Apparently today is National Camera Day, which we first thought was a US thing as even the super serious camera nerds in the office didn’t know it was happening. However, it turns out Camera Day is a UK thing – though its origins remain a bit of a mystery. We’ll be honest, we’re not quite sure why today, June 29th , is National Camera Day or what it is all about. We read somewhere that it’s something to do with donating cameras for worthwhile photography projects, which does indeed sound like a very noble thing to do.

It did get us thinking about our own cameras though and in particular when we got our first ‘proper’ cameras.

So, we thought we’d dedicate this blog post to sharing a few tips to those who might currently be saving for the first proper camera. Hopefully some of you may also have some nuggets of advice of your own to share?

Consider what you will photograph the most

You might not have a particular photographic niche in mind just yet, in which case – the camera world really is your oyster but if you want to concentrate on a specific type of photography – whether it be nature photography, street photography or perhaps food photography, you’ll need to consider the features you’ll need to get the best images. This means thinking about where you will use camera as well as what for as you might need to agility over photo quality or zoom over speed.  If you’re completely new to photograph you might not be sure what you’re looking out for, so try looking at photographs in the genre you want to pursue on Flickr – see what camera images are taken with and look at the features of the camera. Read up on the essentials of the genre a little and pretty soon you’ll have a checklist to start from.

Think about the cost of add-ons

Shooting with a DSLR means splashing out for add-ons such as lenses, so it’s worthwhile checking if you can get away with a cheaper compact camera for the convenience. Point and shoot cameras work a lot harder than they used to, though you can find some of the flexibility of a DSLR with a compact system (which will require lens purchases). If you definitely want a DSLR be sure to cost the full set up and remember it’s not all Canon Vs Nikon!

Check out insurance

Even if your camera is a relatively budget buy you’ll want to consider keeping it in as good nick as possible, if only because it can be a pain to adjust to a new camera when you are learning. Buy a camera bag to keep it safe in transit. Some say that DSLRs tend to hold their value a little better than compact cameras, so if you’re likely to want to sell and upgrade in a few years you may want to stick with a DSLR. Whatever you choose – be sure to check it’s covered with some insurance of you’re splashing out. You might be covered on your home insurance if you have it, though it’s not always the case and you should definitely check any excess either way. If you’ve been saving for a camera for a while just think how gutted you would be if it got stolen or broken!

We’d recommend going and trying out cameras in store to get an idea how they feel and what they are like to handle but don’t forget your checklist when you do. A camera might feel great in your hands but you shouldn’t disregard an important feature that was top of your wishlist just because a camera feels right. And of course, don’t forget to make the most of your photographs when you get going – transferring images to canvas to keep as prints will make sure you never forget your first camera.

What was your first camera? How do you go about choosing it or did it choose you?