To All The Noobs To Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tkaat, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. tkaat

    tkaat TPF Noob!

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    I have compiled a list for those who are true noobies (like myself- I'm still a noob:!:) to help with your confusion on the many different aspects of photography.
    THE LIST:

    Do research
    - Look up words and camera parts you don't know, read reviews of cameras and lenses. Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, White Balance, Ev can be very confusing.
    Start threads and ask for advice don't be afraid to a lot of nice people reside here. Read opened threads and leave a post in it if you want more explaining from what was left.
    Buy or rent or borrow books on photography these really come in handy when you are tying to learn how to take different photos (i.e. portraits, landscapes, etc.) and more.

    Accessories
    - If it isn't in your budget don't worry these can be purchased at any time but (some- the ones in bold) are needed
    Filter (Uv filter) - to protect your lens from scratches. And no it doesn't change how the photo looks
    Bag (camera bag :er:)- to protect you investments when not in use
    Tripod - to keep your camera steady (and it also can help change settings for the better (not literally:er:) ).
    Memory cards (larger the better - up to 4gigs - just make sure your camera can take it) - to hold your pictures
    Cleaning kit - to clean your viewfinder and other parts
    External Flash - to illuminate better
    Editing Software - if you want to add more detail after

    Shoot
    - Take pictures of any & everything you see and don't take just one take at least 3 with different exposures - this will help when choosing and also study and find out what the problem was with the others were. *Note: if you have editing software already it is good to shoot in RAW for you have a better "canvas" to work on.

    Ask -
    Show you photos to friends &/or family and ask for their input on how it looks, what it is saying to them and note the emotions they are expressing when looking at the photo. You can also post it, ask for criticism and see what random people think of it.



    * This is what I feel is going to be helpful for this is what I did when starting to photography and it helped me a lot.
    If anybody wants to add to they are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  2. Phazan

    Phazan TPF Noob!

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    Well, technically UV filters DO change how your photos look, a little bit. Also, bigger memory cards are NOT better. The performance and reliability is what I look for in a memory card..Just some things I think you should change.. ;)
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    The problem with getting a really big memory card is that you stand to lose more if it fails. I use 4GB as my ceiling (with my 8 Megapix camera).
     
  4. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    True, I would probably get no more tan 4GB each card either.

    They are better, just not in every way. I personally go for the SanDisk Extreme III/IV ones. By some it may be better to have one 8GB than two 4GB, but id rather have one 2GB than 4 512MB cards.
     
  5. Mike30D

    Mike30D TPF Noob!

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    With all the image file recovery software available, I wouldn't worry about using big cards.

    The 4GB are nice though, you just have to switch more when shooting things like a wedding.
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    You're a lot more trusting than I am! I trust the software about as much as I trust the cards. :)

    I've never had a card fail yet, but ... (I hear Murphy snooping around my room ... I better shut up)
     
  7. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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    This is opinion from a "beginner" (me).

    Many (most?) of your recommendations are confusing and not overly "nooby friendly".

    Take for example, you recomendation to use RAW. Any beginner who start with RAW will throw DSLR away in disgust and go back to Point and Shoot. Am not argueing merit of RAW vs JPEG, just that RAW is not a "beginner's topic". I have a feeling many pros still do not use it. RAW+JPEG probably a better idea.

    "UV Filter" - many pros do not use one because they swear it affect overall quality, even the expensive filters. I do not see the difference, but then I also do not sell my photos so can afford to be less picky. UV Filter is important to protect your lens, but question is how much to spend. More expensive (multicoated) filters have less degradation, but sometime may cost as much as beginner type lens.

    "bigger memory Card" - already mentioned by others, "BIGGER" is not always better. Not a good idea to "put all eggs in one basket". Personally, I have one 4gb and five 2gb. It's more of a pain to upload to computer, but at least I only lose 2gb if/when a card goes bad.

    For a beginner, (my opinion) an external flash is more useful then a tripod. That is unless you want use tripod to mug a pro photog for his external flash. An external flash is also "more fun". Fast lens are EXPENSIVE. External flash does not complete solve low light scenarios, but it does freeze motion and help you capture those shots with the "not so expensive lens." Also, not all tripods are built the same and most ones recommended do cost more then beginner type lens.
     
  8. Sirashley

    Sirashley TPF Noob!

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    I think the first part of this statement is the worst thing you can do for criticism. My friends and family see a photo with decent composition and they are like "WOW!!!" because they are not photographers and have no idea what to look for to give proper criticism. My wife will take a look at a photo I have done and say "Okay? so it's a tree?" She does not get landscape photography and she has no emotion towards it. The second part of your statement is accurate to a degree, but you never know the experience of the people who are critiquing it. There are allot of locals on this particular website, so after posting for awhile, you can get an idea of who is knowledgeable to give you good criticisms. Anyway, just my 2 cents...
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    My little say so - I expended on your themes as a basis:

    1) your first point is right - spot on. Forums and the Internet can convey a lot of information, but you have to hunt and ask for it to find it. And remember "the only foolish questions are the ones we do not ask."

    2) Accessories:
    a) the filter is a grey area. A filter is adding more glass to a lens, thus more between subject and camera sensor (or film) and thus is changing the end result - this change might be small but its there. Some consider this change worth it to protect their lens others do not consider the protection worth it - I would consider the following points carefully:

    i) are you shooting in a dusty or sandy (dessert sands and winds) environment, where small particles might become lodged on your lens on a regular basis - in this case I would use a UV filter to protect the glass - regular and quick cleaning might lead you to scratch something in - better that the filter take that

    ii) regular cleaning with cleaning fluid can damage lens coatings so a filter can protect against this, but only in cases where you are cleaning a lot (ps not fully certain about this point - 2nd hand understanding)

    b) if you are getting a filter get the best (most expensive) you can get for your lens = no sense in getting a good lens with good glass and then sticking cheap glass in front (there is a big and marked difference here)


    2) Bag - defiantly important - be sure not only to listen to others advice, but to go into a store and take all your kit with you. Then spend time trying out the options and putting the bag on - see how it feels and holds your kit.


    3) Tripod - another important item - and like many areas an area not to skimp on! You have just spent several $(£)100/$(£)1000s on a camera and lens, so you don't really want a cheap tripod from Walmart(Tescos). A good tripod will be strong and sturdy and will be one of the bits of kit that, with care, will last you near on a lifetime! That said if after the camera you have no funds left for a good tripod a cheaper one will do the job well, but you have to accept its harsher limits; its not going to be strong nor perfectly stable, and its not something to trust to hold a lens and camera stable on anything but the flattest of grounds (and the slightest of winds); they are very light though which makes them ideal for a walk around tripod and the legs tend to open out very quickly (in fact most have a connector from each leg to the centre colour so you just open one leg to open them all)


    4) Memory cards - I would say 4Gb is the ideal size for most people. Its large enough that both JPEG and RAW can hold a decent number of shots on a single card before needing to change. Larger cards are not bad, just more risk with chances of corrupting. Stick to top brands (eg. sandisk) for best results. For those interested in sports and wildlife a faster card is important and you might find the need to move to 8GB for some cases. With both capacity and card speed check your cameras limits - most entry level cameras cannot take the largest cards and have a max speed 0 after which it matters not how fast the card is - the camera just can't write as fast.
    One tip is memory is often a shop accessory that is overpriced to get money in - go on line (respectable dealers - amazon) for some great low prices


    5) Cleaning kits - don't have to be very expensive and generally aren't, but you will need one!


    6) Flash is a whole new ballgame - stick with your popup for a small while (funds dependent of course) and see how it really works. One tip with working with the popup is to use a few folds of toilet paper (soft kind) held in front of the flash to diffuse the light and soften it - really helps take the edge of a flash.


    7) host of stuff here - :
    GIMP - free downloadable software that is good, if not as accessible as some others - still powerful though

    Photoshop Elements (6) - affordable for most and has enough features for a new commer to use well

    PaintShop Pro - like elements this is affordable to most and it does have some different features to elements. Defiantly worth a look

    Lightroom - more geard to batch RAW processing this is another cheaper product that has gained a lot of popularity. Also able to do most basic editing its a good alternative and companion to Elements

    Photoshop CS3 - pretty much the king of editing - most online guides are based around this interface - that said the workings are still the same for the other programs so you can take the lessons from one and apply them to the others.


    8) Shooting - first up you just want to have the camera with you all the time (charge up those batteries) so that you are ready for what ever comes your way. Digital photography is great as you can shoot all day and not have to spend anything to see the fruits of your labours. Also don't get disheartened if your first shots are not what you expect - it takes time to get used to a DSLR.

    a) Addendum - once you are shooting one good way to advice is to post up photos in a forum and ask for comments and crits on them - be ready for a factual strip down of a photo from technical to compositional elements and remember people might be harsh, but (provided they are telling you where you have gone wrong and how to fix it) they are helping you. One big tip is not to post more than 3 shots - in fact a single shot can be very telling; this is because most errors you make you will make over and over again - so what comments work for one photo will be applicable to the rest - people also find it easier to comment on less rather than more (more takes a lot of time and most people don't have that time)

    b) I agree with others - RAW is NOT the place to start. Shoot in high quality JPEG to start with and edit the shots - play around with them and once you feel confident enough with the program and what is what then move on to RAW processing. Its not confusing or difficult to understand, but it requires understanding which you can only get with time and practise (or a school/uni course ;)). Don't be scared by RAW - work to wards it


    9) Ask - I agree on this. Defiantly ask those who are not photo nuts to look at your work - heck chances are you will be anyway. They might not know what ISO is or what apertures are good or how to correct your work, but they are able to see with eyes that look to the photo itself as a photo and not a work of technical skill. Course many might be overly nice, but others might have the gumption to say "thats rubbish" - its a viewpoint and nothing else - but its a viewpoint (thats all anyone ever has - even pro photographers)

    edit - this looks a lot more here than on notepad!
    its not definative and I might have missed some things - but there it is
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As I mentioned in another thread... depends on the camera. Compact flash devices have pins, and everytime you swap cards you run a small risk of pulling a pin with the card (or bending the pin putting it back in). It's unlikely but it absolutely DOES happen, and it has happened to four people I know personally. $500 repair on a Nikon.

    If you have an SD based device (or anything without pins), by all means go nuts and buy up buttloads of smaller cards. If you have a CF device, buy the biggest damned card (with good speed) you can get, and bring something with you that you can unload your pictures onto or just make a point to unload it very frequently. Don't unplug that card if you can avoid it.

    To date for the people I know, the rate of failure on CF pins has been higher than the rate of failure on memory cards. You have been warned! (ominous music)
     
  11. zandman

    zandman TPF Noob!

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    i'm just using six 1gb, for me, it is better than getting a big one, i mean, if you're on a hurry and just grab things from your table and put it in the bag, you forgot that your memory card is in the computer (a big one) and realized it when you're already on the spot where you will use it. you have no other choice than to buy a new one or go home and grab it.
    not like if you have 3 or 6 memory card, you forgot the one in the computer, and still have the other on the bag, =]]]
     
  12. LynziMarie

    LynziMarie TPF Noob!

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    I think this thread is a good idea!!

    I, personally, get more out of showing my work to people who don't know the tech. aspects of photography. Most people who ask you to do their portraits or pay you to do so will not be pros and have no idea.... just if they like it or not, so artisitically, I think you get more out of that than showing a pro.
    While showing a pro most certainly has benefits as far as technically acheiving what needs to be done.

    And, being a noob, shooting in RAW was just a waste of my time, really... I got stressed trying to figure out how to get them onto my computer, and if you're just learning how to use your camera and all of that good stuff, it's just a hassle you don't need.... and I really didn't see a difference. So, untill you're pro, don't even think RAW.

    and as for the cards.... I think it's a personal thing 100%... whatever you feel comfortable with. if you want to risk it, risk it... if not, play it safe... it's all on you.
    but I think having a few cards is a good idea, you never know when you'll get on a shooting frenzy.
     

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