I decided to write a blog post of the questions I most often hear from beginners in photography during my training lessons.
What camera system should I start with?
To me, it does not really matter what equipment you will use to take photos. Originally I started with Nikon because my dad is using Nikon so I can borrow his stuff.
Now I am using Sony for my travel photography because it is simply lighter than the Nikon system.
What lens should I start with?
Do not ask me this please! For sure you need to know what photos you want to take. I would not advise to do street photography with a 12mm fisheye but this is exactly the point, you could do that!
Every photographer gives you a different answer to this question. On the Sony system in 95% of the time I travel with the 16-35mm. I own the 24-70mm as well. If want to do something different, I rent the needed lens. When traveling with the Nikon, I take the 14-24mm and the 24-70mm. I own the 70-200mm as well. I ask my dad if I need anything different than those lenses.
How many memory cards are needed on a trip?
This depends on the duration of the trip. I use almost one 64GB SD card per week. With my setup this is about 1700 photos per week. For a three weeks trip I bring four cards; one is just for backup in case another one will not work. All my cards are class 10.
The type / class of card is dependent what photography you will do and what the settings of the file format of your camera is.
The cards are really getting inexpensive so there should always be a backup card packed. Plus, when buying equipment worth thousands of dollars, why trying save money at this point?
Is a tripod really needed?
Yes. The best photos are taking during the ambient light situation when the sun is already gone and there is not enough light to hold the camera still. If you invest in a tripod, buy the remote shutter release system for your camera as well. With those two options, your photos are going to be super focused!
RAW vs. JPEG?
RAW is the answer. If you know me, this is not surprising. JPEG is an already in itself compressed file format while RAW holds all the camera data. In JPEG, the algorithm of the camera already made all the adjustments for you like white balance, color saturation, sharpening etc. Using RAW, it is our duty to change all that to make the photo look good.
The file size is much larger using RAW! This also has in influence about the memory card. The bigger the file size is, the faster the card should write the information, especially on sports photography when the shutter is released and the camera is supposed to take a couple of photos per second.
Do you post process all of your photographs?
Yes. All my photos are amped up!
When shooting in RAW, it is a must to retouch the photo. If you do not do that, you rather shoot in JPEG! Even when shooting in JPEG I feel like add some contrast to all my landscape photos. Or play with clarity when doing portraits. Or…
What preferred software do you use to retouch your photos?
This is to me where the fun all starts! Without post processing, all my photos would only be half as good as they are today. And I probably would not sit here and write this post.
I import all the photos taken on a trip into Adobe Lightroom to adjust the photos until I like them. From there I jump over to Adobe Photoshop to retouch them into their final version. Sometimes there is a step within between where I use Photomatix Pro. This is when I want to create an HDR photo.