I want to become a photographer.

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Topono

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
64
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Hi everyone. I've always liked taking pictures, and now I'm ready to take the next step to becoming a photographer as a hobby. However, I know next to nothing about professional equipment and stuff like that. What type of stuff would I need? Is it worth it to become a photographer? I would really like for this to become a hobby of mine, and as I look at the pictures on this board it amazes me that people can take these. Any tips for a beginner would be helpful, too. Thanks.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,753
142
Honestly, the best thing to do is go out and get a camera. Don't worry about pro or whatever. Just learn to frame your shots. My theory is to shoot like you don't have photoshop. In other words, I come from a long line of film. Each shot would run me about $2.50 a shot so I had to be right the first time or it would be VERY costly. I learned to do all of my work in the camera and not worry about what I would fix with photoshop.

You'll want to learn about light, depth of field, how the f-stops affect light and depth of field. The list is long, but first just get out there and shoot. If this is a hobby then make it fun. You've seen what people can do with a camera, now go try it for yourself.
 

Topono

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
64
0
Thanks. Can you recommend a nice camera that can take good quality pictures?
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,892
30
Northern Virginia
The camera does not truly matter. It is the eye of the photographer.

If you want proof look at www.photosig.com. Do a search of some P&S digital cameras and see the depth of what can be done with those "crap" cameras.

Some examples would make the pros blush.
 

form

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2003
187
0
in a country
Probably the weakest point for compact/consumer/point&shoot digicams is not being able to isolate a subject quite as much with an extremely narrow depth of field (very limited range that's in-focus), except in macro mode. That's about the only real limitation you may not be able to find a good workaround for. By contrast, they excel at having most of a scene in-focus, which can be good for other things.

But yes, a good eye is far more important than expensive camera equipment.
 

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
I'd say another weak point for consumer point & shoot cameras is that the noise is horrendous compared to the larger sensors in more expensive cameras. Not being able to shoot clean images at ISO 800 and 1600 is another limitation of those cameras, therefore getting good images in low light or having sharp action images is much more difficult than necessary.

I'll echo what everyone has said so far, that having an eye for the subject is very important for making the images you take stand out. And for that you can constantly learn and practice!
 

geese

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2003
525
0
London, UK
A good starter camera for a hobbyist photographer such as myself was the Canon Powershot line of cameraas. I've got an A75, and it gives you the freedom to change the film speed, aperture, shutter speed, etc etc.

They are inexpensive as well, you could easily get one for the price of a budget digital camera.
 

Ryan1524

macrumors 68000
Apr 9, 2003
1,644
230
Canada GTA
i work at a camera store every now and then, and i'd recommend the Canon A610/620. They're not too pricy, but has a LOT of manual control. So it'd be great to start with if you don't wanna get an entry level D-SLR immediately (ie. Rebel XT, Nikon D50 or D70).
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,044
116
Canada, eh?
I would go ahead and get a D-SLR, if you can afford it. It'll be fun and you'll feel like a photographer :D And they have the manual controls which you'll want to experiment with soon, once you get the ball rolling.

Get the DSLR, start taking pictures. Nice sunset? Take pictures. Flowers blooming in your garden? Take pictures. Shoot everything. Experiment with lighting, angles, zoom, etc. Start in "full auto" mode and then try the different settings. See what difference the shutter speed and aperture make, and so on.

Today's cameras are so well behaved that they can take pretty darned good pictures in spite of you, and then you'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't. What would otherwise have been a simple snapshot can turn into a portrait with judicious framing and a nice lens with shallow depth of field, and maybe a little fill flash.

Your experience, coupled with a good book on photography, will help jump-start you.

I'm biased a little bit toward snapping the heck out of everything because most of my learning happens at a summer camp I volunteer with, where the kids are running around and I don't generally have time to sit and think about how to prepare and compose a shot. So I've learned to think fast and try a bunch of different things. Memory cards are cheap. :)
 

Ryan1524

macrumors 68000
Apr 9, 2003
1,644
230
Canada GTA
I would personally stick to a Canon or a Nikon. They're much more experienced with SLRs. Whereas Sony just bought Konica-Minolta and are just beginning to dip their toes in the pond.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
2
Chip NoVaMac said:
The camera does not truly matter. It is the eye of the photographer.

If you want proof look at www.photosig.com. Do a search of some P&S digital cameras and see the depth of what can be done with those "crap" cameras.

Some examples would make the pros blush.
I just looked at that site and at images others have taken with my little digital P&S... :eek: I'm so embarassed that I can't bring about results such as theirs. :eek:
 

Topono

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 12, 2006
64
0
I have another question. I want to use Aperture. However, I cannot afford a PowerMac. Would an iMac be able to run Aperture smoothly?
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
424
Redondo Beach, California
Topono said:
Hi everyone. I've always liked taking pictures, and now I'm ready to take the next step to becoming a photographer as a hobby. However, I know next to nothing about professional equipment and stuff like that. What type of stuff would I need? Is it worth it to become a photographer? I would really like for this to become a hobby of mine, and as I look at the pictures on this board it amazes me that people can take these. Any tips for a beginner would be helpful, too. Thanks.
You use the words "professional equipment" and "hobby" in the same paragraph. Which is it. If you really are looking to become a profesional and not just something like a wedding or event photographer then you need to think seriously about a serious photography school. This is th best known school. There are of cource others but y can read about it here http://www.rit.edu/~661www/

Assumming you ment "hobby". Most serious hobbists will be shooting with an SLR. Today digital is the big thing but it is expensive and you can actually do better work with film. $200 will get you a profesional quality film based SLR and a pro-quality lens. The same equipment that was used to shoot National Geographic cover shots in the 1970's and 80's can be yours for cheap. Just lok at one of those covers to prove to your self that such equipment can do good work, I'm thinking of a Nikromat and a 35mm f/2.0 lens. Later you can buy a digital body and use the lens with that and slowly work upwards. I've been on this path for 30 years

OK if you have a bigger budget go out and get a DSLR from either Nikon or Canon.

Next comes the hard part. You have to develop a talent for the "art". Buying some oild poaints does not make one a painter, For this shoot a lot and read a lot, Many good books out there. use Amazon or the library depending on your budget. Photography is both technical and atistic. Do not get so hung up on the technical end. Just think always "Art is commuication" What am I trying to comunicate. be critical of your work and keep shooting.

Don't discount used film based SLRs I shot those for years with black and white film it is almost a cheap as digital as abot a buck a roll then you scan the negatives. But digital is good, you learn fast with the quick feedback.
 

SilentPanda

Moderator emeritus
Oct 8, 2002
9,993
29
The Bamboo Forest
I'm not a photographer although I pretend to be one sometimes... ;)

I would *highly* recommend a DSLR if you can afford one. I noticed that with a Point and Shoot camera I would never take a picture of somebody I didn't know or random places or well... anything...

For some reason when you're lugging a bag of lenses (or an empty bag! how will they know!), have a hefty camera strapped around your neck, and possibly a tripod in your grip people don't tend to care if you're laying on the ground taking pictures, spinning in circles, or standing on your head. In their eyes you're a professional photographer and you know more than they do about picture taking...

I hate to say it but getting a Nikon D50 has given me confidence in taking pictures where my lil' P&S camera didn't.

It's purely a mental thing of course but... it's there... :)
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
424
Redondo Beach, California
Topono said:
The problem is Sony is their "system" is not big. They do not offer a full line of lenses, bodies and strobes. and even worse they have NOT demonstraighted a long term commitment to interchangable parts. If they change the lens mount or discontinue the DSLR line in five years you are stuck Nikon hasa 50 year history with the "F-mount" and a public stated commitment to support the f-mount "forever". Canon is almost as good with their EOS system

When you chose a camera you are buying into s "system" and it will be quite expensive to change systems later. Good lenses will last decades and you will collect quite a few. Look into the total system offered by each company. For example you might get into sports photography or birds. Does Sony offer a 400mm f/2.8 lens? Do they have anything to compete with those 70-200 f/2.8 zoom that Nikon and Conon sell? Will Sony ever sell a pro-quality DSLR body? Think ahead 5 to 10 years.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Topono said:
I have another question. I want to use Aperture. However, I cannot afford a PowerMac. Would an iMac be able to run Aperture smoothly?

Yes, I am running Aperture on a G5 rev B iMac and a core duo MBP; each machine has 2 GB RAM, which is essential. Sure, it would be faster on a PM with 4 or 6 GB RAM, but really Aperture does work with the other machines, too....
 

TheAnswer

macrumors 68030
Jan 25, 2002
2,520
1
Orange County, CA
I love my Rebel XT. If you are just starting out and developing your eye (and worried about spending lots of money), I'd stick with the kit lens (18-55mm zoom). It's great for a beginner or someone (like me) who is trying to get back into photography. It'll give you a decent lens to practice with while you save up for other lenses (you can also use iPhoto's get info to check the focal length of each shot and help you decide which lens to get next). Reallly depends what you are looking to shoot, as I know a lot of people here will recommend the 50mm f/1.8 as a good starter lens while others recommend something in the 20-70mm zoom range.

Other than that, a tripod helps a lot.

Time of day to shoot all depends on what you are going for moodwise...if you are worried about lens flare/glare, all the lens companies make hoods for their lenses to reduce that problem.
 

Sirus The Virus

macrumors 6502a
May 12, 2005
582
0
Texas
I say start with film. Get a manual film camera. It's also nice to learn how to work in a dark room (assuming your using black and white film, color is really complicated and expensive), since it's more hands on and way more rewarding than working with digital. Film looks better anyway.
 

cookie1105

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2006
426
0
London, UK
I'm sorry......
1. Walk into a camera shop
2. Ask the nice guy behing the counter what a good camera in your budget would be.
3. Buy it!!!
4. Take some photos, Have fun! It's a laugh.:)
5. Post them on the forums
6. Learn from others....and books!

Repeat steps 4-6 ad libitum

7. Don't worry so much, enjoy life it's beautiful.:cool:

Oh yeah, why bother with aperture if you can't afford the kit to run it smoothly. What's wrong with iphoto + the gimp?
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,892
30
Northern Virginia
cookie1105 said:
I'm sorry......
1. Walk into a camera shop
2. Ask the nice guy behing the counter what a good camera in your budget would be.
3. Buy it!!!
And right now at my shop the best value might be the Pentax DL kit at $549. Despite what some say about lens selection, the Pentax offers a decent selection that will meet the needs of most photographers, at least to start.
 

Gil Bates

macrumors newbie
Jun 16, 2006
18
0
Frozen Wasteland
Topono said:
Hi everyone. I've always liked taking pictures, and now I'm ready to take the next step to becoming a photographer as a hobby. However, I know next to nothing about professional equipment and stuff like that. What type of stuff would I need? Is it worth it to become a photographer? I would really like for this to become a hobby of mine, and as I look at the pictures on this board it amazes me that people can take these. Any tips for a beginner would be helpful, too. Thanks.
That depends on what kind of photographer you want to be (and how soon). You seem to have a camera already. If that's the case, just take pictures using what you have now. If they didn't come out the way you want, think how to make them better. Sometimes you have to change the way you take pictures. Sometimes you need more or different equipments. Equipments can help you to take better pictures, but they don't necessarily make you a better photographer.

Hope this helps,

Gil
 

form

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2003
187
0
in a country
Any time of the day is good to shoot, including nighttime. Sometimes a polarizing filter will be useful for reducing the sun's glare. The only difference that time of day makes is in the overall effect, by way of color (which can be easily altered) and shadow.

I have no eye whatsoever for photography, and it seems that my ability to get good shots has actually gotten worse with more and more expensive camera equipment (Kodak DC280, to Fujifilm Finepix F10, to present day Canon Digital Rebel XT).

May you have better luck than me...which shouldn't be difficult, because mine is exceptionally bad.
 
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