Newbie Question...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ibuytosell, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. ibuytosell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    #1
    New to this board so pls be patient...I love photography (amateur) and have Rebel XT and now MacBook. I have some nice shots, but I am really looking to take it to the next level and get some of those WOW shots! What is the secret? I know it takes practice, etc. and I have signed up for some photo classes at local photography store (but seems they just want to sell you stuff)...so what accessories are essential that I should invest in for my camera and what suggestions as to how to really get started? You may email me directly for some tips! Thank you! :eek:
     
  2. Dman77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #2
    I'm in the same boat, a recent newcomer to photography. While the ultimate aim is to get that great shot straight out of the camera, what I learned early on is that if you can get to grips with post processing you can turn an average shot into a pretty good one.

    I'm still learning it all as I go along, but I've had a few shots that I almost binned that have had some really good feedback after I turned them around in Aperture on my Macbook. So what you might see as a 'poor' shot, may still have some potential.

    What I'm trying to get at I guess is don't be disheartened or lose motivation if you don't feel you're getting anywhere, post production is fun and gives me a better eye for the sort of shot I'm looking to take, thus making my 'out of the camera' shots better as a result.
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #3
    The secret is... there is no secret. ;) To call it hard work makes it sound like a chore, when it should be about enjoyment. Maybe self-discipline is a better word.

    "Wow" shots don't require accessories. It's about improving your skills, and refining your vision, day by day, year by year... so you look back in a while and see just how far you've come.

    Just my opinion, of course, but a 'poor shot' is still a 'poor shot'... no matter what you do to it in Aperture. There are already too many 'poor shots' in the world; no need to add to their number

    But a good shot... well, you can make a few tweaks here and there to improve it...
     
  4. Dman77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    It's obviously what I perceive to be a poor shot then, but I have managed to save shots from the bin by PP. Maybe as I get more experienced I'll have more of an eye for what a good shot is, but at the moment there are certain shots I wouldn't look twice at in it's original format that I've been quite pleased with after a few tweaks. That's the beauty of photography for me, I'm starting to really appreciate it and have more of an eye for these things nowadays.
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #5
    Fair enough... but 'saving shots from the bin' sounds a bit defeatist to me. Go and take some good shots instead and forget about salvalging the also-rans. Be more ambitious, perhaps... ;)
     
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #6
    At the risk of pissing someone off I'm going to say that accessories won't give you a vision.

    If you have a camera and a lens you have all the tools you need for that 'wow' shot you seek.

    As Doylem said, it's really about improving skills. Your understanding of light will take you a very long way because that's basically what photography is, light passing through your lens onto your film sensor. I think photography classes in a store are ok if the store is well known such as Calumet. They're not free but they're wonderful. A local community college will also have a basic level class.

    I think for anyone who wants to take pictures I usually tell them to go out and shoot everything. Come home and decide what they like best. Myself, I found my love for architectural design draws me to structures and of course by default landscapes. I've done fairly well taking people's cash for portraits but it is very clear that it is not where I enjoy being most.

    I think you need to find what you like to shoot by shooting everything (as stated) and then honing in on certain types of photography. You'll see here that some people shoot basically everything whereas others stick to something more specific. Doylem and his way of painting a landscape with natural light by sitting and being patient. Valdore and his cityscapes in HDR, SurferRob and his ... well surfing ;), and of course many others. Checking out the photo of the day thread will give you an indication of how much there truly is to shoot in the world.

    Just be sure to do yourself a favor and get outside. A ceiling fan shot or a lamp shade shot doesn't exactly give you the idea of what you can do with your camera. :)

    And I am with Doylem. A poor shot is a poor shot regardless. Saving it from the bin is time wasted that you could have been outside taking another shot that is not bin worthy.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    Tripod, flash (and learning to use it correctly) and an eye for composition.

    I highly recommend Ron Reznick's "Sure Shot" DVDs- the name sucks and Ron's not the most dynamic speaker in the world, but he's very, very good at explaining the compositional elements that go into making a good image. I also recommend getting a copy of "Light: Science and Magic" and reading it, as it's very useful. Finally, learning to use fill flash and drag the shutter are invaluable for well-lit people shots. Shoot from a tripod as often as possible, as it forces you to slow down and compose the shot.
     
  8. apearlman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Location:
    Red Hook, NY
    #8
    Get and give feedback.

    Go onto photo sharing sites (like Flickr) or discussion boards (like photo.net or fredmiranda.com) and get involved in the discussion.
    1. Look at photos, read what people are saying about them, and think about whether you agree.
    2. When you start to feel secure in your own opinions, share them. Figure out what images you like and why.
    3. Try to critique your own images the way you examine others.
    4. Start to post your own images to these sites and invite critique. Keep an open mind, but don't assume everyone else is right.

    In other words: to improve as a photographer, look at photographs and discuss them.
     
  9. Dman77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    The point I was trying to make has been well and truly lost. All I'm saying is that I've had shots that I personally thought were poor to start with, but have been really pleased with after a few amendments, so from one beginner to another I was merely suggesting that it may be worth learning how to process the shots, as it's done me a lot of good doing so myself.

    Again, had I not done this then I wouldn't have ended up with the finished photos that have had really positive feedback.

    Learning to process a shot and get the desired effect has definitely helped me get a better eye for what I'm looking for when taking subsequent shots, but I guess learning is a case of 'each to their own' and whatever helps you best.
     
  10. amammad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    #10
    Although it's worth defining what we mean by a good and poor shot... I've seen some amazing photos that are less than perfect technically.

    And then I've seen some beautiful, technically perfect shots that are about as interesting as an issue of The People's Friend.
     
  11. Dman77 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2009
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Great advice. Flickr is definitely a good starting point, I've had some images on there that have been praised and some that have been slated, it certainly helps get a feeling for what works and what doesn't. You just have to learn to take the criticism as well as the positives.
     
  12. ibuytosell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    #12
    Thank you

    Thanks for all the replies...I know all this...I guess I am just confused as to the F stops, etc....using the manual settings..I wear reading glasses and if I am outside, I find it hard to shoot with eyeglasses and then see the settings on the camera, so I depend mainly on AUTO mode..which I do NOT want to continue doing.
    I wish a hghly experienced photographer would organize group outing for us amatuer photographers in the Long Island area! ;)
     
  13. davegregory macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    #13
    If you're confused about f/stops and shutter speeds, then yes, a class by a reputible institution is defintely something you want to invest in. As for the reading glasses part/can't see settings thing. There's a diopter wheel next to the viewfinder on your Rebel XT that will adjust for your prescription so you can see your settings clearly and the focus clearly through the lens. Going back to your original post...I wish there was some secret I could tell you to getting a "WOW" shot. But there isn't. You just "know" it when you release the shutter. You'll get a feel for it more as you practice. But definitely classes on learning about f/stops and what they do is extremely important to dictating how an image will be produced, as opposed to letting the camera dictate it for you. Keep your old images too, even if you think they suck. As you get better you can look back at them and think to yourself about how you could've made that shot better knowing what you know now.
     
  14. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #14
    Absolutely... A poor shot, for me, is one that doesn't match up to what the photographer set out to capture. So it's subjective rather than objective... ;)
     
  15. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #15
    one of my best pictures came from just putting the camera in front of the subject and pushing the button on full auto. I did not even look through the viewfinder.

    This was with a rebel xt too.
     
  16. Maxxamillian macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Utah
    #16
    You can do some amazing things to poor shots and have tons of fun doing it. People only go as far as their creativity and ability allow them.

    Understanding your equipment and underlying technique/theory is a strong enabler to more creative thinking and enhancing ability...
     
  17. canonguy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    #17
    There is much talk of poor photos... I think this needs qualification... a poor shot will always be a poor shot. A poorly exposed shot can be salvaged w/PP. Big difference.

    As for the original question, How to hone your skill... They used to have these things, back in the day, they called them books. If you pick up a couple good books, not only will it teach you what you need to know, but will provide you with a reference you can take with you. A general beginners guide and a book that is specific to the kind of photography you are focused on.

    And shoot, then shoot some more.

    As for the camera classes from your local store...yes, you are right... these classes are designed for nothing more than selling you accessories (I was that guy), so be wary.
     
  18. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #18
    you know what i have done, that is both interesting and informative, is i have kept a library of photos, from the same spot, from different times; like one from 2002, one from 2003, etc, etc.

    It is like a journal, per se. It lets me look at what mistakes i made in the past, and how far i have come along. Ofcourse public opinion is great as well.

    The most important aspect of photography (well there are several) is the understanding of the technical side of photography. Why does a wide open aperture look different than a small aperture. Understanding exposure and ISO (the sensors' sensitivity to light, film; back in the day)

    I would read up on some good books. I know it is daunting to find a great book, as everyone seems to want to jump on this digital bandwagon.

    The book i bought is called "photography" by John Freeman. It is an amazing book. And i tell people, don't worry if the book isn't 2009. Techniques don't go obsolete.

    Also, post processing techniques come into play as well. The nature of shooting RAW is to be able to PP the files w/o a loss of quality to the file. Also, RAW is NOT sharp out of the camera.

    One last thing that i do. Since i learned how to shoot on film, you had to be careful and aware of the settings of the camera and the lighting around you. Ofcourse with film , it would be days before you saw your results, and if you were far away from your house and you effed up, you are out of luck. You took pictures with care. That is how i do it, even with digital. You can only salvage an image to a degree:)
     
  19. ibuytosell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009

Share This Page