Best learning methods?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Greg_R, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    What would you recommend as a way to learn photography? I'm interested in documenting my backpacking trips (both macro and landscape shots) + some (outdoor) sport photography. I have an old Nikon Coolpix + polarized lens that I've been using but want to take my skills to the next level (i.e. turn off 'auto everything' and learn to use the camera). Should I upgrade to a SLR-type camera? What is the best resource for learning? Classes (where)? Books / Websites? Obviously practice is #1 but I need to know how to practice 1st :)

    How did you guys learn? Thanks!
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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  3. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    But seriously, just try to keep in mind that 95% of photography is the same, regardless of what "sensor" you are using. Electronic or organic. Don't get all wrapped up in the technical gibberish.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    As a starting point, I would recommend a basic book on photography. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is a decent one. Also, Canon has some free tutorials on their website here. And some camera stores will sponsor some photography workshops, so you may want to check out one locally. I know Adray Camera does this in the Detroit area.
     
  5. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    Much of the way I learned after buying my DSLR was just by taking lots and lots of pictures and seeing what worked and what didn't. With digital you can do that at no cost.
     
  6. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Find a locally owned camera shop and talk to the people there. Usually, everyone who works in the local shops is an enthusiast, and would be happy to talk to you about local resources, clubs, and inexpensive community college courses or workshops. They will also stock photography books, and be able to recommend a good beginners book for your needs.

    Focus on composition and exposure, and learn about controlling your focal plane / depth of focus. As John mentions, the hardware is secondary.

    -Scott
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Just to be a little more helpful, Kodak's Joy of Photography is a classic source of knowledge. Just always remember, 95% of photography is the same regardless of if you are shooting film or digital. An awful lot of people just don't get that.

    Back to hardware. It is a tool, and quality tools are always important, but they don't make you skilled, creative or give you knowledge. The main thing people screw up is, they spend a lot on the camera and go cheap on the lens. Bad idea. Get good lenses and skimp on the camera if you need to. A D40 and good lenses will give much better results than a D200 and kit lenses.
     
  8. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    An SLR will give you more real control over the camera, if you want it. That said many 'bridge' cameras have A and S modes for controling just aperture or just shutter speed.

    Initially I wouldn't actually buy any books or spend any money on this. If you can get your current camera off the auto modes, just go out and play with it. Change the aperture settings and see what it effect it has, do the same with shutter speed and ISO.

    As with most things, the best way to learn is to do it.
     
  9. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Thanks everyone for the tips. I have a Nikon Coolpix 995 which was billed as a pro-sumer digital when it came out. I have polarized & UV lens attachments for it but no other lenses are available. Pretty much everything is adjustable on it so I think it will work fine as a learning vehicle (plus I won't get confused with lens choices :) ). I'll try the books first and post some more pics on photo review websites for feedback. Thanks!
     

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