Photography Resources for Beginners

If you've know anything about me yet, then you likely already know that photography was the main inspiration for this website. But for those of you who are new to the site, let me explain briefly.

So, as you can imagine, travel photography is one of the main reasons I love to travel. And to a budding photographer, there's nothing more special than snapping that perfect shot of a sublime landscape, a towering building or a smiling face.

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.

By no means am I a professional photographer. I was gifted my first DSLR in 2009 and never looked back. Over the past several years I have been working on developing my photography skills. I'm self-taught which means I've learned what little I do know about photography through practice and research.

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

Gear Up

My love of photography has grown exponentially over the years. And if you're reading this page, that means you've discovered that same love for taking pictures and are looking for more inspiration. I wanted to share a few of my favorite photography resources in hopes it helps to get the creative juices flowing. Whether you are looking for a new camera, a new lens, good gear, printing resources or general education, you'll find it all here. I made a quick list of all the essentials that go into making stellar images for my site. 

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 weather when shooting. 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 plan 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) 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.

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 slighty more than the standard focal length of a lens. For example, I have to multiply the focal lenght 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.

My Favorite 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.

My Favorite 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). 

Protecting Your Gear

Traveling with expensive camera gear can be a bit nerve-wrecking. 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 and trust below.

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 a few Ona Camera Bags 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. 

The Only Editing Software You'll Ever Need

I've written before about my undying love for Lightroom, but it doesn't hurt to say it again. 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).

how I organize my 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. Sure, I have a blog that features many of my best photos, but my ultimate goal is the create an online webstore where people can purchase my photos for digital use, print or product placement. Call it a pipe dream, but it's what keeps me shooting! Use this link and get 15% off your new SmugMug package, no coupon needed! They'll know I sent you!

Find a Photography 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 investing in the Social Media Posse Insta Decoded guides. They use a detailed, research-oriented approach to Instagram that I haven't found anywhere else.

where I shop for gear

Samy's Camera

Samy's, oh Samy's, where would I be without you, Samy's? I'm so lucky to be based in Los Angeles. I've got multiple locations of the photography superstore that is Samy's!

No where near LA? No worries! Samy's has an easy-to-navigate photography superstore right at your fingertips! Searching for a great deal on a new lens, camera or accessory? Samy's will have it.

KEH Camera

For those of you looking to save money, consider purchasing a used DSLR from a trusted retailer like KEH. 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.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III at Samy's Camera

Learn More About Photography

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!

books about photography

online courses about photography

Let's Stay in Touch!

For more of my photography obsession, take a look at my photographs taken over the past several years.

To receive updates about my travels and travel photography, simply sign up for my weekly newsletter!

Have a photography question you want answered, simply message me using your email or your favorite social media platform.

 

Happy shooting, my friends 🙂

xoxo

Carlie

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Click here to peek my favorite photography resources! Find out what tools, tips and tricks I use to take better photographs.

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