Whats the best way to learn?

ndb0407

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Someone asked this question in another thread but it kind of got buried. What do you think is the best way to learn? Just read your manual and go out and shot? Is there a book you think is spot on? Do I really need to shell out big buck for classes? I have so many site saved to my favorites right now I do not think I will ever really read them all. Not to mention the stack of library books on my coffee table or the shopping cart full on Amazon.
 

Robin Usagani

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Just hang out here a lot, shoot a lot, post your images for critique a lot AND ask a lot of questions!
 

Scoody

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Do what I tell alot of new people here. Put your camera in Av Mode and leave it there for 100 shots. During those 100 shots fool with the ISO, f-stop. Under no circumstances shoot in any of the auto modes. The auto modes are the modes for people that are point and shooters and have no real talent. My dog sucks as a photographer but even he can shoot crappy pictures in Auto.
 

The_Traveler

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1)Learn how to operate your camera
2)Read some materials on composition
3) Look at a lot of pictures, read the critiques, try to figure out why the pictures are good or bad.
4) Take lots of pictures of things that aren't inherently pretty or that you have an emotional attachment to - and then separate the good from the bad - and undertstand why.
5) Then post a couple of the best along with your ideas why they are good
6) go to 3
 

PJL

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Do what I tell alot of new people here. Put your camera in Av Mode and leave it there for 100 shots. During those 100 shots fool with the ISO, f-stop. Under no circumstances shoot in any of the auto modes.
Av still is an auto mode, really. Everything but M is some sort of auto mode. And then if you're just shooting using your camera's light meter, then you might as well be using some sort of automatic mode anyway.

IMO, you can't just say you want to "learn;" you have to decide what you want to learn.

If you want to learn how your camera operates, read the manual and mess with your camera. Worse you can do is be forced to revert to factory settings. If you want to learn the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, read about exposure. Take some pictures specifically experimenting with depth-of-field, motion blur, bracketing, etc.

Learning about composition, though, is a whole other matter. It involves both study of the subject through reading and looking at other photographers' work, as well as taking a lot of pictures on your own, being conscious of objects within the frame, lighting, color contrasts, textures, etc. And, of course, subjecting yourself to criticism.
 

Stradawhovious

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1. Wear out a shutter or two.
2. Learn what makes a good photograph.
3. Be your own worst critic.

#2 Is the hardest of the three.
 

bazooka

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What helps me quite a bit, especially when I first started, was looking at the C&C request submissions and doing your own internal C&C on it. Right off that bat, does the image impress you or not? Create a strong feeling? Now, try to determine what characteristics about the image create this impression/feeling. Colors? Shapes? Lines? Subject? What is the direction, quality, and color of the light(s)? How is the background used in conjunction (or in opposition) with the subject? Foreground, if any? What did they include? What might they have left out just outside of the frame? Where in the frame is the subject placed? Horizontal or Vertical composition? Really spend 5 or 10 minutes really studying the image, whether good or bad, and really pick it apart. Weak images will often have things in common, as well as strong images. What are these things? They are somewhat different for each person, but generally this is valid. Assuming you are creating photographs for yourself, it is your opinion that matters the most.

Then, as you start seeing the similarities of strong/weak images, you will start seeing things through your viewfinder that you've never noticed before. And you will start avoiding those things that tend to create weak images, and using strong elements to your advantage.
 

KmH

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The best way to learn is by following a logical, planned course of study.

First you have to understand the basics of how a digital single lens reflex camera works, and how a lens works, so you can use them effectively.

Second you have to be familiar with the controls, features, and functions your camera has. You must pay particular attention to the focusing modes, focus area modes, metering modes, shooting modes, and shutter modes your camera has available for you to use. For instance, a DOF preview button is handy, as is being able to configure your camera to do back-button focusing.

Third you have to understand what constitutes a good exposure, and how lens aperture, shutter speed, and ISO inter-relate to accomplish not only exposure but the various artistic goals that can be sought when doing photography.

Fourth you need a good basic understanding of the visual arts, with emphasis on visual image composition, and photographic lighting.

Fifth you should have a basic grounding in image editing. Things like color correction, sharpening, noise reduction, cropping.

It takes a considerable amount of research and reading to cover all of that. Several times I have provided links to many, of the books and web sites that beginners would find useful.

Start here: Digital Photography Tutorials
 

AUZambo

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Do what I tell alot of new people here. Put your camera in Av Mode and leave it there for 100 shots. During those 100 shots fool with the ISO, f-stop. Under no circumstances shoot in any of the auto modes. The auto modes are the modes for people that are point and shooters and have no real talent. My dog sucks as a photographer but even he can shoot crappy pictures in Auto.

I always thought the aperture and shutter priority modes were auto modes...you are just controlling one aspect of the photo.

I do agree with what you're saying though.

Also, to the OP, don't be afraid to look silly. Some of my favorite shots I was laying down on the ground in public trying to gain a unique perspective.
 

Scoody

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I always thought the aperture and shutter priority modes were auto modes...you are just controlling one aspect of the photo.

I do agree with what you're saying though.

Also, to the OP, don't be afraid to look silly. Some of my favorite shots I was laying down on the ground in public trying to gain a unique perspective.

You still control the ISO, White Balance, Metering Mode and Exposure Compensation in Av. and in Tv Mode. In Av you let the camera handle the aperture and shutter speed.
In Tv the camera sets the aperture only. The user can set the shutter speed.
 
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ndb0407

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Do what I tell alot of new people here. Put your camera in Av Mode and leave it there for 100 shots. During those 100 shots fool with the ISO, f-stop. Under no circumstances shoot in any of the auto modes. The auto modes are the modes for people that are point and shooters and have no real talent. My dog sucks as a photographer but even he can shoot crappy pictures in Auto.

I always thought the aperture and shutter priority modes were auto modes...you are just controlling one aspect of the photo.

I do agree with what you're saying though.

Also, to the OP, don't be afraid to look silly. Some of my favorite shots I was laying down on the ground in public trying to gain a unique perspective.

I have no problem looking silly! I love to climb on things and lean over the edge of what ever I am standing on. Thanks for the advice. But I just have to say
╔═══╗──╔╗╔╗─╔════╗─╔╗──╔╦╗
║╔═╗║──║║║║─║╔╗╔╗║─║║──║║║
║╚═╝╠══╣║║║─╚╝║║╠╬═╝╠══╣║║
║╔╗╔╣╔╗║║║║───║║╠╣╔╗║║═╬╩╝
║║║╚╣╚╝║╚╣╚╗──║║║║╚╝║║═╬╦╗
╚╝╚═╩══╩═╩═╝──╚╝╚╩══╩══╩╩╝

LOL
 

Overread

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I always thought the aperture and shutter priority modes were auto modes...you are just controlling one aspect of the photo.

I do agree with what you're saying though.

Also, to the OP, don't be afraid to look silly. Some of my favorite shots I was laying down on the ground in public trying to gain a unique perspective.

You still control the ISO, White Balance, Metering Mode and Exposure Compensation in Av. and in Tv Mode. In Av you let the camera handle the aperture and shutter speed.
In Tv the camera sets the aperture only. The user can set the shutter speed.

I think you are mixing up AV and TV modes
Aperture priority (AV mode in canon talk) lets the user control aperture and ISO, whilst the camera balances the shutter speed to the meter reading (where upon the user can use exposure compensation to biase the reading to either delibratly under or overexpose the photo from the meter reading). All other controls are as normal - exposure mode, focusing etc..

Shutter priority (TV mode in canon talk) is the same, but instead of aperture, the user controls the shutter speed and the camera balances that with the aperture.

Note with some newer cameras you can use auto ISO in those modes to let the camera control two settings.

In general if you are only using manual and balancing to the exposure reading then chances are you can use one of the priority modes since the camera is always far faster to change settings based on lighting changes in the environment.
 
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ndb0407

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Do what I tell alot of new people here. Put your camera in Av Mode and leave it there for 100 shots. During those 100 shots fool with the ISO, f-stop. Under no circumstances shoot in any of the auto modes.
Av still is an auto mode, really. Everything but M is some sort of auto mode. And then if you're just shooting using your camera's light meter, then you might as well be using some sort of automatic mode anyway.

IMO, you can't just say you want to "learn;" you have to decide what you want to learn.

If you want to learn how your camera operates, read the manual and mess with your camera. Worse you can do is be forced to revert to factory settings. If you want to learn the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, read about exposure. Take some pictures specifically experimenting with depth-of-field, motion blur, bracketing, etc.

Learning about composition, though, is a whole other matter. It involves both study of the subject through reading and looking at other photographers' work, as well as taking a lot of pictures on your own, being conscious of objects within the frame, lighting, color contrasts, textures, etc. And, of course, subjecting yourself to criticism.

When you say Av, would that be the same as "P" (program)? I have "P" "Ps" (adjustable shutter speed)and "Pa" (adjustable aperture).
 

c.cloudwalker

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There is no best way to learn.

There is however my best way and your best way. And you need to figure out what your best way is because, not knowing the first thing about you, I sure can't tell you what that would be.

Some people learn by reading, others by doing. Yet some others need the classroom. Which one are you? Or what combo are you? Only you can tell.
 

PJL

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When you say Av, would that be the same as "P" (program)? I have "P" "Ps" (adjustable shutter speed)and "Pa" (adjustable aperture).
No, I'm just using Canon lingo. "P" mode in Canon is the same as your "P" mode; it's basically like auto, but lets you change everything. "Av" is the equivalent to your "Pa."
 

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