[Pho.Talk] Best Beginner Camera Tip - Flip Screen!

In photography, a lot of people say that gear doesn’t matter as much, and that it’s the skill that makes a good photo.

I think that is good advice generally. But it applies better to people who have already attained some level of skill. The question of skill vs gear is a chicken and egg situation - better skill allows you to make the most out of gear; better gear allows you to develop a fuller set of skills.

Either way, at a given skill level, gear does influence the final image. This is why even at beginner levels, I do recommend giving it some thought before buying.

In this series I am sharing my thoughts on things beginner photographers should consider when buying their first cameras.

For your information, I shot on a Sony Nex 5-R (it has been discontinued) for 4.5 years, on a Canon 1200D (also discontinued) for 1 year, on a Canon 80D for 2.5 years, and a Canon 5D Mark IV till now. I have also experimented with a Nikon D300 on and off.

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Here goes the THIRD CONSIDERATION of the series —

Flip Screen

One often neglected consideration in buying cameras is the ability to flip the screen. After all, we just want the camera screen to display the menu; most of the operations happen either in the focus ring on the lens, or in the buttons and controls on the body.

For your information, this is what it looks like:

Canon EOS 80D with display screen flipped.

Canon EOS 80D with display screen flipped.

However, having a flip screen really makes your life much easier in certain situations that you might not have contemplated of beforehand.

Situation I - Low Vantage Point

Photographers shoot at low vantage points for various reasons - to illustrate the scale of how tall something is, to capture look-up architectural patterns, or to create special reflection compositions, just to name a couple.

Or you just found something interesting on the floor that you want to capture closer up.

This is when a flippable screen comes in handy - imagine the pain of having to lie down on the floor just so that you can see the display on your camera screen, and worse still, check that the focus is rightly set.

As you begin your photography journey, it is vital that you try taking photos at various angles.

These are but some example of works that I had to create by flipping the screen.

Situation II - Top-Down Vantage Point

This situation is pretty much the opposite of the first one we covered. When you are not tall enough, you need to leverage on this extra height that lifting your camera straight into the air gives you.

And it is physically impossible to see what is happening from your display screen, unless you can tilt it. Beginner photographers would benefit greatly from this extra control a flip screen provides.

To give you some context, this usually happens when you are shooting architecture from the top floor, shooting downwards across a barricade (always happens on rooftop or sightseeing spots on towers), or shooting among a crowd of people, to name a few examples.

Also worth mentioning is when you notice some interesting patterns on the floor and you want to create a very geographical effect by pointing your camera vertically downwards.

Here are some examples of what I was able to do by flipping my screen downwards.

Scenario III - Vlogging

Arguably, it is outside of a photographer’s scope, especially a beginner’s, to vlog and make videos.

But let’s be real; the demand for video content has gone up so much that people very much expected photographers to be able to do video too.

Clients are hiring a ‘videographer/photographer’ two in one, Tik Tok/ Youtube/ Instagram stories are encouraging photographers to create videos about their photography, and even for yourself, it is worthwhile to record your journey as your craft becomes more mature over time.

Trust me, at some point, you will want to start making videos, or start inspiring others through sharing the behind the scenes of your photography.

So if you can’t see what you look like on screen, that is a huge issue.


In this article, we talked about:

  • What a flip screen looks like on a camera

  • How flipping the camera screen helps at a low vantage point

  • How flipping the camera screen helps at a top-down vantage point, and

  • How flipping the camera screen helps when vlogging

Along with the flip screen, view finders and changeable lenses are among the top things beginners should look out for in their first camera.

More sharing coming soon!

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Keep shooting, keep creating!

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