When our daughter wanted to learn photography, I was excited to see how far technology has come since the early days of my own desire to learn. I never will forget the rolls of film being developed and finding so many blurry photos that I thought were going to be amazing. The amount of money that we would go through just to get my ‘trial and error' photos developed is more than I care to admit. In fact, I still have about 30 rolls of film that I have used, but haven't developed. When that day comes, I know I will have all kinds of emotions with the photos of my children in their early years. Even if the photos turn out blurry!
How to Learn Photography on a Budget
When digital photography became a possibility to anyone, I remember looking at my husband who had already blessed me with an amazing DSLR and asking him how long before I could get a digital DSLR.
When we looked at the cost of one, compared to the cost of buying and developing film at the rate I was currently going through it, we realized that it was the smartest thing to do for our budget.
1) Digital Photography Is Already a Budget Saver
At this day and age, digital photography is what every things about when they are thinking about learning photography. So, it really is a no brainer for most people. However, there are some die-hard photographer lovers who just haven't moved on yet.
Digital cameras deliver amazing photography, so if you are still in the era of film, consider moving on.
All of our children have loved to learn photography, even our youngest, who started at just two years old.
Here are some of the recommendations for kids that you may be worried about their responsibility level, but want to encourage creativity with photography:
Here are some recommendations for beginners, who want to learn photography but not ready for a DSLR:
Here are some recommendations for those more serious about photography, and ready to take that jump into an investment with a DSLR (I'm personally a Nikon fan, and so is my daughter, who is a better photographer than I am, by far.):
2) Be Willing to Purchase a Used Camera
If your budget is still too tight to really purchase new, and take advantage of the warranties that come with a new purchase, I would highly recommend looking into purchasing a used camera.
We have found great digital cameras at yard sales, and through Craigslist and eBay. The trick to getting a good deal is to do your homework first on what you are really wanting to get, what functions are important to you and what types of lenses (assuming you are going with a DSLR) would be important to get started.
Window shopping is a great way to do your homework!
Go to a camera shop, and just play with display cameras. When you find what camera is sticking out to you, make note of the brand AND the model. Is it a Nikon or Canon? I'm currently using a Nikon D40, which is about 7 years old or more. My daughter has a Nikon D3000.
We both would LOVE to upgrade our cameras to a newer Nikon camera, like a D5200 or a D7100, but the budget just isn't there for these yet. However, when we are ready to buy our next cameras, our current ones that work great will be sold through these options.
Those looking for a great DSLR starter camera will be really able to fit it into a tight budget.
The key to buying used cameras is knowing what the older models are and what the original price was, and when the model came out. You may want to keep a notebook for references.
Once you have a camera, you will want to learn how to use the camera. To do this on a budget, you will want to invest in a few things to help you learn.
3) Invest In Reusable Resources for Learning
My daughter, older son and I took camera lessons at a near by location. The class was full of other people of all ages, trying to learn how to use their DSLR camera to the fullest. We found that although we did learn some things in the 6 week course, we didn't walk away with enough to say it was worth the time, and money.
Investing in DVDs that we could watch again and again, with as many people in our family that desired to learn was the right thing for our budget. Here are some of our favorite ones to get started:
If you have a serious photographer in your home, and want to also give your child a credit for photography, take a look at these online courses, where you have lifetime access to with just one payment – I highly recommend these courses from Craftsy:
- Learn How To Take Professional Family Portraits with Craftsy for FREE!
- Basics of Flash Photography
- Basics of Digital Photography (w/ Rick Allred)
- Basics of Landscape Photography
- Photographing Wildlife
- The Essentials for Understanding Light (w/ Alan Thornton)
- Macro Photography: Insects (w/ Clay Bolt)
- Portraits With an On-Camera Speedlight
You may want your homeschool child to learn one of these courses each term, and then fill it with lots of practice of what is being learned, and turn their photography into a keepsake.
Take a look at Shotbox for anyone learning to be a photographer, as it provides great lighting for AMAZING photos!