After choosing the destination you want to travel, one good tip is to gather all the information you can about the locations and landscapes near the place you’ll visit. It’s good to have a good idea of the customs, sites to see, price and exchange food and accommodation, etc. Consult guidebooks, you will find lots of information and great tips. Almost all Cities and States have an official tour guide on the web.
You can take a variety of different photos and photo projects in your backyard, depending on what you are photographing, patio landscaping is not the most exiting option but is something you can do right now without leaving your house. With a camera and a good imagination, you have a number of different options to take pictures in your backyard.
Wild bird photography can be quite challenging. There are many articles on the Internet that cover everything from how to setup the camera to how to take the perfect shot when the birds are flying, they share a lot of details but they don’t have much information for an amateur bird photographer. After many experiences photographing birds, I decided to write this guide and include the best recommendations and places to take beautiful pictures.
I am a rice-lover and even have a really nice high-end rice cooker, so I’ve always wanted to photograph the stunning terraced fields you find in some Chinese locales. While Californian rice fields are generally uninteresting wide, flat expanses in China there are some hilly and mountainous areas where by necessity fields must be created on hillsides. Since rice can only be grown on level land (rice fields must be flooded and water runs away on a slope) steps had to be carved out of the hills so that flat areas could be created. These flat areas are generally evenly spaced vertically so that it naturally becomes easy to see the contour of the land in a way that it difficult with only light and shadow. It is like a contour map has been superimposed on the landscape. So today I thought I’d share a few tips on choosing locations to photograph terraced rice fields in China. In particular the Longsheng rice terraces.
Xishan Shaoyue 西山韶乐 – Our first spot is Xishan Shaoyue. It is the most popular place for rice terrace photography in Longsheng and for good reason. There are three separate sites all visible and easily accessed from Xishan Shaoyue and most of the really stunning photos are taken in this area. As is usual, best times for captures are in the morning and evening.
Qianceng Tianti 千层梯田 (Thousands Layers Fields in English) – Qianceng Tianti is not nearly as picturesque as Xishan Shaoyue and has only one site rather than three. To get memorable shots here you will need good timing, patience and persistence. Perhaps a misty day where clouds give more relief and depth to the scene?
Jinfoding 金佛顶 (Golden Buddhist Summit in English) – This site is further afield and as such is less frequented. If you want to be the only photographer on site this is the location for you. Travel lightly here, though, as it can be a long walk for the out-of-shape. Hiking time is between one hour and two hours depending on your pace, so take some food and your usual short hiking gear including survival knife and compass . Due to sun position this location is best shot in the evening.
Best Times For Shooting
From mid-May to early June: the rice terraces are full of water and the reflections will make for some interesting effects. Workers begin transplanting after the first week of June for about one week, so there will be people on the terraces making it easier for viewers of your photos to judge scale, and adding human interest.
Early October: At this time the rice is ready for harvest: the terraces look like soft swaths of gold.
On snowy winter days: If you are there in winter you will get some unique shots if you are lucky enough to be there on one of the few snowy days. But, if there is no snow, winter is a pretty uninteresting time on the rice paddies – there’s no water in the fields and everything is a dull brown.
From July to early August: Fresh rice shoots are coming up at this time – think vibrant green steps.
Enjoy, and good luck getting that award-winning shot!
Big brands have always used professional photographers to sell their products. In this article I take a look at some of the best adverts ever created, using photography as the main focus.
Reebok CrossFit – Realflex
Back in 2011 Reebok commissioned a whole production team to produce a set of “action” photos to be used in their new ad campaign. The advertisements were promoting the company’s new range of CrossFit shoes called “Realflex.” The ads also had another objective, and that was to highlight Reebok’s new-ish affiliation with the fast-growing sport of CrossFit (see site).
The Realflex shoe was a flop and was quickly replaced with the Nano. The Nano is now in its fourth year of production and has been a big hit with the CrossFit community. Reebok’s affiliation with CrossFit has also been successful, and the company still sponsors the annual CrossFit Games held in California.
The original set of ads was very well executed and does a good job of capturing a staged moment in time. I do feel one or two of the photos could have been more realistic, however one of the ads ticks all the right boxes and was worth the entire team effort. You can see my personal favorite ad here.
Nike – Air Max
Back in 1987 the world was a very different place. No mobile phones (or should I say “usable” mobile phones), no public Internet, and you still needed to use your imagination when watching a movie, as CGI was still in the making.
During this time period I was still a child. I remember scrolling through a random magazine in a store and instantly my addiction to sneakers began with my first visual of the Nike Air Max. I’ve tried searching for the exact ad that I discovered, but the closest match I could find was this (see here).
This ad and shoe are the reasons why I take photos — it sparked a fascination with the brand, the shoe range and product advertising, all in one flick of a page. If I live to see 100-years-old I am confident I will never have a more influential experience ever again.
Every aspect of this ad spoke to me, and looking back at it now, I can see why. The shoe is hovering and glowing. It looks futuristic (even now). I knew I wanted them there and then, but I also knew I would love wearing them even before I tried them on.
I know I am not alone when I talk about how good the advertising was by Nike back in the 1980s. I would even go as far to say it was genius, and I am not just talking about the Air Max. The Air Jordan brand enabled Nike to dominate the basketball industry for years. Even after Jordan’s retirement they still managed to keep the brand going, making Michael Jordan a billionaire.
If Jordan is a billionaire, can you image how much money Nike has made from awesome advertising and marketing.
In the past, photography was only for those who took classes and studied about the basics of photography and those who wanted to become professional photographers. It has not become mainstream until a few decades ago when advancement in technology has improved and cameras have become affordable and more user-friendly, and taking photos have become a must in every occasion.
The advent of social networking sites over the past several years has pushed photography into the forefront of social media. Updating your social media account is no longer complete if you do not post a photo or two. This is what made photography not just a profession but a mainstream hobby as well. Digital cameras have become smaller and smaller and smartphones feature cameras with high resolutions that can compete with those of digital cameras. With smartphones, you no longer need to carry a separate camera around. But if you want professional looking photos, digital cameras are still the way to go.
Photography subjects are no longer limited to landscapes, people and such. Anything you see around you can be used as a subject, even those as mundane as a fly. Here are the different types of photography.
Nature and Wildlife Photography
This is one of the most famous types of photography. Nature shots –beaches, grasslands, forests, waterfalls, etc., are the favorite nature subjects of photographers. Wildlife photography on the other hand captures different types of animals in their natural or man-made habitats. Animals in their natural elements are very popular subjects among wildlife photographers, using very powerful lenses so they can capture their subjects even from a far distance.
Macro photography takes photos of small things in vivid details. It uses a special type of equipment, the macro lens. This type of lens zooms in on the subject with clear precision to capture the minutest detail of the subject.
Photos taken from high above are categorized as aerial photography. Photographers ride in helicopters or small planes to capture images from a high altitude that otherwise cannot be taken with precision when taken from the ground. Aside from riding an aircraft, recent technology has allowed photographers to mount their cameras on drones that are remote-controlled. This way the camera angle can be varied as the photographer requires.
This type is done to showcase a product and present to consumers the product’s specifications, physical appearance, etc. Appliance photography shows consumers the best rice cooker as shown in this site or other products and how you can benefit from them based on their specs and features. Product shots also come with home appliances reviews at sites like http://www.homecentric.org so consumers can compare different brands and types, not only through the specifications but through the high quality photos as well.
Sports players in action are the subjects of this type of photography. Special camera equipment are used in this type to be able to capture moving images clearly and without any blurs.
Underwater life is showcased using special underwater cameras. Regular cameras cannot be used in underwater photography unless the equipment specifically indicates otherwise. The richness of marine life is captured not just for show but for study and research as well.
In a world where so many of us own a digital camera, just about anyone can fancy themselves as a photographer. Of course, there is a big difference between being able to take photos and being able to take good photos. Venturing outdoors can make it even tougher to take a quality photograph, even though it gives photographers the opportunity to capture something unique and beautiful. Make sure that once you get comfortable getting pictures of things like sunsets and other natural features, try giving some new things a try (like action sports or wildlife). For those photographers hoping to take great outdoor photos, here are a few tips to help you out.
The first thing you should know is that the best light is either the half hour before sunrise or the half hour after sunset. Using the sun properly is a key component to any outdoor photo, and the times around sunrise and sunset create the most unique combination of light and shadows for taking photos. It may not seem the like the obvious or optimal time to be out taking photos, but not having direct sunlight is advantageous for outdoor photographers, and if you make a point to head out and take photos around sunrise or sunset, the difference will be obvious and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
You should also be cognizant of composing outside photos, as they can be a lot more complicated and contain more variables than indoor photos. Amongst the light, sky, terrain, and any other objects that may make an appearance in your photo, there’s always going to be a foreground, middle-ground, and background in an outdoor photo, and you need to be aware of how they relate to one another. If you’re careful and meticulous about how you frame things and make sure that everything in the photo serves a purpose, you’ll be able to take spectacular outdoor photos.
Another key to taking outdoor photos is using the horizon in the right way, as the horizon line can be a great tool for taking beautiful and unique photos of the great outdoors. If you put the horizon in your photograph, always make sure that it’s either at the very top or the very bottom of the frame; never put it in the middle. The point of putting the horizon in a shot is to either emphasize the sky or the ground (possibly a body of water), and so you should get as much of the sky or ground in the photo as possible. This is accomplished by placing the horizon at either the top or bottom, dedicating as much space as possible to the phenomenon you’re hoping to capture in the photo.
Finally, when taking outdoor photos, don’t be afraid to explore and try new things (one thing I’ve really gotten into lately is wildlife photography – specifically big game like elk and deer ) . For example, try using a wide-angle lens. The outdoors know no borders and neither should your camera, so try to broaden your scope with a wide-angle lens that will allow you to capture more of the environment around you. Obviously, it’s impossible to capture the entirety of the environment around you in one photo, but a wide-angle lens will help you to get as much as possible in one photo, and that should be your ultimate goal with outdoor photography.
I’ve always specialised in landscape photography. I absolutely love roaming the countryside and taking pictures of sunsets behind a mountain and capturing shots of trees and wildlife. However, I’ve recently started making photography more of a career than a hobby. Unfortunately landscape photography does not pay the bills at the moment. So while I save up to take trips further afield to capture some more unseen sceneries I decided to take portrait pictures for paying customers.
Below are some of the things I learned from this experience. Hopefully it will help fellow photographers wanting to earn some money taking pictures of paying customers.
The highest paying customers you need to focus on is families. If you advertise your services, try targeting stay-at-home moms, who in my experience pay the highest fees to capture the so called perfect family portrait. It can be difficult at times, and children will test your patience! The trick is to work efficiently and have everything set up before the family arrives. Most children will get impatient if they have to hang around, and in my experience, if you can get the pictures taken within the first 20 minutes, most children will behave. I learned this lesson the hard way when taking a family portrait in a garden. In the short time it took me to set up my camera, the two children started fighting with each other and their clothes ended up being so muddy we couldn’t continue the photo shoot. From that day on, I started setting up my equipment a lot faster!
The second best paying customer is women wanting some headshots for possible modelling or acting jobs. To have these professionally done is usually out of their budget, so you can get plenty of customers if you undercut the competition in price. I charge half of what the cheapest photographer charges in my area. This has brought me a lot of customers, who go on to refer their fellow acting and modelling friends. The big problem with models is that their standards are incredibly high. Any blemishes on their skin is an issue. So I started offering photoshop beauty retouching services. This is a great add-on service which has been very well received. There’s plenty of YouTube videos showing you exactly how to retouch pictures using photoshop. If you look at a magazine like Vogue you’ll see some great examples of photoshop retouching.
The main problem is that retouching isn’t enough sometimes. Many of the younger girls have skin problems such as acne. This can’t be hidden completely. Make-up can help but usually isn’t enough. I’ve spoken with a dermatologist, as this was causing me to lose some customers. She advised me to buy special acne make-up. In case that didn’t cover up the acne sufficiently, she told me to try out some over the counter acne products. I did some research on the Internet and after reading a Revitol Acnezine review I decided to test this product out. So far I’ve seen good results with customers. If you need some quick spot remedies, you can read more on http://everythingaboutacne.com.
This might seem a trivial point for a photographer, but if you’re working with beauty concious clients, it’s vital that you can offer a service that goes beyond just taking a picture!
I really hope that sharing these experiences has helped some photographers who are thinking about making photography into a profession. As you can see, there is a learning curve, but if you love to take pictures, it’s all worth it!
Many outdoor adventurers seriously commit themselves to what they are doing. There may be people who think that these people are wasting their time and money, but they have no idea with the kind of commitment these adventurers out there are for. It is for the love of such an activity that brought people of similar hobbies this kind of great experience. And it is not just some run-of-the-mill experience. Outdoor adventurers seek the best experience ever, by equipping themselves the best equipment fitted for the journey. Not every journey you seek is the same as the previous. There will always be subtle differences, even if the location is the same. You will not be standing on the same position at the same time by your next visit. Nowadays, looking for the best location for bow hunting has either become too easy or too difficult – depends on the circumstances that you are facing.
Bow hunting is one of the most enjoyable outdoor adventures there is. In some cases, bow hunting is used as a recreational activity for ex-military personnel who had been serving their duties back in Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead of being holed up in their homes, they are given the opportunity to enjoy themselves with fellow ex-soldiers. Instead of chasing after human enemies and detecting hidden bombs, they are out there hunting for deer and other wildlife permitted for hunting on designated grounds.
A few of my friends just bought new bows and crossbows based on online reviews and planned on taking the weekend for a bow hunting trip. As a photographer catching on to new inspirations, I volunteered to to go with them on their adventure, even if I have no idea how hunters do their thing. But it was an opportunity for me to see how hunters hunt for their prey and how much I can learn from them.
The word play seems to fit. Photographers also ‘hunt’ for places to take great shots, and hunters also hunt for places to take the best ‘prey’. Whether they are out for bird hunting or deer hunting, capturing the moment when deer and birds run and fly could turn out to be a very fantastic shot.
What I learned from going with these hunters is that their principles in hunting are almost similar to that of photography.
First of all, hunters practice patience. If you are taking wildlife and nature photography, you employ this habit, too, in order to get the best shot. To hunters, they should not get dispirited when they lost their chance to get their hunt. There is always another chance to hunt, no matter how many hours they spend sitting, standing or not seeing their target at all. Second is being confident of themselves – choices that you make, and in the abilities that you possess. Second guessing may work in some cases, but most of the time your shots suffer. Trust your instincts, be confident and you will get the perfect shot, both in photography and hunting.
After the day was over and my friends caught their target, I took a photo of them all to commemorate their hunting experience for that day. I took a picture of my friend with his new compound bow and the target at his feet.
The goal of a photographer is to bring a still image to life. This is particularly challenging when the subject of an image is itself inanimate. Capturing an object in motion is very different from taking a photo of a bowl of food, or a piece of jewelry.
The way I like to think about the difference between the two is that when I’m photographing something moving, I’m capturing an event. Something happened – and here is the image to show you what happened. If I’m taking a photo of an inanimate object, it’s more of an examination into the object. It’s a more detail oriented process. In this situation, my goal as a photographer is to not merely capture an object in the frame, but to examine it – to reveal its essence, not just its form.
In my opinion, this is the difference between someone who takes passport photos for a living and someone who’s a genuinely excellent photographer. Taking a passport photo is about what something looks like. ‘Here is the face of this person, so that you can verify that it’s the same person going through the border’. Taking a portrait of a person’s face is different – we’re not just trying to capture what a person looks like – the camera does that for us. Our goal is to capture who that person is – what they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. What are their hopes and dreams? The very best photographs are those which capture something that the camera itself is incapable of.
In my experience, the trick to being able to do this is to know the subject. It doesn’t matter if it’s a person, a building, a plate of food, or a piece of jewelry. In the vast majority of cases, the more you know about a subject, the more you’ll be able to capture its essence.
To help you understand this concept better, I’ll give you two examples of recent jobs I had where I went above and beyond in order to try and get a better set of images for the client. In the first, I was asked to take photos of a few plates of food for a cookbook (the food was delicious). I won’t name the cookbook right now as I’m not sure it’s public information yet. This chef cooks Japanese food, and although I like sushi, I don’t really know all that much about Japanese cuisine. So I went to do some research about Japanese culture, mainly here. There is a Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi that is quite distinct from the western tastes. It emphasizes understatement, subtlety, and sparseness and prioritizes asymmetry and simplicity. In particular, wabi-sabi imagery usually involves large empty spaces. So when I shot the photos, I tried to emulate this aesthetic – rather than taking the typical, extremely vivid, vibrant, photos that most food photography goes for, I tried to make the images sparse, with open spaces between plates and muted colors. I tried to highlight the simplicity and subtlety of this chef’s food, and he was very happy with the end result.
Another example – I was asked to take some photos for an artisan jewelry designer. She uses less expensive gems and handcrafts jewelry out of them. My thinking was that the photos of her jewelry shouldn’t be like your standard photos of diamonds and emeralds, with black/white backgrounds and an obvious focus on the expensive materials that make up the piece. Instead, I figured I should try and show off the craftsmanship – the essence – of the client’s work. So I went and did a bunch of research on the gemstones she uses on this site (there’s a great table with a lot of information). She uses a lot of turquoise, carnelian, lapis lazuli, amazonite and various forms of agate. These are all earthy, rough gemstones – so I lit the jewelry to highlight the flaws of these stones rather than just their beauty. I also tried to position the jewelry in such a way that the craftsmanship of the pieces was clear to see – focusing on the connecting wires and intricacies of the knots and things like that.
Hopefully, these two examples will help inspire you to really dig deep into your subjects when you’re photographing them.
These are the two sites I used when I was researching:
Photography is a great way of capturing moments in our lives. We can take pictures of beautiful landscapes in our country or whilst on holiday in a foreign country, sunrises, sunsets, the ocean… and we can also capture those precious moments with our families while on vacation, and also with our friends and acquaintances. Pictures are just such a great way of capturing, for almost forever, those special moments in nature and with our loved ones.
For many, many years we’ve been capturing different moments in human history and in our personal lives, cameras have developed with us to a point where professional cameras are hardly needed anymore as we all carry one with us in our pockets or bags. Nowadays, mobile phones are used more for photography and sharing our shots on the Internet than for their actual use like phoning and messaging others. It is true this is very practical as we don’t need to carry some big, professional camera with lots of lenses to capture those precious moments that only stay with us for a few seconds. Mobile phones have opened up the world of photography to many who were interested in it but couldn’t afford to buy an expensive camera. Now, anyone can take pictures and share them on the net through websites and apps such as Flickr, Viewbug, and Instagram… On the other hand, because so many people take so many pictures and just share them online, some may believe that the essence of photography is slowly being lost.
I mostly carry my phone on me when I go out and about with family, it’s lighter and it doesn’t take up as much space as my professional camera. A while ago when we were looking for a new jogging stroller for our baby and while reading online reviews I found one model that had a lot of storage space at its base. I thought to myself that it could be used for keeping my camera case when we go for baby walks and we bought the stroller. Recently, when going out with family I decided to use the stroller’s storage and to take my camera along with me to see what I could capture. Getting home and seeing the results I know I will definitely be taking my camera out a lot more often with me since the difference in quality is amazing.
Beautiful photos in crisp detail and quality of the children having fun in their little strollers, their delightful faces as they are pushed around, and all the pictures looking fantastic due to the camera. I captured amazing landscape shots with vibrant colors and photos of my family and kids, plenty of fun pictures of them playing and running around, really capturing those happy moments. A normal phone camera would not have worked out the same way.
People should definitely remember that as easy as it is to simply bring a phone along with you to take all your pictures is just not, and will never be, the same as using a proper professional camera. Why capture those special happy family moments with a phone when by simply taking a good camera along you can get all those happy memories in a great quality, capturing all the tiny details on the children’s faces as they play and have fun.
As a freelance photographer I end up doing a lot of interesting shoots, and although I have been doing this for some time I still end up learning a lot during some of my shoots. A recent niche that I found which might be of interest to other photographers looking at expanding their portfolio is doing photo shoots for property rental companies. Most of the images you see online are not of a good quality, and property agencies end up leaving money on the table by not showing potential clients the true aspects of the property they are trying to rent.
As they say “first impressions are important” and if the image the client sees is not of good quality, they might click over to the next option.
Shooting houses for rent by any property management company in Fresno CA is just about the best bread and butter job you can land. You know there will always be work as units are vacated and updated the companies need recent pics for their websites and online listings. What trips up a lot of pros is not knowing how to manage the light schedule, and knowing what is going to be the right shot that will turn a one-time request into ongoing traffic. I recently had to shoot some property that local house owners were going to list with a management company I am on retainer for and I thought it would be a good idea to walk you through how I put it all together.
Building the schedule around the light
The first thing I always do is locate the property on a map and look at what the lighting is going to be like throughout the day. I compare that to my availability schedule and put together options for the times to schedule the shoot. I then offer those times to the manager or owner so we can mesh schedules better. Exterior shots you can usually do on a return trip without any company, the interiors you need access so making sure that you are going when there will be light is essential. It is always easier to schedule a night shoot, and I’ll talk about what to do about that when you are inside too.
Indoor versus outdoor
The first thing you should remind yourself of is nobody rents or buys a home they see in the dark. Forget dramatic exterior options under a full moon. You want a standard high noon day. Avoid shooting the exterior when shadows are cast because the picture will start to create a narrative. You don’t want the picture to create a narrative; you want the agent to create it. When you move indoors high noon can work, but you really want to find out what light the rooms get best and go at that time. Bring your lights to shoot rooms that are shadowed.
What is the most important thing to show?
When I shoot an exterior I think about the narrative. People want to see the front as if you were approaching as a guest. I stay away from driveways but will emphasize gardens and landscaped backyards only if there isn’t a problem with dramatic shadows. You want flat and open, not drama.
How to avoid problems with windows and mirrors
Inside you are going to run into reflective problems with windows and mirrors. This is one of the reasons a “high noon” shoot works better. The general light will reduce the black mirror effect in windows. Alternately, I bring two or three light stands and bounce the light off the ceiling at a point in the middle front of the mirror. This creates an additional cascade of light that will prevent reflection as well.
Contact me if you want to know more about this niche or if you know of a property management company that is looking for a photographer to improve their online portfolio.
Whether you are a professional photographer or just an enthusiastic amateur, sport is an exciting subject for shots. You will never get the same photograph twice and no two photographers will get the same shot even if they are both at the same sporting event. Although it is fun, taking action shots poses several challenges for photographers. To get the best shots, you should try some of the following six tips.
1. Try Something Different
The temptation is to stay rooted to the same spot and to take every shot from the same angle. However, to get a wide variety of pictures and make them more interesting, you should consider changing positions and try shooting from a different angle. Not every photograph needs to be taken from eye-level. Instead, trying getting low on the ground and looking up when taking shots or getting at a higher vantage point to photograph the action from above. This works especially well for some sports, check out The Paintball Professor to see some incredible paintball actions shots of this technique in effect.
2. Capture the Surroundings
Sport is about much more than the players participating in a match. The whole surroundings contribute to the overall spirit of the game. To capture some of this spirit in your shots, you will need to think about the whole scene. Photographs of the crowd cheering or fans queuing to get inside the venue can be just as exciting as the action on the pitch. They will also show your diversity as a photographer in your portfolio.
3. Use ISO
When taking action shots, there may not always be perfect lighting and you may also need to use a higher shutter speed to capture the action. This is where raising ISO can be helpful. In particular, taking shots at night can be difficult if you need a faster F Stop than the lens of your camera is suited for. A solution to this problem is to raise the ISO as this allows your camera to see more light.
4. Keep Equipment Close
Sports photographers often have a lot of equipment. Although this can be a burden to carry around with you, it is essential you keep it all close by so that as soon as you need it you can just reach out and get it. It might seem easier to leave some equipment behind or to store it somewhere safe until you need it, but you miss exciting photo opportunities if you need to keep running backwards and forwards to collect the equipment you need. It is much better just to take it all with you in the first place.
5. Keep Your Eye on the Action
Photographers often have a really bad habit of ‘chimping’. This is when they check the photographs they have just taken on the LED screen on their camera. Don’t do it! You can check all your shots later. While you are looking at the screen, you are taking your eye off the action and potentially missing some of the most exciting points of the game.
6. Avoid Using the Flash
Many venues or events prohibit the use of flash on cameras as it distracts the players. If you are planning on photographing an event and want to use your flash, it is best to speak to the event organizers first to see whether using flash is acceptable. However, using the ISO settings is the perfect solution if you cannot use the flash.
Like all forms of photography, capturing the perfect action shot takes lots of practice and there is often an element of luck involved in getting a great photograph. However, by using these tips, your chances of success in this field are greatly improved.
Many friends and readers ask me this one question: What is the best DSLR camera for an amateur and hobby photographer? To me this is always so difficult to answer and I generally hate saying get a Nikon, or get a Canon, or get a Sony. So, I decided to write up a post about some your options and what to look out for.
The first thing I ask people is what type of camera they currently have and if they find it OK to use. Most people are reasonably happy with their consumer cameras and have gotten used to the menus and terminology used. This means that it often makes sense to stick with a brand you know as you will not get confused with different terminology. So, if you have a consumer Nikon, and you are happy, then it makes most sense to get a Nikon DSLR.
Next, you need to think about what you are going to be taking photos of and what features you will need. The two best entry level Nikon cameras are the D3200 and D5200. In the most general situations I recommend people that have a limited budget get the cheaper camera, even second hand, and invest some more money in getting some extra lenses. Lenses give you far more flexibility and creativity than features do.
But these two cameras do have some differences and if budget is not an issue then the 5200 will give you an awful lot of things that would recently only have been found on professional grade cameras. While you may not be an Ansel Adams, you will not outgrow this camera too soon.
One important thing I always point out is that you should not get hooked up on megapixels. Pretty much all DSLRs now have such powerful sensors that you will be able to print and modify at a scale that will be more than enough. Unless you are planning to print billboard size images or modify individual strands of hair a few extra MP will not make you a better photographer.
As already mentioned focus on spending a little bit extra on some lenses that are not the cheapest in their category. I would generally suggest a decent zoom lens and a large aperture or wide angle lens to accompany the standard one in the box. Too many times do I see amateurs trying to get the latest and greatest features before they know how to use the most basic aspects.
Understanding the limits and capabilities of your lenses is incredibly important as they will dictate so many shutter speed, aperture and other settings. Get used to them and try them out in all sorts of conditions to find out their limitations. This will pay off more than fancy in camera features.
Overall you will not go wrong with either the D5200 or D3200 and your budget will probably pay a large part in your decision. Yes the D5200 is better, but I would rather see people spend more on lenses than cameras.