There's better things to worry about than mastering your camera

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ralphh

ralphh

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Why start with the harder path?

Because at least then they know the path exists.

There's two thigs that motivated me to write it;

1) On the rare occation one of the "mum-with-cam" / "natural-light-pro" starting a business threads includes a facebook, flickr link on them and I take a look, none of the photos are blury, most have reasonable white balance, exposure that's passable, and I don't find myself going "omg, the DoF choice on that one is awful". I do find myself looking at photos with racoon eyes, flat light, harsh light, backlight and obvious compositional blunder and thinking that if they could fix those it would be a big step forward.

2) I see people (and I'm including myself in this) learn their camera, be still unhappy with the results, and assume it's a camera problem, then spend years and years upgrading equipment and learning ever more technical details about how their cameras work and still getting no-where, or improving marginally (in terms of creating a good image, not technical mastery) until finally the penny drops. I had upgraded my 300D and kit lens to a 1Dmk2 and (several) L glass (because I believed the only thing holding me back was that 300D wasn't 'good enough') long before I bought my first reflector.

And if I look back further, to when I was shooting on auto (on a film SLR), again, they're not blury, the exposures are certainly ball-pack and the DoF is not image-beakingly bad. What is bloody aweful is light and composition.

I suggested auto idea, not because I believe it's brilliant, but as a way of lightening (excude the pun) the work / learning load in the hope that would free up some concentration space for other things which might help more.

Perhaps it is not possible to learn thing the other way around, but without trying, it is hard to know.

Overread, thanks for your input on that; it's good to read your thoughts.
 
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Overread

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2) I see people (and I'm including myself in this) learn their camera, be still unhappy with the results, and assume it's a camera problem, then spend years and years upgrading equipment and learning ever more technical details about how their cameras work and still getting no-where, or improving marginally (in terms of creating a good image, not technical mastery) until finally the penny drops. I had upgraded my 300D and kit lens to a 1Dmk2 and (several) L glass (because I believed the only thing holding me back was that 300D wasn't 'good enough') long before I bought my first reflector.


Personally I don't see this as a reflection in the fact that people who learn camera settings first are more likely to then ignore other areas and focus only upon upgrading the camera body and lens. I see it as a symptom of advertising.

Camera companies (and heck even mobile phones and tablets now where a new camera is a key feature) are always imposing upon people the view that their photos will be better with a better, newer camera or lens. Indeed its something that is heavily marketed to the point that it becomes a form of "common knowledge". It's not exactly wrong, but nor is it exactly right, however its marketed so heavily that people attribute more weight to it than it might actually have in reality.

Editing software is very much the same way in how its also marketed as the solution to all your photographic problems and not only that but you need only hit "auto adjust" and all the best corrections will be done.


Now when one is self learning and not in a structured environment its very easy for them to only learn part of the story and then consider themselves fully knowing of all that they "need" to know because they don't yet know what they don't know. In light of this is see and support the merit in that teaching and encouraging considerations of composition and lighting control ARE important parts of a beginners study in photography and are important points to present to them as ideas for consideration.

The problem is that I still don't think it should be the commonly viewed starting point, that basic building block of settings control is still required. Include the other elements certainly, especially when a person presents a specific situation that is lacking in those areas - but I think your rank beginner still needs clear and firm encouragement and direction toward resources to learn their exposure control.



Indeed if I may, one thing shows up clear in that this argument is looking almost specifically at studio style photography - where shutter speeds don't have to be blinding fast and where the depth of field isn't much a worry either - the thing is in this environment and with that consideration then the idea of lighting first works to some extent. The problem is that that same person will still be all but useless outside (pics of the kids playing on the grass - running - sports - etc...) and auto modes (even sports auto modes) are not very good at getting shutter speeds up - esp in more challenging lighting (especially so if the user isn't using auto ISO and is "setting it low because low is best to avoid noise").
 
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ralphh

ralphh

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^^^ I think you could probably broarden that out to most posed photographs - certainly shutter speed is even less of an issue for a posed photo outdoors than it is indoors, and DoF... well it depends; very shallow DoF can certainly produce very dramatic effects, but the difference between say f3.5 and f5.6 is not going to turn a masterpiece into a wreck or visa versa.

Whether or not you can get a child to set still is of course quite another matter :lol: and I must admit - I really was thinking quite narrowly - ie about posed portraits - with this.

I agree with everything you say about advertising of course.
 

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