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  1. #1
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    How did you learn about photography?

    As a newbie, I am fascinated by the amount of information that I have to learn about photography. From where I stand, it looks like a pretty steep learning curve. My question is, how did you learn what you know now? Did you take classes, read books, just experiment? This website has already opened my eyes to just how much I have to learn- but sometimes I'm not even sure what questions to ask! Thanks to Photo-John for this awesome site!
    Last edited by kkraczek; 03-26-2004 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Mi tortuga es guapo. Kokopeli's Avatar
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    For me, my Dad taught me how to use his SLR when I was around 12. Basically his tutorial consisted of how to read the built in light meter and make adjustments to the shutter speed/aperture in order to get the correct exposure. From there, I took a photography class in high school and that taught me the more technical aspects of photography. In all honesty though, this site has really taught me more about photography than any other source.

    My recommendation to you is this..

    Find a good intro to photography book. Read it. Learn it. Get a firm grasp of the fundamentals while at the same time you take tons of photographs, making note of your exposure settings for each frame you shoot then compare your notes to your photos so you can see what works and what doesn't.

    Hope this is what you were looking for...
    ~Brian
    Nikon Samurai #3


    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail...but, a true
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  3. #3
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kokopeli
    For me, my Dad taught me how to use his SLR when I was around 12. Basically his tutorial consisted of how to read the built in light meter and make adjustments to the shutter speed/aperture in order to get the correct exposure. From there, I took a photography class in high school and that taught me the more technical aspects of photography. In all honesty though, this site has really taught me more about photography than any other source.

    My recommendation to you is this..

    Find a good intro to photography book. Read it. Learn it. Get a firm grasp of the fundamentals while at the same time you take tons of photographs, making note of your exposure settings for each frame you shoot then compare your notes to your photos so you can see what works and what doesn't.

    Hope this is what you were looking for...
    ~Brian


    Thanks Brian! Any suggestions for a good book?

  4. #4
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Nothing can teach you more than shooting and learning from your mistakes.
    -Seb

    My website

    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

  5. #5
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Nothing can teach you more than shooting and learning from your mistakes.
    True, but, I also am interested in basic things... like white balance- what is it? (saw that on the digi forum) I think I might sound totally silly if I posted to a thread with "what does that mean?" every time I saw a new term! Thanks Sebastian!

  6. #6
    mjm
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    just picked up a camera and started shooting. i also took a couple classes in high school and college but i never got anything too great out of them.

    reading a lot online (while at work, hehe) and shooting many pictures is what i am doign now.

  7. #7
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkraczek
    True, but, I also am interested in basic things... like white balance- what is it? (saw that on the digi forum) I think I might sound totally silly if I posted to a thread with "what does that mean?" every time I saw a new term! Thanks Sebastian!
    Ah, I see where you're coming from now.

    Terminology is easy, that's not photography, the image is photography. A simple glossary will give you all the answers you need.

    If you don't want to harass us with a bunch of "what's XXX mean?" questions, then just make a list and ask all of it at once.

    White balance, BTW, is setting the sensor to reproduce solors without a color cast. Notice how indoor pictures always used to come out yellow? That's because film is mostly adjusted for daylight, and indoor lighting is much warmer than daylight, meaning it has more red/orange in it. You could use a filter or incandescent film to compensate, with digital you just recallibrate the sensor the the current light source, and voila, you have balanced colors.

    Don't ever hesitate to ask basic questions, we have all been there, done that, and know how important it is to answer them for you.
    -Seb

    My website

    (Please don't edit and repost my images without my permission. Thank you)

    How to tell the most experienced shooter in a group? They have the least amount of toys on them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Charles Hess's Avatar
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    Self-taught...

    Laid up from a car accident about 9 years ago, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about photo technique. I became very book smart about the technical side before ever handling a real camera(an old Nikon F3). From there, shoot, shoot, shoot, learn, remember. :-)



    Quote Originally Posted by kkraczek
    As a newbie, I am fascinated by the amount of information that I have to learn about photography. From where I stand, it looks like a pretty steep learning curve. My question is, how did you learn what you know now? Did you take classes, read books, just experiment? This website has already opened my eyes to just how much I have to learn- but sometimes I'm not even sure what questions to ask! Thanks to Photo-John for this awesome site!

  9. #9
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    The thing about white balance is that your eye does it automatically. You don't notice that incandescent lights in your house look yellow or fluorescent light looks green, you just see the colors. White balance in concept isn't anything new to photography although the term is generally talked about in terms of digital photography. With film, you would use colored filters to change the light to match the film (where with digital you would change the camera to match the light). Not trying to get technical, hope it helps.

    BTW, from your avatar I'd guess you're into nature photography. Check out Boyd Norton's book about nature photography, it was updated about two years ago.

    Aside from that, shoot, shoot, shoot. And review your work critically. Looks good? How could you make it better? Don't beat yourself up over it too much, but try to learn from it.

  10. #10
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    I learned formally...

    I took photography classes all through high school and went onto college, where Art/Photography was my minor.

    I learned a lot on my own too. Workshops are also very good ways to learn, you may also try a local photography club. They can be great social and photography outlets.

    On a book note, I would recommend John Hedgecoe's "New Introductory Photography Course" it is a standard in colleges everywhere.

    Good luck, and keep shooting!

    Brian
    My "Personal" Photography Website...
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    See more of my photography here...

    A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety... - Ansel Adams

    "Photography Is An Act Of Life" - Maine 2006

  11. #11
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    Thanks everyone, I will be going to the library tomorrow morning! I am currently taking a beginning photography class, and hope to complete a degree in Graphic Design. (I just started taking those classes too!) I have always had a love of art and photography... I just didn't know how much was involved until now! As I said, I am continually fascinated by the entire process, and I'm very excited to have found such an awesome site on the web.

    Any other recommendations for books are welcome- another view, it's funny you should mention that book, as I had just put it on hold at the library about 1/2 an hour ago! Must be a good sign! ;)

    Thanks again!



  12. #12
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkraczek
    Thanks everyone, I will be going to the library tomorrow morning! I am currently taking a beginning photography class, and hope to complete a degree in Graphic Design. (I just started taking those classes too!) I have always had a love of art and photography... I just didn't know how much was involved until now! As I said, I am continually fascinated by the entire process, and I'm very excited to have found such an awesome site on the web.

    Any other recommendations for books are welcome- another view, it's funny you should mention that book, as I had just put it on hold at the library about 1/2 an hour ago! Must be a good sign! ;)

    Thanks again!


    Great, it was one of the first that I bought and a big help. Now that I'm home I see it's called "The Art of Outdoor Photography" but I think it's the only one he's got. John Shaw's gooks are excellent too as are many others. Once you get the basics down, Freeman Patterson is definately worth checking out for a whole new perspective.

  13. #13
    Member ThoughtfulPirate's Avatar
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    Pretty much Trial and error, which I am still doing for sure. I took one photo class, but it wasnt that good, the instructor basically said "modern cameras have good program modes, so why use manual settings?" This site has taught me a lot, and I have just experimented, and taken a lot of shots. Now I feel like I understand HOW to get a good shot, so I can look at it as what do I do to make this shot look the way I want it to?

  14. #14
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Me, too

    The beginning of my photo education is about the same as yours, Brian. I started borrowing my Dad's Nikon F to take skateboard photos, when I was about 14. When I was 17, my aunt gave me one of the early Olympus compacts. And when I graduated from high school my dad gave me my first real camera, a Pentax Program Plus. When I got the Program Plus, I really started learning and experimenting. There's definitely a lot to learn, if you want to. And the more you know, the more you can do. However, I've found that the more you learn, the more a lot of this knowledge becomes second nature and you don't think about it anymore.
    Photo-John

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  15. #15
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    The beginning of my photo education is about the same as yours, Brian. I started borrowing my Dad's Nikon F to take skateboard photos, when I was about 14. When I was 17, my aunt gave me one of the early Olympus compacts. And when I graduated from high school my dad gave me my first real camera, a Pentax Program Plus. When I got the Program Plus, I really started learning and experimenting. There's definitely a lot to learn, if you want to. And the more you know, the more you can do. However, I've found that the more you learn, the more a lot of this knowledge becomes second nature and you don't think about it anymore.
    Thanks again to all for your helpful advice. I have been reading a lot of posts about composition, and wondered if anyone can recommend a good book on the subject. Thanks!

  16. #16
    Mamiya Man
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    I learned from baptism by fire. I bought a couple g's in equipment so that I would really kick myself if I quit and I got addicted and keep buying more and more. as far as books I just go to a book store read the books and find the ones that give me the details I want on the subject I'm trying to learn. I love nature pictures and love Ansel Adams and Edward Weston but they are some of the most well known. If learning about prints Ansel Adams was just as well known for his work in the darkroom. If interested in Kids pictures There is Sally Mann but in my opinion some of her pictures kind of border too much on kiddy porn for my taste. I picked up this great book from the library once called The Lighting Cookbook. The Technical side of knowing your aperature, shutterspeed and metering all make for well exposed pictures but photography is like painting with light and knowing how to use light to get the mood and the composition you like can be the difference between the guy with the afro on public tv making pictures and the work Michaelangelo did that looks like the hand of god touched it.


    Magoo

  17. #17
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkraczek
    Thanks again to all for your helpful advice. I have been reading a lot of posts about composition, and wondered if anyone can recommend a good book on the subject. Thanks!
    Try "Designing a Photograph" by Bill James. That will give you a good explaination (with examples) of the visual aspects of a photograph. After you read that, analyze other shots you see, and you'll find the rule of thirds, S-curves, framing and everything else. You gotta learn the rules before you can break them!

  18. #18
    It's hurricane season... again...
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    Quote Originally Posted by another view
    Try "Designing a Photograph" by Bill James. That will give you a good explaination (with examples) of the visual aspects of a photograph. After you read that, analyze other shots you see, and you'll find the rule of thirds, S-curves, framing and everything else. You gotta learn the rules before you can break them!
    Thanks, that looks like a great choice. I was browsing on Amazon and found "Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography" by Bryan Peterson as well. I'm going to check the local library for both books. Thanks for the tip!

  19. #19
    Send $$$ For Film and Processing h2oskierc's Avatar
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    I found two books that helped me out a lot, The Basic Book of Photography by Tomm and Michelle Grimm, and The National Geographic photography field guide. The former is my favorite, and while it isn't as fun to read, I found it to be very thorough. It goes into the technical aspects, and the artistic aspects, for lack of better terms.

    Although, I am prolly still a newbie, so...
    Chris

    When I grow up I want to be a Photographer.

    No more money left for film
    Will work for Canon DSLR Body...

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