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KNOW THIS Photography Tips & Resources

Resources for New Photographers: Gear, Software, and More

If you don't know anything about me yet, then you may be surprised to find out that photography was the inspiration for this website. My love of travel photography started in 2009 when I went on my first international trip. Since those point-and-shoot days, I've learned a lot about photography. Like any budding photographer, I learned there's nothing more special than snapping that perfect shot of a sublime landscape, a towering building, or a smiling face. Now I'm sharing what I've learned with you! Simply keep scrolling to see the best resources for new photographers.

Disclaimer: Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. By purchasing products using these links, you can support a Cajun in Cali at NO cost to you. Getting the goods you want while showing support is the best of both worlds!   

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photography resources | learning photography | how to learn photography | beginner photography | new photographer | best camera gear

Why Fall for Photography?

Images can be powerful tools. They allow us to travel thru time, re-live past events, or visit foreign places. I love taking pictures, no matter if I'm shooting locally or ambling through foreign streets. But I'm no professional photographer. In fact, I'm a self-taught amateur just like you!

Over the past several years I have been working on developing my photography skills. I practice shooting and editing on a regular basis. Every trip I take I look for cool spots to shoot and even plan my activities around shooting. Landscapes are my favorite subject to shoot, but that might not be the case for you. No matter what you like to shoot, these resources for new photographers will help you improve your photography skills.

Gear Up

When you're first getting started with photography all you really need is a good camera and at least one good lens. But over time you'll want to experiment more, as you should! Here is all the essential gear you need to get started building your photography muscle.

my current DSLR

While Pentax may not be the most popular camera brand, that doesn't mean Pentax products are bad. I absolutely LOVE my Pentax K3, my second Pentax DSLR. Wanna know why I love my Pentax? The rugged, all-weather body means I worry less about the weather when shooting. And my amazing 24.4 megapixel CMOS sensor is great for beginner-level photography and produces wonderful prints.

I also love the dual memory card slots, meaning I don't have to worry about changing SD cards in the middle of shooting. And the 27-point auto-focus system helps make sure I get the best shots even though my vision sucks! These are just some of the features I love about my Pentax. I HIGHLY recommend the Pentax K3 for any new photographer who plans to take their photography seriously.

Other Great Beginner cameras

Although I love my Pentax camera, I know they're not very popular (though I'm not sure I understand why). More popular brands (Nikon, Canon, Sony) offer excellent beginner DSLRs that I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning how to use a camera. Many of the available models are less than $500 and perfect for newbies. Check out some of the cameras I recommend below and shop directly with one of the most trusted retailers.

Learn that Lenses Matter Most

Lenses are, by far, the most important part of photography. Having a good quality lens can take your images from BLAH to BAM! A nice piece of glass is worth the expense, especially if you plan to invest in a particular brand of camera gear. You can buy a lens that will fit your current and future camera, making that investment oh-so-worthwhile!

My camera has a crop sensor which means my focal length is slightly more than the standard focal length of a lens. For example, I have to multiply the focal length of my lenses by 1.5, the crop factor for my sensor. So, a 5o mm focal length lens will actually be 75 mm. Full-frame sensors do not crop images, meaning the focal length of the lens is true. To better understand crop factor and how it impacts your images, be sure to check out this great article from B&H Photo.

The Best Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses are great for travel and street photography. They give you the flexibility you need to shoot on the go and get the shot you need quickly. I usually travel with my 16-50mm zoom lens which enables me to move from wide angle to slightly zoomed on my crop sensor. If I'm taking lots of landscape shots, I'll use my telephoto lens to get distant shots, too.

The Best Prime Lens

Prime lenses are fixed focal length lenses, meaning they will not zoom. These lenses are typically made with higher quality glass, which means your photos will be sharper and of a greater quality. Take dreamy portraits and gorgeous food photography with a fixed focal length lens with a wider aperture (smaller f-stop).

Protect Your Neck & Your Camera

Traveling with expensive camera gear can be a bit nerve-wracking. But not when you have PacSafe products to protect your camera gear! With features like built-in steel cords, impervious exo-mesh shells, and cool inter-locking zipper closures, Pacsafe products are essential for travel photography. Check out some of these PacSafe products I use including the Pacsafe Carrysafe 200 Camera Strap.

Everyday Camera Bags

It's important to protect your camera and photography gear even when you're not traveling. Dust, rain, and other day-to-day contaminants can be easily avoided with a quality camera bag. I've got my eyes on an Ona Camera bag and think you should too. The genuine leather, sturdy fabrics, and flexible inserts make Ona Camera Bags a great buy. Check out some of my picks below.

Stabilize Your Images

If you're interested in night photography, you're definitely going to need a tripod and remote. By stabilizing your camera, you'll be able to create rich, clear night shots. With a tripod & remote you can open your aperture and lower your shutter speed to capture the starry sky, street lights, and more. I'm currently using this amazing Vanguard tripod. The ball head mount and adjustable legs make it great for travel shots, lifestyle shots, and just about any setting where a tripod is needed.

Sony remote

Nikon Remote

The Only Editing Software You'll Ever Need

Anyone who wants to improve their images and learn to edit digital photos NEEDS Lightroom. Now there are multiple ways to get Lightroom, including stand-alone Lightroom software (one-time purchase), Lightroom Classic ($9.99 monthly fee), or Lightroom Creative Cloud ($9.99 monthly fee).

Find out which version of Lightroom is right for your budget!

Organize Your Photos

I'm always looking for goals, and starting my own SmugMug site might just be my number one goal right now. I've got friends in the photography business who swear by the support and ease-of-use that's offered by SmugMug. Not only can you store and organize your photos, you can also create an online boutique for your photos. Save 15% off your new SmugMug package, no coupon needed! Not sure about SmugMug yet? Check out all 9 reasons I love it below!

Keep Learning

The more I shoot, the more I learn about photography. But there are some aspects of photography that require a more strategic approach. Learning more about photography is easy with these trusted programs, books, and resources. Find out more about lighting, exposure, and many other photography tips that are sure to make your images soar!

Photography Books

Fundamentals of Photography: The Essential Handbook by Tom Ang

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby

Online Photography Courses

Creative Live Courses

Digital Photography School


Shop Trusted Retailers

When buying lenses and camera bodies you want to make sure you're buying from a trusted retailer. Make sure you can return any item you purchase. Read the fine print, especially if buying a used DSLR. Here are a few of my favorite camera shops and online stores.

Samy's Camera

Samy's, oh Samy's, where would I be without you? Samy's Camera is an easy-to-navigate photography superstore right at your fingertips! Searching for a great deal on a new lens, camera or accessory? I guarantee Samy's will have it. And if you're in the SoCal area, be sure to check out their brick & mortar locations.

B&H Camera

Opened in 1973 in Manhattan, B&H Camera is a photo & video mecca. Their superstore on 9th Ave in NYC (near Times Square) is over 70,000 square feet! And the online store is even better. With great deals, a superb return policy, and a killer used section, B&H should be on your radar if you're on the market for camera goods.

KEH Camera

For those of you looking to save money, consider purchasing a used DSLR from a trusted retailer like KEH Camera. They've got unbelievable prices on brand name cameras. Plus, you can't beat their policies on returns, refunds, and exchanges. Read all about my used DSLR experience and get my best tips for purchasing any DSLR.

Find a Photo Community

I'm not sure about you, but I can't get enough of Instagram. I'm truly addicted. I've found that getting feedback from my IG tribe really boosts my moral and pushes me to keep working at learning the craft. For anyone looking to learn more about Instagram or build their Instagram community, I highly recommend checking out this list of the best Instagram travel communities!

Let's Stay in Touch

Like this post? If so, then be sure to check out all my photography posts. Plus, be sure to sign up for email updates. You'll get access to all my freebies, including my best travel hacks, photography tips, and more. And don't forget to connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!

Thanks for all your interest and support!



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