Introduction

This guide demonstrates how to select the appropriate professional camera and equipment for your guides.

High quality photographs will make your how-to guides stand out and enable your readers to follow procedures more easily. This guide will walk you through picking out the right camera equipment to create professional quality guide images.

The most important component for taking pictures is, of course, the camera. We highly recommended that you use a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera to take professional quality guide images.
  • The most important component for taking pictures is, of course, the camera. We highly recommended that you use a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera to take professional quality guide images.

  • When it comes to cameras, megapixels aren't nearly as important as manufacturers want you to believe they are. DSLRs have significantly larger image sensors than point-and-shoot cameras, which allows them to capture more light and yield larger, higher resolution images. Color reproduction and image sharpness also tend to be much better when using a DSLR.

Add Comment

Nearly every digital camera manufactured today is boxed up already set on an Auto function. Any DSLR received in such a setting should be switched off of Auto immediately, but to which setting?
  • Nearly every digital camera manufactured today is boxed up already set on an Auto function. Any DSLR received in such a setting should be switched off of Auto immediately, but to which setting?

  • Aperture priority (denoted by an A or Av, depending on your camera's manufacturer) provides the best workflow when shooting photographs for guides. Additionally, you should set the ISO to the lowest possible value.

    • "Aperture priority" means that you select the camera's aperture and it automatically adjusts the shutter speed in order to achieve the correct exposure. If you find your images are coming out too dark or too bright, you may adjust the exposure compensation (EV).

  • For a full explanation of the different camera settings and when you should change them, check out iFixit's Camera Operating Instructions article.

Add Comment

A key feature of an SLR camera is the ability to select whatever lens you would like to use when taking photos. You want to be able to capture large subjects and also zoom in on small ones. A zoom lens with focal lengths spanning the ballpark of 20-100mm should be able to handle most situations.
  • A key feature of an SLR camera is the ability to select whatever lens you would like to use when taking photos. You want to be able to capture large subjects and also zoom in on small ones. A zoom lens with focal lengths spanning the ballpark of 20-100mm should be able to handle most situations.

    • The lens shown here is a basic 18-105mm lens that comes with most high-end Nikon consumer DSLRs.

Add Comment

An all-purpose zoom lens should take care of the majority of photos that you will take, but sometimes you need to get close to the action—really close. This is where a macro lens comes in. Unlike the 18-105mm lens that came with the camera—which cannot focus on objects closer than about 1.5 feet away—a macro lens, like the one shown here, can focus on objects that are only a few inches away. This kind of close-up photography is crucial if you're documenting things like circuit boards or the pattern on a butterfly's wing. Look at all the scratches on George Washington's neck! There's no way this quarter is still worth 25¢.
  • An all-purpose zoom lens should take care of the majority of photos that you will take, but sometimes you need to get close to the action—really close. This is where a macro lens comes in.

  • Unlike the 18-105mm lens that came with the camera—which cannot focus on objects closer than about 1.5 feet away—a macro lens, like the one shown here, can focus on objects that are only a few inches away. This kind of close-up photography is crucial if you're documenting things like circuit boards or the pattern on a butterfly's wing.

    • Look at all the scratches on George Washington's neck! There's no way this quarter is still worth 25¢.

Add Comment

Every hand-held camera is prone to shakes and vibrations that cause blurry photos. Keep your images sharp by using a tripod.
  • Every hand-held camera is prone to shakes and vibrations that cause blurry photos. Keep your images sharp by using a tripod.

  • Selecting the right tripod ultimately boils down to how you plan to use your camera.

    • Most of the tripod's height should come from its legs, rather than the center column. Raising the center column makes the tripod less sturdy and should only be used for quick, temporary height adjustments.

    • If all of your photos are going to be shot with the camera sitting perfectly horizontal, then a standard 3-way panning head is more than adequate. If your photography requires funky angles, though, look into a ball head-type tripod.

    • Make sure that your tripod is rated to hold however much weight you're going to be mounting on top of it.

    • The weight of the tripod itself may be a factor if your work requires you to move around a lot or trek through the great outdoors. You may find that a tripod made with lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber, best suits your needs.

Add Comment

When it comes to cameras, even the slightest nudge can take a perfect composition and turn it into a blurry mess. Luckily, there are a number of features and techniques you can utilize to ensure consistent quality throughout your guide photos. Turn off any sort of image stabilization on the camera and/or lens when it is mounted on a tripod. This may seem counterintuitive, but those features actually introduce small vibrations that are meant to cancel out the blur due to a photographer's shaking hands. The exception to this rule are lenses that have a "tripod" setting for image stabilization. Even pressing the shutter button can cause the camera to shake. Use a remote shutter release or your camera's self-timer to keep yourself from jostling the equipment.
  • When it comes to cameras, even the slightest nudge can take a perfect composition and turn it into a blurry mess. Luckily, there are a number of features and techniques you can utilize to ensure consistent quality throughout your guide photos.

  • Turn off any sort of image stabilization on the camera and/or lens when it is mounted on a tripod. This may seem counterintuitive, but those features actually introduce small vibrations that are meant to cancel out the blur due to a photographer's shaking hands. The exception to this rule are lenses that have a "tripod" setting for image stabilization.

  • Even pressing the shutter button can cause the camera to shake. Use a remote shutter release or your camera's self-timer to keep yourself from jostling the equipment.

  • For the best professional quality studio images, consider using a tethered shooting program, such as Nikon's Camera Control, Canon's EOS Capture, or a third-party application like Sofortbild (Mac only). Connect your camera directly to the computer, have one person model and compose the shot, and have a second person fire the shutter while sitting at a desk.

Add Comment

Finish Line

One other person completed this guide.

Dozuki System

Member since: 09/24/2009

1 Reputation

123 Guides authored

One Comment

Selecting a professional camera is a little bit tough for a professional. It only depends on that which type of profession you are doing. If a photographer wants to buy a high digital camera then he/she will go with an average camera which neither below the quality nor above the high quality. And, for a movie creation firm, they will always choose a high digital camera. Because it will affect their movie quality. For more queries about which camera should buy according to your profession, then please contact Canon Customer Service: http://supportnumbers.net/canon-printer-...

Canon Support - Reply

Add Comment