Following these steps will help maximize your investments and give you a bigger bang for every buck you spend, regardless of the level of technology you buy.
- Stop the Crop — Sure...buying higher-pixel cameras produces more data-rich images. With more pixels per inch, there’s greater clarity and depth in each snap of the shutter. However, buying more pixels doesn't help if you're only throwing them away. Dramatically cropping an image discards those expensive pixels, resulting in an image with lower-pixel quality. Images become fuzzier and less crisp. How can you get more bang for your pixel dollars? Simple! Get closer to your subject. No, even closer! Fill that frame! Take time to compose images in the viewfinder, leaving a little wiggle room around the edges for rotating. You'll be much happier with the crisper, sharper results.
- Ditch the Jitters — Ok, we've agreed to keep all of our precious pixels. So, how can we let each one be all it can be? Simple! Hop on a tripod! A good-quality tripod holds your camera steadier than hand holding ever could. Buy the best tripod you can afford, and you'll never regret the investment. There's nothing more frustrating that a tripod that wobbles or sags, or simply collapses under the weight of your gear. Sure, using a tripod slows down your snaps-per-minute rate, but there are fewer blurry images to toss. BONUS TIP: when shooting on a tripod, lock your camera's mirror in the open position to further minimize shake. Your camera automatically locks the mirror in the open position when using live view.
- Duck for Cover — When spending chunks of dough on new tech, don't skimp when it comes to protective devices and accessories. Though some can be frivolous items, others are well worth those few extra dollars to protect our coveted gear and extend its life. Example: Spending $10 on a lens filter protects that oh-so-expensive glass from permanent scratches. Hint...there isn't a real-life 'undo' button to fix that oopsie moment. Other worthy investments include a well-padded camera bag, sturdy tripods to keep gear from doing a faceplate, trusty camera straps, protective film overlays for LCD screens, rain covers, and more. And, don't overlook those extended warrantees for larger purchases. They can really bail you out when the chips are down.
- Get Schooled — We can't emphasize enough how important it is to learn your gear! Not necessarily the geek-heavy stuff, though that can be helpful eventually. But learning how to work the controls will help produce the images and styles you truly want. Honesty time...throwing more money at pricier equipment won't help to produce more artful results unless you really learn how to use it. Example: If one doesn't understand composition while shooting with a cheaper camera, spending more money doesn't instantly a Picasso make. There are more pleasant options to learning your gear than reading the dreaded manual. Make a date with your camera, familiarize yourself with the dials and buttons, watch tutorials on YouTube, and...practice, practice, practice. Get out, shoot often, and shoot everything. Life experience is the best teacher of all.
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