Aug 282013

One of the sad admissions I tell my students, is my horrible experience of how I grew up as a photographer. I was under impression the more expensive the equipment the Better the photos, and as a result I end spending tons of money that went to waste.
Don’t get me wrong, expensive equipment in the right hands sometime could lead to better photo. But most of the time, I would bite the bullet and say 99% of the time that is not the case. However here are the very essentials you need as a bare minimum to have wonderful photos:

1)      Camera Body:

You need to buy a capable camera. Not those point and shoot cheapy ones. To me a capable camera is the one that at least gives you the option to control your exposure, i.e. to control the Aperture, Shutter and full Manual, and also gives you an option to change lenses. There are tones of Camera with that capability and the prices starts as low as RO 200 (800 dollars). Below are examples of Photo that I took using Various Cameras, from cheap ones to the most expensive ones. And as you can see, there isn’t much difference


  •  A)     Panasonic GF2
Panasonic GF-2, A:22, S:10sec, ISO:100

Panasonic GF-2, A:22, S:10sec, ISO:100

  • B)      Fuji X100
Fuji X100, A:16, S:2.3sec, ISO:200

Fuji X100, A:16, S:2.3sec, ISO:200

  • C)      Leica X2
Leica X2, A:2.8, S:1/100, ISO:100

Leica X2, A:2.8, S:1/100, ISO:100

  • D)     Nikon D90
Nikon D90, Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye, A:2.8, S:1/125, ISO:250

Nikon D90, Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye, A:2.8, S:1/125, ISO:250

  • E)      Nikon D300S
Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-70mm, A:22, S:5sec, ISO:200

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-70mm, A:22, S:5sec, ISO:200

  • F)      Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-105mm, A:22, S:2.5sec, ISO:100

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-105mm, A:22, S:2.5sec, ISO:100

  • G)     Nikon D3S
Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-70mm, A:22, S:6sec, ISO:200

Nikon D3S, Nikon 24-70mm, A:22, S:6sec, ISO:200

  • H)     Leica M9-P
Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Zeiss 21mm Biagon, A:2.8, S:1/60, ISO:160

Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Zeiss 21mm Biagon, A:2.8, S:1/60, ISO:160

2)      Camera Lens:

This is where most of your money will go if you are not careful. If you are starting photography, than you need not to hurry. For starters the lens that comes with your camera (kit Lens)  is good enough for now . And buy one more fixed wide Aperture lens so that you could use it in Dark places such as (Birthday Parties, Dinners etc). Wide Aperture lens (Aperture: 1.4 to 1.8) also gives you a beautiful out of focus effect, i.e. DEPTH OF FIELD. Nikon, Canon, Sony all have this type of lens and they come very cheap.

Once you are confident with your photography Skills, than you would require some good lens. However, lens that you NEED ONLY for your day to day lives. Here you will find some of the lens that I believe is a MUST and you dont need anything else

3)      Polarizing and Neutral Density Filters:

Polarizing filter is useful for Day photography, especially in hot bright countries such as Oman. Where the sky is WHITE blue. Polarizing filters makes the sky become blue (natural colors), and always prevents your photos to be washed out (over exposed)

Neutral Density Filters (ND) are important if you want to be creative, i.e. taking photo of sea and freezing the wave. It comes in different strength and stops, the higher the stops, the lower the shutter speed it can achieve. ND filters also is useful during bright day photography, it helps to minimize the over exposures on your photos

4)      TRIPOD:

If you don’t have a tripod, you are not a complete photographer. How else would you do night photography? How else would you compose your photos to the most difficult angles? So tripod is a must to stabilize the camera during times where your shutter speed is below 1/30. Times such night photographing, or creative photography like freezing the sea water etc. There are tons of tripod out there, I would recommend a good steady tripod (Monfroto is the one I use)

5)      Photo Editing Software:

A photo is not complete without a quick touch up to bring it to life. To me this is the most essential tools every photographer should get acquainted with. There are tons of photo editing software there (Photoshop, Aperture, Photoshop element, Lightroom etc). They all have the same basic principles, but different in their own way. My favorite and I think the best in the market for photographers is LIGHTROOM. And if you are interested, I conduct this course; just click here to find out more.

The above is what you need to start producing Amazing Professional looking photos. And if you talk money wise, it could be as minimum as RO350 (1000 Dollars).

If you have any question please asks away below in the comment box and I will be more than happy to guide you.


  16 Responses to “5 Things you need to Create Beautiful Photos”

  1. Hi Salim, Thanks for your usefull tips, and i love your photos are really Beautiful Mashallah.

  2. thanks for the tips

    i have a Nikon D5100, is this a good camera for me, im just a beginner?

  3. Fotos r very nice. I have a Canon SLR 1100D; i would like to freeze wave/fountain/running horse
    what settings should i choose? Pls advice…Also i would like to attend your course, when can i join?

  4. Mahalingham. As mentioned above to be able to freeze anything you need high shtter speed. However to make the wave freeze, i.e. look like ice than you need very low shtter speed, in seconds normally and a tripod to do that. Please click above to attend my level one class, as I go in details regarding this topic

  5. Above pictures are beautiful. I have Nikon D80. Can I join your class using it.

  6. Thanks Salim! Your tips are always very useful and simple! And of course the photos r really wonderful !

  7. Thank u Mr.salim for useful tips..

  8. great tips, thank you. but can we get more tips on speed and iso settings.

  9. I recently bough Canoon1100D .but still I am trying to learn

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