problem with this is that IS lenses are costly, running into the thousands. Yet, if you are learning to shoot telephoto shots, a non-IS lens like the JINTU 420-800mm is excellent for manual shots.
Up Your Photography Game with These Essentials
You will quickly realize that a strap and a camera won’t do when you start with serious photography with even a beginner DSLR like a Canon EOS 4000D. First, these cameras get heavy pretty quickly. You will also find that you need quick access to certain things at certain times, and having something like a backpack is a massive help in these situations. Buying what you need will add up, but you can do it over time. Get these essentials first:
- A tripod for setting up shots to reduce camera shake during longer exposures.
- A memory card for storing your images, as most cameras don’t have one.
- Various lenses for taking shots at different ranges, such as product photos.
- A lens hood reduces the amount of extra light entering the lens from the sun.
- LED lighting sets for setting up your equipment for night shoots.
- Tough and durable clothing with knee pads to reduce strain and stay warm.
- A good quality camera backpack for equipment and carrying your tripod.
There are a few more things you may need depending on your situation. But just having the items listed above will help you immensely as a beginner and make your photography excursions much more comfortable. They also help you get more from your time when out shooting because more options are available. Sometimes, it isn’t feasible or even possible to make trips back to your home, camp, or accommodation when shooting.
Make Better Use of Software
Almost all modern DSLRs come with the ability to connect to first or third-party software. For example, Canon cameras allow you to access a pretty powerful app for editing images if you don’t have Photoshop. If you have Photoshop, this is the recommended industry standard software for image editing. It also allows you to edit RAW images with extra special tools directly. This is the pinnacle of photography editing and elevates your photographs.
Many beginners will need to pay more attention to RAW when starting, often because DSLR cameras have compression options built in. But you will never get the best quality images via compression because it removes detail and introduces artifacts. And editing them further makes them appear worse. RAW, however, works on uncompressed images at the highest possible level of detail. It also means editing tasks such as changing exposure won't significantly affect your pictures.
Remote Shutter Release
The essence of a good-quality photograph lies in how still the camera is when it is taken. Image stabilization lenses will help you immensely. But these are very expensive. So the best way to take manual shots is not even to touch the camera shutter release. Even the lightest touch can cause the camera to shake, and you won’t get the best images possible. This is especially important for very close telephoto shots and very close macro shots. Remote shutter releases will help.
Remote shutter release devices are cheap and work wonders. Depending on your camera model, some are wired, and some are wireless, which you will need to check. Some camera manufacturers make their own, but you can buy third-party ones; even AmazonBasics have remote shutter releases for famous brands, which are slightly cheaper. If you can’t afford, a remote shutter release or your camera isn’t incompatible, set up a timer delay for your shots.
Macro Lenses and Filters
As mentioned, telephoto lenses are great for long-range shots when you can’t get close to a subject, such as a lion. But what about very close shots? For these, you need “macro” lenses. Macros lenses allow you to focus a picture at a trim zoom level of 10 to 50mm. This means getting close to a subject and capturing an image in great detail. Photographers use these lenses for taking pictures of bugs, for example.
Macro photography is fun and a great way to learn about the exposure triangle, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. These are the essentials you need to understand before attempting more advanced photography. Yet, like telephoto lenses, good-quality macro lenses can also be expensive. Fortunately, you can buy (very cheap) macro filters. Macro filters are attachments you can place onto your standard lens to convert it to a macro lens at a fraction of the cost.
Drones are excellent for aerial shots, and you can get beginner models pretty cheap to up your photography game. Non-IS telephoto lenses will also help you get great long-range shots, but you must learn to steady your camera. The software can reduce camera shake and blur, but you need Adobe Photoshop to get the best out of RAW images. A remote shutter release is also a great way to reduce camera shake without touching the button.