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For every photographer out there!

dcmoody23

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Alright, here's a question for all you photog's out there.

If you had the hindsight that you have now when you were just beginning, what would you give yourself as your number one tip?

As a beginner I feel like I'm misguided on many occasions at what I should be doing to better myself, and I can't help but think that some of the best photog's we have here went through the same thing, and that if I can understand how they got to where they are now that I could better myself.

I hope that question makes sense -- As I read it I'm thinking it may be hard to understand because of the wording.

Having said all of that, if you'd like to reword my question for me in your reply I would gladly change it if I feel it makes more sense :p
 
Alright, here's a question for all you photog's out there.

If you had the hindsight that you have now when you were just beginning, what would you give yourself as your number one tip?

For myself it would have been "Don't worry about the cost or weight just buy the darn 300mm f2.8 IS L!"

Seriously that would have been my advice to myself back when I started - however I don't think it will help you with your current situation ;)

As for you current feelings I would say my best advice is to break your photography down into areas of interest and try to focus on one or two of them at a time. You don't have to master them before moving on, just focus your interest for a time in a selected area - like portrait, insect shots, birds, abstract etc...
You can then start to tap into those in the community with specific interests in those areas and you've more chance of improving and getting better results than if you try to hit all the areas all at once.

My other advice is to be self critical of your work - critique your own shots and see what you think is wrong with them - then post that data up with your shots when asking after others input. This part is all about training your "eye" to see shots not just in a critical manner, but also to see how your viewpoints differ from others - to see what thoughts you have that are important to others and to also see where you might be focusing too much attention on a problem that only you can see.
 
Thanks!
I plan to post some work here, but my laptop literally died so now I only have my school laptop and I can't load my photos or edit them here, so I'm using my girlfriend's laptop to do my photos at the moment, but I'm also extremely busy with last minute editing on senior pictures and so I haven't had the time.
The advice is greatly appreciated -- I've been loosely using your tips before you put them into wording for me, but now I have a concrete technique to use .. Thanks so much!
 
My only regret is that when I first started I had access to things I will probably never get a chance to shoot again. I had no clue about things like composition back then. I just clicked away with no thought as to what I was doing.
 
"Take the damn camera off auto mode. It's not doing anything for you!"

I would tell myself that. (and a few others as well)
 
Haha well luckily for me I've never been one to use auto mode after getting some sort of idea about aperture and shutter speed -- It kind of takes away from the fun, that and does it ever give you the image you want? Not for me at least.
 
In hindsight I am glad I didn't take the lessons that they teach at the camera store. There expensive and I learned everything for free (through the mentoring system here on TPF). Also, dont try to get the biggest lens out there. I now have a 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D that I dont use a whole lot. And now I want a 17-55:( So just try to see where you will be in 5 years. Are you going to shoot sports, weddings, portraits, wildlife, etc.? And choose your gear from that. And dont be cheap and get crappy gear. The $140 C-stand will last longer than I do. But I made the mistake of first buying a cheap $20 light stand and it fell over damaging my vivitar flash. :(
 
my advice to myself would be:

- Don't rush into purchases, save up for an extra 4 - 5 month
- Don't buy cheap stuff - It is cheap for a reason.
- Don't worry about the weather, just go out shooting!
- Get out more and shoot more!
- also - dont be afraid to go out with mates more often, work isn't everything. *
- if you think something is wrong, even if you get told to tell your feelings - Don't! *

but number 1 tip would probably be...
Don't shoot what you think others will like, shoot what you like yourself.
 
This is kind of hard to say. Of course I would tell myself to skip cheap lenses and buy expensive, but then again there are flip sides to that. If I bought a $1900 L lens and didn't know how to take a good picture, that still wouldn't save me. Then I would feel like I had met the limit and sucked, and would probably give up more easily. Starting cheap allows you to save money and focus on the technical aspects of the camera and different techniques while you figure out WHAT type of shooting you want. Then you can buy the expensive lenses that you need for that. Plus you always can pick yourself up when you get discouraged cause you can say "well I will keep trying and maybe one day when I get better lenses, I will see a big improvement" Not sure if it makes sense what I am saying. Frankly, I have taken some pretty decent shots as a beginner on fairly cheap/midgrade lenses ( not to toot my own horn, I have seen many others take great shots on cheap as dirt stuff on these forums. Ron Evers is king of that ). So you just have to learn to use what you have and focus on the pictures itself.

My #1 thing if I had to choose, would be to tell myself...

"Buy Photoshop right away and learn it"

You will have people that say "get it right in camera" but in digital its very hard to get it right in camera. You almost ALWAYS have a colorcast, especially with the cheaper bodies. You can set WB, but as a beginner you will either not know how, or not do it at the correct times and can still have problems. Also, you may still need some sharpness and color adjustments. Perhaps some dodging and burning. All of this can make or break your pictures, or at the very least help to keep you excited and positive about your progression. So as a beginner ( as long as you know that it should not replace ATTEMPTING to get it as right as possible in camera, and that you can't fix a turd no matter how hard you try ) I feel that post processing is almost a lifeline when you are struggling to get started and get better.

Just my opinion.
 
I've only been a professional (as in I get paid to shoot, not in that the quality of work is professional) for less than 5 years. There's not much I regret.

I've bought good stuff right from the start.

I got out of shooting auto mode in less than 2 weeks when I went to DSLR a bit over a year ago.

I've always shot what I wanted to shoot, as opposed to what I think others would want to see.

The one thing I regret is not having gotten into it earlier. I was into my 40s when I got started.
 
"Buy Photoshop right away and learn it"

Interesting viewpoint as whilst I very much agree with you regarding gear choices and advances - that of it often being better to cut your teeth on budget gear and move up to the better grade as you gain skills and confidence and understanding - I find that I disagree with this point. Only so much that in I feel a beginner is better suited to working with a more affordable package like Photoshop elements; GIMP; Paintshop pro and maybe something like Lightroom - whilst leaving bigger investments for the camera hardware.

In other words putting more emphasis financially on getting the shots to start with, rather than with the editing software. I am certainly not saying that editing isn't important because its key - but something like elements is not only more affordable but easier to get to grips with for a beginne
 
"Buy Photoshop right away and learn it"

Interesting viewpoint as whilst I very much agree with you regarding gear choices and advances - that of it often being better to cut your teeth on budget gear and move up to the better grade as you gain skills and confidence and understanding - I find that I disagree with this point. Only so much that in I feel a beginner is better suited to working with a more affordable package like Photoshop elements; GIMP; Paintshop pro and maybe something like Lightroom - whilst leaving bigger investments for the camera hardware.

In other words putting more emphasis financially on getting the shots to start with, rather than with the editing software. I am certainly not saying that editing isn't important because its key - but something like elements is not only more affordable but easier to get to grips with for a beginne

Sorry, I should have clarified. I started with Paintshop pro which sucked. So for ME personally ( which is what I was referencing ) I wish I had bought photoshop earlier. The software doesn't matter so much ( although I would say to go with the best if possible, which IMO would be photoshop CS5 ) as long as its capable and you learn how to use it effectively. In a twisted sort of way Photoshop also helped force me to learn more, because it killed the misconception I had ( as most beginners do ) that photoshop can fix anything. I learned quickly to my dismay, that a OOF shot or extremely bad exposure, is not going to be fixed and shame on me for not doing a better job IN CAMERA.
 
For me, it would have been 'don't blow all of your money on crap'.

When I was 18 I made some very bad choices with my money. Basically I blew $30k on crap... Think of all the gear I could have gotten with that!

The only thing I still have that I bought with that is a 27" Sony TV that's about 10 years old... Paid $500 for it.

That's all I have to show from $30,000...
 
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Don't go to school for photography.
 
Just go shoot!!! I would think too much about what I wanted to do and would never do it!!! Now I just GO!!! I learned sooooo much faster shooting then I ever did just reading!

Josh........I know what you spent it on....lol You dirty boy!
 

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