Ah, good question. That’s certainly a tough thing to determine, and will differ for every photographer. But here are a few things that we consider when deciding whether it’s time to upgrade.
First, is figuring out what it is that you want to achieve with your images that you’re not getting now. Take a good, hard look at your work, and put into words what you’re not totally happy about. This exercise should help give you a better idea if its the camera holding you back or if learning a new skill and practicing more could improve your images.
Sometimes technical improvements can be achieved simply by learning to use your current equipment better. For instance, you can make your subject stand out more (shallower depth of field) just by shooting your lenses at their minimum focusing distance and / or shooting longer focal lengths, so you don’t necessarily need a better lens to get that effect!
After determining what it is you want to improve upon, then you need to look at the cost of making an upgrade to your gear. If the upgrade is in the form of a new camera or lens, it’s usually a pretty substantial amount of money to spend, so those choices should be made carefully. We have lost tons of cash by buying gear that we didn’t actually need. :(
If you’re a pro, it can be helpful to weigh the cost by figuring out if that piece of gear will make you more money. If it won’t, it could probably be viewed as a luxury purchase, rather than a necessary purchase.
If you’re a hobbyist, everything is pretty much a luxury purchase, so it’s simply a matter of whether you have the cash, and want to spend it on camera gear! That’s a decision that you have to make for yourself. But I can recommend paying your bills prior to getting some fancy new glass!
– Lauren :)
That’s awesome that you want to learn to use InDesign! It is definitely super efficient for album design! Now, when it comes to using layered Photoshop templates, I honestly don’t know if you’d be able to make that work. Different templates use different elements of Photoshop (simple layers, Smart Objects, etc.) and it’s hard to say how they would all translate in InDesign.
You *can* import a layered PSD file into InDesign, and control the visibility of different layers. But they don’t come into the program ready to use in a “drag and drop” manner. You also can’t adjust colour, as far as I can tell.
Now, you could import the template and then turn it into an InDesign template by dragging empty frames over the Photoshop image. It would take a bit of work, but would be fairly fast.
In our album design tutorial we go over creating your own templates from scratch, and building yourself a nicely organized library to make designing super fast!
Hope that helps! You can check out this article for a complete rundown of how to import layered PSDs into InDesign.
– Lauren :)
That’s fantastic that you’re getting into photography when you’re young! It’s an amazing pursuit that will last a lifetime!
When it comes to which camera is right for you, you can check out our free Camera Buying Guide for explanations of the different types of cameras, as well as accessories to consider.
But don’t worry too much about the camera. A great photographer can take a compelling shot with a camera phone. A poor photographer can’t create an interesting photo, even with the most expensive gear you can get! What’s really important is developing your own photographic eye, which simply takes a TON of practice!
And when it comes to what you can do with the images, well, the sky is the limit! You could start a blog to share your progress with your friends and family. This can be great to get feedback and encouragement as you’re learning (Fun fact: My first photography blog was called “I’m Going To Be A Photographer When I Grow Up”!)
You can also create photo books with the shots, which is an awesome way to enjoy and share your work.
There are of course other things you can do with the shots, like putting them on stock photography sites to potentially make money off of them, or putting them into an online portfolio to send to potential clients.
I guess my advice would boil down to two things. First, shoot a LOT. Second, share what you create. If you do that enough, you’ll figure out more about who you are as a photographer, and what you want to do with your work!
– Lauren :)
Do you have Lightroom? When you’re exporting your photos from Lightroom there is a watermarking option. You can click the drop down and select “Edit Watermarks”.
And after clicking Edit Watermarks… You’ll get this editor:
Here you’ll have the option to apply a custom watermark in a variety of different ways (size, color, positioning, opacity). You can also apply graphic water marks. It makes it pretty quick work to batch watermark your images. And if you put your watermark in a corner of the image, you’re less likely to have it going across faces!
– Rob :)
There are quite a few different photo cart systems out there. Some of them handle both the ordering process along with fulfilment (printing and delivery). We used a system called Pickpic which allowed us to upload a gallery of images and then have our clients select different size prints, add them to a cart, and pay for them. We would then get emailed an order sheet of the prints they wanted, the quantity, and size (along with cropping info). Their credit card info would also be recorded in the secure system so that we could process the payment ourselves. With this arrangement we would then print out the photos at whichever printer we wanted and ship them to the customer.
Another option you might want to check out is Photoshelter. We haven’t used them before but their system looks pretty slick (offering websites, galleries, print ordering and fulfilment.)
– Rob :)
The photographer is certainly more important than the camera! You could have the fanciest camera in the world, but if you didn’t know how to use it to achieve your creative vision then it would be a pretty big waste!
That said when approaching weddings it’s definitely important to take gear seriously! The first thing I’ll mention is that you absolutely need backup equipment (in case your main camera breaks). Weddings are a once in a lifetime event and you don’t want to miss a shot because of a broken camera. The next thing that you’ll need is a variety of different lens focal lengths to handle all the different situations you’ll be photographing at a wedding (portraits, photojournalism, details, etc.). You can learn more about the lenses and cameras we suggest by checking out this article: The Photographers’ Wedding Day Gear Kit
Keep in mind is that you can rent cameras and lenses – which will be a more affordable option for you than purchasing a new camera and lenses for just two weddings.
To reiterate the photographer is certainly more important than the camera, but when it comes to weddings you need to be prepared. That means having a decent kit of cameras and lenses in order to properly capture the day.
– Rob :)