Get into photography on a budget

Getting into photography might seem like a long shot, financially speaking – but there are some cheap and easy ways to snap the best images and become a photography master.

Your photo personality

Before getting your debit card out, think about the kind of photographer you want to be. The kit you use, and the way you edit, depends on the style of photography you prefer. The Digital Photography School has a brilliant guide to finding the kind of photographer you might be, while Photodoto has a fun rundown of 30 photographer types and Lauren Lim at Photography Concentrate has collected 54 compelling reasons for getting into photography.

Bargain kit

Photography kits, including cameras, tripods and lenses, are often discounted, so join the mailing lists of electrical stores and photography suppliers like Jessops to get the latest sale alerts. If you want to start with some education, look to daily deal sites including Groupon and Wowcher, for discounted photography courses.

Secondhand cameras

Buying a brand new digital camera with easy-to-use controls, designed to shortcut your route to being a photography guru, is an appealing option; but a much cheaper secondhand camera can produce amazing results. By mastering your skills on an older digital model – or vintage film camera – you’ll really be getting to grips with the art of photography. Try Camera Jungle, eBay and Amazon for buying, selling and part-exchanging photographic equipment.

More than a selfie

With a smartphone, you can take great quality pics immediately. It’s worth understanding which conditions smartphones work best in: for example, natural light helps you achieve a crisp, vivid shot. For more tips check out Wanderlust, Picture Correct and Popular Science.

Excellent editing

Even if you’re taking smartphone snaps, becoming an accomplished editor elevates the level of your photography. Adobe’s Photoshop is the most common editing tool – but it’s expensive. Tech Advisor has a great rundown of free and cheap photo editing alternatives for Windows. Play around with images you’ve taken, watch YouTube tutorials for tips, and be prepared to make mistakes that you can learn from.

Perfect prints

If you want to print your photos, Snapfish offers regular deals and 20 6x4” prints for free when you join; Photobox also has a great offers section. For old-fashioned processing, the Snappy Snaps newsletter features its latest deals.

Make money

Once you’re taking and editing photos regularly, there’s no reason why you can’t make some money to fund your hobby – or even set up your own business. As well as having an Instagram account, consider setting up a blog where you can showcase your photos and talk a bit about your style, subjects and inspiration. You can also license your photos to stock sites like Getty/iStock and Shutterstock. For more ideas on selling your photography online, check out Shopify.

You will be a picture perfect photographer in no time!