Stepping Up To DSLR

Since the advent of camera functionality on phones, everyone with a thumb has become a self-proclaimed “photographer”. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there’s no denying that it takes skill to make great photographs. Some may think self-proclaimed, phone-wielding photographers are ruining the photo industry, but the opposite may also be true. 

Ask any photographer with experience and the standout advice is to just keep shooting. Shoot everything and learn from every shot.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is famously quoted for saying, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

Those phone photographers may be on the right track. Admittedly, many never aspire to learn more about manual photo composition and detail outside of the point-and-shoot mentality. However, sprouting out of the mass, there is a consistent flow of brilliant photographers. So how do these originally self-proclaimed phone photographers put on their Speedo and dive into the deep waters of more advanced photography?

Recently we posed this question to our Facebook fans. Here’s a few snippets of advice for those looking to take the next step in their photography.

Michael J. Samaripa: buy a used DSLR, don't buy new. Cut your teeth on something like a 5D classic, a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, and a simple full manual flash.

Christina Stallard: Don't start a FB page and call yourself a pro right off the bat. Learn your settings, be humble, and always be open to improvement.

Thomas Lieser: use manual mode. never full automatic

Billy Gibbons: Disagree with Thomas. Shooting manual mode without a light meter does nothing but teach chimping to check the histogram. Shoot Av or Tv and learn to use exposure compensation for light or dark scenes.

But, buy something used! A 5D2, a D700 and prime lenses!

Lynne Glazer: Depends what subjects you shoot! If action, buy a decent but reasonably priced piece of glass, like the Canon 70-200 f4L. Don't hang out a shingle just because someone tells you that you take great photos. Lots of people say "great photo" when they mean "great moment". Av or Tv, learn the exposure triangle and enjoy the journey.

Derek Baehr: I agree with Michael. I started with a 10d, and slowly moved up to the 7d, and have my sights on a mark series soon. the only thing i will add is TAKE PICTURES EVERYDAY!

Bk Kapella: DSLR is not necessarily the answer. Get as big of a sensor as you're willing to carry everywhere, some good primes, AV, RAW, LR, and good legs. Lots of experimentation.

What do you wish you would have known when you started out? Leave your answers in the comments below.