A beginner in need of advice

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nitefly, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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    Hi all!!

    I have only just joined this forum after getting a simple digital camera for christmas and I've recently decided I want to try and get into photography a little bit. This is the first time I've ever had my own camera - except from disposables haha!! :er:

    The camera I have is a HP Photosmart E317...

    Now my first question is how do I take one of those photos where the object is non-blurry but the background is blurry. An example of what I mean is below:

    http://www.angelsix.com/forumplus/angelsix-photography/images/restingbee.jpg

    credit to http://www.angelsix.com this picture is not my work but is Luke Malpass'

    Another thing I would like to know about, is touching photographs up using Photoshop. Now as a web design, i'm already experienced in photoshop but i've never learnt how to edit photos to make the look bright and sharp etc.

    I thankyou in advance as I am pretty sure I will get some valuable help from people round here. I really would appreciate advice.

    Many thanks,

    Nathan.
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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  3. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Afraid it will be tricky as you don't appear to be able to adjust aperture or put it on priority.
    The only thing I can suggest is to try shooting in a mode that uses a big aperture. 'Action' is probably the best one.
    In photography (both digital and film) once you start trying to get 'fancy' you can soon discover limitations to your equipment.



    PS On a Mod note.
    If the picture you posted above isn't yours, is it possible to just put a link to the site? Or give a credit?
    The Copyright monster rears it's ugly head.
    Thanks
    HvR
     
  5. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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    Ok I think I've figured out that Macro and Normal is something to do with the f/stop.. My camera only has macro and normal modes so does this mean I wont be able to achieve this effect?

    Sorry about the image copyright btw, ive changed it now.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    As far as I know, macro mode allows you to focus on a subject that is closer to the lens, than would be possible in regular mode. I'm not sure that it affects the aperture setting.

    Although, using macro mode might help you to get the shallow DOF if you get close to your subject and leave the background far away.

    It's great that you want to learn more about photography, it's a lot of fun. However, you will soon discover, if not already, that a lot of point & shoot digital cameras are no better than disposables. All they do is point & shoot.
    That does not mean you can't take good photos with them...it just means that you don't have much control over how the camera behaves...which makes it hard to get what you want...and almost impossible to experiment with 'typical' photography techniques.

    The usual advice is to pick up an old manual SLR camera. Something like a Pentax K or Canon AE-1 etc. The idea being that it's easier to learn photography without all the bells & whistles (& auto everything) that a modern camera has.
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Hi Nathan,

    Firstly, welcome! The shot you've shown there is a close-up with low depth-of-field. If you visualise you taking a picture and you had a bamboo pole in front of you, the depth of field would be the bit of the pole which is in focus. You could paint it red and measure it and say that for example ten centimeters of the picture were in focus. The shot you've posted is an example of a very small depth of field - probably around one to ten centimetres. This is achieved with a low f-number or a wide aperture as we like to call them.

    Small digital cameras have several disadvantages - the lens is usually pretty much automatic and fixed which allows you to take great pictures with everything in focus. Also, the smaller the sensor size and the lower it's quality/fidelity, the less realistic the depth-of-field effect (bokeh) is. Digital cameras have a habit of flattening an image anyway, but ones with tiny sensors are exceptionally prone to this. The shot you've chosen would look probably look faked, or wierd if you took it with a small compact digital.

    Sadly you're in a situation where your camera is unlikely to be able to produce credible images which have this depth-of-field effect as you are unlikely to be able to achieve a low f-number or a satisfactory edge/bokeh boundary.

    Perhaps the January sales might turn up a slightly more versatile higher-specified camera if you're set on taking low DOF shots? There's some good little ones out there which are affordable.

    Hope this helps!

    Rob
     
  8. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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    Great! Thanks for the replies, really appreciated. I'm only 14 at the moment and don't have a real source of money, so the amount of money I have to spend is limited - however photography is actually something i'd like to get into more and my birthday is coming up!

    Do you have any specific recomendations of a camera that would be suitable for a beginner and wouldn't be overly expensive - most important thing is that I get a camera which will allow me to learn how to take good photos.

    Many thanks,

    Natha.
     
  9. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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    Also, if anyone who would be kind enough to advise me can add me to MSN at nitefly [at] gmail.com..
     
  10. DLL_4ever

    DLL_4ever TPF Noob!

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    /\ it depends... what is your budget?

    At the moment, i have a "normal" $430 point and shoot compact camera... still, i'm able to take cool shots like these:
    http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/DLL10101/oakwoodwinter/14.jpg
    http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/DLL10101/oakwoodwinter/15.jpg
    http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/DLL10101/animals/4.jpg
    http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y198/DLL10101/torontowinter/35.jpg
    (all these photos are mine, BTW)

    It will take you a while to learn how to use your camera properly, and to learn the many different photography techniques.. it took me about 4 months, atleast. And im still not done learning. But it's worth it! ;) And by participating on photography forums, like this one, and others (like dpreview.com), you'll be able to learn everything a lot quicker. The best thing to do though, is to just keep taking nonstop pictures of whatever the hell you feel like. Even if its a tissue box, TV, or something stupid like that :) The more you practice, the smarter/more experienced and overall better you'll become as a photographer.

    With regarding photoshop, Click on "Image" on the top menu-bar. Then click on "Adjustments". There, you will be able to change the level, contrast, colour, brightness, etc. and whatever else needs to be done to the photo. That will also take a while though to learn and get used to, so be patient :)
    I also recommend you get a program called "Neat Image". It reduces the noise level in your photos, which is a huge problem for many photographers.

    Good luck! And welcome to the forum BTW :cheers:
     
  11. nitefly

    nitefly TPF Noob!

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    My budget would be about £350 max.
     
  12. DLL_4ever

    DLL_4ever TPF Noob!

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    For that kind of money, you could get a:

    Panasonic DMC-FZ5 (which is actually £360, but trust me, it would be worth it!! You could probably find it cheaper other places on the net, £360 is just the "street price")

    I gotta go to work now, when i get back i'll try to find some more for ya. Until then, i suggest looking at dpreview.com and check out all the cameras there. It has every tiny bit of info about every single digital camera that existed after 1998 ;) and it'll always give you prices (in $US and sometimes in £) It's really awesome.
     

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