Cloud 9 Design


There are plenty of photography courses and helpful free videos available online to improve your own photography, maybe too many when all said and done! However, I’ve been heavily involved with photography for the past 14 years or so and believe it or not I’m still learning myself!! That’s the problem with photography, there’s just way too much to remember, so you’re bound to forget something here and there!! 
When I bought my first digital camera – a Canon 20D, I read the instruction booklet from front to back and back again, but I just couldn’t process all the information in my head. It was the same when I upgraded to a Canon 50D and then to a Canon 7D MKII. With so much to learn, how am I going to possibly start taking decent photos, photos that I am proud of, photos that other people will truly like? The hardest part was taking photos that pleased me as I’m my own worst critic and I still am!!
In the beginning, I was buying books, DVDs, Lighting, Backgrounds, All kinds of filters and other equipment I really didn’t need. I spent a lot of money, which could have gone to better uses in the end. But being eager to learn I just kept on spending! 14 years down the line, and there are a few valuable lessons I have learned and this is the advice I would pass onto anyone just starting out or taking your photography to the next step.

Learn by your own mistakes

  • Watch YouTube videos where you can find out about your own camera model, lenses, lighting and all sorts of different things!
  • If you’re out on location, look at different angles and different levels and how that changes your photos.
  • Forget the rule of thirds, do things your own way and learn by your own mistakes. Not everyone takes exceptional photos by obeying the rules all the time!
  • Experiment all the time that way you will find your niche and the way you prefer to shoot. Never be afraid to try something new and be confident in your own abilities!
  • Join a local photography club and ask advice from other more knowledgable members.


You don’t need a lot of fancy gear to take a decent photo these days and the latest mobile phones can take some amazing pictures. Check this out 
There are also compact cameras that are lightweight and easy to carry around – Take a look at and
However, if you want to step up to a decent digital camera then look here
Before you spend any money, go to a local dealer and weigh up your options, but be careful that the salesperson doesn’t sell you something you really don’t want. A salesperson will always try to sell you the ‘monthly special’, stuff they want to get rid of quickly even if it’s not what you want, so stick to your guns and go into the store focused on what you want. Make a list of questions to ask and make sure you get the best deal. Remember, you don’t have to buy anything there and then so take your time, take a few days so you know you’re making the right choice.


Unless you’re thinking of becoming the biggest and best photographer in the world, only buy equipment that is absolutely necessary. With most compact cameras you buy the camera and usually a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger. That’s it! If you choose to buy a digital camera, you can easily get carried away like I did. In the early days, I was buying expensive flash guns, lenses, lighting equipment, backdrops, plus numerous other add-ons. 

"The best advice I can give to anyone purchasing a digital camera right now is to only buy these essentials" ...

a) A Maximum of Three Lenses
If you buy a digital camera it will normally come with the standard 18-55mm lens. However, if you’re adding on other lenses then think carefully when buying:-  Canon and Nikon lenses are expensive, some may cost more than your camera! However, being a Canon user, I find that Tamron – and Sigma make lenses that are fit for purpose and a lot cheaper too! Because you already have a standard lens, then I would only add a macro lens, a zoom lens and possibly a sports lens – that’s it!! Anything else you’re just wasting money! If you’re lucky, you might find a decent second hand alternative on e-bay or gumtree.
b) A flash gun
You will need a flash gun that can cover bigger areas. A flash that you can tilt and turn to create more light where you need it. Canon and Nikon makes will cost you a pretty penny, but here are some that fit within everyones budget :
c) A Tripod
A decent tripod that isn’t going to weigh you down, but is also easy to transport from location to location.
c) A decent waterproof bag to put all your equipment in.
Whatever you decide to buy make sure it’s waterproof and shockproof. There’s plenty of choices on Amazon, so check them out here:
d) A few memory cards
You won’t get far without a good memory card as your camera stores your photos on them! I usually carry 3-4 depending on where I am shooting and for how long! I prefer Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards, but there’s plenty of choice out there. It might be as well to purchase a good shockproof case to store them in too!
d) A good cleaning kit for your camera and lenses:-
e) A UV protection filter/UV graduated filter for each lens.
Amazon make their own Basics range which are really cheap (under £5 each) or you can go for something a little more expensive, but generally they all perform the same task. You’re bound to find something here:

Well, I hope that has answered  a few of those questions that were rattling around inside your head. If you liked this article, please do share it on your social media platforms too!