How to Take Care of Your New Camera (And Play with It, Too!)

You’ve been good all year, and Santa recognized your dedication with a brand new camera!

We thought we’d help with some practical tips about taking care of your new baby.

Everything from how to clean your lens, what filters are what and what to do with the photos after you’ve played with your camera plenty.

It’s okay if Santa forgot to include a care guide. We got you covered.

Get Started With Your New Camera!

Protect Your Lens and Enhance Photos with Filters:

paper-smYour camera’s lens is fragile, vulnerable to scratches, dings, or cracks. You can give it a fighting chance with a plain UV filter.

If you happen to drop your lens, the filter will break first in most cases, saving you an expensive repair bill. The filters don’t have to be boring old glass though – there are lots of different types out there to play with! Here’s a short guide to filters:

Polarizing filter: If you do a lot of outdoor photography, a polarizing filter will help reduce glare and increase colour saturation. This means deep blue skies and lush trees!

Neutral density filter: If you’ve ever wanted to take a photo where water looks misty and smooth, a neutral density filter might be for you. This nifty filter lets you decrease your shutter speed much lower than the ambient light levels will normally allow.

Colour filters: There are a whole host of colour filters available on the market – every single colour of the rainbow. These can be use to warm up or cool down your images. You might want to try our handy keychain filters.

Make the Most of Your Shutter With a Tripod

paper-sm Your new camera probably has a wide range of shutter speeds. While handshake on a quick shutter speed isn’t a problem, those low-light situations won’t let you get away with a single twitch. Blurry photos just won’t do!

Save yourself from this frustration by investing in a good tripod. When looking for a tripod, keep in mind the weight of the camera with the heaviest lens you own on it. A flimsy tripod won’t do you or your camera any good.

If a tripod isn’t in the budget at the moment, you can get away with some MacGyver-style tricks. Use tables or flat rocks to hold your camera and prop up the lens with a pair of socks, gloves, or anything else that fits well. Then, set your camera to open the delayed shutter release. This will prevent camera shake and keep the photo crisp.

Things to try with your new tripod:

Keep the Ins and Outs Clean and Spot-Free

paper-sm You’re pretty adventurous with your photography, so your camera is bound to get dirty from time to time. Keep it clean with some simple tools and a little knowhow.

Keeping the lens clean is easy:

  • Spray some lens cleaner onto a microfiber cloth. (It’s not a good idea to spray the camera directly!)
  • Rub the cloth on the lens lightly to pick up the dirt.
  • Turn the cloth over and buff the lens dry.

If you’re noticing little spots showing up on your photos (you’ll see them best on bright, solid colour backgrounds), then you might have dust on your sensor.

Cleaning a camera sensor can be tricky work, but luckily for you, we have a handy guide on how to do it efficiently and without damaging the sensor. Check it out here!

Turn Your Favourite Bag Into a Camera Bag

paper-sm Your camera isn’t going to spend all its time inside your house, so protect it when you take it out for an adventure.

Depending on where you travel to, sometimes it’s not always the best idea to advertise that you’re carrying a camera. Brand-name camera bags can do just that.

If you have an old camera bag around, the liners usually lift out pretty easily. Then its simply a matter of sewing up the sides and sliding the insert into your favourite bag.

If you’re not into making your own bag or don’t have the materials to do so, check out our Any Bag Camera Insert. It’s inexpensive and makes it easy to repurpose any bag into a fashionable and discrete camera bag.

Turn Digital to Analogue by Printing Your Photos

paper-sm It’s the digital age and most photographers are busily snapping away hundreds (or thousands!) of photos and posting them online or e-mailing them.

Your new camera will probably have you doing something similar! It’s important not to forget to print out your photos once in awhile.

Here are some ideas of what to do with your prints:

  • Make a Wall of Achievement: You have photographs from trips, epic weekends, and that time you met your favourite celebrity. Dedicate a wall in your home with a framed display of all the cool things you’ve done so far in life. Mix and match frame styles for visual interest!
  • Make a Journal: With the new year approaching, you might need a new journal to keep track of your ideas and memories. Try our tutorial!
  • Make an Album: Instead of filling your coffee table with magazines and remote controls, put together a flip book of your photos for friends and family to look through.
  • Stay Organized with a Photo Calendar: Last year, we showed you how to make a handy and beautiful photo calendar to keep your life organized. If your didn’t try it out last year, give it a shot for 2012!

Taking Your Photography to the Next Level

The world is full of moments for you to capture with your new camera. If you’re strapped for ideas though, Photojojo is always here for you! Be sure to check out our DIY and tags for fun projects. Our Tumblr is always full of inspiration from amazing photographers, too!

  • Read your manual! Every camera has its own special talents. Find out what yours can do!
  • Spend some time on photo sharing sites like Flickr and 500px. Communities there are pretty helpful and there are plenty of inspiring images!
  • Make sure you bond with your camera – take it with you when you leave the house! You can’t take the photo if you don’t have your camera!
  • Organize photo adventures with your fellow photo-loving friends! Day trip to national parks, the next town over, anywhere!