New to photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by jatoli, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. jatoli

    jatoli TPF Noob!

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    I have always been interested in photography and would like to get serious about it. After reading some of the posts on these boards, I can see that I have ALOT to learn. I have no idea where or how to get started. I enjoy taking pictures of people, my children mostly. What kind of equipment would I need to get started? I am sure everyone has there own opinions on which camera is best- but I would love suggestions. I just have a Canon Powershot S230 right now- nothing fancy at all and would like to spend the money and get something more "professional." What other accessories would I need to get started? Also, what programs do you use to edit your photos? And where is the best place to get your photos developed? Thank you for your help.
     
  2. bace

    bace TPF Noob!

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    That's a lot of questions to answer.

    There's a lot of really knowledgeable people around here too.

    How much are you looking to spend on this hobby though?

    I would suggest any of the entry level DSLR's if you're really wanna get into it but aren't thinking that you wanna go pro. Nikon D70 or D50. Or the Canon 300D or 350D. With those you can really get some bargains on used lens and flash equipment. Straight out of the box you pretty much have all you need to get started, but atleast you'll have the option to upgrade when you feel it's necessary.

    For photo editing you're probably gonna wanna get a copy of Photoshop. Any will do really, the newest one is PhotoShop CS2 I think?

    I wouldn't know much about where to get the best digital prints made.
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I suggest you try to answer a few questions first. These include:

    Do I want to go digital or film? How much do I wish to spend? Do I want to buy new or used gear?

    Sooner or later, another question will be 'What do I want to photograph?'

    If you are really open-ended at this point, try not to buy gear which you will only have to discard later on.

    I know that's not much of an answer, but it's very easy to buy a camera and very hard to be sure you've gotten the 'right' one, especially at first.
     
  4. jatoli

    jatoli TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your replies. I want to take pictures of people- families, children- etc. Eventually, I would like to take pictures of people professionally, in natural settings- not in a studio- like family pictures, weddings, children. What are the pro's and con's of digital and film? Is it just a matter of opinion or if I were to be professional someday is film better? I really love digital now and think I prefer it, but I don't have any experience with any thing else. Where do you find good used equipment? Would you suggest buying used, since I am just starting? Used makes me a little nervous. And how do I know which lenses to buy or which ones I need? Is there somewhere I can read and learn about that? Sorry to be so dumb about everything. I appreciate your help and am anxious to expand my knowledge and experience with photography.
     
  5. DestinDave

    DestinDave Master of Non Sequitur

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    If you're in one of the larger cities (Phoenix, Tucson) check out photography courses at the Community Colleges, continuing education type courses. Also, find out if there are any local camera clubs and join one. It's a great way to meet photographers, exchange ideas and info, get criticism, etc. Find a local professional lab and talk to the staff there - they will point you in the right direction on many of your questions.
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately that camera is a bit of a point&shoot, as it won't let you do shutter or aperture priority; but you can learn a fair amount about composition with it, so I think it's a bit early to jump into spending money on a DSLR.

    Bryan Peterson has a couple of good books I think would be worth checking out:
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817441816/sr=8-3/qid=1139720946/ref=pd_bbs_3/002-0816593-4181638?%5Fencoding=UTF8"]Learning to See Creatively[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817463003/ref=pd_bxgy_text_b/002-0816593-4181638?%5Fencoding=UTF8"]Understanding Exposure[/ame]

    Don't assume that your equipment is holding you back. Once you get to the point where you can specifically point out exactly what upgrading will give you, and you think it's worth the money, then look at getting something new. Since you have a working camera and are new at it, I think it would be jumping the gun at this point.
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Markc might have hit on it. Learn all you can and continue to work with your Canon. As you become more knowledgeable, you'll begin to bump up against the limitations of the Canon. [If you progress rapidly, this might not take all that long.] These will point you toward the camera you will eventually want. Also, if you're in a large city, there might be stores which rent equipment. It's a nice way to try rigs on for size without betting the whole pot, as it were.

    I once took on the challenge of shooting with my 35's and also with an $8 throwaway to demonstrate that pictures with impact depend on composition, not equipment.

    You note an interest in working professionally eventually. Are the pros working in the area of interest to you using digital or film?
     
  8. jatoli

    jatoli TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. I think you are probably right- maybe I am not ready to spend alot of money on equipment yet. I would like to take a class and read and learn as much as I can- so thanks for the suggestions.

    There are a couple of things I do not like about my Canon Powershot.
    1. The time it takes in between photos- the delay (I dont know if that is called shutter speed?) When taking pictures of my kids- I often miss out on great photo opportunities waiting that delay- I would like to be able to take more pictures per second.
    2. Not as sharp as I would like it to be- especially when I zoom or enlarge.
    3. My son is very blonde and for some reason in certain photos- the light does something weird to his hair. I am not sure how to explain it really- in some photos you don't see individual strands of hair- but shiny specs/light blending the strands together. I dont know if that makes sense. Maybe that is just part of not being as sharp as I would like it to be.

    Would it be worth upgrading at this point for these reasons? And would the Canon and Nikon suggestions be good cameras for me?

    Thanks.
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    It does sound like you'll want to upgrade not that far down the road, mainly due to that delay, but once you get better, you won't need to take a bunch in rapid succession that often. There's also something called shutter lag, which is the delay between pressing the button and actually getting the shot.

    But I still wouldn't upgrade until you can answer most of the questions yourself, as picking a camera is more of a personal preference thing. There are many cameras that fit the technical bill, but they vary widely in how they do it and how they feel in the hand.

    As to #2, make sure you aren't using digital zoom. That's pretty much useless. It's just cropping, and you can do a better job in image editing software. For software, you don't need to spend a lot of money. Check out The Gimp. It's free.

    #3 could be how you are using the flash.

    I know it's hard not to upgrade. It's the bane of many photographers. Everyone wants to make sure their camera isn't holding them back. Someone posted a really good article about this quite a while back, but I don't remember the link now.
     

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