Frequently Asked Questions by Beginner Photographers

Frequently Asked Questions is here to help you find quick answers to some of the most common photography questions.

The following are a sample of questions that we've received during our workshops, private lessons, group presentations, community events, hiking in nature, and friends. In other words, wherever we go with a camera.

Can you get a pink camera?
Yes, several manufacturers currently sell pink cameras, although I have yet to see a pink DSLR.
What does DSLR mean?
Digital Single Lens Reflex. A DSLR camera does not use film. Instead, based on the technology, the insides of the camera include a mirror that moves to show you, your subject matter or reflect that image onto a sensor when you press the shutter button. Very similar to a film camera but the sensor replaces the film.
What is a digital sensor?
A piece of metal and plastic consisting of millions of light-sensitive spots that record the image seen through the lens. They come in a variety of sizes, and the bigger they are, the more light recorded. Therefore, the better quality of the photo you will get of your fantastic subject.
What's the difference between a professional looking camera and a point and shoot?
A so-called professional camera is more substantial, bigger to look at, and typically containing more buttons, dials, settings, and doodads. The ability to use different lenses is one of the benefits as well as having a larger image sensor. A point-and-shoot is lightweight and compact, easily popped in a pocket, purse, or backpack and often water-resistant or even waterproof. Due to assembly with a fixed lens, it's not possible to remove the lens, but there are many settings that you can choose from, including a zoom feature.
Does my phone take good enough photos that I can print them or blow them up to poster size?
Depending on the model of your phone and megapixels, print quality is affected. The larger you print your picture, the lower your print quality goes. iPhones 4s, 5, 5s, 6, and 6 Plus provide 8 megapixels. iPhones such as 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus provide 12 megapixels. However, at 8 megapixels, you can expect a decent 8"x10"print, whereas 12 megapixels a "9 x 14" print."
I want to upgrade my camera equipment; what should I get to take better photos?
In today's market, with so many choices, upgrading seems like the magic answer, and shopping for new equipment is exciting. Sometimes, how to take better pictures is about you, the photographer, learning to be better at using the gear you have. Do you need to upgrade your equipment or expand your photography skills and save money instead? No, new thanks! Think about the subjects that interest you, visit a trusted retailer, and ask to hold different cameras and compare lenses while asking as many questions as come to mind. Doing this will reveal the pros and cons of various makes and models, see how they feel to hold, and help you with your final decision.
What is the best brand of camera? Are they similar?
Numerous discussions revolve around this topic! Yes, many have very similar features. Personal preference and price point are two common factors. Additionally, it needs to be comfortable to hold are the buttons and controls easy to adjust depending on your hand size; are you considering a point and shoot or DSLR? Choosing a camera that suits your photography style and future ambitions is a very personal decision. Go with what feels right for you; it needs to feel right in your hands, and when you are looking through the viewfinder.
I plan to go on a trip, what's the best camera for travel photography?
How much weight do you want to carry? What type of subject matter interests you, are there restrictions on luggage weight, and how do you travel- backpack or multitudes of cases. For example, a wildlife and nature safari taking a DSLR with two or three lenses may be just the thing. In comparison, if you plan to travel light while immersing yourself in your destination, then take a point and shoot. You can still get high-quality photos that you can print in a variety of sizes or make into a travel book. Remember travelling is about the experience when you are there.
How do I make sure that I keep all the photos I take safe and secure?
You have multiple options in today's market. First, I suggest that instead of using one large capacity memory card, a 64GB, for example, using several smaller ones like 4BG,8GB, and 16GB. In case of an unexpected memory malfunction, while you're on the trip of a lifetime, you won't lose all your images because they're spread over more than one card. Options include backup to an external hard drive(s) or USB, CD, DVD, locally on your computer, or to the Cloud and print your favourites. Also, avoid sharing memory cards between different cameras, including your own, unless you format the card in the camera you switched. (Note: formatting erases all photos from the memory card – backup first). You can also get an attachment for your iPad that allows you to back up there, acting as a storage unit. There are special sticks for apple products that enable you to back up your iPhone and iPad photos as well.
I have heard that moisture can be an issue if I am travelling to a humid country. What should I do about it?
Seal your camera inside a plastic bag removing as much air as possible and place it back in your camera bag if you have one. Allow the camera time to adjust to the change in temperature going from indoors to outside, or vice versa, especially in a hot climate, i.e., the Caribbean, as the drier air in the bag prevents condensation. The same applies when shooting in cold weather. Seal in a plastic bag while outside, place in the camera bag and keep away from direct heat until the camera has ample time to warm up to room temperature.
If I drop my camera, will it break?
Depending on the surface it lands upon, yes and no. I once made a valiant attempt to cushion the landing using my foot before the camera hit the pavement. The camera body and lens remained intact, although I damaged the inner thread on the lens, losing the capability to attach filters. Dropping it on a soft, cushioned surface hopefully ends well. You might want to insure your equipment in case this happens.
My sister wants to borrow my camera. Should I let her?
Without knowing your sister, do you think it's wise for me to answer? Ah-ha, I thought not. Lending your camera to someone else is a personal choice, although there a few things to consider. Do you trust her with your equipment? Is she using it in adverse conditions such as the sandy beach, dust, wind, or rain? Will her friends want to "try it?" If you're comfortable lending your camera and it's the kind and generous thing you'd do in a heartbeat, then yes is my guess. However, its probably best to suggest she gets her own, even an economic point and shoot to ensure you can still be friends.
My dog wants to lick my camera; is that okay?
No on the slobber. Keeping your camera away from teeth and slobber of pets and children is always a good idea. Not only will you extend the life of your equipment, but you'll also capture that epic photo without a slobber slurp or jam stickies messing with you.
Will my new camera come with everything I need?
Depending on what you purchase, such as a camera kit with a lens or two, or a point and shoot, you may still need essentials. Does it come with a memory card? Check the type and size for the specific camera, if not. Other items include a lens cloth and soft lens brush to keep your lens clean. A camera bag to protect and store your equipment, extra battery, and memory card(s). You might decide to splurge for a tripod, especially useful for handling the weight of a DSLR to get those crisp, clear photos.
Is it a good idea to insure my camera equipment?
I rarely run into beginner photographers with insurance on their equipment. They are often surprised when I ask if they have coverage. In three situations, I'm aware of only one having insurance, and it covered the cost of replacing her camera from theft. The remaining two cases from theft left one friend camera-less, and the other paid out of her pocket to replace. If you're interested, ask your insurance agent for a quote, the deductibles, and if you can add it to your household policy. Additionally, on your business insurance, if you use a camera for work.
Do I need to purchase a spare camera battery?
Depending on how often you take photos and how long your camera's in use. If you're travelling, taking a holiday, embarking on a vacation or trip, or have a special event coming up, I highly recommend it. Remember to ensure the battery is fully charged. Also, check you have an adapter that will work where you are travelling for plugging in your battery charger. Not all electrical outlets are the same worldwide.
How long will my camera battery last?
The battery type, weather elements, and whether you're taking stunning photos all day or for five minutes has a bearing on how long your battery will last. In cold weather, the battery life is shorter than a warm summer day, for example. Keep an eye on your camera's "charge indicator," which reveals the amount of remaining battery power. You may be impressed by how long your battery will last, but it's a good thing to fully charge it before leaving home for a fun-filled photo adventure.
What kind of memory card do I need?
The most crucial detail is knowing what type of memory card your camera accepts. My granddaughter received a point and shoot for Christmas, and upon discovering she needed a memory card, I went shopping. Imagine my frustration when the "regular" SD memory card was too big, requiring one of those teeny, tiny ones instead. She lives on a farm, and it wasn't as simple as jumping in my jeep and being back in five minutes with the correct one. Life is like this; you get to learn something new every day. Note to self; next time, ask questions.
What does SDHC or SD on a memory card mean?
Secure Digital High Capacity and Secure Digital. SDHC cards provide more space to store your picture information in addition to faster download time compared to SD cards.
After buying a new camera, what do I do first?
Two essential steps before you dash off to begin happily snappy away. Charge your battery according to the manufacturer's specification, followed by inserting your memory card in the camera and format it, which prepares it for use in your camera. Then, if you're a beginner photographer and can't wait to play, use the Auto mode setting and have fun.
How do I clean my camera?
Use a soft cloth on the camera body and a lens cloth on the lens. If you have dust or dirt on the lens, carefully remove it with an air puffer suited for camera equipment or with a lens cleaning brush before using a cloth. Take your time as you don't want to scratch the glass on your precious lens. If your camera needs a good cleaning or for maintenance, ask your reputable retailer to send it out for cleaning and care.
What are dust spots, and why are they annoying?
Dust spots are grey spots of varying sizes visible on your images when you have dust on your camera's image sensor. They're annoying because they often appear without warning. The most common cause is not taking care when changing lenses, such as in dust or wind. Also, tipping the camera upwards, allowing dust particles to plop on your sensor.
I want to purchase more lenses, which are the best?
Deciding on what lens to buy is a challenge unless you have a good idea of what you want. If not, the best way to determine is to visit a retailer, look at the different lenses, and discuss your favourite photos. Do you love taking funny antics, family photos, fast-flying birds, wildlife in their natural habitats, or just about anything? For travel photography, you may decide on a wide-angle lens, whereas for wildlife, a telephoto lens.
What is a telephoto zoom lens, and how do I know if I have one?
In non-technical terms, a telephoto lens is often used to have subjects appear closer than they are by "zooming in." For example, a 150-500mm lens is considered a telephoto lens due to the range of "zoom."
What is a macro lens, and what kind of photos can I take with it?
The true macro lens focuses from infinity to a 1:1 magnification, resulting in an image reproduced on the sensor that is the same size as in real life, hence the 1:1 definition. A macro lens, such as the popular 105mm lens, is ideally suited for taking better pictures of close subjects, such as a ladybug in the garden, hoar frost on the windowpane, or water drops on a flower petal. Additionally, macro lenses are popular with portrait photographers and perform very well in numerous situations.
What is a prime lens, and can I use it for travel photos?

In comparison to a telephoto or zoom lens, a prime lens has a fixed focal length, meaning it has no zoom capabilities. You will need to move closer to or farther away from your subject for a great composition. The macro 105mm lens is one example of a prime lens. I plan to go white-water rafting; are there waterproof, shock-proof cameras? Yes. Research on the internet or visiting your reliable retailer will assist you in discovering an option for capturing your white-water adventures and taking great photos.

How do I set my camera to the Auto mode?
On your DSLR, use the round mode dial on top of the camera body. The dial is how you change to change between the modes or choices. The point and shoot settings, including Auto, are usually accessed by the menu function.
How do I review my pictures on my camera?
Refer to your camera manual or look on the back of your camera for the playback symbol, a triangle. Press this button display images on the back of the camera's LCD screen and then press the right or left arrow on the control (with okay in the center).
Is the Auto mode the best way to take better pictures?
Depending on your skill level or what's happening at your photo-shoot, yes. If you're new to photography, the Auto is an excellent way to jump in as you learn along the way. Auto is helpful when you don't have time to figure out the details before your subject runs away.
How do I put the subject in the correct place in my photo?
Think about the placement and the best way to show off your subject. Using the Rule of Thirds, the guideline recommends avoiding placing your subject in the center of your picture.
Do I really need a tripod?
When using a point and shoot, it's not necessary most of the time. For larger, bulkier DSLRs, with heavy telephoto lenses, it's a recommended buy for stability and getting the best photos. Even a small amount of camera shake will result in disappointing and blurry pictures. Additionally, a tripod is a relief from holding your camera during a long photo-shoot and encourages taking time for good composition.
When I am hand holding my camera, should I hold my breath?
There may be times when it's easier to hold the camera steady as you hold your breath for a few seconds, and that's okay. In most situations, simply pay attention to your breathing, ensuring it's as calm and peaceful as possible.