Updated: 30 Jul 2021
Tip of the Day
I recently published an article named my Twelve Guiding Principles For Better Photography. Near to the top of that list is “Get to know your photography equipment”. I cannot state the importance of this principle as your photography will improve immediately.
If you have recently purchased a new camera, lens, tripod or flashlight can we make the most of the equipment?
We have all viewed a nice new piece of photographic equipment being sold in store or on the internet. It looks great but if we purchase the item, do we know how to use it to the maximum?
With most pieces of new and boxed equipment you will receive an instruction manual. Take the time to read it and digest the content. It may produce the difference between a good image and a fantastic image.
Learn about your new piece of equipment
For those that do not like reading the hard copy manuals, there are other ways to learn about your new piece of equipment. Thousands upon thousands of online video tutorials will usually cover your requirement for information.
Cameras these days are built like computers
This subject is particularly important when purchasing a new camera body. Cameras these days are built like computers. There are many hundreds of settings, buttons and variations on modern cameras.
If you have upgraded from a medium to large format camera, the change can be daunting. What does this button do? What does that control? I always advise that time is taken to read the manual.
If you do not have a hard copy, all cameras brands and models will have an online manual for downloading onto your PC, laptop or phone. I always take a small hard copy manual for my Nikon D850 in my rucksack should I come across a problem not encountered previously.
Having watched your video tutorial, make some notes. Set up your camera and equipment in your garden or local park and following your notes, practice, practice and further practice with your equipment.
Those minutes or hours of practice will always help in the long run
For example, set up your new tripod several times. Try each button and handle to find out what function it has. Keep practising until you are completely happy with your new tripod. Those minutes or hours of practice will always help in the long run.
A couple of years ago, I had a photography client who was experiencing problems with a dodgy fitting “L” shaped bracket to enable them to take portrait rather than landscape images. This had the potential to cause considerable damage to their camera should the bracket fail.
Upon inspection, I found that her tripod had a ball head and with the twist of one handle she could place the camera in portrait mode without the use of her “dodgy” bracket, no problem.
Should you fail to sort problems encountered always return to your manual or video tutorial until you one hundred percent happy with that function.
Never move on without the answer!
Forums – There are literally hundreds of dedicated photography forums online. If not already, join a forum for your camera brand. Nikon, Canon, Fuji et all have their own online forums where questions can be asked. I have generally found that most photographers on these forums are extremely helpful when it comes to issues with cameras or equipment. Just ask!
For the more technical problems you may encounter, most photography brands have in store dealerships. It is always worth speaking to them as they have probably encountered the same problem before.
Hopefully by now you may have your camera diagnosed and repaired. If not then contact your camera brand directly; Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony should have a point of contact somewhere near your area. Contact them directly.
Something I come across quite often working with photographers (particularly beginners) is calibrating a new lens to your camera. Because your new sparkly lens has arrived boxed, do not assume that once connected to your camera it will be automatically calibrated. Sometimes you may be lucky, but other times the lens and camera may have to be calibrated for better imagery.
There are videos online that show how to calibrate lens and camera, or alternatively find a camera brand technician in your local area. Without calibrating, your images may not be as sharp as expected.
I hope this article has been informative. Keep up with the photography!