Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tools of the Trade

Today we’re going to talk about the tools used in photography. It doesn’t need to be expensive to get good images!


Let’s start with the camera. There are lots of options in this area. From the Canon ELPH and Powershot at the point and shoot category, through the Digital Rebel T3 and the EOS 1000d in the entry level DSLR, to the EOS 7d and the EOS 1d at the pro end, options abound. The important thing is to get one that allows you the option of manual control.

Canon’s S95 and PowerShot SX230HS make for great models in the point and shoot area, with manual modes. The 1000d and Rebel T3 are quite reasonably priced beginner DSLRs. Although they seem to have the features of higher priced cameras, you may outgrow most of the lower end DSLRs before too long.

The mid-range DSLRs, like the 50d and 60d, are something that will make your time behind the camera even more enjoyable!

The important thing to remember is that you can take shots that are breathtaking, even with a point and shoot. Don’t become trapped in the technology pitfall. So many people are fooled into thinking that a more expensive or higher level camera means better photos. The fact is, the higher-level cameras require more knowledge and experience to get it right. The higher end cameras usually don’t offer the automated modes, other than P, which is fully automatic.

The most important thing in the camera is the user’s manual. Read it, study it, and learn it! If you know your camera, you can make images that stand out.


The first piece of gear you should get, after a camera, is a flash. Even with a point and shoot, you can use a flash. Most of your lower priced flashes have a slave mode that will trigger the flash from your on camera flash. Getting your flash off camera is the first step to getting good light.

You can get a great flash from Yongnuo, for less than a cheap OEM flash, with most of the features. The YN-560 is a fully manual flash that costs around $70.00, and has the power of Canon’s 580EXII flash. It doesn’t offer TTL or HSS, but gives some great light to your image. Their YN-565 offers E-TTL and a modeling light for around $200.00, and it will work with the built in flash remote control on the 7D or as a slave to a canon 580EXII with full E-TTL.

Another good thing to get at the same time is a flash RF trigger. You can get a set of two receivers and one transmitter for around $50.00. This increases your range and allows you to use the flash in interesting places and ways. It’s also more reliable than using a trigger from a flash or your on camera flash.


A good tripod is a requirement for long shutter speeds. Without one, your images will be blurry when handheld at slow speeds. The high end ones can run several hundreds of dollars, but even a $30.00 tripod will produce what you need.

You can also use your tripod for holding your flash, so a second one is a great investment.

One more thing to get is a remote shutter release. They come in wireless and wired varieties and are reasonably priced. When you set your camera on a tripod, it’s necessary to use one, as it will reduce camera shake quite visibly.

What I wrote above is just a basic intro to getting your kit together. Look for more articles on tools and accessories for photography in future posts. I’ll also try to provide some reliable reviews. If you have a favorite piece of gear and would like to write a review, let me know. We’ll get your review on here.

Should you have a question, post it to our Facebook account. Also post it here as a comment on the related post, I’ll review it and get back to you! If you have a photo you’d like to share, add it to our wall on Facebook, and we'll try to get it up here!

Have a great day!

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