Thank you for this great post! I was looking on the internet a lot about best cameras for beginners and your post is the best. It’s so easy to read! I really want to get Nikon D3300, I actually want to buy the whole package, but your link shows that the package you recommend is unavailable. Could you, please, help me choose another good package to buy?
#1 - the umbrella is to make the light spread out over a larger area which softens it. There is a misconception that just diffusing your light with one of those plastic spheres will make it softer - not true. If you are bouncing indoors off the ceiling or a wall then yes it will - but outdoors it will not make the light any softer. Light quality is related to the size of the light source - nothing else.

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Assuming that you are setting something up, choosing the time of day and the location carefully, you have control of all the elements. Meaning, once you get set up the exposure should not need to change. But if you put it in Aperture or Shutter priority, depending in the metering mode selected, the camera could choose a slightly different exposure for each frame. You do NOT want that! Consistency is very important.
Because one of our best tips is to shoot in RAW we advise getting fast memory cards. RAW files are big and there is lots of data to store on your memory card. You should be looking at the ‘write’ speed measured in MB/s. BEWARE! The speed listed on the card is the transfer speed (the speed in which it transfers the files to your computer). Whilst it can be good to have a fast transfer speed what you want is good write speed. 95MB/s is a good write speed and should easily handle a continuous burst of RAW photos.
In-person photo kiosks are quick and convenient, but they are often inconsistent since there are a number of different factors that affect print quality. One drugstore or superstore may have solid print quality, while the same store by the same name in the next town over may not. We have had some success at one drugstore, only to get 5 x 7s printed on 8 x 10 sheets (and having to dig out the scissors to cut them out manually) at another.
Shoes matter. Please don’t wear sneakers – unless we’re talking about some funky Converse that go with the feel of the session. The choice of shoes can make or break an outfit. Slipping on a pair of hip, distressed boots or some colorful ballet flats can tie everything together and complete the feel of the session. Think about coordinating those bright and colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo – not necessarily on the subject themselves, but rather match little sister’s bright turquoise shoes to the sweater or scarf her mama is wearing. It ties everything together without looking too match-y match-y. And many times NO shoes looks best, especially if you’ll be sitting or in poses where the bottoms of shoes can be seen – that never looks pretty. And don’t forget some funky socks to add another splash of color or personality if your overall look of the session is fun and bright.
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