Beginner photographer

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Michael Cardenas, Dec 4, 2019 at 9:57 AM.

  1. Michael Cardenas

    Michael Cardenas TPF Noob!

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    Hi all. I am interested in picking up photography, mainly as a hobby and maybe more further down the line. I have no official experience in the industry and have never taken any classes or anything like that, basically I have little to no knowledge of photography. For those of you that can help what are some things I should focus on learning about to begin developing skills as a photographer. I have a Nikon D3400 if that helps... Thanks for reading my post and thanks for the advice, have a good day:).


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What do you enjoy photographing? Are you a landscape person? A nature person? Macro? Portraits? Learning photography has never been easier; between YouTube, and the host of other on-line resources, EVERYTHING you could ever want to know is available at your finger tips.

    1. Decide what you want to shoot.
    2. Look at your images (post them here for comments and critique ("C&C")), determine where, if anywhere, you want to improve, and search out those topics, and/or ask the questions here.
     
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  3. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The first thing I would suggest is becoming intimately familiar with the relationship between your camera ISO setting, shutter speed, and aperture setting, with respect to exposure. You need to get a handle on that first.

    And take lots of pictures, the beauty of digital photography is your mistakes are free. I would also suggest NOT using the auto mode for your camera and force yourself to explore the controls and what effects they have on how your pictures come out.
     
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  4. PJM

    PJM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Take pictures of anything and everything. I'm a relative noob myself. When I first started out I tried finding the perfect scene, sunset or whatever to take a picture of and then found myself getting frustrated. Now I go out and try to take the best possible picture of anything I find. (Advice I think I heard here.) Experiment. Take multiple pictures of the same thing from different angles and perspectives. This will help build your skills. And more often than waiting for the perfect shot, I get something I like. Good luck and have fun.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    the first thing I think you should get is a Good Handbook of Photography type book by John Hedgecoe, or Tom Ang, or Michael Freeman or by Bryan Peterson. These four authors have written some of what I consider to be the best overview books for a person who wants to learn photography. A book such as the several written by these authors will give you a good overview of the field and craft of photography. With a book as your guide you can locate web and YouTube resources quite easily. The old expression ,"You don't know what it is that you don't know," applies here. With a good understanding of what there is to learn, you will be well-equipped to seek out resources that will help you learn photography in just a few months rather than in a decade.

    Get a book. You will be Miles Ahead. YouTube is fine, but it is a collection of 50,000 videos on random photographic topics and 1,000 videos designed just to get clicks.
     
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  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Successful photography is a blend of artistic expression and technical skill. You need both if you're going to go beyond a hobby.

    The technical aspect is the easy part. You just learn it bit by bit. The artistic part is somewhat harder to learn, but it can be done.
     
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  7. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Learn to use the light meter in your camera and how to adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO to expose your images well. Learning to read a histogram helps a lot.

    Spend a lot of time learning about composition, not the quick photographers stick it on the third line stuff but how to use shape, colour, lines, negitive space etc to lead and eye through the frame. Then just chase light ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 3:28 PM
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  8. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Derrel led me to John Hedgecoe books ( 5 years ago) and they have been very helpful. I still use them 3 or 4 days of week to this day. However, I am really aggresive in learning and always have been. I had a mentor (passed away) and when I showed him what Derrel recommended, he said, "brilliant recommendation"! I bought like 6 or 7 books and the shipping was more than the book. He loaned me his Nikon F with a 50mm lens and sent me on my way. I had bought a few 3rd party lenses that couldn't hit focus with my D3300 and I almost gave up. It was the lenses. Once I had a good understanding of aperture, shutter, ISO (ASA), and hand holding technique, I was on my way. My mentor referred to those books I bought because he was smart, he knew I could learn quickly from them. I incorporated the basics from those 1970's books into my digital camera. I then sought out lighting and Derrel expanded my understanding contained within the books. He was very patient and helpful. I by no means an expert or pro in anything. I took everything so far as a platform to make images as opposed to taking them.
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Making photos .....JC often sets out to _make_ a picture.... that mindset is what sets him apart from 90 % of other shooters...
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Devote 1/2 hour a day to shooting. There is a big difference between taking some photos on the weekend and doing it on a daily basis if you shoot everyday your skill level will go up quite quickly and mistakes that you made yesterday can be corrected the following day
     
  11. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I agree Derrel. You told me this and I followed your instruction. We have to put the effort in.
     
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  12. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When you shoot, you need to think. Not just press the shutter.
    • Does the composition look good? Can I make it better by moving around?
      • The flaw that MANY people have is, they shoot everything from their upright standing position.
      • Watch the background, or you may have a telephone pole growing out of your subjects head.
    • Is the exposure setting correct? What if I change it, can I create something different?
      • The camera meter is just a tool, it cannot read your mind. When you want a certain look, you may have to use manual mode and set the exposure to give you the effect you want.
      • Learn to use the Exposure Compensation, for when the camera meter, cannot properly meter the scene to what you want.
      • There are different exposure modes on the camera. Learn what each mode does different from the other, and USE it. Depending on what and how you are shooting, one mode may be better than the others.
    • Is this the best lens/focal length? Can I create a different image/look with a different lens/focal length?
    So take the picture.
    Then think "how can I make it better?"

    As has been said, once you bought the camera, digital is free. So take a LOT of pictures.
    When you take a picture of a subject, don't just take one, move around the subject and take many different pictures.
    You may find the best shot in one of the pictures that you did not originally think about. Remember that shot, that is learning.

    As Derrel said, the more you shoot, the easier it is to shoot. Handling the camera become more natural, and less clumsy.
    To build on a statement "mistakes that you made yesterday can be corrected the following day"
    You NEED to review your work to see
    • what you did GOOD (remember them) and
    • what did not work (determine why, so you can fix it).
      • Then as Derrel said, go out and redo the shot, applying the fix, and verify that you fixed the problem.
    As you shoot, try the different functions of the camera.
    I read HOW in the manual, but I have to actually DO it on the camera, to learn.

    If you find something interesting, that you want to use later, tag it, so that you can easily find it.
    Example, on my D70, I rarely used the remote IR, so I had to tag the instructions, so that I could easily find it when I needed to use it.

    Put the the camera manual in your camera bag, or a PDF of the manual in your phone. That way, if you ever need to look up something in the manual, you have it with you; you don't have to wait till you get home to look it up.
     
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