Introduction and venting

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by we3pnuts, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. we3pnuts

    we3pnuts TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone! I have been lurking for the last week.

    When I was in high school I took a couple photography classes (15 yrs ago). I have always had a passion for photography. Unfortunately I spent more time in the dark room and not enough time leaning the basics of the camera (f-stops, shutter speed, ect). I'm kicking myself for it now.

    When I was 16 I started a job as a photographer at a professional portrait studio. I shot portraits for 12 years. I learned a lot from that job, but again I learned more about posing and capturing that perfect expression then learning anything about the camera. We kept our cameras set at the same settings since it was in studio, we only metered and adjusted the lights as needed.

    I have had my share of cameras and lenses, om-1, om-2 and lenses up the wazoo, a handful of point and shoots, and now my pride and joy olympus E-510.

    All my friends and family say my pictures are wonderful.....but they are only friends and family. I see beyond what they see.

    I am no longer working as a portrait photographer. I am finding myself shooting more for fun and a few side jobs. I have shot a few weddings and some outdoor portraits. But that is not my passion. I love the artistic unique side of photography. I want the expression from other people to say "WOW, you shot that!?"

    I am soooo frustrated that I don't know camera knowledge more. I usually shoot in portrait mode. I want so badly to be able to shoot in manual but I just don't get it. I try and try and nothing turns out. I have a few books but I feel like I'm reading a different language. I see the shot I want but I can never capture it. I struggle with blurr, under/ over exposure. I'm not saying I don't ever get lucky, I might get a few good shots out of the million I take.

    I feel after so many years of trying, why am I not getting it. I keep telling myself not to give up, but then I question myself and ask "why do I even bother". I love photography. It has been my life for more then half my life. I look at other photographers work and say "why can't I do that".

    And don't even get me started on photoshop.

    This photographer is just an example. I do not want to be her, but she inspires me. I feel she shoots what I invision. (if that makes sense)
    http://www.rebekkagudleifs.com/ .....she's only been shooting since 2005!

    I'm not sure if this is even the place to put this. I just want to express my frustration with someone who would/might know where I'm coming from.
    Please move if needed.
     
  2. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    I feel your pain. I was looking on Flickr last night and this girl had fabulous portraits (heavily PP, though). She said she'd been at photography for only 2 years. I've been at it for more than 3 and most of my pictures still look like crap! I realize though, that I tend to be lacking in the artistic aspects of creating photographs, especially as it applies to PP.

    If your camera takes good pictures on manual mode you can try taking some pics then looking at the EXIF to see what settings the camera used, then trying to recreate it in manual mode. I do this sometimes. Most times though, I'm just at a loss! LOL.

    Welcome to TPF, by the way. You'll get lots of good information and advice here.
     
  3. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    The problem that many that are having trouble run into is that they try to change to many things at one time. Then when it doesn't work, they change everything again and shoot some more. If you don't understand how all the variables affect each other, changing all of them at one time will get you a good shot maybe 1 in a hundred when everything just happens to line up correctly.

    So you can either take lots of shots to get your few good ones or learn how they all work together. :D

    Basically there are three things that are going to affect your shooting... ISO, shutter speed and shutter appurture. Focus, composistion, lighting, etc., also affect it, but the first three are the important ones that need to be learned.

    Shutter speed is going to affect how sharp your image is. The faster your shutter speed, the less movement you will pick up. To slow and you will get motion blur and fuzzy pictures.

    Apputure (Fstop) will affect your depth of field. If you have a small opening (large number fstop like f11, f13, f16, etc.)) you will have a greater depth of field than a large apputure opening (small number fstop like f4, f2.8, f1.8, etc).

    ISO is going to affect both shutter speed and apputure (and with digital, noise level of the image)

    When you take a shot, you have to consider a number of things... for instance, kids running. Do you want them to be sharp with no motion blur? Then you are going to need a fast shutter speed (like 1/250, 1/500, or faster). To get the faster shutter speed, you may need to increase your ISO or open up your fstop to a larger opening (smaller fstop number).

    Do you need a large depth of field that is in focus? Then you are going to need a small apputure (large fstop number like f11, f13, f16). To get a small opening you might need to increase your ISO or decrease your shutter speed.

    Do you want a very low noise image. Then you are going to need a low ISO set on your digital camera (or low ISO film). To be able to shoot at a low ISO, you might need to decrease your shutter speed and/or open up your apputure more.

    The above is a very rough example. Each one of these directly affects the other in taking a picture. Learning how they work together can be the building blocks to learning all the other things that it takes to consistantly get good images. It takes practice as well as reading. You can read all about them, but it sometimes helps if you can see for yourself how one change affects the other two.

    Mike
     
  4. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    I can not praise the book "understanding exposure" enough. After reading his book, i learned a lot about iso, aperture, and shuter speed, and how they related to eachother.

    His book is in plain English with many photographs as examples (once you learn the basics, EXIF data can be a very helpful learning tool. Also, dont stress about shooting in manual mode. Most of time, I think many would agree that Aperture priority is the norm. (unless of course special shooting where shutter speed control is more important). The easiest way for you learn is to read up on the basics (check out that book) and then take your camera off that auto mode and get some practice. When first learning the basics, i missed plenty of photos because i was too stubborn to kick the camera off Manual mode when i was learning to read the histogram and adjust exposure from it.

    Just have fun, and you have digital.... It costs nothing to press your shutter so dont be scared to practice shooting nothing just to work on exposures
     
  5. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup::thumbup:
    Mike, EXCELLENT POST!

    That's a great explanation.
     
  6. Dubie

    Dubie TPF Noob!

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    Wow Mike....That was a good post. I am going to print that out and put it in my camera case.

    Aperture and shutter speed can sometimes feel overwhelming when learning and you really put it in perspective.

    oh and to add....I have Understanding Exposure and I would highly recommend it.
     
  7. we3pnuts

    we3pnuts TPF Noob!

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    Thanks you guys!

    Mike, that was a really good post. I'm going to print it out too so I can refer back to it.

    It's funny you guys mention "Understanding Exposures". It's already on my wish list. With all your great reviews, it's now on the top of my priority list.
     
  8. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    My local library doesn't have Understanding Exposure. I need to get off my butt and go to the bookstore :)

    I use AV a lot! I usually stay away from manual unless I'm playing and have lots of time. The histogram always messes me up though. I think I'm exposing for the wrong part of the picture or something. Usually the histogram looks ok but the picture will be too dark. It could be my monitor though, it's not calibrated. My prints come out normal though so I'm not sure it is my monitor. I always have to lighten the pictures somewhat. If I adjust exposure in the camera, they tend to come out overexposed so I've learned to live with it. I wish my PP was faster (it can take a while to adjust as many pictures as I take) but I haven't figured out a solution yet.
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thats the basics as explained in the book he references. Obviously Mike has read the book and learned his basics a while back. He knows how to explain pretty well too.

    One of the biggest challenges I had was info overload. I had thousands of pages worth of books to read, most were on the technical aspects of photography and more specifically the D200. I waded into there holding my trusty bottle of Tylenol as a shield against the headaches.

    The good news is... the basics do not take long to learn and understand and once there, it is like riding a bike. What takes time is learning how to apply them in real world scenarios.

    The best way I handled it was dive right in and expect CRAP for a long time, and as I learned I could actually see improvements in the pictures almost daily. Some people are not ready for that or it's not their style. In that case, take small bite-sized chunks and practice with that.

    For example, after learning about "the basics", use only aperture mode for a while... then shutter priorty mode for a while... then play only with different ISO settings. As you learn, you will suddenly find you are in manual mode a little more often... and after a pretty brief period, you will be comfortable using manual mode for almost all your needs.

    It is all about desire to learn, accepting your limitations and being ok with the bad shots, especially in the beginning, but give it a good push and concentrate on one aspect at a time (if that is easier for you).

    Never pic up a book without having the camera right beside you... translate what is in that book so that you understand how it works FOR YOU.

    Most important... have fun. If you are not having fun, put it down and come back later in a lighter frame of mind.

    I know some pictures of mine that I could post here would crack up the most newbie newb on this board, but I also cranked out a few good ones and those are the ones that inspire me to learn more and squeeze all the pleasure I can from this hobby.

    The more fun you have, the better-faster you will get.

    Edit: I feel that the book "Understanding Exposure" was a very easy read and one could get through that book in an afternoon... but oh, what it can offer someone just getting into this... it is a great read.
     
  10. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    If exposure is your biggest problem I commend you. My biggest problem is figuring out what the heck my subject was once I get the pictures developed (10 rolls of film later I'm getting there but I'm thinking digital is the way to go till I'm a ton better... say in 10000 or so shots I might start doing film again).
     
  11. cpd23

    cpd23 TPF Noob!

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    Well first let me pat Mike and Jerry on the back great post guys. Second we3pnuts I have only one bit of advice. Get your camera out go find a good subject and experment. Start with one thing such as shutter speed. Then use what mike has posted and beging to learn what works for you. You will see the same shot differently than any of us will will see it thats what makes this so much fun. Post your shots here and get feed back. Best of luck
     
  12. Mike Jordan

    Mike Jordan TPF Noob!

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    You guys are all welcome. Jerry, I don't believe I have ever read that book, but then I had exposure, fstops, shutter speed and ISO (back then it was ASA) years and years (and we won't get into how many years) ago when I was shooting mostly with 8x10 cameras in junior high school. Shooting nothing but manual (it's always intereresting to know how many today have never shot a manual film camera :D) gives you a very good feel for using all 3 to get the picture.

    But I have read a lot of books over the years and if that one has been around for awhile, I probably have read it. The name doesn't jump out at me though and I don't have it on my bookshelf with all the others.

    Mike
     

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