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A PM to a beginner.

Village Idiot

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Mar 20, 2008
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Shepherdsturd, WV / Almost, MD
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Sent this to a guy I know that's just starting out. May be of interest to some other beginners. Some of the link are for local groups on Flickr, but that just give you an idea of where to go to look for or to start your own local groups if there are none established.

I haven't read it, but everone recommends [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Photographs-Camera/dp/0817439390/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282053195&sr=8-1]Understanding Exposure[/ame] for learning the basics.

[ame=http://www.amazon.com/Light-Science-Introduction-Photographic-Lighting/dp/0240808193/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282054097&sr=8-1]Light Science & Magic[/ame] - This book is a little dry, but it explains lighting and the theory behind why/how it works as opposed to a book that tells you to put one light at one place at a certain power and one light at another place at a certain angle with a certain modifier at a certain power.

Photography On The Net - Canon DSLR forum. Great resource no matter what camera you own. There's a good amount of pros that frequent the site and you can learn pretty much anything here. There's almost 260k registered members and last time I looked, there were 921 registered members currently viewing the forum.

The Brunswick Photographer's Guild - I think I remember you saying you lived in Brunswick. They're a local group that's rather informal and have members with experience ranging from people who barely know how to change lenses to people that are making a comfortable living off of portraiture, weddings, etc... They meet once a month and there's usually a few people with enough knowledge at the meets to share some of their equipment and know how.

The DC/Baltimore/NoVa Strobist Group - This is the local faction of Strobist.com We meet infrequently, but there are a large number of talented photographers that are willing to share gear and let you pick their brains at the meets. The meets are a little more structured than say the BPG and often cost to attend, but the money goes to renting locations, food, getting models, etc... Some times there're smaller meets too. We've shot at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Frederick Keys Stadium, Some lawyers' offices in DC, a horse farm, Coast Gaurd base in Nova, and other places. Some of their meets are also dedicated to teaching. They're all about off camera lighting.

The Strobist Blog - A blog started by Daivd Hobby, formerly of The Baltimore Sun, which was originally intended to share his knowledge of cheap off camera lighting with a small group of friends. This site has exploded. He has readers all over the globe and flies around the world to share his knowledge and experience and to teach others to shoot some amazing photos without spending thousands upon thousands in equipment. This is where I got started in getting serious about photography.

The Strobist Blog: Lighting 101 - The basics about off camera lighting on the cheap. This is the original foundation that the blog was built on. It requires some knowledge about lighting, but it really helps from there. I believe he said he was in the process of updating this, as it was started over 4 years ago and with the popularity of the blog, the whole "Strobist movement" has blown up. There are a lot of different and cheaper alternatives to what he list in the tutorials. You can grab a flash for $85, triggers for $30, and stands and umbrellas for $30 & $20.

Zack Arias - Another product of the Strobist "era" of photography. His blog has some great turtorials and he has an instruction DVD that has some of the best lighting explanations I've seen. I can let you borrow it. You'll thank me for it later.

Lighting Essentials - The blog of Don Giannatti. I love this guy's work. He has useful tutorials and his instruction has more work dedicated to business oriented photographers rather than your standard hobby shooter. I'm not saying the above two photographers aren't successful professionals (because they most definitely are) but their tutorials seem to be more directed towards teaching people how to shoot with the occassional bit of business information thrown in. Don does classes along with the other two and he seems to stop in Baltimore at least once a year. For about $400-$500 for a two day course, you'll learn enough to improve your photography more than purchasing any new lens will. I've shot with him and I've seen the results from people that have taken his course. It's definitely a worth while investment.

Joe McNally's Blog - I honestly don't read this as much as I should. He does a lot of shooting for Nikon and can teach you a good bit about using Nikon speedlights. He does some amazing work and has some good books out there.
I like this as the start for an additional sticky.
You can grab a flash for $85, triggers for $30, and stands and umbrellas for $30 & $20.

Could you post the link to that site? On B&H I can't seem to put together an 8' stand package with a 43" umbrella for less than $70.

Midwest Photo Exchange Specializing in Off Camera Lighting, New and Used Photographic Cameras, Lighting, Printers, Medium and Large Format

8' LumoPro Air Cushioned 3 section stand - Currently $24.99
Westcott 43" white satin shoot through umbrella - $19.70

Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. The items listed above won't be as resilient as say a $100 Manfrotto stand or a $50 umbrella, but for the price it's a great way to get into it and if you just want to buy once, you should be looking at different solutions.

I'll still buy the 43" westcott umbrellas because sometimes I still put them through hell, but I've learned the difference between buy three stands for $75, vs. three stands for $270.
thanks VI, that's about the same price then because you still need the adapter to hold the flash and umbrella and stand together. and that's about 20 as well I think.

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