∞ Photography for Beginners: An introduction

Buying a digital camera is one of the most important decisions in your life.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Oh come on, no it’s not! But for such a relatively insignificant purchase, it is unnecessarily fraught with stress and aggravation. After all, it’s just a camera, how hard can it be?

Well, if my recent conversation with Jim Dalrymple, publisher of The Loop, is any indication, plenty hard.

While Jim is atypical in many ways (have you seen his beard!?), he is also very typical in many others. As a doting father, he wanted to help his daughter buy a new digital camera. He went to his local big box retailer looking for a moderately priced point and shoot camera that she can use for taking typical teenager photos and to help out with her high school year book. Sounds simple, right?

There’s an axiom that too much choice can be a bad thing. And, when it comes to digital cameras, there can be way too many choices. From a variety of well known manufacturers like Canon, Sony, Nikon and Olympus to lesser known (but not necessarily lesser cameras) from the likes of Pentax, Casio, Kodak and Panasonic, there are over 500 different point and shoot cameras alone.

Start tossing in details like zoom, megapixels, LCD size and even the color of the outside case and the choices quickly become overwhelming to the average consumer. Often times, people like Jim just buy whatever is in their price range and hope for the best.

I did my best in helping Jim out but there is only so much a friend can do on the phone from across a continent. Jim seemed to like what I said and the way I said it and then suggested this column.

So, here it is. We hope the column will be a seed and grow into a place where beginners can get non-technical advice and assistance from each other on cameras, features, what to look for, how to take better pictures, what services are available and a whole gamut of other ideas, tips, concepts and information.

To be clear, this will be a beginner digital photography column. While I won’t dumb it down, I won’t be covering much in the way of technical photography or software. There are plenty of other places for that.

By way of introduction to me, my name is Shawn King and I have been an Mac focused Internet broadcaster for over 14 years. I am not a professional photographer. However, I am a (moderately) talented amateur photographer who not only loves taking photographs, but also loves helping others take better pictures.

I have taught Beginner Digital Photography Seminars at Macworld Expo (among other places) and have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the very complicated nature of taking pictures in order to then explain it to an audience who isn’t particularly interested in the technical aspects — they just want to take good photographs. These columns will not only include my opinion and advice but will also talk about web sites, software, iPhone photography apps, books and whatever else comes to mind but with a big dose of questions and comments from the readership of The Loop.

These columns will not be “The Truth from on High.” I don’t have all the answers, but, with the help of other photographers, and would-be photographers, we can get there together.

Shawn King is the Host of Your Mac Life and is teaching the Beginning Digital Photography Seminar at the upcoming Macworld Expo. Shawn has been told he “has a good eye”. He thinks it’s the left one.