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Author Topic: Photography for beginners - looking for tips  (Read 376 times)
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Soulchilde
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« on: August 07, 2013, 11:55:55 AM »

I've picked up a nice low end DSLR camera specifically FujiFilm's FinePix S4200. I'm looking for tips to take better photos.  I know understanding Exposures will be my biggest challenge, so I am really looking for some help with this
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Razgon
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« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 12:39:36 PM »

I have no clue at all, but will pass on the advice I got from a certifed Cannon Sales store when I asked for books, or tips on how to become a good photographer on behalf of my daugther.

Watch Youtube

Apparently, this is how you learn things these days, and the Cannon guy said there were tons of good videos detailing how to become a decent shot, so to speak.
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Canuck
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« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 02:43:40 PM »

Quote from: Soulchilde on August 07, 2013, 11:55:55 AM

  I know understanding Exposures will be my biggest challenge, so I am really looking for some help with this
If you're looking for that then this will probably help you out a lot.  If you just want a brief overview then I found these basic tutorials pretty helpful:

http://www.expertphotography.com/a-beginners-guide-to-photography/

This is a good beginner's guide which covers exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, etc. It's a bit sales-y but the tutorials are all free and I found that they (click on the links for the full tutorial) gave me a good general overview of all the different topics.
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 02:44:43 PM »

Quote from: Soulchilde on August 07, 2013, 11:55:55 AM

I've picked up a nice low end DSLR camera specifically FujiFilm's FinePix S4200. I'm looking for tips to take better photos.  I know understanding Exposures will be my biggest challenge, so I am really looking for some help with this

The best possible thing you can do is to take lots of pictures, try new things, evaluate what you like and don't like, and then learn ways to improve the parts you want to improve.  I don't know if you ever visit the Perpetual Photography thread at OO, but that's a fantastic place to post pictures you've taken and get feedback from masters and magicians of the craft.  Or post them here. smile

One thing you should know is that you don't have a DSLR.  That S4200 would probably be called a "superzoom" or maybe an "SLR-like", but it doesn't have the features that set apart SLRs or the new world of mirrorless interchangeable cameras.  I'd say the biggest ways that your camera differs from an SLR are the lack of interchangeable lenses (obviously) and a much much smaller sensor.  The latter affects your camera's ability to collect light and avoid noise (speckly colors in the photo in low light situations).

But that's ok.  You can take great pictures with your camera, too.  It just helps to start to learn where the limits of what your camera can do.

If you're interested in books to help you learn, I really like The Digital Photography Book series by Scott Kelby.  The first volume will teach you loads and loads, and it teaches in a very practical and easy-to-understand way.  His approach to answer questions of "how do I get this kind of shot", and use that as a platform to teach concepts.  There's also The Camera, by Ansel Adams, which is timeless.

I also highly recommend you get familiar with some kind of photo manipulation software.  Just about every photograph you've ever seen and been impressed with (pre or post-digital) has been touched up in some way.  That doesn't mean you have to "photoshop" your pics in the usual sense of the word, but basic cropping, color correction, and contrast adjustment will do wonders for your pics.

I highly recommend Lightroom, which is relatively inexpensive.  Lightroom works with you for the entire photo workflow, from getting your pics onto your computer and batch renaming, to organizing your library, to touchups, to printing or outputting for the web.  What it does better than Photoshop in the photo manipulation is make it quick, simple, and reversable.  Photoshop is intimidating, but Lightroom puts all the most commonly used adjustments on easy sliders.  You can just fiddle with the sliders to see how your photo changes, which is a fantastic way to learn what everything does.

If you want a cheaper (free) option, Google's Picasa is free and does much of what Lightroom does.  GIMP does a lot of the things Photoshop does.

But back to step 1: take pictures.  If you've already taken a bunch of pics with your new camera, post a pic that you really like but wish could be better, and post a pic that you thought would be great when you snapped the shot but came out not being what you want.  I'd be more than happy to give pointers or techniques that may help.
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 03:12:22 PM »

Pug thanks on the tips and I forgot about the picture thread on OO.  I'll head there now
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Reemul
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 11:10:37 AM »

Good advice from Wonderpug. The PP thread has some real experts on there who will be happy to help , they really helped me.
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Caine
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2013, 06:30:50 AM »

step 1

take the lens cap off.

works wonders.

(how come Ceekay didn't already make this joke?)
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CeeKay
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2013, 08:33:29 AM »

if I made a joke it would be about needing a wide angle lens or possibly satellite photography to properly take a pic of Razgon's arse, but I hear it is a sensitive subject so I won't point out the 500 lb... 'gorilla'... in the room.
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Laner
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2013, 03:00:17 PM »

Don't do this
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Clanwolfer
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2013, 08:49:08 PM »

Don't know if they still do it, but back when I had time and energy and some ambition, the Digital Photography School forums had a weekly challenge, always focusing on a different aspect of photography. Setting aside an hour or so each week to do those did wonders for my basic photography skills.
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kushy26
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 01:32:29 PM »

Quote from: Clanwolfer on August 11, 2013, 08:49:08 PM

Digital Photography School forums had a weekly challenge, always focusing on a different aspect of photography.

Nice information shared.
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 01:46:23 PM »

Took some photos and I will upload them later
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Soulchilde
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 11:33:04 PM »

My first picture.  I used photo shop 12 to update.  Came free on my two year old laptop
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Soulchilde
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 11:35:32 PM »

Washington Monument near my apartment
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

NiM$
Soulchilde
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 11:36:08 PM »

Close up of Washington Monument
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Soulchilde
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2013, 11:37:39 PM »

Home Life Mutual - Converted by the Walter's Art Museum to a Modern Art Museum
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Soulchilde
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2013, 11:38:26 PM »

Rear of the Maryland Historical Society
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Quote from: Devil on January 12, 2007, 01:14:38 AM

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Caine
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« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2013, 03:41:53 AM »

while I cannot give any critical advice on these, I do say that I like the last one
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wonderpug
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2013, 01:20:26 PM »

Is there anything about your pictures that you wish were different, or that didn't come out quite as you were planning when you snapped the shutter?  Or are you just looking for general feedback?
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Soulchilde
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2013, 01:28:18 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on August 14, 2013, 01:20:26 PM

Is there anything about your pictures that you wish were different, or that didn't come out quite as you were planning when you snapped the shutter?  Or are you just looking for general feedback?

General feedback.  I do wish that the photos were a bit sharper
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wonderpug
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« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2013, 02:21:08 PM »

Quote from: Soulchilde on August 14, 2013, 01:28:18 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on August 14, 2013, 01:20:26 PM

Is there anything about your pictures that you wish were different, or that didn't come out quite as you were planning when you snapped the shutter?  Or are you just looking for general feedback?

General feedback.  I do wish that the photos were a bit sharper

For sharpness, the first step is making sure your camera is as stable as possible when you're shooting.  Using a tripod is most effective, monopods help and are more portable, but even just bracing yourself against a wall or a pole or something makes a big difference.  There are also things you can do just in the way you hold your arms or brace against your camera strap that can really help to stabilize your shots.  There's also the poor man's way of doing it: set your camera to shoot as fast as possible, take a bunch of shots and then choose the most stable one when you get home.

But after its in your camera, post-processing really helps with sharpening.  You generally want to use the weirdly named "unsharp mask" to sharpen your photos.  If you do other post-processing, the sharpening should be the very last step you do.  The unsharp mask works by darkening the outer edge of an object and lightening the edge of the background along the object's border.  If you see a photo with weird glowing halos around objects, they overdid it on the unsharp mask.

Will try and find some time to comment on the above pics later today.
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