The wrong way. Learn the fundamentals.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by KmH, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    IMO, many beginners I see here on TPF are going about learning how to do photography, the wrong way.

    They are often told by others to shoot, shoot, shoot, or practice, practice, practice, which is also the wrong way if shooting and practice is not done within a solidly grounded framework of understanding.

    The way to build that framework of understanding is to learn the fundamentals - composition, use of light, exposure, focal length, depth-of-field, white balance, flash (strobed light), etc., and apply those fundamentals to your photography.

    Beginners should be doing their own C&C, because if you can't see the problems with your photos yourself, it means you haven't yet learned/understood the fundamentals.

    Not understanding the fundamentals is also why so many people have to ask - What camera should I get?/What lens should I get?/What flash should I get?

    IMO, this Beginners Forum section should be filled with technical questions, not requests for C&C.


     
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  2. rlemert

    rlemert No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are a couple of ways one could go about "learning the fundaments". One is to concentrate on nothing else until you can recite f-stops and shutter speeds and ISO's in your sleep. Unfortunately this way is equivalent to learning how to play baseball by spending a year studying the responsibilities of each position, another year studying the construction and variations of the glove, a couple of terms each on how to throw and how to catch, and not getting to actually play the game until your final semester of school.

    The other way is to spend a little time on the fundamentals, then practice your new-found knowledge in a simple game situation.

    I find the second approach more fun - and probably more effective. You can try something, get some feedback, and say "oh, that's what he's talking about."
     
  3. burgo

    burgo TPF Noob!

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    I think the OP is somewhat arrogant in his assumptions about beginner photographers. A common pitfall of forums, especially this one. Learning the fundamentals and taking photos as practice go hand in hand. One reinforces the other.
     
  4. bevoholic

    bevoholic TPF Noob!

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    Yea, but if you read his post closer he said, "They are often told by others to shoot, shoot, shoot, or practice, practice, practice, which is also the wrong way if shooting and practice is not done within a solidly grounded framework of understanding."

    Yes, practice does help. But why practice something the wrong way. It just reinforces bad habits that become hard to break.

    I agree with him. Learn how to properly use your camera and then practice.
     
  5. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    It depends on the goal. If your goal is to quickly become a professional photographer, then I agree wholeheartedly. But if your goal is to enjoy photography as a hobby, you have to go out and do it -- and do it a lot. You also have to learn the fundamentals, but you have a lifetime of shooting before you. Learn the fundamentals as you go -- not necessarily because that's the most effective approach, but because it's the most fun. If it's your job, I don't care if it's "fun," it's a job. But if it's not your job...you don't want to turn it into a chore.

    It's like golf. I like golf, and I play when I can. I also take lessons now and again, and like that I play better as a result. Certainly you need those lessons thrown in there, so that you don't end up frustrated. But if someone said that I needed to spend a whole lot more time on lessons than on actually playing... I mean, sure, that would make me better faster. But, man, I just wanna go out and play. I wanna drive around in my cart, drinking my Bud Light (yes, I know), and telling terrible jokes. And along the way, I'll slowly improve my game with a lesson or two -- I've got a lifetime to learn, no point in rushing it. That's not the "right" way to learn golf -- but it's by far the best way.

    Similarly, I want to take pictures. I want to show off my pictures. I want to talk about my pictures and have them discussed with friends, and get comments and thoughts and advice in a community. I want to have fun and make mistakes and pick things up along the way. And, yes, I want to make sure I get the fundamentals along the way -- but if I'm not enjoying it because I'm stressing out over some technical point, I'm going to go off and play golf instead. So a forum packed with technical questions may be more effective -- but I'm not sure it would be better.
     
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  6. burgo

    burgo TPF Noob!

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    Nobody starts out learning the fundamentals first. Every photographer starts by taking photos that are not great and then they learn the fundamentals etc in order to get the most out of their camera and photography. I bet that every poster on this board took photos long before they learnt the fundamentals. Telling a beginner to not take photos or to ask for feedback, or "they should only be just asking technical questions" is arrogance in the extreme and not in the spirit of photography in general. If those" Beginner wanting C&C" types of threads bother you then don't look at them.
     
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  7. adversus

    adversus TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I started the wrong way :p

    I shot shot shot shot, leaving my camera on auto. Then when I transferred to the workstation, I carefully looked at the ones that turned out, what I thought were, GREAT. I checked to see what the camera chose for the exposure triangle, and then switched to full on manual and emulated those same settings. Come to think of it, I went straight from Auto to Manual, I don't remember ever using A or S modes at all. But I like learning on the fly, so it works for me :)

    Also, there's nothing wrong with asking for C&C. For the same reason that I don't trust a final QA at work to the staff member that created the work product. We have our own built in biases and opinions that can get in the way of an impartial technical critique. I want to improve, so I don't want to just take MY own word for how my images look, I want feedback from peers and those above me so it removes my own biases.
     
  8. allthingsapple

    allthingsapple TPF Noob!

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    Can I just say that as a beginner, getting C&C on this forum has been extremely helpful. Underline extremely. Unfortunately I learn by mistake. I have to make a few, and then I have an ah-ha moment. I also learn visually, so presenting a visual image and gaining feedback on how it strikes others visually is most helpful. And if I've made mistakes, all the better to learn from.

    Having said that, I do try to be a "responsible" C&C'r. What I mean by that is that when I am out shooting, even as a beginner, I am constantly trying to be aware of settings and exposure and the rule of thirds and lighting and lots more. I am thinking thinking thinking all the time and trying trying trying all the time. Then I come home and pour over my images and try to be selective in what I choose to post. The feedback I get is, for me, the reward for having worked hard and also supplies the excitement and adrenalin that are so much a part of this passion for me........

    Just my two beginner cents.......and also, trying not to hang my head in shame that I just put up two C&C posts before reading this......*gulp*
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Firearms: Don't learn any safety fundamentals, just pick up a gun and use it! Hot tip--start with a .357 Magnum revolver! Home remodeling electrical wiring: who needs to know about breaker boxes and electricity--just grab some wires and start wiring! Driving an automobile: Hell, your kids have SEEN you do it a million times, so let them drive the car to the store, or around town, or whenever they want--and save the money that driving lessons would cost! Ocean kayaking? Screw all that planning and practicing, just buy an ocean-capable kayak at REI and head down to the shore,and begin your trek bound for Alaska...your chances of making it there are as good as the untrained revolver owner's chances of not blowing off a toe. What--have we become a nation filled with people who are afraid to just pick something up and do,do,do!!!? Huh? Huh?
     
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  10. Stutterfly

    Stutterfly TPF Noob!

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    Me too.

    I took a few shots with my p&s (canon s3is) mostly on auto. Someone liked them, offered me the chance to shoot a 3 days music festival. After some rushed research I raced out, bought my first kit (D90) opened the box on my way to the festival.

    I'm fairly sure I had my AF-assist light on those entire 3 days. Oops. The only faux pas I didn't make was using a flash!

    Now, 2 years later, I'm using a D700, far better glass and I'm shooting concerts.

    Of course I went back and learnt the fundamentals. I made some friends in the photo pit, I got advice, I watched what others did (I was probably highly annoying that first year) I have plans to study photography at some stage (finances and my day job's requirements allowing) but II'm still doing it all the wrong way around :p

    Does it really matter though? I was shooting a gig a few months back for www.fasterlouder.com.au, and a girl with a D80 came up to me, asking for help (silly people, assuming I know what I'm doing) like where to set the ISO, AF or MF...and she had on an f3.5 lens. Turned out she was a student of film and photography - so why did she need my help? hmm!
     
  11. quiddity

    quiddity TPF Noob!

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    painting, drawing, writing, most nonlethal sports ... go do it. as you do it more you will either want to grow your knowledge or not.
    would you give your child a tenhour lesson then give them camera.

    its all about the psychology of mindset
     
  12. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    In everything you do ... you experience what the different ways are ... it is only on understanding which of the way is what do you learn from the experience.

    I assume that if you are going to go through the effort of posting images and asking for C&C ... you want to learn the fundamentals.

    If you just want to show off your pictures to us ... then that is great also.
    Maybe TPF should split the Beginners forum into ... Foundations of Photography -> Beginners Help/C&C ... and Photo Galleries -> Beginners
     

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