this question is similar to the one i answered last week, but it has its differences and so i really wanted to address it. let's say you're just starting out... or you've been taking pictures for a little while now. you love it. there's something so fulfilling about creating beautiful photographs. maybe it's pictures of your kids, or maybe you're really into landscapes, or photographing the beautiful details of your day-to-day life. you've got the photo-bug and you don't want to stop creating. you're ready to make an investment into a quality system but you're not even sure where to start? let's talk about what you need to do.
first of all, you need equipment that is reliable. something that you can easily figure out. something that will provide you the ability to get the results you want over time. ask yourself the following questions... what kind of photographs do you gravitate towards? who are photographers that inspire you? if you follow one or two or even a handful of photographers, don't ask them what you should buy- instead ask them what they like to use. this is an awesome question because you'll find out what equipment works for them. and honestly, their photographic style has a lot to do with the equipment they use and the process they take as they photograph.
so step one?:
after you've done your research and figured out who your favorite photographers are and what they have as far as their equipment is concerned, then start saving. OR find something that will work as you learn.
let me answer the above question so that it's clear how i'd help someone who is wanting to get into photography like me.... a huge part of how i shoot has to do with the fact that i shoot film. my go-to camera is a contax 645. but i also have a bronica. i started out with a 35mm nikon, which now-a-days isn't even worth $100. my contax? roughly around $2000. my bronica? 1/3 of the price of the contax. if you're wanting to shoot film like i do, there are several options that won't break your bank. in fact, you can get a nice film setup for much less than some digital ones.
the next thing you'll need to consider, after camera, is how you're going to process your images. how are you going to work on them after you take them? even the best scans still need some minor tlc in photoshop. and most digital images require some retouching too. there are really great editing softwares available out there. you can ask your favorite photographers what they use for editing too.
so... step two?:
addressing the topic of post-production: i use a combination of adobe lightroom and photoshop. i don't like to spend a ton of time working on photos after i've taken them, but i know that it's important to spend enough time doing so. and having software like the adobe products will give you so much more flexibility than any other programs. something to keep in mind though- the more precise you are with how you take the photo will result in more options to you after you've taken the photo. please don't ever take a crappy photo and throw some "filter" or "effect" on it and think that all of a sudden you're creating something amazing. a poorly exposed, poorly composed, crappy photo will always be one- regardless of the effects you apply in post-production.
easy! a quality camera phone! the best ones on the market? in my opinion, iphones have the best cameras. we have something now that was never possible before--a pocket camera with instant sharing capabilities! that's pretty rad if you ask me (and hey, you are asking me since you're here reading my advice!) ;) so get yourself an iphone and an instagram account. download a few editing aps on your phone and start snapping away. the more you take, the more you'll know what you need to really create who you are as a photographer. oh and while you're at it... go ahead and follow me! @caroleebeckham