I Just Bought a d-SLR, Now What?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SchnellFowVay, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. SchnellFowVay

    SchnellFowVay TPF Noob!

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    Hey All,

    I just bought a digital SLR on a whim. Though the tech-aspects of the camera are well within my reach, I have no idea how to take proper photos.

    I've never taken a class in photography, I've never owned an SLR camera, and I've used one before.

    Is there a good beginner book? Perhaps a website? I need to get the basics down of how to shoot photographs . . .

    thanks!
     
  2. SchnellFowVay

    SchnellFowVay TPF Noob!

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    P.S. It's a refurbed Nikon D40x.
     
  3. rotchcrocket04

    rotchcrocket04 TPF Noob!

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    I recently bought a D40 for my first DSLR. To be honest I've been reading through alot of the links in this thread: http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=123160

    I have learned quite alot in the last month or so from that alone. On top of reading that I've been reading alot of C&C threads (along with beginner threads) to see what was a good choice in basics and advanced techniques. Reading reccommendations from some of the very skilled members on here has also taught me quite a few things.

    The final two points I think have been the most helpful to me. I have been taking notes of different techniques/definitions of terminology etc. I continue to reference these while shooting. Finally, practice practice practice!! I have shot about 1100-1300 shots thus far. I've already noticed quite a difference from the first two hundred or so to now. :thumbup:
     
  4. lukeap69

    lukeap69 TPF Noob!

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    Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

    Good for beginners.

    Read the manual.
     
  5. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Hey! Congratulations!

    Three things that will help your pictures get better almost immediately.

    1. Get a handle on the "rule of thirds", then you can start breaking it.
    2. Sign up at photo.net and peruse their tutorial and training section. There's tons of great information.
    3. Take pictures constantly. Half of learning to take good pictures is learning from experience doesn't really work. You'll hurt your skill if you learn that from someone else.

    Somewhere along the way, you should probably pick up a beginners book on exposure and basic photography. But realistically, your skill will come 90% from actually taking the pictures and a supporting 10% from learning the technical stuff. But a lot of the basic stuff you can learn from photo.net and lots of practice.
     
  6. Juliette

    Juliette TPF Noob!

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    Hey!
    I am new to photography as well but I would recommend books by Henry Horenstein, like "Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual" and don't be fooled by the title. First section of the book explains principals of photography that apply to digital photography too. The rest you can ignore 'cos it has to do with film :) But at least you'll know what the aperture, shutter speed, iso and DoF are and what they "do" to your pictures :)

    Good luck!
     
  7. Foques

    Foques TPF Noob!

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    READ READ READ READ...

    then ASK ASK ASK ASK ASK...

    Then READ READ READ READ again :)

    thats what i've done..and AM doing still.
     
  8. Doug

    Doug TPF Noob!

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    Another Good book to get is the Magic Lantern Guide for your model Camera. It's a little easier reading than the manual that comes with the camera.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Here is what I would do/did do

    1) Read the manual - read it online on the nikon site if you don't have one

    2) Read the manual again!

    3) Do some shooting with the camera - experiment a little and try to get a good exposure (that is technically a good shot)

    4) Have a bite to eat and read the manual again

    5) Start making a blog/diary of your photos - listing the good ones and looking at you aperture, ISO and shutter speed for each photo and writing them down - this will help teach you what are good and what are bad settings for different situations and different effects.

    6) post a few (3 max) photos online - listing the kit used, shooting conditions and settings (aperture, ISO and shutter speed) and ask for advice - do this on more than one forum (increases chances of getting a good result.

    I would recommend reading first Scot Kelby's "The Digital Photography Book" This is good book for beginners looking to find out what settings to use in different situations without the full explanation as to the whys of the settings
    Then once you are more familiar with that move on to read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson which will start to tell you the whys of the settings and how to manipulate them more.
    From there look out for publications specific to your areas of interest (avoid most of the digital camera generalist books - there are many out there now and they basically say the same thing as the manual and understanding exposure do - but much more simplified) - try to get books that show the settings that the photographer used or studio setups to get certain effects

    Have fun and welcome to the site
     
  10. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Throw out anything that anyone tells you you MUST have to make a good photograph, including any "rules" "standards" "aspects of a perfect photo", etc.

    Definitely read Understand Exposure by Patterson. Reading anything else (including the manual, no offense to poster above). Save the manual though, so that you'll know where to go when you can't quite get something sussed out.

    Press your Shutter-Release as often as possible in as many unique situations as possible. Don't get pissed if your photos come out looking like snapshots. The point in the beginning is to get comfortable with the camera and "predicting" how a shot will come out based on the information your D40 is telling you.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Try Drawing 101 and Design class. They are all about learning to see shape, form, tone, color, contrast, and how the three dimensional world renders in 2D.

    Here's a page with a bunch of links to articles about composition

    http://photoinf.com/

    Start taking photos. Look at your photos. Look at other peoples photos. Try to understand what it is that grabs your attention in some, and makes you think snapshot in others. Keep taking a lot of photos. Eventually you will get tired of taking crappy photos, and will begin thinking and applying yourself to creating better photos.
     
  12. OregonAmy

    OregonAmy TPF Noob!

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    I read David Busch's Mastering Digital Photography and liked it so much I bought his "Mastering Digital SLR Photography" and it arrived today. It also arrived with Understanding Exposure which I already started reading and already like.

    I also joined a local photography club, which seems promising and helpful (went to my first meeting last week).

    Some people have also posted some very helpful links which I've bookmarked for reference, as well as a thread or two from this forum:
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=134130
    http://www.dpchallenge.com/tutorial.php?TUTORIAL_ID=1
    http://www.shortcourses.com/use/index.html
    http://www.all-things-photography.com/advanced-photography-tips.html (use the menu on the left)
    http://www.great-landscape-photography.com/hyperfocal.html

    have fun! I just got a d40 a little over a week ago (after about 10 years on P&S digital) and am in love. I discovered an entirely new world of digital photography.
     

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