I'm new, I have a lot of questions :)

BenjaminV

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Hello everyone,

So, I'm new to photography. So far I'm having a lot of fun but I don't really know what I'm doing in the sense that I have, as I've been told, good gear that has a lot of potential that I'm hardly taping into.

I'm here because I have a lot of questions and if anyone feels compelled to answer them or some, it'll be much appreciated :)

I read that a lot of people run their pictures through software- What kind of software is best and where is it cheapest to buy? I looked up adobe lightroom and its very expensive...

I have a Canon 70D

Lenses :

Canon 24-105mm L lens

Canon EFS 10-18mm

Canon 40mm f.28 pancake

Canon 50mm f1.8

I've noticed that I like landscape photography a lot. Mostly because I'm intimidated by the idea of taking pictures of people I don't know - But when I get more knowledgeable and comfortable, I want to be able to do walk-around photography.

I am mostly using my camera in auto - ISO, shutter speed and aperture just go over my head - Or at least the idea of what I'm supposed to do with them all together - how does one know what looks better than what the camera selects automatically? - I think this is all due to my inexperience, but being that I'm a Virgo, this is where I'm stuck.

I took pictures this morning of the sunrise and they were extremely dark - I was using the Canon 10-18 that I just bought. it is a 4.5-5.6 IS STM so I know its not allowing too much light in- Is this where software editing steps in? Or are people just using the higher quality type L's?

I've read that most images go through editing, am I expecting too much out of my raw images?

I hope I uploaded the picture correctly. I really like it, but I wish the bridge was brighter- I don't know if its something I could of helped by changing settings in the camera, or is it just that my lens isn't good enough for that type of photography??

I hope this doesn't put anyone to sleep, thanks for those who take the time to reply!
 

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BenjaminV

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I took this around 3 PM today too, this I think looks nice, but I wish the colors would pop more
 

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Designer

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You might have gotten software with the purchase of your camera. If so, it should be able to do basic editing.

I think nearly every photograph needs some basic editing, such as; straightening, cropping, exposure and white balance corrections. Aside from that, you should be getting them fairly close in camera.
 

wyogirl

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I'm just going to give it to you straight-- Take a class. I'm not saying that to be mean but if you are shooting in auto and want to get better then you NEED to learn to shoot in Manual. The best way to learn is to take a class. Look at your local community college. Even if its a film class, the concepts are the same. You have great gear and no knowledge. A forum cannot replace the classroom.
 

nathan cox

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I think a course or watching a lot of youtube is the best solution
 

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I don't think you need to learn to shoot in manual immediately. I have recently gotten used to shooting in manual mode the majority of the time now, but I still like AV (aperture priority) mode a lot. You should not neglect google as an amazing learning tool either. This forum is great, but sometimes it is faster to breeze through the web for some stuff. Just type aperture priority mode and go with it. With AV mode you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. Once you get the hang of aperture mode try TV (shutter priority) mode where you set the shutter and the camera sets aperture for you. Once you get a good grasp on those two then manual can be the next step. Sure there is tons of other stuff to know also but its all about baby steps sometimes. The reason so many people get overwhelmed is because we think we have to learn it all at once. Learning photography is just another process. (BTW, AV and TV are for Canon, I cannot speak for Nikon or other ones, but since you said you had a Canon anyway, you are good.) If you need anything feel free to let me know. I know there are people on here with probably way more knowledge than me, but I do know a few things about a Canon.
*Also, I am a big fan of Lightroom. You can get the Adobe photography cc package with all access to Lightroom and Photoshop for like $10 a month. It is really worth it since Lightroom used to cost around $180 and Photoshop was a few grand depending on the package you bought.
 

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Hello everyone,

So, I'm new to photography. So far I'm having a lot of fun but I don't really know what I'm doing in the sense that I have, as I've been told, good gear that has a lot of potential that I'm hardly taping into.

I'm here because I have a lot of questions and if anyone feels compelled to answer them or some, it'll be much appreciated :)

I read that a lot of people run their pictures through software- What kind of software is best and where is it cheapest to buy? I looked up adobe lightroom and its very expensive...

I have a Canon 70D

Lenses :

Canon 24-105mm L lens

Canon EFS 10-18mm

Canon 40mm f.28 pancake

Canon 50mm f1.8

I've noticed that I like landscape photography a lot. Mostly because I'm intimidated by the idea of taking pictures of people I don't know - But when I get more knowledgeable and comfortable, I want to be able to do walk-around photography.

I am mostly using my camera in auto - ISO, shutter speed and aperture just go over my head - Or at least the idea of what I'm supposed to do with them all together - how does one know what looks better than what the camera selects automatically? - I think this is all due to my inexperience, but being that I'm a Virgo, this is where I'm stuck.

I took pictures this morning of the sunrise and they were extremely dark - I was using the Canon 10-18 that I just bought. it is a 4.5-5.6 IS STM so I know its not allowing too much light in- Is this where software editing steps in? Or are people just using the higher quality type L's?

I've read that most images go through editing, am I expecting too much out of my raw images?

I hope I uploaded the picture correctly. I really like it, but I wish the bridge was brighter- I don't know if its something I could of helped by changing settings in the camera, or is it just that my lens isn't good enough for that type of photography??

I hope this doesn't put anyone to sleep, thanks for those who take the time to reply!
I was also looking at your photos. I'm not familiar with your lens because I haven't gotten to try it yet, but I don't think it's an equipment problem. Editing software could help you "pop" your colors as well as help with your dark bridge problem, But there are tons of other methods you could use in camera to help with the bridge like mess with the exposure or use bracketed shots that way you can expose all parts of the image properly and then combine them in post-edit later. Just giving you some ideas is all, I'm not an expert. Just keep practicing and researching. Check out your camera manual too, it explains a lot of functions. I still bust mine out every once in a while to skim through it and learn something new.
 

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BenjaminV

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for the replies! I am reading quite a bit. I am in San Diego this entire week for work and I've been taking a few shots here and there. This is such a nice place to photograph!

I am watching a lot of youtube videos on this- I don't have the time to take a class, unfortunately.

I really like the 10-18mm lens. I really like how much you can fit into your shot

I will keep at it, lol. This camera is too advanced for me I think...should of started with something simpler =\ Oh well, I'll have to grow into it, hehe
 

cauzimme

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Anyone can correct me with terms, english is not my first language so i'm doing my best... It is the basic, very basic.

Hello everyone,

So, I'm new to photography. So far I'm having a lot of fun but I don't really know what I'm doing in the sense that I have, as I've been told, good gear that has a lot of potential that I'm hardly taping into.

You are right, you are well equiped for a beginner!

I'm here because I have a lot of questions and if anyone feels compelled to answer them or some, it'll be much appreciated :)

I'll try my best!

I read that a lot of people run their pictures through software- What kind of software is best and where is it cheapest to buy? I looked up adobe lightroom and its very expensive...

Did you look up Creative Suite, you can have a monthly subscribtion to lighteoom and photoshop for less than 10$ a month!?

I have a Canon 70D

Lenses :

Canon 24-105mm L lens

Canon EFS 10-18mm

Canon 40mm f.28 pancake

Canon 50mm f1.8

I've noticed that I like landscape photography a lot. Mostly because I'm intimidated by the idea of taking pictures of people I don't know - But when I get more knowledgeable and comfortable, I want to be able to do walk-around photography.

Don't be shy, don't be impolite or reckless, but don't be shy and you should totally practice even without knowledge, it's how you learn.

I am mostly using my camera in auto - ISO, shutter speed and aperture just go over my head - Or at least the idea of what I'm supposed to do with them all together - how does one know what looks better than what the camera selects automatically? - I think this is all due to my inexperience, but being that I'm a Virgo, this is where I'm stuck.

Because you want to control the camera, so the camera capture want YOU want and not what IT wants.

Okay ISO (Level sensibility of your camera towards the situation light) So yeah, your camera is able even in low light situation to compensate so you don't need to use a flash (Can ruin a mood) BUT it's not a miracle thing and it has a major downside (NOISE in Digital) Noise is not really attractive, well most of the time, and noise can be a pain, especially if your exposition is not on point.

You usually touch the ISO when you want more latitude with your exposition. Very Basic example, there's more reasons (like sports or even birds in movements)...
Ex; I'm shooting without a tripod in the evening, I can't have a slow shutter speed or my image will be blurry, so I'm pushing my iso that way i'm able to use a decent shutter speed more than 1\60.
Ex: I'm shooting a friend outside, around noon on a very bright sunny day... Well I'll put my ISO lower, so I can be able to obtain the highest image quality.

High Iso - Low light
Low Iso - Bright light

Shutter speed:
Pretty easy to understand - it's the length your sensor is exposed to the light
The lowest your shutter speed is the biggest amount of light you are receiving inside
The fatest your shutter speed is, the lowest amount of light you are receiving inside.

That's why you need a tripod when shooting in low light situation, especially when you don't want to raise your ISO ;) Lower than 1\60, even if you think you can be still, you'll be moving, just enough to create a motion blur,

If you want to capture and freeze someone movement without motion, shoot with the fast exposure time
If you want to create a motion effect, capturing the continuity of a movement shoot with a lower exposure time.

Now my favorite,
The Aperture f\Stop
It's the ratio between the lense focal lengt and the diameter of the entrance pupil.
And it's affecting the sharpness of your image.

The DoP (Depth of field) increase with the F\stop.

You are interested in landscape, so you usually shoot around f22.
Why so ? Because you want your landscape to have a higher DoP,
You want to shoot portrait depending of what kind, you'll probably shoot lowest stop f5.6-8 (sharpest)
You want to isolate something on your photo (a beautiful flower), well you'll be shooting at the lowest f(f1.8)

Also the lowest = The more light
The highess = The lowest light you are receiving.

So what happen to my shutter speed when I shoot f1.8, well my speed will need to be fast because (Faster speed lower light entering your camera) Otherwise my image will be Overexposed (White wash out)

So what happen to my shutter speed if I shoot f32, well my speed will need to be lower because (Lower speed = more time, more light getting into your camera) Otherwise my image will be Underexposed (Noisy, and Black)


Like I said, it's the basic, but give it a try, you have nothing to loose, see what happen, play your camera and buy some books that will explain more into details, cause there's more details, way more stuff, but yeah, give it a try, it's the easiest road to learn and progress)



I took pictures this morning of the sunrise and they were extremely dark - I was using the Canon 10-18 that I just bought. it is a 4.5-5.6 IS STM so I know its not allowing too much light in- Is this where software editing steps in? Or are people just using the higher quality type L's?

I've read that most images go through editing, am I expecting too much out of my raw images?

I hope I uploaded the picture correctly. I really like it, but I wish the bridge was brighter- I don't know if its something I could of helped by changing settings in the camera, or is it just that my lens isn't good enough for that type of photography??

I hope this doesn't put anyone to sleep, thanks for those who take the time to reply!
 
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Jim Walczak

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These are, as always, just my own personal opinions...please use them as such.

Right off the bat here, my first suggestion is to not worry so much about the gear and learn some basics about composition, lighting, etc.. As I've said sooooo often over the years, the simple fact of the matter is that a GOOD photographer can use humble gear and still take GREAT images, however a poor photographer will ALWAYS take bad pictures even with the most expensive gear out there! Very simply, a good understanding of what actually makes a great image will take you further than any single piece of camera equipment ever can.

With that said, I have to completely disagree with wyogirl. Shooting all manual offers no advantage at all to someone just learning and if anything, it's usually counter-productive. There was a time when people would move from a point & shoot to an SLR and HAD to learn those dials and knobs to create decent photos. Today however cameras have gotten to the point that even "Full Auto Mode" or "Scene Modes" do a really great job in many situations allowing the photographer to concentrate on the subject instead of the camera. As a person who grew up shooting ALL manual with a 35mm SLR, the simple fact of the matter is that 80% of the time I use AP mode myself. I will still use manual in particularly tricky lighting situations (such as a commission I recently did where I was shooting still images of video animation on 7 screens with mixed colors, levels, etc), however for most average situations I'd rather "focus" on my subject (no pun intended) rather than twiddle knobs. Here's a little tip I've learned over the years; you can shoot all manual and have an image that is perfectly exposed and that's absolutely razor sharp, however if it's simply a boring image to look at, the rest simply doesn't matter AT ALL!!! Who really cares how well you can twiddle those knobs and dials if your pictures lack a degree of interest. On the other hand, if you have a truly interesting composition, then it simply doesn't matter whether you shot all manual or full Auto....when people look at your pictures (be it prints, jpgs or otherwise), they're not really going to care HOW the image was shot.

Very simply, learning how to use the controls of your camera...aperture, shutter, ISO, etc., all this stuff will come in time. If you're just learning however, all that stuff won't help you to actually take good pictures if you don't understand what actually makes a "good" picture to begin with. In other words, the horse should go IN FRONT of the wagon. Understanding what makes a good image always comes FIRST...and it's NOT the knobs and dials on your camera.

Likewise, I also have VERY mixed feelings about "taking classes". This is perhaps fine for some people as it may motivate them to learn, however the unfortunate truth of the matter is that not all classes or instructors are created equal. The fact of the matter is that I've looked at a great deal of "student work", where it's clear the instructor just wasn't teaching the right information. Again proper exposure means very little if the picture is just stupid to begin with. The fact of the matter is that we live in the age of information...some folks forget this or don't like to hear it, but for a self-motivated person, there isn't a damn thing you can learn in a "class" that you can't find in books or on the internet these days. It's simply a matter of knowing WHAT to look for.

So on that note, again I would suggest you start with the concepts of composition and light. Learn how to use basic principles such as "the rule of thirds" and how dramatic lighting can create a more intense image. While a book or two on "introduction to photography" will help, I would also urge you to look at some traditional art books as well. When I first started taking photography seriously, I learned more about composition from the likes of people such as da Vinci, Caravaggio, etc., than I did from any book on photography. And a book (or two) on drawing or even a text book on graphics design can teach you about concepts such as light and shade, value, color, contrast, shape, line, form, pattern, etc., etc., etc....subjects that are often glazed over or ignored by many photography books or so-call "instructors". You can look around at local used book stores or even Amazon for some used books, but your local library may be the best place to start! Unfortunately a lot of folks today use libraries as little more than low cost video rental stores, but wow...they still have some really great books as well! LOL!

So on that issue, again...learn what makes a good picture to begin with and just lock your camera down on full auto if need be...the rest will come with time.


Now on the issue of image editing software...wow...this is really a can of worms unto itself! LOL! The very basic premise of photo editing software (regardless of brand) is that it gives YOU control over how your images will look. These days, anyone can walk into Walmart, pop their SD memory card into a machine and have their prints in "half an hour or less" (LOL). To be honest, it's not much different from the days when people would drop a roll of film off at "Fotomat" (geezz I'm getting old, LOL)...a bit faster perhaps, but the principle is the same - someone else develops YOUR images. And for a lot of people taking snapshots of the family vacation or little Johnny's 5th birthday party, that's just fine! I got a big old box of family snap shots myself that I enjoy going thru every ten years or so. That said however, some people, sooner or later, decide they want their pics to look "better". In the grand old days of film, this meant setting up your own dark room and such, so YOU could decide how your images looked instead of the zit faced kid running the gear for Fotomat. Today, we have the true blessing of image editing software.

I will say here that -IF- you can afford it and -IF- you take your images seriously, it's hard to go wrong with Adobe Photoshop. I've been a PS user since version 4 came out (and that's 4.0 that came out around '96, NOT "Creative Suite"). Photoshop is without doubt, the ipso-facto standard in image editing and as such, has one advantage over ANY other software out there; learning resources. There's a TON AND A HALF of info out there on Photoshop from basic image editing techniques to some of the most complex image manipulations you can imagine. That said however, like the camera itself, I also must point out that Photoshop, like any image software, is nothing more than "a tool"...an unbelievable powerful creative tool, but a tool none the less.

On the other hand, if you can NOT afford Photoshop, there ARE some very good alternatives available. Photoshop "Elements" for example is affordable (under $100 if I'm not mistaken) and offers many of the most common features found in it's higher price counterpart. Then of course there's "Gimp". As a long time Photoshop user, I personally find Gimp a tad annoying...I'm used to PS and that's what I like to use, however Gimp has the very distinct advantage that wow...it's FREE! And for someone just learning, it has plenty of features to drastically improve your images right from the git go. If nothing else, based on price alone, it's a really great place to get your feet wet!

Since it was mentioned, I would also like to say a quick word here about "Lightroom". Ok...ok...I'm a HUGE fan of Adobe, however for how -I- work, I don't really care much for Lightroom. This is just my own opinion, however LR has always been more geared for people who do "production photography". Certainly you can edit individual images, but over-all it's more for the more commercial minded individuals...say a wedding photographer who may be processing 80 posed shots or the proverbial school photographer who may be riffling thru hundreds of otherwise identical photos. For myself, for lack of a better explanation, I treat each image as a singular piece of art work...even if I've shot 400 images or more on a given day. Because I have so much experience with Photoshop, I can setup batches or even "actions" that allow me to do my work just as efficiently as I could with LR, with considerably more control and a lot more options. I'm -not- saying Lightroom is a bad program by any means, but for myself at least, it's about using "the right tool for the job"...and for me personally, that's Photoshop.

While I don't know if this will help or confuse the matter, to give you some understanding of this, here's how I work with images; after I copy the images from my camera to the computer, I'll first examine the pictures in Adobe Bridge...think of Bridge like a basic browser of sorts, where you can preview your images, see image info such as EXIT data, etc.. I'll use Bridge to basically weed thru the bad shots and decide exactly which shots I'm going to process. Once I decide on an image (or multiple images as the case may be), I'll then open the image in Adobe Camera RAW...this is a very powerful tool in and of itself. Using RAW, I can make my primary adjustments including color balance, exposure, noise reduction and address any other issues I may have missed at the camera. Once I've made these adjustments, I'll open said images in Photoshop for the final tweaks and polish...usually a slight levels tweak, a bump to the saturation, some sharpening...you get the idea. It may sound tedious, however with practice and allowing for basic images, I can usually knock out most pictures in about a minute or two per pic (give or take what else I may decide to do with the image...crops, level the horizon, composites, etc).

Last but not least, regardless of which software you choose, do remember; there IS a learning curve! Be patient, don't be intimidated and take the time to learn your software properly. Most photo editing software does in fact share many of the same features...the ability to adjust levels, curves, contrast, color/saturation, yadda, yadda, and it's in understanding such adjustments that allows you to get the most out of your images. A simple levels adjustment for example can make a dramatic difference with your images with the simple use of the slider.

Obviously, there is A LOT to learn, both from a photography and a post-processing point of view. It can seem daunting, if not incredibly intimidating, but with time and patience, I suspect you'll find you can create some truly amazing images!

Again, just my own $.02 worth...keep the change :)
 

Jim Walczak

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I'm just going to give it to you straight-- Take a class. I'm not saying that to be mean but if you are shooting in auto and want to get better then you NEED to learn to shoot in Manual. The best way to learn is to take a class. Look at your local community college. Even if its a film class, the concepts are the same. You have great gear and no knowledge. A forum cannot replace the classroom.


At the risk of being perfectly frank, your suggestions are anachronistic at best. The fact of the matter is that if someone understands the principles of composition and lighting, they CAN in fact create very good, if not truly amazing images using basic auto modes, however shooting in manual offers no advantage at all to someone just learning who doesn't understand these principles to begin with. As I suggested in my post above, the simple fact is that you can have an image that's perfectly exposed and razor/tack sharp, however if it's a boring image to begin with, the rest just doesn't matter at all. On the other hand, if you have a truly interesting or evocative composition, it just doesn't matter whether the photographer used auto or manual...a great image is a great image REGARDLESS of how it was shot.

Equally, film classes are OUT OF DATE. I am in fact a rather perpetual art student at a local community college that does in fact teach such classes and to be perfectly blunt, they are a SERIOUS waste of money, because they teach photography students the WRONG CONCEPTS. I look at a lot of "student work" and the greatest majority if just plain crap, NOT because it's the work of students, as much as due to the fact that the student was taught the wrong principles to begin with. While there may be a few art photographers lingering out there with some interest in building their own darkroom, the fact of the matter is that learning to fart with those chemicals and spending hours of squinting in the dark room...it's a waste for anyone interested in modern photography methods and more directly it's just NOT necessary for someone learning digital photography. It's like taking a medical student and saying "we're NOT going to teach you about X-Rays or MRI's or robotic surgery methods or any of that new fangled stuff, but here's your jar of leaches...go bleed the evil spirits out of someone". 20 - 30 years ago such concepts were essential, but the fact of the matter is that times have changed and many such classes have completely failed to keep up with the times. Yes, many concepts such as light, contrast, etc., are in fact the same, however there is less emphasis on such concepts because of the use of out dated technologies.

And while I might agree that a single forum can't replace a classroom, the simple fact of the matter is that we do live in an age of information. With a click or two of the mouse, a self-motivated person can in fact find MORE information, including forums, than one can EVER hope to find in a classroom environment! Here's another fact; a classroom can NEVER teach someone unmotivated to learn, however a truly motivated person WILL learn, REGARDLESS of a classroom.

You are of course welcome to your opinions, however I can't help but feel you are providing some very bad advice here for the inexperienced.
 

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