Canadian Geographic Photo Club - Ten Essentials for New Photographers

Ten Essentials for New Photographers


Since technology in the world of photography is constantly changing, choosing your equipment can be a daunting task. However, if you concentrate on just a few essentials, there's no need to feel overwhelmed. Trevor Sherwin, manager of Henry's School of Imaging, presents his top picks.

Photographers must be able to shoot a variety of images on the spot. A ball-head tripod like the Manfrotto 190 XPROB ensures a shake-free photo and makes it easy to switch from portrait to landscape shots, all without having to unscrew your camera. With retractable legs, this compact tripod allows you to fit in some of the tightest situations.

ColourBalanceCoach Disc
No need to bracket anymore with the right exposure and perfect white balance in one handy tool. The ColourBalanceCoach Disc is made up of four colour patches that measure the quality and quantity of light and ensure the best exposure and the truest colours, before you snap you image. While, the ColourBalanceCoach Disc comes in a variety of sizes, the small eight inch model is all you need.

A little tip from the professionals, attach a circular polarizing filter, any good quality one, to your lens and make skies bluer and colours more vivid. Polarizing filters can add or remove reflections, giving you flexibility for whatever effect you are trying to achieve.

UV Filters, like a Hoya Pro 1, UV filter, protect your images it from ultra violet rays, which can give your photographs an undesirable cerulean tint, like an all over blue wash. While a Hoya Pro 1, UV filter can cost you a little more than some lower end UV filters, it's very important to buy a high quality filter as it becomes an extension of your lens.

This bag has it all memory card pouches, baby-soft micro fiber LCD cloth, room for extra lenses, cables and the ability to hold your camera with an attached zoom lens. Plus, photographers can access their gear easier with the sleek sling strap.

Using a flash made by your camera's manufacturer, like the Nikon SB600, Canon 430EX and Sony HVLF42AM, will not only ensure compatibility and that your equipment will work properly, it also can give you more opportunity to utilize the many features and get creative with the lighting. No need to go high-end for these, a middle range flash will do the job perfectly.

However, sometimes light from your camera's flash can be harsh and unflattering, especially for portraits. To give you soft, perfect light, use the Gary Fong Light Sphere. This flash accessory attaches onto your camera's flash and works with just about any model. It diffuses harsh light, created by your camera's flash, to brighten the whole room.

Want lightning speed performance? Fast-read and-write memory cards, like the Sandisk Extreme series and Lexar Pro series, allow for quicker performance when shooting multiple photos in rapid succession. These memory cards will also speed up your photo downloading time.

While this can't be purchased for all entry level camera models, vertical grips can be bought for most mid-range to high-end camera models. This handy device attaches onto the bottom of your camera and provides an extra shutter release when your equipment is rotated vertically making it much easier to snap portrait style shots.

Spare batteries
Be prepared for any situation by carrying a spare battery. Generally, batteries should be made by your camera's manufacturer to ensure compatibility and that no damage is done to your camera. However, there are third party batteries that can be used from brands like Optex, but be sure to check with your camera's manufacturer. Whatever batteries you choose, be sure to bring extras along. You don't want to miss out on a great shot!

When it's too cloudy or too sunny out, it can be next to impossible to see your LCD screen. Hoodman LCD shades come in a variety of styles and attach to your screen, making it easier to see your photos in any lighting condition.

Camera classes at Henry's School of Imaging
Henry's School of Imaging offers courses on all major brands of Digital SLRs, so you can become a pro with your camera. Workshops are broken down into two parts. The first teaches you how to operate your camera and shows you how to get the best results shooting in automatic modes. The second workshop illustrates the advanced features of your camera and explains exposure theory. Each workshop is three hours long and offered at almost all locations.

Many of these products can be found at



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