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Becoming a Photographer in Retirement

How to Become a Photographer

Perhaps you have always wanted to learn more about photography but you have never had the time. Now you are retired and suddenly you have lots of extra time to find a hobby you can enjoy and have fun with! Here you will learn how to become a photographer.

Photography has been described as “painting with light.” Certainly, any visual artist will tell you that tools of the trade are important.

Beginner Photography Tips


If you want to get into photography in a serious way, here are two basic guidelines:

  • Keep it simple. Avoid what is commonly referred as gear acquisition syndrome. You really do not need the best, most expensive equipment on the market to achieve quality results. In fact, the most important piece of equipment is the person holding the camera!
  • Ditch the cell phone. Despite claims by one of the larger manufactures, serious photographers do not use cell phones as their primary camera. They do have their uses, but producing spectacular pictures is not one of them.

What Kind of Camera Should You Buy?

You will want to select a camera that has necessary features to support your creative needs. These features include:

  • Manual selection of exposure modes. This includes aperture, shutter speed, film speed (also known as ISO speed).
  • Select auto-focus mode. You need to be able to override the AF (auto-focus) mechanism to select a specific object to focus on. For example, you have a crowded room and want to single out one person. Where generic auto-focus will select several random points to align with, you really want a single point you control and align with the person you want.
  • Simplicity of picture retrieval. Some cameras will support WiFi, some even support automatic offload to a cloud service. In this case, you do not have to think about offloading your pictures. Others provide simple software in order to make storage easy. Just make sure the software is compatible with your home computer.
  • Ability to support an external flash. This is really the only way to get rid of red eyes and the best way to photograph in low-light conditions. An external flash is also essential when photographing in challenging lighting situations such as outdoors in the bright sun with sharp shadows. In this case, you should use a powerful flash to “fill in” the dark shadows, which gives more even lighting.

Other Considerations

Interchangeable Lenses Versus Zoom Lenses

Modern zoom lenses allow extremes. This includes wide-angle photographs of landscapes or large groups, to capturing an amazing close-up of something like a wild animal you cannot get really close to.

All that being said, interchangeable lenses do offer better optics, if you are looking to get really serious with your shots.

Rechargeable Versus Standard Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are by far the most environmentally-friendly option. They also offer a better high current discharge rate (allows faster flash cycles, so you can take another picture in less time). However, not all cameras come with or can support rechargeable batteries.

DSLR Cameras vs Mirrorless Cameras

While single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) do tend to offer better functions, thye are not necessarily better than higher-end mirrorless cameras.

On the other hand, the big advantage of a DSLR camera is you will always be viewing exactly what is being captured by looking through the lens, even in the brightest sunlight conditions. This is something that cannot be said for any camera that depends on you looking at a display.

Best Cameras for Beginners

Knowing which camera to purchase can be intimidating, so we have you covered. Here are the top three easiest cameras to use that will still take great quality photos!

Nikon D3500

This camera is great for beginners because of its easy use. It has a wide range of shooting effects and even provides a guide. In case you have forgotten what you may have learned from online courses, it provides lines for rule of thirds to make sure everything is where you want it to be in the photo.

Canon EOS 250D

Great and easy to use for photos, this camera also has video aspects as well. This camera takes crystal clear pictures with Dual Pixel CMOS auto focus. If you need some inspiration, it also has Creative Assist mode, to make sure your techniques are correct.

Sony a6000

If you are looking for a smaller, light weight camera, then this is the model for you. This camera offers a fast shooting effect which will help with wildlife photography.

Now You Know How to Become a Photographer

Now that you have picked a camera suitable for your needs and know how to be a photographer, do not be afraid to experiment with it. Do not just find the most convenient automatic setting and leave it there.

The beauty of a digital camera is you can easily take hundreds of photographs and try out the various modes and exposures that your camera supports.

Many free online courses are available to guide you through how to become a photographer. They will also teach you the science and art of making a good photograph in the many environmental conditions you may encounter. Enjoy!