beginner!!! any tips, advice, help?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Pusha Key, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. Pusha Key

    Pusha Key TPF Noob!

    Sep 27, 2015
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    so i'm elected lead photographer of my school's newspaper and I really love photography and i'm pretty good at it.... but I literally started a week or 2 ago and was just kinda thrown into action this weekend for Homecoming and our Homecoming game, realized I have a low to work on. i'm really hoping someone with more experience with cameras and photography in general can give me some vet tips on any sort of help you can give. Camera is a Canon EOS T5 rebel if anyone knows anything about it, still not familiar with all the settings etc.

    Took around 2000 pics this weekend, also wondering if anyone has any recommendations on the best place to upload pictures to, want them to stay in the resolution they were took in if it's possible

  2. AceCo55

    AceCo55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Jan 22, 2012
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    Your request is so large and fuzzy to be of little help to those offering advice.

    "I really love photography and i'm pretty good at it ... but literally started a week or two ago "
    So what aspect of photography are you "pretty good at"?
    Camera settings, exposure triangle, composition, portraits, action, low light, post-processing ... etc etc

    When you say you started literally "a week or two ago" does that mean you had no experience with cameras or photography until two weeks ago?

    Maybe narrow down what info you are looking for rather than get some-one to devote a bunch of time providing you with information that you already know?

    For starters (and I'm only guessing):
    7 Incredible Tips for Beginner Photographers
    Basics of Photography
  3. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Apr 13, 2012
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    Congratulations on being elected lead photographer for your school's newspaper! That's an awesome honor loaded with responsibility!

    (How do I get Derrel's attention here?)

    Honestly, how on earth does one take 2,000 photographs in one weekend anyway? I mean; even if I tried, I might be able to take more like 200, and even then I would be utterly brain-fried! Or just counting the 20 good ones, I would feel like the weekend was well spent.

    So, let's're a beginner, you have your camera, and you have an assignment, but you don't know much about the camera or the assignment.

    Part of me wants to wish you good luck and go have my breakfast, while part of me would like to stick around and help.

    So here goes: For a newspaper to document student life, you have to literally be at everything important at the time it is happening, and be ready to get GOOD photographs. So that kind of means you have to learn your camera. Start by reading (and then re-reading) the user's manual. (Lots of people seem to forget this part.)

    Next; from your journalism class, you learned that photo-journalism essentially "tells a story" with a photograph. So "tell the story" with each photograph. If some of your shots don't do that, then don't bother showing them to anybody. The ones that do tell a story will probably require minimal editing, such as straightening, cropping, and correcting the exposure. Do all of that before showing them to anybody as well.

    There you have it in a nutshell.
  4. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Jan 3, 2015
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    It's quite something to be "elected" to a post simply by being the last person standing, eh? Or because you are the only person who knows how something turns on.

    Yes, your post is quite broad, rather like someone who is sinking fast and hoping anyone will toss them anything to hold on to.

    Your enthusiasm is evident, however, ...

    2k photos in one weekend is a bit much. It would suggest you really need to learn what is photo worthy and stop simply chimp snapping anything that moves or stands still long enough for your camera to focus on.

    I can't imagine the reception you will receive when you dump 2k photos on the school newspaper and say "Take your pick." You may no longer be the elected photographer for the school newspaper.

    To that end I would suggest you visit the library and pick up a few books which are dealing with photojournalism or written by photojournalists. Read this material with a thought towards being selective in what you shoot.

    No doubt, taking one shot and walking away is hardly how a good photojournalist operates but you really need to know when to anticipate the next event and to be patient for the shot that will tell the story of the prior twenty photos you didn't take.

    Learn your camera. Light and shadow are the materials of photography and your camera and lens are the two primary tools you have at your disposal to work those materials into an interesting final result. You really cannot do much until you understand your camera and lens. Dig out the owner's manual or pull it up on line and sit with it and your camera for a few evenings. Work with your camera and the manual in bright daylight and inside the school under more subdued light.

    Learn what the camera's controls do along with how and when to use them.

    For now, shoot in your automatic modes and allow the camera to make adjustments as the scene allows.

    There is no reason not to do this for a school paper. Your aim is to present a photo that will be printed in a school paper, not hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Actually, for what this assignment requires, you don't need a DSLR at all, you could accomplish the result with a decent smart phone camera. So concentrate on what you need to know right now and in the immediate future learn what you can anticipate needing. In other words, if you know you are going to be asked to take a photo of the cheer leading squad, learn what challenges that will present and how to adapt to the situation. You don't need to learn how to take landscape photography to take a shot of a student in art class.

    Low available light will be your greatest challenge. Shooting inside the school presents specific issues which deal with available light and the fact that light levels are dramatically reduced once you step out of the bright midday sun. Read a few threads which ask about shooting events inside and under artificial light sources. There are many to choose from but they all have basically the same advice.

    Learn a few rules of composition for those times when you have the luxury of a posed scene. Don't get hung up on these rules as an over reliance on a few rules makes for rather boring photography.

    Learn when the little icons on your camera's control dial would be appropriate for use and use them. Know that "portrait" mode doesn't apply when you are snapping a shot of twelve people. You'll be asked to photograph sports so understand the "sports" mode along with why and how to best use it. People moving rapidly probably requires the sports mode. People standing still will not and using sports mode may actually work against you in that situation.

    Do not be afraid to ramp up the ISO value of your camera.

    I'll repeat that ...

    Do not be afraid to ramp up the ISO value of your camera.

    This will be your best choice when light levels fall. Your photos will be printed in a low resolution format at a reduced size. Any drawbacks to higher ISO values will largely be removed from the result by the printing process. Set your camera's maximum ISO to at least 1600 and possibly higher if needed.

    You have been placed in a position where you are being asked to provide a handful of photos for selection to the newspaper. Nothing more.

    You need to provide a handful of relevant photos which do not overwhelm the selection process. That, IMO, means no more than, say, a dozen shots of the entire Homecoming event. Another dozen that tell the story of the game. Go into the discussion with a favorite of your own and be prepared to explain why you feel this is the shot to print. Accept the decision made by others and move on to the next assignment.

    Your present job is pretty simple. Don't try to make it more complicated than need be.

    If you wish to actually learn about photography, that's a totally different process. Do so on your own time and at your own pace. No one is asking you to produce more than snaps of a school event at this moment.

    You can upload your images to your computer as long as it is compatible with the systems the school uses for imaging. You should be shooting for the newspaper in Jpeg, not RAW.

    If your school (and the printer who does the work for your school) uses a Windows based system, then use the photo processing system that exists on a Windows based system. Move your images to a removable storage device for presentation to the school newspaper. Then go back and delete the unused images or your hard drive will fill up rapidly with junk. Just always remember you are producing snaps for the paper, not great art.

    If you wish to learn photography, there are plenty of threads in the archives which deal with past suggestions to the numerous requests for such information. Do some reading.
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Jul 23, 2009
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    I did school newspaper work in junior high, high school, college, and later as an adult in my 40's. The KEY has always,always,always been to come back with photos that SHOW the important or interesting parts of entire events, or the people involved, so that others can see "what happened" and "who was there". That's the deal...interesting photos that show the important or interesting parts of the event, and some photos that clearly show the PEOPLE involved. For the Homecoming, the king and queen and the court are important people. Their first dance at the homecoming dance might be a very good shot to show. Same with the entire homecoming court, the various couples who were elected. SO, there are two, or three photos there.

    The game action is maybe the toughest thing to get in terms of a peak-action shot; I doubt you can do that, so shoot something ELSE. Shoot the rally squad cheering, with flash, with game action in the background behind them. Or shoot the band's tuba player up in the stands, with the game action literally in the background of the shot, at 18mm, f/3.5, about 1/15 second at ISO 3,200 from up in the stands...the two teams can be in huddles or just lined up across the line of scrimmage from one're just trying to capture the flavor of the event, the "Here's what I saw at the homecoming game" stuff. Take some longer-distance shots of the two teams on the field, showing quite a bit of the FIELD, and maybe the home grandstands; this is YEARBOOK, not daily newspaper or magazine photography. This is a special type of photography; this is documentary photography, not throw away, one-day, newspaper sports you're shooting! Environment, location, the event as a whole is more important here than it is for daily sports/news stuff. Shoot "the event", and "the people", and "the important stuff"--as happenings, as spectacle, as-seen-from-the-event. Your goal is to show what it was like to be there, and what the sights were! Show the band at halftime, show the flag girls, show how many people were in the home grandstands, show the ball boys, shoot the concession stand workers and the lines of people, shoot some well-dressed kids,show people eating popcorn or cotton candy, show the rally squad, show a few sideline shots of the coaches at the game, show the SCOREBOARD from field level, shoot "the events"...

    If you cannot get game action shots of the football game, then you'll want to shoot what you CAN get, which is old-fashioned team-vs-team shots, before the snap of the football, from the sidelines. ISO set very high, 3,200 to 6,400, lens wide-open at f/3.5 at 18mm, and the two teams lined up close to one another. Shoot what you can. You cannot be a Sports Illustrated shooter, so you need to shoot football the old-fashioned way, with a short focal length lens, from CLOSE. In the end zone, or when the team is close to scoring, say from the 10 yard line, you CAN get good action picks with a short lens, at f/3.5 ISO 3,200 or 6,400 at probably 1/320 second or so, depending on how good the lights are.

    Use flash at the dance. Get photos of people enjoying the dance.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
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  6. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Dec 17, 2013
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    There is a lot you can learn. But given the immediacy, you need to learn how to be a photojournalist (at the most basic levels) as quickly as you can. You've got to be instantly competent. So take baby steps and set small objectives that meet what the paper will want. And scout or practice ahead of time.

    1. A lot of HS Fall photography is in touch settings...low light or artificial light, at night (football games, dances, etc.). So you need to go out on a Thursday night and shoot so you can see how challenging it is. I'll spare you all the details. Darrel is right--you have got to come back with the key shots for what you're doing. If you get a really artsy shot of a football on the ground and a picture of a happy soda drink salesman, that won't cut it (even if they're great photos). You've got to get the Homecoming Queen (or her and her court, or the Queen and King). And you'll need to get a few football/game pictures. Shooting sports (if you don't have the right equipment and experience) is really tough--movement, low light and distance--ugh! So what you're going to want to do is to either shoot a break in the action (end of the half, players leaving the field...if they look happy and you win, that's the mood/metaphor shot. If they look tired and you lose, that's the metaphor shot just make sure to get a shot of tired players and a shot of some excited-animated players). Or look for a play on the sidelines. Or hang out in the end zone and wait for a score. You will NOT be able to capture even mediocre shots at night of game action with the equipment you've got and your level of experience.

    2. Something any good photojournalist does is get photos now for later. For instance, at some point you'll want a picture of the principal. So get one now and put it on file (for your editor to call up). Any other key teachers or admin people? Get their picture. Any other teams (like cross country or soccer)? Shoot a team portrait in controlled lighting. That way if they have a big game and you get no results, you at least have a backup picture to use.

    3. Right now, my advice is anytime you know you have a big event coming up you need to shoot, get there a day before during the time you'll be shooting and check out the location, setup, and lighting. Basically you're doing a modest rehearsal so you know what you'll need to do in order to get a decent shot that meets the needs of your editor.

    4. Write down the shots you want to get for specific events. If you don't do this, you'll get caught up in the moment and after the game you go "duh, I meant to shoot the coin toss and the Queen receiving her crown!"

    5. Anyplace there is a crowd, look for opportunities to get "above" the crowd. A small aluminum stepladder that gets you 2 feet above the mass of heads helps. Standing on a chair or the bleachers helps. Your eye sees through the crowd of faces to see the key person. The camera however will capture the back of everyone's head who is facing the key person and it will look like crap.
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