Got A New Camera Over The Holidays? Here’s What You Should Do Next!

Here’s What To Do With Your New Camera

One of the most common holiday gifts is a new camera. It’s also one of the most cherished. There’s nothing quite like the bond that a photographer and his/her camera share. Even if photography is just your hobby, a new camera can easily become your precious baby. It only makes sense that an object that literally captures moments in time is often held so dear. Whether it’s a DSLR, GoPro, camcorder, or a simple point and shoot, receiving a camera over the holidays is a joyous occasion. And if you did get a new camera this past holiday season, then you’re probably looking for any excuse to put it to work. After all, that device needs a chance to breathe and spread its wings. So what exactly should you be doing with your new toy?

Breaking in a new camera typically involves an equal blend of awkwardness and excitement. It’s a necessary first step toward falling in love with this photographic machine. And more often than not, those first interactions conjure up a flurry of questions. What does this button do? How does that setting look? What tripod should I get? How waterproof is it?

Many of these questions have answers buried in your user manual. Yet, most of us don’t have the time or patience for that. Manuals usually aren’t the most enticing reads. So, we went ahead and created this brief list to guide you on your path toward mastering your new camera.

Learn From These Sources:

The first thing you should always do with a new camera is simply test it out. Get to know the thing in a casual atmosphere. Play around with settings, test out different grips, and take as many pics as possible. Most of them won’t turn out well, but you might find a few gems among the rest.

After sufficiently testing the product on a level 1 basis, it’s time to learn the best practices and procedures for your camera type. For this, we recommend a balanced combination of watching youtube tutorials and deriving inspiration from professional photography blogs. Here are some helpful resources for both:

Best Youtube Channels For Photography:

Youtube is a wondrous place full of educational resources. Both of these channels holds an enormous amount of info on photography tips, tricks, and techniques. They’ll help you understand lighting, camera settings, proper angles, and so much more.


new camera The Fstoppers channel has over 330K subscribers and several years worth of extremely helpful videos to choose from. Founded in 2010, the Fstoppers community is dedicated to teaching its audience about every aspect of photography, from camera angles to business practices. It’s one of the better free resources for tutorials, inspiration, and a variety photography information.


new camera While COOPH might sound funny to say out loud, it’s a seriously stimulating and valuable resources for photographers at every level. It stands for Cooperative of Photography and it is just that. This community is designed to invigorate and awaken the artist within you, while providing you with extremely pragmatic tips and techniques.

Best Photography Blogs:

One of the best ways to get better at any art form is to emulate the professionals. Take a gander at these photography blogs and try recreating your own version of some of their photographs. Borrow ideas from multiple sources, piece them together, add your own spin, and viola! You have a unique photo that you can call your own. Just try to not create exact copies of anyone’s work.


new camera Photofocus is a website and blog that details everything from business to the latest photo news. It has detailed Gear Guides, user submission contests, and a seemingly infinite number of resources for both photographers and videographers. This site is the perfect reference book for your new camera questions.

Scott Kelby:

new camera Scott Kelby is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User magazine and runs his own extremely useful website. On it, Kelby presents you with detailed explanations about certain gear, his own portfolio, and hundreds of guest posts and featured artists. If you’re searching for a single photographer to guide you toward success, Kelby’s blog is an excellent resource.

Get These Accessories:

Once you’ve gotten a fairly solid handle on your new camera, you can start to search for accessories. There are so many superfluous camera accessories on the market that finding stuff that you actually need can be challenging. Start with asking yourself what kind of photography you’re most interested in. If you’re mostly taking portraits, it’s probably not necessary to buy a giant telephoto lens. Similarly, you might not need a studio lighting kit if you’re photographing action sports. Here are some highly versatile accessories that’ll be useful in a variety of settings:

Best Tripod:

new camera Our favorite tripod that won’t break the bank is the JOBY GorillaPod. Each leg is highly flexible, bending and locking into place automatically. You can wrap it around a tree branch, cling it onto some rock formations, or use it to get any number of crazy angles. It works with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, but you can always by an attachment to connect a GoPro or action camera. For $32.48, the GorillaPod is a relatively inexpensive and highly versatile tripod.

Best Lens:

new camera Having a decent wide-angle lens will always come in handy. In particular, we love Sigma’s 10-20mm f/3.5 lens. They have options for both Canon and Nikon DSLRs for a very fair price, as far as decent lenses go. Wide angles are necessary for capturing complete landscapes or just simply capturing more within a single image. For $449, this super-wide angle lens will be the perfect sidekick to your new camera.

Best Memory Card:

new camera A decent sized memory card is something that most budding digital photographers neglect. Sure, your new camera most likely came with a 16 or 32GB card. Yet, with 4K video on the rise and image sizes ever-increasing, you’ll likely run out of space quicker than you’d expect. We recommend purchasing a card with at least 64-128GB of space to ensure that you’ll never have to delete any important images before capturing new ones. Our favorite memory card is the SanDisk Extreme Pro, which costs $63.98 for 128GB of storage.

Get These Apps:

Unless you were gifted a polaroid over the holidays, you’re probably going to want a solid set of photo apps to organize and perfect your digital images. Here are two of our favorite desktop and mobile apps for professionals and amateurs alike:


new camera VSCO is an amazing mobile app for capturing, editing, and sharing your photos. You can think of it as a much more mature and photography-centric version of Instagram, minus all of the memes and butt models. The VSCO app features a wide-variety of photo settings and editing tools that can emulate nearly any kind of film or digital camera. The community is for professionals and amateurs alike, and there is an untold amount of inspiration lying in wait. The basic version is completely free, so there’s no sense in not checking it out.


new camera younity is a media server app that gives you remote access to all of your photos from any device. With younity, you can store your photos on any of your computers and access, download, and share them from any of your devices. This is the ultimate tool for saving space on your mobile devices, organizing your photos across multiple storage locations, and accessing your entire collection while on-the-go.

The younity app makes it incredibly easy to share the pics stored on your computer into Instagram, WhatsApp, VSCO, and any other social media or photography-based mobile apps that you use. This way, you can be anywhere in the world and decide to open, edit, and share any image from your entire photo collection. You can also choose to privately share your photos with other younity users from within the app, or download the photos for offline use at any time.

younity works by scanning your computer hard drives and “serving” your files to your mobile devices and/or other computers. By installing younity on all of your devices, you create your own personal and private network for accessing files, streaming media, and discovering your content in a new and invigorating light. It integrates with Apple Photos, Adobe Lightroom, and other media libraries to present every one of your photo collections within a minimalist and sophisticated organizational array. Whether your an avid professional or a trigger-happy amateur, the younity mobile and desktop apps will pair perfectly with your new camera.

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