Beginner New to photography.

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Dan
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#1
Hi all,

As in the title, I'm new to photography. I've never owned a 'proper' camera before, and not knowing what I'm doing or looking for I decided I was equipped enough to go and pull the trigger on a used Sony camera. A Sony A390 to be exact. I think the Christmas port got the better of me...

I'd been toying with the idea of taking up the hobby for a while, (hence the camera browsing) and I'm quite looking forward to getting involved with my 'new to me' bit of kit.

My question to the forum is...what now?

I've been looking at entry level photography courses at local colleges, are they worth it?

What other bits of kit should I be looking at? Tripod? Bag? Different lenses? Cleaning kits?....I've already bought a book to cover the basics.

Thanks in advance folks

Ted.
 

sirch

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#2
Welcome to TP, I'd say hold your horses for a few weeks and just hang around this forum you will pick up loads by just reading the various discussions on here. But of course we all want to buy more gear and a tripod (or 3 :LOL:) isn't a bad place to start, a search on here will turn up endless "which tripod" threads. With lenses it really is better to hold off until you know more about the type of subjects you want to shoot. As for bags I am convinced there is a conspiracy by bag manufacturers to never make the perfect bag to keep us all buying more, second hand bags are coming up for sale all the time on here but I think you need 10 posts or more to get access to the classifieds section.

Get out with the camera and take photos, post on here for feedback and look at the work of other photographers.
 
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#3
Go out and experiment for yourself initially. You will need to get to know your camera before you can refine it.

And you do realise you will never have any money ever again because there will always be on better upgrade you are convinced you need. Except you dont. The skill is in your eye and your head. Enjoy it, but don't get hooked on the idea your next accessory or camera will make a better photo. It wont. Before going on any courses become comfortable with the camera. Otherwise they will hit you with so much info to take in that it will leave you bewildered. Think about courses in six - twelve months time. In the meanwhile get inspired, talk to other photographers who are prepared to share their secrets and go along to any meets or local clubs. There is a lot of free information (and sometimes kit) available that way.

Book wise, 'Digital Photography Books 1-5' by Scott Kelby. Just take his style of writing with a jug full of salt though! Avoid his other publishing ventures at this stage….very expensive and not so straightforward.

Also Sean McHugh's Understanding Photography ( https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/p...otography-by-Sean-McHugh-author/9781593278946 ) Although a lot of his stuff is available free on the web too.
 
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#4
And you do realise you you will never have any money ever again because there will always be on better upgrade you are convinced you need. Except you dont.

The skill is in your eye and your head. Enjoy it, but don't get hooked on the idea your next accessory or camera will make a better photo. It wont.

I was a cyclist in a different life, I know this feeling...all to well. What's £600 for a 50 gram weight difference?? As the old mantra goes "Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades" essentially become better at your craft before forking out for better kit in the hope that it will magically transform you in to an old pro. - Got it.

Get out with the camera and take photos, post on here for feedback and look at the work of other photographers.
What's the crowd here like? Supportive of new forum members? Or fed up with seeing endless crap photos from clueless newbs like myself?
 
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#5
Its a complete mixture here, just like life. You wont get criticised much but your pics may put others to shame. Who knows until you post?

Sean's forum site is much less about gear and more about good critique. Try it. His pbase site is good to see quality images. https://www.pbase.com/compuminus
 
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#6
Book wise, 'Digital Photography Books 1-5' by Scott Kelby. Just take his style of writing with a jug full of salt though! Avoid his other publishing ventures at this stage….very expensive and not so straightforward.
Just so happens that is the book I bought as mentioned.
 
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#7
Just get a cheap old used dslr, wait until after the honeymoon period and after taking a few thousand pics and editing many, then decide on where to go next.

Many people quit after the honeymoon period due to frustration that photography is extremely hard to get results they want to get.
 
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#11
A390 for £77 is fair: it's an older camera, but still capable of taking a good image. Did you get the kit lens (18-55 SAM) with it - if so then it's probably best to wander around taking photos of any and everything you see that looks interesting in order to learn how to use it and what it can produce.

What else should you buy? At this stage nothing more really - buy stuff as you discover a need, rather than a want.

FWIW you'll quickly discover photography will out-do the cost of bikes quite easily, unless you're a tour rider. :p Are you north or south of Brum?
 
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#12
I got the camera, 18-55 lens, original software, memory card, an extra battery and an old bag.

As I'm browsing the pages of a well known auction site, the cost is becoming apparent. Still, not too dissimilar from cycling in terms of things available to take your reddies away.

Are you north or south of Brum?
West...Dudley.
 
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#14
I got the camera, 18-55 lens, original software, memory card, an extra battery and an old bag.

As I'm browsing the pages of a well known auction site, the cost is becoming apparent. Still, not too dissimilar from cycling in terms of things available to take your reddies away.



West...Dudley.
OK, not so close then - I'm 3 miles from J10 of the M40.

I changed outfits from Nikon to Sony (A7III + lenses earlier this year) and one can get quite a decent bike - MTB or road - for that, and it's not even a particularly expensive outfit.
 
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sirch

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#16
Sounds as though I may have jacked in one expensive hobby, only to step in to another, more expensive one...the wife will be pleased!
Yeah but camera gear is fairly small and mostly black, she won't notice if you are careful ;) Just avoid the Canon 400 f4
 
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#17
As I'm browsing the pages of a well known auction site, the cost is becoming apparent. Still, not too dissimilar from cycling in terms of things available to take your reddies away.
Like cycling as soon as it becomes photo-specific the price tag generally grows significantly... So keep your mind open.
 
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#18
Choose well and the tools will last a long time. Don't just follow the latest trends.

You will also find some invaluable and very good advice on photographic lighting technique by one of the most knowledgeable posters on here and he is dispensing it for our benefit.

https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/free-lighting-e-book.689037/

Some of that is very good basic understanding/knowledge and following that will save you going on numerous overpriced courses. You wont find better advice on the subject explained so straightforwardly. Photography is all about light and if you understand that, then your results will shine as a result.
 
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#21
Camouflage...tis the way forward.

If all goes well with the new pursuit I'm thinking of choping in the bikes for some gear. Then the wife WILL be pleased!
 
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#22
Remember you can take pictures of your wife with a camera , you can't do that with a bike. :ROFLMAO: just a quick observation. once you start getting into photography it gets into you. Soon you will realise how much there is to learn, you never stop. Also on dark evenings you can get into doing some editing instead when "er indoors" says she has a headache. ;)
 
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#23
No...you're right. Although I suspect she'll not thank me for taking any candid images of her for the time being, they may not be all that flattering.

I'm really looking forward to getting involved, and seeing where it takes me. The camera arrived today, but the Ebay seller I bought it from sent me a duff SD card...the swine. I'll have to go and find one then first attempts should be the weekend.

Touching on editing, any suggestions on software, preferably not the monthly subscription kind whilst I'm still testing the water?
 
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#24
Touching on editing, any suggestions on software, preferably not the monthly subscription kind whilst I'm still testing the water?
There's a free cut-down version of Capture1 software available and IIRC Sony used to have their own software that should be FOC. If you don't mind spending a little then there's DXO Photolab or On1 PhotoRaw 2020, both very capable, but with different approaches (DXO is more limited and a little more subtle, On1 is more powerful in many ways but a little clunky). Both have time-limited free to try options.
 
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#25
Adobe elements is easy. With memory cards get one with at least 90 mb/s to avoid stalling . That is to do with transfer rate from card to camera of the data
 
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#26
Right then...I'm all set.

I've got me some books to swat up on, camera and SD card, gonna get my hands on some of the suggested software, and I'm fully armed with bags of enthusiasm.

I'm out tomorrow to look at some stuff in the cold.

Probably take a few crap snaps while I'm there.

Wish me luck bro's.

(y)
 
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#28
couple of tips which might help. For a moving subject leave space in the picture for the subject to move into, not hard up against the picture edge
example


wrong the animal looks like banging his nose on picture edge

yes i edited it to give as an example

for landscapes have a stop on the right hand side. let me explain ,it is like reading a page the eye starts on the right of a line then comes to having to go onto the next line as there is nothing else to read. Same with landscapes, you may not be aware but the eye does the same with a landscape photo ,start at the left and needs a stop on the right

example



here the tree stops you from trying to look more to the right

wrong is below you want to see what is further on the right of the picture, or in other words the eyesight is left with nothing to follow on




you will read about DOF (depth of field) that is the about of the photo is in focus in front and behind a subject. However there is another way of giving depth in a photo which is different to DOF.
This is to have something just in front of the main subject

below I includes a small bush to throw the main subject further back ie the building. Again the right hand side of the photo gets blocked by trees



of course perspective is yet another way of achieving the same effect
one of the kennel blocks we had when we owned boarding kennels before we retired



Having said that others may well have ideas of their own, but this is my thoughts which might help
 
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#30
Panning is another trick which needs to be learnt

you can track say an animal to say a pre determined point so the animal is in focus and background blurred



or give the ideal idea of movement by letting an animal pass a fixed point

 
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#31
Just one more trick I use



No I didn't get into the compound. Mesh is always a pain to shoot through. However there is a trick avoiding most of the mesh. What i do is place a fingertip on the rim of the lens hood and use that as a stop guide when I get up onto the mesh, so it is mesh -finger tip -lens hood. The focus is on the animal and the mesh gets blurred out to a degree. editing is so much easier to do afterwards, you don't have to rub out the mesh as much


Then again what do I know? there are far better members on here than me on how to take photos to get the best out of a shoot
 
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#32
couple of tips which might help. For a moving subject leave space in the picture for the subject to move into, not hard up against the picture edge
example


wrong the animal looks like banging his nose on picture edge

yes i edited it to give as an example

for landscapes have a stop on the right hand side. let me explain ,it is like reading a page the eye starts on the right of a line then comes to having to go onto the next line as there is nothing else to read. Same with landscapes, you may not be aware but the eye does the same with a landscape photo ,start at the left and needs a stop on the right

example



here the tree stops you from trying to look more to the right

wrong is below you want to see what is further on the right of the picture, or in other words the eyesight is left with nothing to follow on




you will read about DOF (depth of field) that is the about of the photo is in focus in front and behind a subject. However there is another way of giving depth in a photo which is different to DOF.
This is to have something just in front of the main subject

below I includes a small bush to throw the main subject further back ie the building. Again the right hand side of the photo gets blocked by trees



of course perspective is yet another way of achieving the same effect
one of the kennel blocks we had when we owned boarding kennels before we retired



Having said that others may well have ideas of their own, but this is my thoughts which might help
Some good advice here, but I must say I completely disagree with the right hand side rule you’ve mentioned, personally I’d never follow that and I’d advise the OP not to either.
 
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#33
Tom like everything with photography it is down to personal preference. if we all liked the same thing wouldn't life be boring. I put those up to just give some ideas in pictures against just writing , I think it illustrates the points better.
Ask me about portrait photography and I don't have a clue. lighting -background- props -positions is still a mystery with focal points and light reflections in the eyesetc etc ??????? got little or next to no idea.

Weddings ?my own was terrifying enough being on the photographers receiving end, as for taking them no way too specialist for me
Buildings? just happy to have my own house

As been said so many times, if what you take you like, if others like it as well consider it a bonus
 
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#34
Get out with the camera and take photos, post on here for feedback and look at the work of other photographers.
This. Definitely hold off on buying loads of new gear until your're out shooting and you realise 'I really need X, Y or Z to get the shot I want'. I bought a tripod fairly early on - but loads of photographers don't use tripods, I also invested in some filters - lots of people don't use them.

Get out when you can, when you can't look at other people's work, subscribe to some youtube channels (if that's your thing) and avoid googling/drooling over new gear - the fun should be in using the gear you've got. If it's not then find another hobby!

Regarding editing software, personally I would stay away from free versions of adobe PS/LR - when you've mastered the basic package you'll want to upgrade and since you'll have learnt the ropes with adobe it can be a pain to relearn on other software. I'm not an expert in post processing software but when I started out I was reluctant to spend any money and found that there's some great open source stuff out there. I started with RawTherapee, which is a fairly powerful RAW editor (you'll soon come across the advice to shoot RAW files rather than JPEG as it captures more info per pixel and gives you much more power when editing), then switched to Dark Table, which is very similar in function to Light Room. I also used GIMP which is very powerful but not so user friendly and takes some commitment as it's a steep learning curve, but it has the similar functionality to Adobe Photoshop. More recently I invested in Affinity Photo (£50 one-off payment) which consolidates both of these programmes into a more user friendly and powerful package. It allows things like panoramic stitching, HDR merging and focus stacking (all of which I'm sure you'll delve into at some point). Anyway, bit of a ramble about software.... sorry.

Look forward to seeing some of your stuff here.

Tom
 
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#35
Ok, So I've been out today for the first attempt. I really enjoyed being out, purely with the intension of taking photographs. I wasn't sure what photographs I was planning on taking though, and I think this is where I struggled most (Apart from not actually knowing what I'm doing obviously). I didn't know what to look for.

I think I grasp the basic concept of exposure, as you'll see though, getting it right I've not got the hang of...however it is day 1.

Subject matter is now something I will concentrate on I think. Find something/somewhere I like the look of and practice on that until I get it right.

Anyways here are the crap snaps I promised...

Canal.JPG

Running Water.JPG

tall grass.JPG
 
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#36
Ok, So I've been out today for the first attempt. I really enjoyed being out, purely with the intension of taking photographs. I wasn't sure what photographs I was planning on taking though, and I think this is where I struggled most (Apart from not actually knowing what I'm doing obviously).
2 is very nice. 3 has potential but you’ve slightly cropped the top off the grass. You’ve used the depth of field to separate the subject (the grass) from the background. You might have achieved more ‘subject separation’ by changing the angle slightly so the background is a bit darker or a different colour. Hope you enjoyed getting out - the real joy of photography is getting outside and tuning in to your surroundings. The results are secondary to that.
 

steve_lyt

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#37
number 2 is really quite good . number 1 imho is a nice picture bur requires a point of interest to draw you into the image, a boat would have lifted the
image but there was none , nothing you could have done about it . but still a nice image. image 3 is nice, nut I cant quite make a decision on it
 
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#38
Thanks Steve and Tom.

Number 1, was an attempt at a leading line and catching a reflection...in an ideal world that big ugly bush would've been a castle or something interesting to look at. Hey ho...

Number 2, I just liked the look of the running water and reflection.

Number 3, was an attempt to separate whatever I was shooting at...couldn't find much good to shoot at though. And I chopped its head off...fail. :ROFLMAO:
 

sirch

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#39
#1 has potential I think, it makes a pleasing shape and the sky isn't blown. There are a few things I would of tried (and you might have) - try shooting lower, more space on the right hand side because there is nothing significant on the LHS that would be lost, move forwards a bit to lose the kink in the canal edge, either include all of the bush or crop more off it to make the crop more deliberate.

In a nutshell watch what is going on at the edges of the frame. Good job for a first attempt, thanks for sharing.
 
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#40
Dan, well its a start as we all did. Improvement comes with practice and seeing where you went wrong is a great learning curve. you should have seen my first efforts, no better not on second thoughts, they were terrible
 
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