With the introduction of digital cameras in recent years, photography as a hobby has really boomed. Some people have even chucked in their regular day job to pursue a career in the photography field.
For many though, it remains an enjoyable, if not occasionally frustrating, hobby. Some people have a natural eye for taking great shots, whereas others need to really do their homework to find out what makes an appealing image.
Many people's first experience of photography is with a camera-phone or compact camera. They're perfectly decent devices - small, portable and, these days, equipped with fairly decent lenses - but they don't offer the control you get with larger dSLR cameras.
If you're someone who has accidentally discovered a love of taking photos through taking pics with your compact, you might be interested in taking your hobby to the next level with the purchase of a dSLR.
For that you'd want something like the entry-level Nikon D3100, a very powerful, reasonably priced camera that gives its user a lot more control and versatility. Canon's Rebel T3i is another perfectly good option.
Once you have it in your hands, you'll want to be sure you get the best out of it. Any photographer will tell you the simplest way to improve is to take lots of pictures. Lots and lots. And keeping taking them. And then take some more.
That way you'll experiment and see what works and what doesn't. The Internet has thousands of websites dedicated to photography and is a great resource for those looking to improve their technique.
Another alternative is to join a photography course. Photography Course London (PCL), for example, offers lessons tailored to those who have recently picked up a dSLR for the first time. All lessons are given on location in central London, so you'll be out and about trying things out, rather than wading through photography-related textbooks in a classroom somewhere.
PCL's Beginners Guide to Digital Photography is a course offers three lessons over three weeks and is designed to help you to understand better your dSLR and discover more about its potential. There are only seven places on this course, ensuring you can have more one-to-on contact with your tutor.
One-day classes are also available. To find out more, head over to PCL's website here.