The 50/1.8G is a fantastic lens. Just as long as you have literally any version of Photoshop or LR that can 1-click correct the distortion, it's perfect. TBH I like it even better on the APS-C cameras like the D5500, the roughly 80mm focal length on crop feels more natural than its native 50 on my FX.
I feel the same about the Canon nifty fifty v2. I have lenses that are better than it in every way, but at the same time it has never let me down, it focuses quick, has lots of light gathering, and on a crop body the added squeeze gives you a lot of pleasing framing opportunities. *Juuusst* enough to squish the background and make something pop, but not so much that you can't move back and bring an interesting backdrop more into the frame. Super easy to work with. It's light, so it's easy to manipulate/steady, and the wide aperture helps with that too. When I was starting off, having all of that light was a big help in trying to keep the ISO down while still keeping shutter speeds higher while I was still learning how to focus fast and get steady shots.
I have a Nikon D5500 DSLR with only a 50MM lens. I have zero idea how to take pictures with it or how to get such good photos.
I need you Gurus to teach me.
Haha, buttering us up.
I know you're not talking about me lmao, but in my bumbling I've learned a few things. I started off on film and full manual, where you can't change sensitivity on the fly, and I was trying to force in my head an understanding of the exposure triangle by making myself dial everything in for each shot. Maybe that works for some people, but for me it just slowed me down and made it harder to focus on composition. Now, I will shoot manual, but only because it's the best way to get a specific combination of factors, that I know I need for the shot I want to take. Don't force yourself to do everything. Learn things one thing at a time, let the camera help you. All of those settings and features aren't there to be ignored. Anything it can do to make your job easier is another tool in your bag. And anything in your process that your camera can do for you instead, is something slowing you down or taking away from other more important decisions, which sometimes need to happen very quickly.
Aperture priority mode is a good start. You control the light gathering and DOF. Set the ISO where you want it to be and let it determine the shutter speed. It'll take some trial and error to figure out the right ISO range for different situations, but no matter what mode you use, you need to know that if you don't want to wind up with poor quality images at the wrong time, whether because of artifacts, or being locked into too slow of a shutter speed. It is the thing most likely to directly or indirectly ruin your shots. Most cameras will let you use auto ISO in aperture priority mode, and it'll give you the ISO you need to have a 'safe' shutter speed. You can try that, too. On still subjects, it gives you easier, more direct control over how the image looks, so you can experiment with framing and get a feel for finding the right DOF, as well as how a camera sees light.
You worry about that and the camera does the rest.
That might be one of the most important things to learn about taking nicer-looking pictures. Take note of the light in your setting and how it hits things in the scene, and then compare that to what the camera spits out when you press the shutter. That was such a big thing for me, making that connection intuition. Until you've worked that out, there will be a million pictures where you'll be asking yourself "Why does it look like that?" It's because a camera sees light very differently from how you see it. And as you play around with aperture and ISO it starts making more sense. It's really important, sometimes you just gotta know how something is going to translate in the moment. It's gonna tell you where the shot is and how you dial it in.
DOF is similar. It's one of those things you have to know. It seems simple but it's not so easy to control. My understanding of it isn't even that concrete. I've learned to envision it as a flat plane... a rectangle cutting across the image and feathering out both ways across the focal line. Or maybe like a soft lightsaber beam, where anything in its path will be in varying degrees of focus. When you choose the focal point, you draw a line across the image, and the closer something is to that line, the sharper it will be. From there, you have to tie that in with the numbers, so you can kinda know what aperture range will give you the focal depth needed at that angle. How wide of a beam do you need and which way should it point? By manipulating the position and angle of that line (moving the camera or changing focus) you can open up all sorts of compositional assets which employ the focal plane as part of the whole composition, and not just slicing out the subject. It comes with time, for me it clicked just by keeping it in mind as a shot. It's easiest shooting on a tripod, because you have everything else locked in and can quickly cycle through, looking for the sweet spot... until one day you find you just know. It's sort of like making a surgical incision, you want to line it up just right in one go, and leave the rest.
That's the other reason... all lenses have sweet spots where the color, contrast, and sharpness will be the best, which you'll want to know for when you need those more than other things.
Composition, I think is another one of those things that just takes time. You have to figure out what looks pleasing to you. I think of it as lines and gradients. I'm breaking the image into those things, and then trying to arrange them in the most pleasing way I can think of. There's really just so much to break into when talking about the rules of composition. The simplest way to put it, is that there's a yin/yang with regards to color, weighting, depth, light, angle, juxtaposition, and so on. As you shoot, try to identify one or two and note how altering those changes the impact of the image. Just do this as many ways as possible. The composition that manifests from the shot is ultimately simple - it's intuitively pleasing and you can see exactly why, even if you can't figure out the how of the why. But figuring this out is a matter of combining the right compositional aspects. It's a balancing of all of the main aspects of that photo. The balance is complex, the outcome is simple. Start looking at photos you like and think about what they did that made it so pleasing to look at, and then start trying stuff.
I mean, you may not figure it out that way, but you'll see where you suck, or what doesn't work, and that's a start.
So maybe take it slow in Av mode. Take your time with each shot. Shoot raw and edit them... not because it's 'needed' but because as you edit, you're going to see where your weaknesses are and how to get the right exposure next time, or where on the subject to focus, or how much DOF you need.
As you get comfortable there, you might go into what I call 'semi-manual' mode. You keep the camera in manual, but run auto ISO. So you set whatever shutter speed AND aperture you want, while the camera makes sure the exposure comes out. It's a lot easier for moving subjects, or if you're hand holding for quick shots. Set a speed you can hold steady, or that stops motion if you want, dial in your aperture for lighting and DOF, and the camera gets the right exposure for you. It's a pretty versatile and simple way to operate.
Basically, try one of those two modes and get shooting!