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Last Updated on 27th January 2017 by Sophie Nadeau

Yay! So you’ve bought your first camera! Now what? Well, when I bought my first camera, the Sony A6000, there were a number of things I didn’t do; either because I was too lazy or thought that they would be too difficult to manage. Now, I realize that had I implemented certain techniques and practices right from the start, then those early photos would be so much easier to edit, manipulate and use now! If only I’d done a few things right from the beginning of my photography, then I’d be able to save a lot of my now defunct, and over pixellated snapshots today (especially my Parisian sunrise ones). Here are 5 things you must do when you buy your first camera:

#1 Use Your Camera Manually

If there’s one thing I wish I’d done when I’d bought my first camera, it’s that I wish I had learned to use my camera manually from the get go. The only way you’ll ever actually learn to take photos is by teaching yourself to use the camera manually.

This means learning how to correctly implement ISO, the shutter speed you should use for different situations and the aperture number you should be using. Using these three functions from the very beginning will mean that you’ll get used to the camera more easily and find it easier to manipulate your lens in low light and intense light situations. After all, photography is all about drawing with the light.

#2 Take Everything in RAW.

Even if you’re just going to be using JPEGs for the moment (for example, if you’re only going to edit photos on your smartphone), then it’s still worthwhile taking photos in RAW. This way, if you want to edit the photos more professionally in the future, then editing will be so much easier! Also, if you end up with a problem with the photo (tourist in the background etc.), then you can manipulate the photo more easily in RAW then you’d be able to in JPEG.

#3 Practice taking photos EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

The only way you’re going to improve is if you dedicate time to improving and honing your skills! Even if it’s just dedicating ten minutes a day to your new hobby, this can really add up to quite a large chunk of time by the end of the year. (Over three days worth of time, in fact). It’s often said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a new skill. So what are you waiting for? Starting mastering photography today!

And besides, practice makes perfect (or almost perfect)!

#4 Don’t be afraid to take bad photos!

If there’s one thing that you should do when you buy your first camera, is not be afraid to make mistakes.

You’ll never know if you don’t try. And besides, it’s certain that when you’re starting out, and even later on down the line, not every photo you take will be a Monet-worthy masterpiece. Nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes; especially in creative endeavours like photography.

If you think you can see a good shot, then go for it! One of the best things about shooting photos in the digital age is that pixels can be erased, just with a click of a button. You don’t have to worry about wasting expensive film because.. you’re not wasting it. On that note, also don’t be afraid to try new things; a new angle, a different ISO or shutter speed. Experiment and you’ll learn what works best for your artwork and for you.

#5 Show your photos to other people!

The best way to improve your photography is by receiving feedback from others. Of course, you should like your photos, but getting feedback about your work is a surefire way to understand what can be improved in your photos. When you look at your own photos, you’re sure to be biased.

Getting someone to review your photography can be anything from setting up a public Instagram account to letting your partner sneak a peek at the end of the day…

#BONUS Got any suggestions? What should you do when you buy your first camera?

Over to you! Let me know about any tips you have for when you buy your first camera in the comments below.

5 things you must do when you buy your first camera

About Author

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, Paris, pizza, and history, though not necessarily in that order. A fan of all things France related, she runs when she's not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming her weight in sweet food. Currently based in Paris after studies in London, she's spent most of her life living in the beautiful Devonian countryside in South West England!

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