PDF FAQ Beginners Guide


TPF Noob!
Jan 29, 2005
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Right, if that wasn't too many TLA in a title and you understood... ;)

I'm going to write up an illustrated beginners guide to photography for TPF and publish it as an Adobe PDF which everyone here will have access to.

Hopefully it will be helpful to everyone who reads it and will alleviate some of the perpetual "can you explain what aperture is?" questions. As it will be searchable and unalterable due to the choice of format, it should pull in more people to our lovely community.

It's going to be illustrated because the current sticky is a bit tricky to read and people still ask "what does that actually mean?". We all understand laziness, and people are far more inclined to read something with pwetty piccies in.

This is going to be a fairly major undertaking, and I'd like help from you chaps and chapesses taking some of the pictures - I will post in this thread asking for pictures which, say, demonstrate depth-of-field or hyperfocal distance or whatever (it isn't going to be light when I write this!). Then, you can spring into life - photo fight club style and you'll have a lovely picture in the beginners guide, along with credit naturally!!

I'd also appreciate some proof-reading volunteers both from a grammar and spelling point of view and a technical one.

So, volunteers for helping please!!! :mrgreen:

Basic concepts
aperture / f-number
exposure / shutter speeds
focus auto / manual

SLR / TLR / reflex / TTL
ISO / film speed
film types
film and sensor size
common camera modes and their uses
medium format
large format

focal length
lens aperture
prime lenses
zoom lenses
variable aperture
constant aperture
angle/field of view (normal wide telephoto)
macro photography
extention tubes
reverse lens technique
depth of field
hyperfocal distance
lens flare

Taking a photo
Releasing the shutter
Avoiding camera shake
first and second curtain

The rule of thirds
Holding the camera the correct way around

dots per inch
printing out
file formats
lossy vs lossless

dodging and burning
Photoshop and Gimp

Other Concepts

pushing and pulling
legality of photography
model release form
work for prints
high/low key images
inverse square law
reciprocity (failure)
film grain
White balance
colour temperatures
18% grey
night time photography

That's the vague headings and subjects that I've collated from the sticky so far. Anyone got anything to add?
How about a 'putting it together' section at the end of each section, something to give an idea of how all the settings interact with each other rather than how they function on their own?
first :thumbup: for taking this on!

Second, a couple of additions I thought of while reading the list is Aperature and Shutter priority and the Sunny 16 rule. Maybe even the Zone System.. since I would like to know how that works myself ;)

This has now become a joint writing effort. The mighty HvR will be putting his not inconsiderable intellect and experience into the content, so there's half a chance it'll be accurate and a very good chance of a sensible structure. ;)

I was going to cover Av and Tv under common camera modes and their uses. Sunny 16 is a good-un, I'm sure we'll work that into exposure. The zone system is a piece of cake, not sure how relevant it is for a noob, but we'll certainly cover tonal range.

woah Rob, good on you for doing this, I'm sure a lot of people will find it helpful. I'm up for helping in any way you need.
This sounds really great. I'm not really sure I could commit to anything but if a list of photographs that needed to be taken were posted up I could maybe do some. People could submit and you could chose the best.
Thanks for all the great responses, I'm sure it'll be an excellent result! We will undoubtably need a LOT of help as this is becoming a mammoth undertaking. Below the list of pictures is becoming huge already, so please do do do post something that's photographically useful - the more pretty pictures the guide has the easier the conceptual understanding will be - a thousand words and all that!

I'll have more information later on tomorrow when I've liaised with HvR, but at this point there are a couple of photos I know we're going to need.

To attain a level of consistency, all shots which you take specifically should be against a white background. They've got to be perfect, so I'm almost certainly not going to choose some, but please please do have a go and post the results here - the more the merrier!!

Pictures I'd like, therefore are:

#1 Picture of aperture mechanism, preferably a macro shot right up close showing detail of the metal iris leaves. Would be suitable for a table top composition against a white background.

#2 Pair of photos, demonstrating extremes of depth of field like f1.8 vs f22 on a standard lens. Ideally something like a ruler or a fence which clearly shows the difference in the two shots. Must be two photos of the same thing!

#3 Pair of pictures of the f/numbers on the dial of a manual lens and picture of the aperture display on the top of a DSLR. White bg again pls.

#4 Picture of a standard 50mm f1.8 lens. ditto bg.

#5 Triplet of photos of the same subject demonstrating exposure bracketing - one under, one correct and the last over-exposed. Now done, cheers Darich!

#6 Triplet of photos of the same subject demonstrating f/stop bracketing - one too shallow, one correct and the last with the background sharp. Suggest subject against patterned background to help demonstration.

#7 Hyperfocal distance demonstrator. A landscape picture where foreground objects are in perfect focus and background is too. No depth-of-field to be evident in the shot.

#8 Picture of a popular film SLR. White background please! Same again of digital.

#9 Picture of a typical TLR. ditto white.

#10 Picture of a typical MF SLR

#11 Picture of a typical(?) large format camera

#12 Picture of a folding camera

#13 Pair of shots demonstrating the difference between first and second curtain sync flash. Passing car at night anyone?

#14 Cityscape at night demonstrating a long exposure, static subject and tripod usage.

#15 Multi-me type PS image

#16 Double exposure demonstration.

#17 Waterfall with "that" long exposure effect.

#18 Traffic trails.

#19 Fireworks

#20 Something for rule of thirds.

#21 Pinhole camera picture

Any good pictures you lovely lot have to contribute that demonstrate an aspect of photography would be great. Before and after shots are exceptionally handy to explain things.

Also very important - please note your equipment and settings along with the shots.

Please also realise that this is ultimately going to be published in a web form and possibly also printed (if it proves popular!!). You will need to be happy for your picture to be reproduced without limitation. Any pictures used will be credited, using your forum or real name or anonymous - whatever you prefer.

Thanks, you're a great bunch!

Has a thread or threads (temporary sub-forum perhaps?) been set up for submissions or pics and or articles?

I have a few pics that would qualify, I just need to know where to post them.
It is to be called 'The Beginner's Guide to Photography' and on the front - in large friendly letters - it will say DON'T PICNIC!*

(*Did I mention that I'm Dyslexic?)
Oh, I'm by no means a PS expert. I know there are loads of you out there who are awesome. If anyone has any routines which would work as a beginners' tutorial, lmk!


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