New here! Looking for pointers

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Lemmon879, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Lemmon879

    Lemmon879 TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I'm new to this forum. I am just starting to build my portfolio and was hoping to get some pointers from you all! I have a Canon t3i DSLR camera and enjoy shooting all sorts of subjects. I am not an expert on Photo shop or Light room, but hope to start working at it. I have two main lenses that I use now (18-55mm and 18-135mm), however I am looking for opinions on if there is a better lens out there for photography.

    Any advice on the basics to start out would be appreciated. I enjoy seeing what other people like to use -Lenses, backdrops, camera settings, etc.

    Thank you!


     
  2. goodguy

    goodguy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would recommend two lenses to get better results

    Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II
    Canon 70-200mm 2.8 II

    excellent lenses
     
  3. KenC

    KenC Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing the amount you can spend, in what ways your current lenses don't measure up to your expectations and how you would use the lenses (studio, walking around, etc.).
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Excellent lenses indeed, BUT... recommending expensive glass for better results is a little like say, "Oh, you're having trouble driving? Buy a Porsche!"

    The first rule of buying gear is, "Don't!" Don't buy something until you KNOW what you need, or you have identified an area where your present gear isn't meeting your requirements. Buying equipment in the hope that it will lead to better images is invariably going to lead to disapointment. The 18-55 is in fact a very good lens with millions of dollars of R&D behind it. It's many orders of magnitude better than the lenses that even the best pros had 100 years ago, and there were some amazing images crafted then.

    Take the gear you have, learn to use to its full potential, and THEN address your GAS*

    *Gear Acquisition Syndrome
     
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  5. budget cruncher

    budget cruncher TPF Noob!

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    It seems like there's always going to be a better lens, but better lenses are only part of the equation.

    Having an artistic eye is quite helpful.
     
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  6. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would certainly agree with the comments regarding the image quality of the basic Canon lenses you own.

    Though, one of the first "tips" to give is to know your gear. Inside out and to the extent you can operate your equipment without taking your eyes away from the photographic subject.

    Either lens can be researched and learned. Zoom lenses in particular have issues that are often resolved by knowing the sweet spot of the lens' performance envelope. Working as much as possible around that region of settings will provide the highest technical quality available from your equipment.

    The inexpensive yet high quality 50mm prime lens from Canon is always a worthy addition to any equipment bag.

    Primes are, overall, higher quality than kit lenses. They can teach a student photographer exactly where in their photographs to look to find the weaknesses of another lens. Being a fixed focal length, they also tend to make the photographer more aware of their subject rather than depending on zoom power to get the shot.

    Learn what the prime lens can teach. Most student photographers don't know enough about image quality to even begin to see the flaws in their shots. You would have to look long and hard to find a modern lens that is not sharp and acceptably color accurate in the center of the image. There is more to see than the center of your image however and you need to learn to see the entire shot.



    Image quality, of course, is subjective in many ways. It is true though, you cannot intentionally break a rule until you fully understand the rule. You cannot employ your equipment to achieve a desired result unless you first understand what you will achieve by moving away from the technical sweet spot.

    So, first and foremost, at this point you should learn your lens to the extent you are never asking how to do something with your gear. The same for your camera. Both should become extensions of your hand and tools of your imagination.



    You need to simply sit with your camera in your hands as you go through the owner's manual. Do so in the kitchen and do so out in the back yard but do so. Frequently at first. Come back to the owner's manual often, it will have most of the answers to most of your questions.

    Take multiple tests shots when you read of a feature that you will use. You can safely ignore features such as blink detection. Not so for features which directly impact image quality.

    Use Canon's knowledge center for more complete answers and tips; Canon DLC: Photography

    Acquire a flexible DOF calculator (A Flexible Depth of Field Calculator) and take it with you by way of an app for your phone if possible.



    As a general rule, shoot in RAW capture. Jpegs are created via a set of rules (algorithms) determined by the camera designers to meet a broad range of conditions. RAW capture is your image, faithful to what you have considered and envisioned prior to snapping the shutter.



    Never take one shot and walk away thinking you have the image you want. Observe your subject carefully and take multiple shots from various angles and distances. The more you look, the more you will see.

    Why do professional photographer's images look better than your own? There are numerous answers to that question but one reason is they take the time to see their subject in the best light available. Or, they create the best light.

    Either way, the point is they do not see a subject, snap a shot and walk away. A professional or advanced amateur takes the time and makes the effort to develop patience. If you do not yet posses this trait, make the effort to develop it.

    "Chimp snapping" creates snapshots, not interesting photographs.



    Learn post production. This is where your RAW image becomes a printable photograph.

    IMO there's little need for both Photoshop and the overlapping Lightroom. Lightroom is the better choice, IMO, for a student photographer and will do more with less effort than will Photoshop unless you are into very serious graphics work.

    Do though find a high quality and reasonably powerful editor. This will enable you to take what was in your head at the time of the shot and create a final image with impact and interest.



    Finally, take a course in photography from an instructor who has your needs and interests in their plan. Stick with the course from start to finish and do not jump around between bright and shiny things.
     
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  7. table1349

    table1349 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not knowing your experience/knowledge level I am going to offer this for starters. If you are past this then ignore the advice.
    1. Read the manual from beginning to end a couple of times so you know the capabilities of the camera and how to use those capabilities.

    2. This is one of the better tutorials on the web for leaning the skills of photography.
    Digital Photography Tutorials All the creativity in the world is pretty much useless with out the skills to perform the task.

    3. All the skill in the world is pretty much useless if you don't develop your creative eye. Yes #2 & #3 both go together. Personally I feel you need to develop the photographic skills first then the creative one. This is a good book, not the only one by any means, but a good book none the less for developing your creative skills: Amazon.com: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (9780240809342): Michael Freeman: Books
    Also, don't overlook your public library for books on both #2 and #3. Cheap, easy resource for learning.

    Finally, if you like to watch tutorials then check out Mike Browne's youtube videos: Mike Browne Again there are other good videos as well as some pretty poor ones so you have to use your own discretion as to what you feel will help you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
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