New To Photography, avid Photoshop User

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dark Void, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #1
    Hello MacRumors,

    I wanted to make a post here asking for any tips or guidelines that you may give to someone that is new to Photography. I'd like to also give a bit of my background, as well as mention what equipment and software I have in order to help if anyone is kind enough to reply. This may be a bit of a lengthy post, and admittedly this sub-forum seems a bit intimidating for a beginner like myself, but I would really appreciate any feedback.

    I currently own two cameras and I purchased each one with the intentions of using them primarily for video. I do pen and ink illustrations and I had hoped to start recording and commentating them in order to help others learn to draw. I have a Canon EOS M (mirrorless/compact) and a Sony WX350 (point-and-shoot). I purchased the Canon about a year and a half ago, and the Sony about a year ago when I decided that I wanted something a bit more portable than a mirrorless that still recorded in 1080P. Long story short, unfortunately after getting prepared to do all of this and purchasing all of this equipment, I had succumbed to a few different mental disorders, and have failed to do anything with any of it.

    I'm sorry if any of my camera terms are off, as I don't know much about them or taking Photographs as a whole, but one thing I am very familiar with is editing software. I have been using Photoshop since I was a quite young, started out in CS if I remember correctly. I currently own and use CS5 just for personal use - meaning I edit and enhance free to use stock photographs as my own desktop backgrounds and the like, and don't redistribute or post them by any means. This is one of the reasons that I don't feel as discouraged or intimidated to start delving into this, being so familiar with Photoshop - because I am sure that when I was younger I found it extremely overwhelming.

    The EOS M is the other reason I don't feel as overwhelmed, because I find it pretty easy to navigate, although I don't know what is best as far as shooting modes and the like. I did my homework when purchasing this camera, and while there were problems with the auto-focus at the time, firmware has seemed to fix that now. I purchased it primarily for video as stated previously, which is why I overlooked the auto-focus issues when taking continuous photographs, but now I wish to use this for images. I recently moved to an area that has a lot of nature of wildlife and it has quite a bit of potential for photographs as long as I learn properly.

    I regret purchasing the WX350. I had actually planned on selling the EOS M and all of its accessories and just using the "all-in-one," more simplistic point-and-shoot that still shot high res images but I have moved away from that after digging out the EOS M recently. I love the build quality, menu system, and form factor of this camera. It has all of the features that I want, none of the ones that I don't want (WiFi, NFC - I'm sort of oldschool) and it looks somewhat easy to navigate even for someone like me that isn't very familiar with all of the the different shooting options. I now plan to sell the WX350, and use the EOS M as my all-purposes camera.

    I'm not asking anyone for links or to research for me. I have read the entire manual for the camera that I own and have read up and watched videos on different techniques and strategies to better myself as a photographer. I am hoping for interaction and that some of the users here can share personal experience - maybe something that really helped you when you were just starting out, or information that you wish you had from the start. If I failed to mention previously, I will be doing this strictly as a hobby, but I am definitely a perfectionist and I want to be the best photographer that I can be. Sorry if this is all over the place, as I have a hard time gathering my thoughts, especially when intimidated.

    Thank you to anyone that takes the time to read and reply,

    DV.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    So my top tips would be;
    Shoot in RAW. You can do so much more with a RAW file than a J-Peg.
    Get out of the auto mode, and shoot in either aperture priority or shutter priority to take a bit of creative control over what you are shooting.
    Are you familiar with the exposure triangle and what the f stop/ISO/shutter speed can do to your image.
    If not those are the basics you need to learn first of all.
     
  3. USAntigoon macrumors regular

    USAntigoon

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Rochester Hills, MI
    #3
    @ Dark Void...
    I also re-discovered the photography after bring in Video shooting and editing for quite some years..I had an old Canon 10D and upgraded to a 6D full frame with some top of the line lenses and I am just impressed..I understand your feelings and fully agree with Apple Fanboy's post..
    Shoot in RAW, get involved in a good picture hosting site like Flickr and browse around for knowledge, try it out, learn, improve, etc..Indeed after a while you will better understand DOF, ISO effects, and you will begin to master the Av and Tv priority settings..Than, you might try out some pano shooting, bokeh effect pics..etc..this forum has extensive discussions about editing programs in the aftermath of the Aperture freeze. I am working with Capture One Pro and PTGUI Pro..
    Just enjoy the hobby and shop for knowledge, implement techniques and improve.. Good luck..
     
  4. logista macrumors member

    logista

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    #4
    What really helped me was to join a couple of online groups that had "challenges" to photograph every day. We would get an "assignment" like "Today is a green day" and then would post images online to share and comment on that met the assignment. While the ones I was in are gone, I'm sure there are plenty of others. Check Flickr or Facebook, and look for a group that is aimed at beginners.

    If you don't feel comfortable sharing right away, at least try to photograph every day. I'm not talking about doing a 365 (though you could), I mean to put the camera in your hand and photograph something every day that catches your eye.

    Make lots of photos from as many angles and directions as you can. Since you are an illustrator, I assume you have an understanding of composition, but in (straight) photography you'll learn that to get the composition you want requires moving your body around the subject.

    As Apple fanboy said above, learn the exposure triangle, and practice making pictures (in full manual mode) that exercise your knowledge of it. Kind of like doing scales if you're a musician.

    Finally, while I've said over and over to make lots of pictures, you need to look at the pictures later to see what worked, and what didn't. Don't just "spray and pray" -- think about why you're making the picture, and what you want to learn from it.

    Oops, and really Finally: keep a photo journal, if you are at all the type to do so. This is a great way to remember what you were trying to accomplish last February. If you put samples of each day's work then you can have an easy record of your advancement.

    I hop this helps. Good luck, and have fun!
     
  5. DucatiTerminator macrumors member

    DucatiTerminator

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2015
    Location:
    Moorpark, CA
    #5
    I've shot for a long time, various disciplines, but I still consider myself a hobbyist. Both cameras you mentioned are small and very portable; when possible, have your camera with you (I almost always have one in my backpack), and as mentioned above, try to shoot something of (your) interest daily or as often as possible. Then evaluate and take notes. An app like Evernote is useful as you can write notes, sketches, and attach photos. You can even post photos here in the Photo of the Day thread, and I'm sure that the members here would be happy to help you along your new journey. :)
     
  6. Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #6
    Wow, thanks for all of the positive replies.

    I have have worked with RAW before, and plan on shooting that way. What are its advantages over JPEG, or in other words, how is it more versatile like you say? I figured as much as to not use any type of automatic or intelligent mode and tweak settings myself. There are a lot of factors (different cameras, different monitors, different eyes), so is it best just to try to calibrate to what looks good to me, or is there more of a "global standard?" I am not familiar with the exposure triangle or what any of those techniques (settings?) can do for me, but I will familiarize myself now. Thank you very much for telling me what to look into.

    Hi, I will definitely be browsing for inspiration but as far as getting involved in the sense of posting my own images - I'm not so sure yet. I will definitely be doing RAW images and will research more into it for sure. The settings you mention is kind of what starts to overwhelm me - I don't understand what is "best" or if they are just simply a matter of preference. I read a bit about Aperture but I don't have much of an idea of what actually happened, I have heard of Capture One however, although I have only ever used Photoshop, specifically I use CS5 as I've stated. I'm hoping this is still considered relevant? at least - when I was using Photoshop versions one after another in the past, they were generally the same each time, with a few different tools and settings introduced in each.

    Hello, I can see what you mean and I definitely plan to be active in doing this. I'm a bit timid of a person until I start to gain some confidence (as most people are) so I will probably just do my own thing for a while until I feel like my stuff is good enough to where I feel comfortable posting. Thanks for reading the entire post (it's evident) - I am an illustrator so I am aware of how to "see" and I am not afraid to get creative and I am going to try to keep it in mind to not be "bland" for lack of a better term. I want to be experimental instead of shooting from the same angles and distances every time. I will definitely be trying to keep my photos to show progress - although that is tough for me - it's going to be something I will try to do. I'm usually very organized and will just organize them digitally in file folders. Thanks a lot for your advice and for reading my post through.

    Hey there,

    I for sure will be doing this as a hobby, and I will only be using the EOS M. It had its gripes but I just love that camera. I will definitely be shooting daily, and as I mentioned I moved to an area with a lot of nature to appreciate so there seems to be a lot of potential - and it's stuff that I am interested in. Thank you for the app recommendation, but I am an extremely organized person and plan to just use file folders like I do for my other images that I have edited. I don't know about posting just yet :) - maybe if I don't get so discouraged as I seem to with taking on things like this. I hope people will be happy to see and help, rather than harsh!
     
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #7
    So JPEG will give you less data to work with than a RAW file. So for example, if you have underexposed part of your image, you can recover that detail much better with a RAW file.
    As for calibration, yes there is an industry standard. They are known as ICC profiles. Doing it by eye, is a little hit and miss as everyone interperates colours a little different. Best to get hold of a monitor calibration tool if you can, but I'd worry about all that a bit later if I were you.
    As for posting and asking for critique, I find the photography section on here to be pretty encouraging. I wouldn't worry about being good enough to post. Just jump right in. It's the best way to learn.
     
  8. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    #8
    I'll chip in with the usual suggestion of the beginners book understanding exposure by Brian Patterson.
     
  9. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
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    Behind the Lens, UK
    #9
    Good call. Yes that will give you the understanding of the exposure triangle.
     
  10. USAntigoon macrumors regular

    USAntigoon

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    Rochester Hills, MI
    #10
    Brian Patterson's other book "Understanding Composition" is also a nice resource...
     
  11. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #11
    Hi,

    Welcome to the club. I am not going to reiterate what others have said here. They have got it all covered. All you need has been said already.

    What I will say is that we have ALL been where you are. It is a path you have to walk. It takes time so start on your journey. Sooner you start, the sooner you can start getting better but benefit from those around you. No one will laugh, no one will flame you. The key is to get shooting.

    Do not be intimidated by anyone on here. This is not a professional critique or audition site so there is no judgement, no criticism beyond encouragement and I will say that my photography has come on great since interacting on here. That is not to say there is an absence of talent or skill. You will see some images on here worthy of the front cover of Nat Geo IMHO. You will see images that may help you in ways you didnt realise, they will make you think about your images more and you will gain confidence.

    Hell, I framed one of my own prints a month ago! That was never something I thought about when I first picked up my first camera.

    The exposure triangle may feel foreign right now, it will sink in, you will learn it and you will muck it up like the rest of us but you will find your groove, your style, your vibe and you will improve. Remember, what you see in here is not a 1 for 1 hit rate. We dont go out and take one image and we are done. I especially takes hundreds and pick the best so dont think we are all one shot one image.

    So..... get shooting, use the weekly contests to drive and challenge yourself and post as soon as you feel comfortable but know, you will be welcomed.

    K
     
  12. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #12
    Ditto to what everyone has said. The most important thing is just to have fun.
     
  13. Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #13
    I couldn't ask for a better turn out on this thread so far - thanks to everyone for being so welcoming and helpful.

    I see, and now that you mention ICC, I have definitely heard that before in my Photoshop days. I will take your advice and not worry too much about being that particular so early on, but thanks for mentioning it because this is definitely clicking. I agree with you 100% that it is the best way to learn, but I am generally a cautious person and I don't usually tread in territories that I don't feel as though I belong. I know that may sound quite dramatic but I am typically, or furthermore always very critical of myself.

    You seem to know quite a bit, so may I ask, beyond firmware, is there anything that can be installed on a camera? I know this is poorly phrased, but in other words - cameras must have some internal memory as they have a menu operation system built in - so therefore, can addition "software" or even additional firmware be installed on a camera? I just mean for your basic DSLR or mirrorless camera - although I am sure each is different, and I know android "smart" cameras exist and that's not what I am referring to. I'm very sorry for my poor wording, but I can tell you why I am asking if you have trouble understanding, as I'm not great at asking questions about things I don't fully grasp or am uninformed about.

    I will definitely give this a look. Thanks to each of you for the suggestion.

    Hi, thank you for your reply, and furthermore for giving me a sense of relation to the community here. I am not entirely unaware of photography as a whole, but I do have more than just a lot to learn and I am motivated to make it one of my primary hobbies. You give great advice, but with me having so many mental blockades with my disorder, it is very hard for me to not be critical of myself - nearly impossible actually. I am hoping to use this as a way to cope and to do things that I normally wouldn't do within an interest of mine. I appreciate all of your reassurance though, it is a good thought to have that everyone works on sort of a trial and error basis for lack of a better way to put it.

    Thanks very much for your post of reassurance, I appreciate you taking the time and will try to follow this advice to the best of my abilities.
     
  14. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #14
    I am not making light of your challenges as I am nit qualified but we are all critical of ourselves. You know what?

    Give it a try, if it is too much or is too soon, just hang back for a while. No ones keeping score on here :)
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #15
    I'm not sure what you would want to install on a camera beyond the firmware upgrades.
    Magic lantern have some software you can install on cameras I believe, but mostly for video I think.
     
  16. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #16
    I subscribe to information from a major US retailer (I'm not endorsing them) and recently received a newsletter with "44 Tips to Improve your Photography". I've included the link below and suggest you have a look Dark Void. A number of the tips have already been covered but I think it's a good list for anyone to print, regardless of skill level/experience, and to keep in mind.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora...-_-Header_Explora_44-Tips-improve-photography
     
  17. Dark Void, Jun 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015

    Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #17
    Thanks for your advice - I definitely plan on sharing at some point or another, but just know it is not because I simply am afraid of criticism - it's not so much like that and it stems much deeper, but I do really appreciate your reassurance.

    Thanks very much for your replies, you have been extremely helpful.

    Hi, thanks very much for your post and the link. I've been taking a look at all that has been posted and plan to read into everything further as I have the time. I appreciate your suggestion and time to reply.
     
  18. filmbufs macrumors 6502

    filmbufs

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #18
    Great advice so far! Shooting in Raw seems like an unfamiliar step at first but you'll enjoy the process and appreciate the quality once you take it into Photoshop. You're probably familiar with composition in terms of your artwork but it might be another thing to apply that to photography, especially if you're just used to grabbing a shot. Really, really concentrate on your composition as you take a photo and pay attention to the little details that help move your eye around the frame. Circle your subject like you're a lion stalking prey and 'find' the best shot. You'll be happy you did.

    The other thing you might like doing is checking out Creative Live, a wonderful resource of free, live seminars focusing on photography and Adobe products. They have a lot of variety and it was great for me to learn about editing camera raw photos in photoshop in detail.

    Take lots-o-pictures and just have fun.
     
  19. Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
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    Cimmerian End
    #19
    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for your post. I for sure plan to shoot in RAW once I start to get an idea of what type of mode to be in and settings to use. I like what you brought up, because when I do my illustrations they are almost always from memory or imagination, and I am usually never looking at reference unless it is something that I have done previously myself. That being said, going out into the world and actually looking for and seeing all of the things that I have been using in my drawings for such a long time (how light hits and falls, highlights, shadows, etc) and trying to get a grasp on photography is interesting. I changed the way that I see through positive and negatives long ago - I view everything as simple shapes basically which is a common way of illustration. It's definitely very interesting and I have never paid too much attention to it in the real world before believe it or not. Thank you for your advice, link, and suggestions. I will be sure to follow it all as best as I can.

    Just an update to everyone so kind to help me - I have perused online and particularly on Amazon and plan on picking up "Understanding Exposure" as a paperback (I'm a physical media type of person) - I have some more funds to dedicate to this and I always appreciate having good literature - so any other book recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone for all of this help and understanding that I've received.
     
  20. filmbufs macrumors 6502

    filmbufs

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #20
    My wife has an excellent photography book she had me read and I'll get the name of it for you tomorrow. It might be a bit dry but it's thorough.

    Although I have always loved photography, I came to it later after having studied commercial art and filmmaking. It's great to be able to apply the principles of art & illustration to photography but you do have to sort of work at it since it's a different medium. But it soon becomes second nature and then you're off and running. Then it's just a matter of learning the rest. LOL. But that's the fun part.
     
  21. Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

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    #21
    I can see what you mean. It is similar in many ways but at the same time completely different. I look forward to your book suggestion.
     
  22. filmbufs macrumors 6502

    filmbufs

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #22
    Okay, I am changing my mind on the recommended book, as a good section of it deals with film and darkroom techniques. If you could get it from a library, parts of it are worth reading. The books is called,
    Black and White Photography - A Basic Manual by Henry Horenstein. He has a follow up book called, Beyond Photography Basics.

    Another book that might be helpful for experimenting with indoor studio work is called, Secrets of Studio Still Life Photography by Gary Perweiler. The nice thing about this book is that, with every picture of the finished images, he provides an illustration of the set up used to achieve it, along with a breakdown of the image highlighting key points in his design process. While the photography can appear dated (created in mid 80's,) the design principles and lighting techniques hold up well. It's a fast-track in understanding and creating studio lighting techniques and you can use it as a springboard in creating your own images.
     
  23. Dark Void thread starter macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #23
    Thank you very much for your suggestions! I will take a look.

    Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful advice and information.
     

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