Reader Question: A Decent Starter DSLR and the Industry

Today’s reader question comes from an old high school friend of mine named Johnny in regards to getting a starter DSLR and breaking into the business of photography. Those of you that are beginners or trying to break into it more yourself should check this out.

Author’s Note: This is copied and pasted from Facebook.

“so i want to get into photography. depending on whether i’m any good or not, maybe even professionally. know where i can get a decent camera? and any hints on how to get started?”

Thanks for the message Johnny. To start off with: you may want to look out for a Canon 40D, Canon T1i, Pentax Kx, or a Nikon D90. Additionally, you won’t want to get the kit lens that comes with it. You’re much better off going with a 50mm F1.8 or F1.4 prime lens and feeding your ambitions. I highly recommend digital over film because clients by far demand digital.

Also, never shoot on any other modes besides Aperture and Manual. My fellow photographers out there may think that’s harsh to pay but in truth you’ll probably learn the quickest that way. You may also want to check out my postings on sites to get your photos critiqued, using a gaming mouse for editing, my essential concert gear, my tips on shooting for professional agencies, and the symbols and meanings on your camera as they’re all great points of reference.

When it comes to breaking into the industry: I can tell you what I learned from my mentors, my own personal experiences and what I’ve learned from mistakes.

* Don’t undervalue yourself.

* Spread some of your work.

* Learn how SEO works and how to use it when tagging your photos.

* Look for photography jobs.

* Be someone’s intern and network like crazy.

* Keep shooting and when regular folks ask you about your camera, tell them about yourself and lead them to your site.

* Use social media to your advantage.

* Apply to work everywhere

* Look on Craigslist, LinkedIn, MediaBistro and others for photography gigs and jobs.

* Figure out what type of photographer you want to be: wildlife, wedding, concerts, portraits etc. If you’re into wildlife, National Geographic takes reader images. Weddings, good luck. Concerts, find bands that are playing and go shoot for their myspace. Portraits/headshots, network with college acting majors.

* Most importantly READ EVERYTHING IN A TERMS OF USE CONTRACT.

That’s really all I can offer up at the moment. Let us know how you’re doing along the way Johnny.

What else can you recommend to Johnny? Be sure to send in your questions to ChrisGampat[at]gmail.com.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.