New to photography, would like some help

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by revilo, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. revilo

    revilo TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,
    I've been lurking this site for a while, and I finally decided to join today. I've recently started taking a more serious interest in photography, and so far I'm really enjoying it. I've been reading up about basic composition and other technical aspects of photography. I've managed to understand shutter speed, aperture and ISO OK, purely from a point of view of lightness/darkness in a shot, but I'm completely lost when it comes to depth of field and focus, so if anyone could point me towards some good reading material on these subjects, I'd be very grateful.

    Here are some of my photos, I'd appreciate any feedback:

    1.
    [​IMG]

    2.
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    3.
    [​IMG]

    4.
    [​IMG]

    The last one came out very noisy, and I plan to retake it at some point.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. BTilson

    BTilson TPF Noob!

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    Definitely have some nice shots there, especially for a beginner. I especially like #3, excellent composition and excellent colors.

    As far as reading up, I've heard a billion people recommend "Understand Exposure". I unfortunately haven't read it myself. Also, a basic google search for "beginner photography" or any variant thereof should result in a lot of good reading.
     
  3. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Understanding exposure is about $16 on amazon if memory serves. Just googling DOF or Depth of Field, will come up with lots of results. Also DOFMaster is a good DOF calculator to check out.

    Basically the bigger you open the aperture(smaller f number) the more light enters, and the shallower the dof, also. When you focus your subject is roughly in the center of dof, with sharpness dropping off in front of and behind the subject. a good exercize is to set up 4 or five objects along a table, maybe 5 staggered beer bottles, then set up your camera on aperture priority, and start with your widest aperture, take a shot, stop down 1 stop, take a picture and so on and so forth. Do it once always focusing on the front bottle and do the same exercize focusing on the center bottle everytime. You will see the dof expand with every shot and your camera will compensate for exposure by lowering the shutter speed each time you stop down.

    Have fun and keep shooting.

    -Ryan
     
  4. Brian L

    Brian L TPF Noob!

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    www.shortcourses.com has a great Learning to use your digital camera link on the main page. Its free and i think on chapter 4 or something i forget to tell you the true explains Depth of field for you. I think a good way to explain depth of field is to look down a road and on the right hand side of the road has telephone poles. Using a large aperture such as example f-stop 3.5 will make the first telephone pole in your picture nice and sharp and in focus. The rest of the telephone polls beyond that will out blurred out including the background. Now lets say you want that very last telephone pole way down the road to be in focus and the first one to be out. Using a smaller aperture something like F-stop 5.6 would do that. That is how I look at depth of field and think is a good way to explain it. We can make things more complex buy using manual focus to but that is another post lol. Check out the link I gave you and that will really help. I hope this helps you and if someone else wants to add or correct me a little go for it. Have fun learing photography.
     
  5. revilo

    revilo TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot for the comments. I'll read through the links you gave me, and I'll look into getting "understanding exposure".
    There's one problem: my digital camera (Sony DSC-H10) has a full manual mode, but lacks an iris diaphragm. Instead, it has a built in neutral density filter to alter exposure. This means that I've got to change depth of field by changing the focal length, or changing my distance from the subject, if I've understood correctly?
    My dad has a film SLR (Canon T90) that he's offered to lend me, and I'm looking forward to giving it a try, but I'm slightly apprehensive about using it: I don't have the safety net of being able to review photos, delete ones I don't like etc. etc. My biggest worry is that I won't even know if I have "the shot" as when I see something I'd like to photograph, I normally take 10-15 photographs with my digital camera before I'm happy. Maybe this would be a good exercise for me, though. Anyway, thanks a lot for the comments guys. How could I improve the shots I already posted? I appreciate that in 2 and 3, the highlights have blown a little, and number 4 is WAY underexposed, but I'd love any other criticisms.
    Sorry for the wall of text.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In addition to the other comments, your first image is overprocessed and looks like it has some color balance issues. Unless you are GOING for such a look, you want to try to have a gentle hand on the controls in photoshop or you'll get some rather severe effects.
     

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