I know photography is an important part of your churches advertisement. Anyone with a eye for media can see that a point and shoot camera or a smart phone camera is not getting the job done. What kind of camera do you want to choose? For photography purposes you will want to check on two things really, the amount of control and precision the camera gives and the sensor size. On that note its clear that you will want to buy a DSLR camera. When purchasing a camera what brand do you want to choose, Nikon, Cannon, Sony or some other?
The general rule is that Cannon is better for shooting video because of the higher quality h.264 codec. Most people will tell you that Nikon is the photographers camera. What it really comes down to here is sensor size. For the sake of argument lets just say that the large the sensor the the better the picture. A large sensor will give you a shallower depth of field, greater dynamic range and better low light sensitivity. Lower light sensitivity is what really matters in my opinion. That along with the right settings will allow for your images to not be grainy.
Now if your choosing Cannon I’d go with a 5D or 7D. In laymen terms if the Cannon camera has a “D” in the name your going to get a professional grade camera. If your going for Nikon then the D3 is ideal. It has a full frame sensor like the 5D. It also has larger pixels for the same size sensor all in all giving it the best low light performance. Ok great you’ve chosen a camera. But wait it doesn’t come with a lens!? Maybe you got a deal and you got a kit lens being a 18mm-55mm. Sorry but the kit lens’s are kits for a reason, their not so swift. Now comes the fun part. What kinda glass do you want to put on your new camera?
For shooting pictures you want to be versatile, so I suggest that you get a lens that can cover everything from the wide shots to the closeup. Find something that has at least 18mm to 200mm or something in between. Now if your going to be shooting landscapes then I suggest something like a 10mm or lower. If you want to shoot sports then your going to need a very long zoom lens with a very low aperture setting. For portraits might I suggest a 5omm. The nifty 50 is a great lens. It is inexpensive and you get a lower range of f-stops. F-stop is what you measure the amount of light coming into the aperture. The aperture is the hole that lets in light. For example f/2 is a very large aperture hole for light to come in. While f/22 is very tiny. If you were shooting narrative films then I would suggest prime lens’s. Prime lens’s have a fixed focal length and don’t zoom in our out. They make you think about the shot you want more. But were shooting photography not narrative films therefore zoom lens’s are going to be your bread and butter. We could go into great details just about lens’s but this is a general article so time to move on.
Once you have your camera and choice of lens its time to get started taking better pictures for your church and ministry. Quick side note, you will also need to buy a 16 or 32GB SD card to record to. You may also want to buy an extra battery and a bag to store everything in. Now onto photography. Start by turning the dial on the top right hand side to M for manual. The number in the upper right hand corner of your LCD screen is the ISO. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. ISO is going to let in the bulk of your light. The major changes occur here. But beware that the higher the ISO the grainier the images are going to be. Its usually a safe rule that anything shot over 1600 and certainly 3200 is going to be grainy in the dark areas. Look at a picture taken in poor light and you will see what amounts to “sand” all over your image especially in the dark areas where the light is the poorest.
The next column over is our f-stop. This is going to fine-tune your light. Remember the f-stop measures the amount of light coming in the aperture or the opening at the rear of the lens. Remember from the previous paragraph that the more light you want to come in the lower the f-stop. Your f-stop size is also going to determine your focal length. For simplicity sakes focal length is the amount of area that is going to be able to be in sharp focus. Longer focal lengths have a narrow angle of view such as 200mm. Whereas shorter focal lengths have a broader angle of view, such as 10mm.
Next the numbers in the far left corner indicate the shutter speed or the length of time at which an image is exposed. The lower the number the lower the shutter speed and the more light will get in. The higher the number the faster the shutter will click. Usually you want to keep the shutter speed around 100-125 for average exposure. If you are shooting sports or fast moving water or cars then you want to have a high shutter speed such as 1/400-1/1000. This will stop that moving object right in its tracks! Ultimately all three need to be averaged and work together to get a perfectly exposed image. The grid on your screen that runs from -3 to 3 tells you if your image is under exposed, properly exposed at 0 or over exposed and by how much.
Finally (For this article anyway) you need to properly set the white balance. The white balance tells you what in the frame is true white and adjust the other colors accordingly. Some cameras will have set options for you. These options include daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, white light, and flash. Set the white balance depending on what kind of light setting your in.
There is a lot more to say about photography. More to discuss abut the camera, flash photography, an then to photography with set up lights. There will be more articles on this subject so keep coming back to find out more.
This is a great video, enjoy!