Author Topic: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice  (Read 9789 times)

Skinnyneo

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Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« on: February 24, 2012, 12:03:39 AM »
I work at a school in Japan.  One of the big cultural points about school in Japan is every student joins a club.  There are of course sports clubs, but also art, tea ceremony, and calligraphy clubs.  I am a beginner photographer meaning I'm interested but know next to nothing.  Some students approached me about starting a photography club and I  think it's a great idea.  I wanted to ask anybody in the MMM community who is a photographer or into photography (cuz I like you guys and your helpful!) how did you learn about photography and get better at it?  Are there any simple books beginner books you would recommend that teach you about the basic functions of cameras and what the basic features are? 

(I realize this is some what off the normal MMM thread topic but I'll add that I think photography could be a very FI friendly hobby if you take care of your equipment and use it for years and years.  Maybe even turn into a side business!)

Sparafusile

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 05:20:50 AM »
The first part of learning photography is learning how the camera works. The two most important things to know are f-stop and shutter speed. A quick search turned up this short explanation:

http://www.photonhead.com/beginners/shutterandaperture.php

Once you get the basics down, you'll need to figure out how to set each one. It can get complicated if you do it the "right" way, but I just do it by eye. The joy of digital cameras is you can take a dozen pictures of the same scene with different settings and then determine which is the best at a later time. On the other hand, you can set your camera to full auto and let it do all the adjustments for you.

Once you learn how to use your camera, the next most important thing is how to compose great photos. In the day of film (when I learned), you had to carefully set up your photo so that you got exactly what you wanted when you pressed the button. The rule we lived and died by was the "rule of thirds":

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds

Again, with the advent of digital photography, your picture end up coming out so large that you can crop them afterwards. This wasn't always possible in the dark room while developing film. Digital photography really is a lot more forgiving and allows you to do a lot more with your camera.

Which brings me to my last piece of advice - learn to use photo editing software. The definitive piece of software is of course PhotoShop, but it comes with a hefty price tag. You can find almost identical functionality in Gimp, which is free:

http://www.gimp.org/

Good luck.

velocistar237

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 07:12:56 AM »
Learning photography is mostly a matter of going out and practicing. A good way to do that is through challenges and critiques. For examples, see www.dpchallenge.com.

Google "learn beginner photography" to find sites that teach the basics. Center your challenges around each technique separately, e.g., rule of thirds, depth of field, telephoto, wide angle, etc. Figure out the settings necessary for that particular technique and give a short tutorial before issuing the challenge. Then you can move on to themes, similar to the DP Challenge setup.

Share your photos with each other, and find ways to share them with the school community. In our local company photo club, we hold little exhibitions every so often, and we have some photos hanging up in a lobby area.

onehappypanda

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 08:59:35 AM »
I work at a school in Japan.  One of the big cultural points about school in Japan is every student joins a club.  There are of course sports clubs, but also art, tea ceremony, and calligraphy clubs.  I am a beginner photographer meaning I'm interested but know next to nothing.  Some students approached me about starting a photography club and I  think it's a great idea.  I wanted to ask anybody in the MMM community who is a photographer or into photography (cuz I like you guys and your helpful!) how did you learn about photography and get better at it?  Are there any simple books beginner books you would recommend that teach you about the basic functions of cameras and what the basic features are? 

(I realize this is some what off the normal MMM thread topic but I'll add that I think photography could be a very FI friendly hobby if you take care of your equipment and use it for years and years.  Maybe even turn into a side business!)
I took an art course at a local university, both to learn the basics of operating a camera and the artistic theory behind photography. You could easily learn camera basics online, just Google around and you'll find all kinds of help. That, and working with buddies so you can share skills and tips that you learn with each other.

Also, check out Flickr both for inspirations and to join some of the groups on there for advice and ideas. Digital-photography-school.com was super helpful to me. The things you need to learn vary a great deal based on the equipment you have and the type of photography you want to do, so it's hard to recommend a book without knowing that.

I will say that photography is not the most cost-effective hobby in my experience. You can be frugal with it, but you have to pick and choose the advice you accept. You can find a good deal on a slightly older used camera, but there are all these other bits and baubles people say you just have to buy (different lenses, tripods, external flash, etc. etc.). Some of those are extremely helpful and some aren't at all helpful. I would say get the camera and basic lens and learn some basic skills before you decide what add-ons you really need, otherwise you could spend a ton on things you rarely use.

MsLogica

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 01:22:35 PM »
Practice and play!  You can read a lot of tips on the web, but you need to actually get to know your camera or you won't be able to apply them.

tannybrown

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 01:41:20 PM »
F8 and be there.

Skinnyneo

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 09:46:32 PM »
This is all great information!  Thank you guys!  I'll keep you updated about how the progress goes.

The first part of learning photography is learning how the camera works. The two most important things to know are f-stop and shutter speed. A quick search turned up this short explanation:

http://www.photonhead.com/beginners/shutterandaperture.php

Once you get the basics down, you'll need to figure out how to set each one. It can get complicated if you do it the "right" way, but I just do it by eye. The joy of digital cameras is you can take a dozen pictures of the same scene with different settings and then determine which is the best at a later time. On the other hand, you can set your camera to full auto and let it do all the adjustments for you.

Once you learn how to use your camera, the next most important thing is how to compose great photos. In the day of film (when I learned), you had to carefully set up your photo so that you got exactly what you wanted when you pressed the button. The rule we lived and died by was the "rule of thirds":

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds

Again, with the advent of digital photography, your picture end up coming out so large that you can crop them afterwards. This wasn't always possible in the dark room while developing film. Digital photography really is a lot more forgiving and allows you to do a lot more with your camera.

Which brings me to my last piece of advice - learn to use photo editing software. The definitive piece of software is of course PhotoShop, but it comes with a hefty price tag. You can find almost identical functionality in Gimp, which is free:

http://www.gimp.org/

Good luck.

Checking out these links as we speak!

Practice and play!  You can read a lot of tips on the web, but you need to actually get to know your camera or you won't be able to apply them.

Cool.  I'm definitely going to encourage this with my students. 

Grigory

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 10:22:19 PM »
Great thread! I was wondering the same exact thing, actually - all those links are really helpful.

I will say that photography is not the most cost-effective hobby in my experience. You can be frugal with it, but you have to pick and choose the advice you accept.
What about generating passive income by posting your pictures on microstock photography sites? If you have a good enough (and large enough!) portfolio and upload it on several sites (shutterstock, fotolia, istockphoto, etc.), you can make money without doing any additional work - or so it seems... Also, is it possible to make money by selling prints or whatever it is photographers sell in galleries? ;)

lecodecivil

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2012, 02:08:43 PM »
Best advice I ever read for beginning photographers:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-learn-photography.htm

Lots of good advice on that page. First you must want to take pictures, and then you must actually go make lots of them.

He is also fairly Mustachian:
Quote
If you can't achieve the result you want, don't ask what most people ask first, which is "what do I buy now?" Instead, ask yourself "how do I use what I have to make this happen?"

Rich M

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 04:02:20 PM »
F8 and be there.

LOL, that is the photojournalism philosophy.

Skinnyneo

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Re: Calling any amature or professional photographers for advice
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 04:12:35 PM »
Great thread! I was wondering the same exact thing, actually - all those links are really helpful.

I will say that photography is not the most cost-effective hobby in my experience. You can be frugal with it, but you have to pick and choose the advice you accept.
What about generating passive income by posting your pictures on microstock photography sites? If you have a good enough (and large enough!) portfolio and upload it on several sites (shutterstock, fotolia, istockphoto, etc.), you can make money without doing any additional work - or so it seems... Also, is it possible to make money by selling prints or whatever it is photographers sell in galleries? ;)

I can't agree more!  I've been reading through these links and have to say that I've learned so much in just a few short hours.  Nothing like the MMM community to the rescue!

I've seen TV programs that talk about people making an extra 2-USD300 a month selling their photos on the internet in their free time.  In general it's like a part time job but if photography is already your hobby and your good at it why not have it bring you in some passive income. 

I can't wait to take what I've been learning and put it into practice.  Even my little point and shoot Canon seems like a different beast to me now.