Photography

Any aspiring photographers out there?  You might not have realized it, but the library is a fantastic place to learn more about pretty much any hobby, and we have a huge photography section.  Check out our catalog to see all our books about digital photography.

There are many different kinds of cameras, and the more advanced ones with more features that produce higher-quality images can be pretty expensive, but you can still take an excellent and artistic photo with a cheaper camera.  Nowadays if you have a modern cell phone, you already have a pretty decent camera!
There are three main types of cameras- cell phone cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, and DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras.
Cell phone cameras are what most of us are familiar with and are the most easily accessible.  Cell phone camera quality has vastly improved over the past several years, and nowadays if you have a smartphone from the past year or two, you already have a pretty decent camera.  The main benefits of cell phone cameras are their accessibility, built-in filters to easily create more artistic images, and the ability to share with friends and family immediately.
Point-and-shoot cameras are stand-alone cameras that are a step above cell phone cameras in quality and vary greatly in price.  The cheapest ones are about the same as a cell phone camera, but the more expensive ones have more advanced features and can produce very high-quality images.  They are called “point-and-shoot” cameras because, in contrast to DSLR cameras (described next), you do not need to adjust any settings or manually focus before taking a picture.  You literally just point and shoot, the same as with a cell phone camera.

Digital single-lens reflex cameras produce the highest quality images and are what professional photographers use.  The main differences are that they are bigger, have interchangeable lenses, and use a mirror-and-prism system.  This allows the photographer to view through the lens exactly what image the camera will capture, as opposed to a viewfinder camera (what point-and-shoots use), where the displayed image could be different from what is actually captured.  Although they do have automatic settings, to take full advantage of the camera’s capabilities you should use the manual settings.  You can focus the lens manually or automatically and change other settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  If you have a tripod or can rest the camera on a surface, this allows you to take high quality photos in low light, which you cannot do with a point-and-shoot camera.

If you’re curious to learn more, check out our vast collection of books on photography at the McAllen Public Library.  You can also check out these online tutorials:
First Camera Crash Course
Digital Photography School Ultimate Guide

The most important thing is to just get out there and experiment!  One of the best things about any digital camera is that there is no such thing as wasting film.  So don’t be afraid to get out there and try it!

For some inspiration, check out some DSLR photos that this librarian-blogger-photographer has taken!


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