You need something to shoot pictures with this fall, right? Jokes apart, we don’t want to kill someone with a gun, we are talking about camera shots. But in both ways, the shots can’t be taken without a device and that’s the cold hard truth.
So we need a camera at first, it could be a birthday present or a Christmas gift and hey you can go and buy it yourself if you want.
A compact camera is a mandatory companion in your journey to becoming a great photographer. Well, if you already got your hands on your first camera, trust me when I say this, I can and have felt the overpowering rush of excitement you must be having at the moment. And I know it’s simply breathtaking.
The primary focus on your mind must be that will this help me know how to use a compact camera for the first time? So, without further ado, let me help you out regarding what you should do with your magnificent new gadget.
Table of Contents
1. Unboxing is the First Thing You Want to Do
Well… if you are reading this article, then I guess I can consider that you have already acquired your new camera. The first thing that you and most other camera owners want to do after getting the device is to get out there and start shooting.
I really wanted to do that too. But hey, we don’t have wings, there is a certain staircase we have to climb to get to this paradise of photography.
But hey, let’s get the first thing done. Let’s open that box and unravel that technological wonder before your eyes. The tactile feel of the package, the first touch of your fingertips on the device itself are experiences that can’t be expressed by words.
This little miraculous machine has the full capability of unlocking your artistic view and help you see things in a different way that you have never seen before. Before mastering your craft of photography, we need to go through some phases. So, let’s begin the discussion.
2. Literature or Manuals Are Not Interesting but Do Read Them
Have you ever known that feeling when you already have your favorite dish on the table, but you can’t dig in just because a family member hasn’t joined the table yet? Well sorry to break it to you but almost the same thing is going to happen here as well. Because the inbox literature and manuals are there for a reason.
Just because you have a hold on the camera doesn’t mean you can get into it right away.
Well, technically you can, but candy is candy because you can get into chomping on it only after you open the wrapper.
Even if you don’t want to go through it thoroughly at least go through the key points and skim the rest. It will enlighten you on the basic functionalities of the camera and the purpose of each dial and button. Believe my words when I say, it will most certainly help.
And hey what better way to kill time while the battery is charging? And speaking of batteries, we need to get you briefed on that part too.
3. Juice Up the Battery
It's pretty obvious that the battery of your camera won’t be charged off the bat. And take your time because you need to charge it fully. And take this piece of priceless advice. Keep an extra pair of batteries with you or more. No point missing some valuable shots just because of a silly inconvenience.
Batteries have a bad habit of dying at the most upsetting moments, so it’s best to keep a backup. And don’t worry, extra batteries are not as heavy on the pocket like the ones that come from the original manufacturer.
4. Memory Card Management is A Must
It’s a great thing that you got a camera at this age and time. Because just for your information, digital film isn’t expensive, it’s so cheap that it’s free. But be sure to format the memory cards before you install them. Sometimes memory cards don’t work if you shift them from one device to the other.
Formatting the card will reset the proper file structure, and there will be no possibilities of reading and write errors. Oh, and one last thing, be extra careful about formatting the memory card as you might have some valuable images to back up before you do your stuff with the cleaning.
5. Clean up Your Stuff Regularly
Smudges and dust particles would love to get in touch with your camera just as much as your hands would. Or maybe even more so. A cleaning cloth would be far less expensive than the cost of putting up with a dirty looking camera.
6. Firmware updates are important
Keeping your firmware updated might prove to be crucial to get full functionality benefits from the device that you own. Sometimes firmware updates provide enhanced functions along with improved performance as well. A picture is worth a thousand words, why say less for a simple update?
7. Setting the “Settings”
There can be a hundred ways to set things up the way you want. And others might feel that they are quite fine with absolutely no tips on using a compact camera and taking snaps with the auto mode all the way. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Aperture, ISO, white balance and things like contrast are there for advanced enthusiasts and can be arranged according to your needs. And the best way to learn about them is to explore as much as you can, both theoretically and manually. While you’re at it, photography blogs, YouTube videos might help.
8. Gears and Additional Gadgets Can Be Fun
If you’re fine with the basic camera, then no one will complain if you don’t. But as you grow as a photographer you’ll feel that there are a few things which can come in really handy. A tripod is a good example. This thing helps with slower shutter speeds. Some say that it takes more time but, needs are needs.
A new lens can always be exciting as it will add an entirely new dimension to your artistic vision. But since these things can be a bit expensive, your purchase may vary to your needs and capabilities.
9. Bag and Baggage to Carry Your Stuff
So if you just got that awesome new camera then I would suggest you get a handy new camera bag as well. Well you know, just to get your stuff together. It’s a good idea to keep your lenses and gadgets all together with your camera bag. It’s best to keep everything at hand and in one place.
You might even think of a strap as well. Let’s face it, not everything is guaranteed in life. Not even the safety of your camera is ensured. One simple drop from the tripod can become a dreadful memory that won’t feel good at all.
It’s just better to be safe than sorry. You might lose important gear if you don’t carry everything together. And there are awesome bags that are available in the market in various price tags to fulfill your photographic needs.
10. Prioritize Having A Camera Box
As you have already guessed all these issues I am telling you about useful tips on compact camera for beginners. So let’s rewind a bit to the very beginning. All the way to the box. Yes, when I say ‘Box’ I mean the box! Keep it safe and protected. It will raise the resell value of your camera.
Apart from considering to sell your new camera just when you bought it (Just kidding) the box will also be needed as you might just have to return it to the retail store. For faulty gear issues and warranty purposes as well, I repeat, the box is necessary.
11. Know Every Nook and Cranny
I am not exaggerating when I am saying this, your camera is not just a device, nor should you treat it like one. The camera opens up a whole new path of exploration and you definitely should explore every corner and every inch of that road you are to embark on.
You must be asking yourself “well that’s very interesting, but how do I even begin?” Well, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Say… even if you are sitting at your home in your couch with all the time in the world. Before going into serious endeavors let’s start a bit of couch training, well… it happens in your couch. Just fiddle with your camera and gear while watching videos on your laptop or phone.
Doing two things at once? Is that even possible? Yes! It is. Because just moving your hands on the camera, discovering the functions and discovering all the features while concentrating on a video is not that hard.
12. Train More, Mess Up Less
Well… if you want to go further and go faster you will need to get a bit more serious in the long run. How to do that? Simple! Go online. Go through tutorials. Not everything can be found on YouTube, Duh! Told You. Buy a few courses from Lynda or Udemy. Learning curves can be smooth or rough.
Of course, that depends entirely on the learner.
But my advice would be not to just stick to theory. Put everything into practice. Your first few thousand shots say 10-15 thousand shots won’t be your best.
Possibly, they will be the worst work you have done in your life. Nothing to be worried about, at the end of it your work should and will start to improve on a gradual basis.
So be a fearless photographer, capture everything you find worth capturing and give permanence to every precious scene and moments of your life.
13. Become a Student All Over Again – Brainstorm for Ideas
Is there truly an end to learning? At least I don’t think so. Consider yourself as an empty cup like those good old philosophical words and fill your mind with new ideas and concepts along with brand new theories.
Hey, you can even attend seminars or workshops that focus on photography. You might think that it’s getting a bit too overwhelming but I guarantee that it won’t be a loss in any sense. You might get surprised by how much knowledge you can acquire from these places.
And the best bit of it all is that you will find a lot of interesting people with similar taste and interests. Building a community for yourself is always helpful. Exploring mindsets are just as important as finding new sceneries and capturing new photos.
14. Solve Your Problems
Naturally, you will face a variety of problems even when you try to find a solution to some other problem. Don’t get startled or disheartened. Each problem has a hundred solutions as they always say. And it’s not quite off track.
Whenever you get stuck you can discover the easy solutions from blogs and different forums that are specifically dedicated to helping out photographers all around the world. And there are online videos to these issues as well where you can get an audio-visual remedy to your malady.
These not only can solve your problems and errors but they are also capable of improving your overall skills as a photographer as well. So don’t feel helpless when you are stuck and don’t give up!
15. Shoot Everything… You Can and Leave Nothing Behind
Get your camera shutter fingers ready and start shooting when you are done with all the primary stuff. The world has a million shots just waiting to be captured from a billion angles. There is simply no end to it at all. One single lifetime is not nearly enough to say that I have ‘captured it all.’
You can’t expect your first thousand shots to be the cover of a magazine, sorry but it just doesn’t happen. But don’t let that turn you down. Go edgy, get brave, and you might discover something new and find yourself to have become a completely new kind of photographer.
Encouragement is necessary for every sense. You will find that self-inspiration is not always easy to find. So explore all-around your environment. It can be a ray of new morning sunshine or a lunar scenery, or even a windowpane view that will fill your artistic soul with new energy.
So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start shooting!