Best way to Learn Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mjones185, Apr 8, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    Warner Robins,GA
    #1
    Hello All,

    I'm currently in the Air Force stationed in Korea for a year without the family. I have a 40D gripped and 10D with 28-135 (hate it), the 70-200 2.8 IS (love it) and Speedlite 580 EX II. I always shoot RAW + JPG in Program mode. I have tones of time and taking lots of photos.

    What is the best way to learn photography correctly? I've thought about the New York Photography course but have read mixed reviews that the program is dated for what it costs. I want to read books but theirs 50 million writers with duplicate data and then again there's so may books that are dated.

    Please give me idea's, I'm ready to step up the pace from auto or program mode. Owe, I'm not in the position to take photography courses except for some online or like the New York course.

    Thanks a million,

    Mike
     
  2. macrumors regular

    jsfpa

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    #2
    I would suggest the book "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It will get of of program mode for sure. Bryan also has an online school that I can recommend but it is a little expensive. http://www.ppsop.net/
     
  3. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    After Understanding Exposure, get a copy of Light: Science and Magic. Spend some time at the Strobist site too. You might look for courses in photography and art in general at your rec center- but most of all, get out and shoot! You have a great opportunity to shoot stuff that most people in the US won't ever see- so that's where I'd spend most of my time if I were you.

    Paul
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    Jul 21, 2009
    #4
    Well I learnt quite alot by getting a job at a local Camera store
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #5
    I second the 2 books mentioned (Understanding Exposure (revised edition for digital) is excellent) but i'd like to mention Creative Photography handbook by Lee Frost
    Also strobist is a good site but the most important part, Practise!! :)

    It's all about fun.

    //F
     
  6. macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    Warner Robins,GA
    #7
    Thanks everyone for you suggestions. I'm going to look at those books as soon as I get to my computer (on my iPod at the moment). I've already shot a lot of photos and as the weather gets better here I'll be all over this country. As i said earlier, I'm so ready to learn to properly take photo's. I want to understand more than just what aperture and shutter speed are.

    Does anyone have any Thoughts on the New York Course? Is it worth the money? Is it really dated or have they made updates? I've read mixed reviews.

    Thanks again

    Mike
     
  8. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Owe, does anyone know if the box set 3 volumes by Scott Kelby are any good?

    Thanks

    mike
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Jett0516

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    #9
    yes.

    and you don't need to spend big money on books. you can join photography forums and read up on tutorials for free. And if you have an ipod touch...you could download the many photography podcast available for free and learn from that.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #10
    He is the kind of photographer that without his heavy handed use of photoshop / HDR, he would be a below average photographer. So I would skip those and get the books recommended above that are by actual photographers.

    And practice..
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #11
    Yeah, but then you are on the computer and internet even more, not good. Photography does not happen when you are on the internet or in front of the computer, it happens out in the real world. So with a book, you can forgo being on the idiot box and change it up a bit.

    Plus, there are far too many self proclaimed experts on the forums who's actual talent level and understand of how light works is close to non-exsistent, why waste time with that when you can get a good book that gets right to the point.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #12
    First, I'd like to humbly thank you for your service to the USA forces.
    Sincerely appreciated. As a father of 3 young kids, I can appreciate that you've sacrificed time with your family for the safety and security of others.

    I'm a newbie with DSLR, Canon T1i + 2 kit lens, bought Oct-2009.
    I 3rd/4th the books Understanding Exposure, and Light: Science and Magic.
    Just got my copy of both 2 weeks ago.

    3 months ago I did buy the box set 3 volumes by Scott Kelby, they are decent, but if your budget is limited I'd first buy the other 2 first.

    fwiw, I shoot 95% aperture mode and 5% shutter speed mode, usually at ISO 100 unless low light situation.
    Simply;
    aperture mode is when you want creative control of DOF, "depth of field", how deep the focus appears.
    Shutter mode is when you want creative control of freezing the action or intentionally blurry action for some effect.

    Get off the "P" green mode, and turn it to Av mode and experiment.
    Good luck.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    PDX
    #13
    Honestly, i think most books don't get dated. What i mean in that, is that techniques don't go obsolete. The science of how a camera may change a little (film>digital), but the fundamentals are the same. So if you are reading a book from 1997 or 2010, they are going to be the same basic teachings.

    Practice and understanding how the basics work are the best ways to learn. I am self taught (not saying much, lol), but i have gandered at some books over the years. A book i picked up some years ago when i had my ACL replaced is called "Photography", by John Freeman. Great book. Very well balanced as well. Isn't biased one way to film or digital.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Podcasts...that's a great idea...haven't thought of that one.

    Forums, I'm addicted to them, great info.

    Mike
     
  15. macrumors regular

    jsfpa

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    #15
  16. macrumors regular

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    May 31, 2006
    #16
    definitely pick up a copy of Understanding Exposure. I love that book!
     
  17. thread starter macrumors regular

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    Location:
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    #17
    Thank you so much for your kind comments. It's tough being away form the family (wife and two small kids of my own). When I get back to the sates I'll hit my 19th year in the Air Force and would not change a thing in my career.

    Before buying my first digital camera I was dedicated to slides with my Nikon N90. I mostly took photos of military aircraft from all over the world and lighting was always good and at that time I was content with the quality. Now, having kids I want to capture them as often as I can plus my other life experiences, I don't have a dedicated subject like before and want to improve my photos quality. So, I take a lit of photos weekly, especially over here in Korea for me as well as for my squadron.

    I'm going to purchase the recommended books and start there. Someone commented on "learn the basics and practice" I've got the practice part going strong, I need to learn/understand the basics. Photography is my passion like some people have with cars, books, etc. When I'm not out shooting I'm on the computer processing, organizing, and enjoying my photos (usually late at night :))

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  18. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #18
    First I would recommend that you learn everything about the 40D. To do this, a book such as "Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR Photography Guide" by David D. Bush will help you quite a lot. After that, just practice with the settings as explained in the book, including shooting on M.

    Understand what AI-Servo does, and when and how to use it. Create your own "custom" settings and save them on C1, C2, and C3. I would recommend that one of these custom settings be for action shots (including birds) during the day, another for the same thing but for use on cloudy days, and at least one for moon shots (this one with the 40D on M mode...try "the rule of 16ths" for moon shots). When you encounter a situation that requires one of your custom modes, then switch the Mode dial to the right place, and shoot-away.

    As you learn about the camera, practice some of the training steps outlined in some of the other books mentioned by other posters, but make sure that learning about your camera comes first, since you will have to change its settings in order to follow the instructions outlined by other authors.

    Also, shoot RAW, and PP your photos with PSE8 (or CS4 if you can afford it).

    I mostly shoot on aperture priority (Av), since I like to control DOF. When I want to create a sort of milky effect on moving water, or just to blur a person's arms and legs as they walk...I sometimes use Tv (shutter priority), and for moon shots I use M. The reason why I mostly use Av is because I usually don't have enough time to change to settings on M mode when shooting wildlife, birds, and such.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #19
    Thank you for your suggestions. I actually have the 40D book and have read it, not I need to study it and like you said, fully learn my camera. I always shoot RAW+Jpg and almost never use the Jpg files because I do some editing and convert the RAW files to Jpg.

    I do have adobe CS4 master collection, but I do not know how to use it. I originally got it for video editing which I use but I'm more into photography.

    Call me crazy but I'm seriously thinking of purchasing the 5D. I should have purchased it in the first place as that's what I was use to in my flim/slide days and notice a difference in cropped distance verse FF distance. I've found my type shooting is better for FF. I'll keep my 40D for when I want the extra reach but will to use FF for most of my hobby. Even though I want to expand my photography knowledge and expertise and know I should utilize my 40D first; now is the time, if I don't purchase it now I might not get the chance down the road as I'll retire in a couple years and certainly have other priorities financially. Also, I'm purchasing a new lens in the next couple weeks even if I don't add the 5D; I want a better quality and faster lens than the 28-135 to complement my 70-200 2.8 IS.


    Mike
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #20
    Mike;
    Have you posted shots here?
    We have the POTD, weekly photo contest, and Fortnightly Challenge as organized threads.
    I've dabbled in each and the feedback (C&C) have improved my ability.

    Of course people post their specific picts/Q's in their own threads.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    I have not. I want to get a better lens in the lower zoom range first. I have the long end covered but find I mostly shoot in the lower end with my 28-135 which doesn't come close to what my L lens is capable of. As I said earlier I'm going to purchase a new lens very soon and know which one I want but would like it to have IS and that's the 24-70 2.8L. I'm trying to decide if I want to go with maybe the 17-40 or 16-35 and see if the rumors are true for a possible 24-70 2.8 with IS. I'd consider the 24-105 4.0L but so many people to include magazines say it's not worth it. I want to stay in the FF arena as I'm sure I'll get a FF sooner than later.

    Mike
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    melbourne.au
    #22
    Mike, I bet you're quite busy in the Air Force!

    You want to learn 'correctly'. Okay. Lots of photographers chose to study it formally. Lots didn't bother and just went for it. Both are happy and both do it correctly. IMHO any photography course is a waste of time and nothing more than a vanity, no matter how dressed up it is. It isn't a serious degree/qualification to get. If you want to study, do something with substance (e.g. New Testament studies, science, theology, linguistics, business). Others will not agree.

    My forum of choice is photo.net. Just one of many. See what you think.

    I'm being deliberately repetitious here, but to any 'beginner' (I know you aren't, really) I only have this fundamental advice:

    1. Take lots of photos

    2. Look at lots of photos

    That is how to do photography 'correctly'. :)
     
  23. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Location:
    Idaho
    #23
    I am brand new to photography as well and Pikemann's advice is spot on. Take as many photos as you can and spend time looking at other pictures.

    I've found that photosig.com is one of the best places to look at the work of other photographers but more importantly the critiques are very helpful as well. The critiques are honest (not always nice but never mean) and you can learn a lot in a short time that will help your own shots.

    Good luck.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #24
    One thing you may want to look into is correspondence courses for whatever AFSC photographer is- I know back when I was in the Army it was free to take courses for your MOS or any other- that may get you some free study material, that's probably worth a look.

    Paul
     
  25. macrumors 6502

    peepboon

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    #25
    Hey

    I am a firm believer of if you try hard enough then you can achieve it. I first learnt about photography techniques and stuff from three places:

    1. YouTube
    2. Forums
    3. Websites

    Seriously, there are tons of stuff explaining what is what, how to, etc etc. After I watched almost all the stuff online, I decided to buy a photography magazine which claimed to explain 'everything'. Which it did but most of it was already covered online. It seemed that the magazine was filled with a lot of crappy content to add to the thickness of the magazine instead of getting to the point if you get me? I mean, there were some good info but you have to pick it out.

    I haven't bought any books because I am not willing to pay for something I can get online for free. (not illegal downloads, etc but from tutorials, etc etc)

    Also, most photos look stunning not only because it was shot good but partially because the editing has made it that much better. Learn some basic photoshop photo processing techniques or perhaps aperture/lightroom?

    I never saw the point in editing until I joined Flickr and asked how they hell they took such amazing photos and everyone replied that it has been edited, etc.

    I started about October last year so I am no pro myself but I picked it up pretty quick. What I did was watch/read loads of online stuff, write it down, try it for yourself.

    Check out my Flickr, you can really see my progress...

    CLICK
     

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