1. Dorsetsnapshot

    Dorsetsnapshot

    Messages:
    165
    Name:
    Mark
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    Hi all,

    I couldn't see another thread like this, but if there is one, please point me in the direction and delete this...

    I see there is a thread with links to articles, guides, etc, but I just wanted to ask those on here that are experienced, or at least above novice level...

    What thing/things do you wish you'd known earlier in your days as a novice taking photos.... what useful information would have helped you the most if you had it?

    DSS
     
  2. GTG

    GTG

    Messages:
    1,450
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    To use filters, to go to an actual shop and try gear before buying it. To get proper photography bags. Get lenses that hold their value and sell like a hot cake in a couple of days for near what you paid for it 5 years ago.
     
  3. sirch

    sirch Official Forum Numpty 2015

    Messages:
    6,173
    Name:
    Chris
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    Yes
    What I learned is quit while you're ahead! First it’s a better body for better AF, dynamic range, etc. Then it’s a better lens to get the most out of the new body, then it’s a longer lens, then a wider lens then ooo, fast primes, then a bag, then a bigger bag, then a smaller bag, then other bags because no single bag is quite right (it’s a conspiracy by bag manufacturers). Then a flash, then off camera flash then ooooo studio strobes, lighting modifiers, stands, backgrounds. Then it’s an extension on the house as a gear store and small studio. Then you need a small walk-about camera, then that needs lenses (and of course a few bags). By this time you are a divorced, friendless hermit who does nothing but clean and maintain gear and rant about fractional DXO mark points on internet forums.

    And then you decide to get back into film...
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  4. StephenM

    StephenM

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    2,418
    Name:
    Stephen
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    That's a difficult question to answer without listing 1001 things. Perhaps my top two would be:

    1. There's no such thing as a perfect camera. I actually read this very early on (it's in a 1961 book) but it took years before I appreciated what it really meant. I now realise that I spent years producing substandard prints because the camera simply couldn't deliver the quality I wanted at the print size I wanted.

    2. Think before making an exposure. Before releasing the shutter, be certain that the camera is in the correct position - and that you've realised that the correct position depends on what you want the image to convey. Which must have been decided first.

    Many will think my number 2 is contentious, and it does depend on your subject matter to some extent - but even sports (and, I suspect, wildlife) photography depends on where you put the camera for the results.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  5. Craigus

    Craigus

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    796
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    Craig
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    Simply to concentrate on making images and enjoy the experience rather than chase ultimate image quality. It ends up being costly and ultimately for many, unsatisfying, or rather having the realisation that while it's attainable, it's not what makes images that you or others are drawn to.
     
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  6. Nostromo

    Nostromo

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    2,037
    Name:
    Dominic
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    I think @Craigus is right, it's the content that makes a photo.
    Chasing ultimate sharpness is pointless if the subject is boring. Not every photo has to tell a story, but it needs to be engaging. That's not to say a photo is good if it's blurred (unintentionally), but pixel peeping is bad.
     
  7. Nod

    Nod Kronus

    Messages:
    29,852
    Name:
    Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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    No
    Spend time on improving technique rather than money on "improving" kit.
     
    jeff127, d00d and gcgraphs like this.
  8. Leroy4bz

    Leroy4bz

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    551
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    Leroy
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    I wish I knew how expensive good equipment cost.
     
  9. trevjm

    trevjm

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    319
    Name:
    Trev
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    Yes
    This..
     
    Phil V likes this.
  10. swanseamale47

    swanseamale47

    Messages:
    7,876
    Name:
    wayne clarke
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    Being serious, buy good lens first time.
    Buy good. buy once!. I started by buying cheapy lens, then you buy a better one because the cheap one is rubbish, finally you buy a really good one. Then your happy. Trouble is you've paid three times, yes the good lens is the dearest but you'll end up buying it eventually or you'll alway be "missing something" or worse you have lens envy, and that'll drive you barking mad. (just look what it did to me... ;)
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  11. woof woof

    woof woof

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    16,992
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    Alan
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    When I got my first DSLR (Canon 300D) I knew nothing about sensor sizes and crop factors and I wondered why 28mm wasn't particularly wide any more :D I suppose I should have done my research but back in those days I wasn't even on line, I should have bought a few magazines and read up on the subject though. The people in the shop were certainly no help.

    I suppose that taught me to do at least some research and gain a little understanding before buying.
     
    Phil V likes this.
  12. Woblee

    Woblee

    Messages:
    1,353
    Name:
    Lee
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    Save your budget for lenses, buy the best you can afford.

    Save on bodies by buying older 2nd hand bodies. They depreciate quite quickly with the constant flow of new technology so a few generations old camera that was once £1k can be had for £300.
     
    CaptainAverage likes this.
  13. Forkbeard

    Forkbeard

    Messages:
    358
    Name:
    Jim
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Learn instead of buy for no reason. Stop worrying about gear and learn how to take photographs. Once you do that you'll really know when you need to upgrade, there'll be a solid reason you'll understand, not just because you think you need something 'better'.

    Just because a camera is good on paper, it doesn't mean it's the right one for you - try before you buy, take portability, ergonomics, battery life. FPS (sports etc) into consideration, not just image quality.
     
  14. Jelster

    Jelster

    Messages:
    4,816
    Name:
    Steve
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Check, check, and check again. Everything is in the viewfinder, so make sure you read it. Aperture, ISO, shutter speed. Yes you can see if the exposure is right, but will the image you want come out at the other end?

    Learn about metering, how YOUR camera's meter works, and when to select the modes.

    Learn to "see" an image - This is the hardest one, and some people have it naturally (like my wife), but I have to really think about it.

    Also, learn your camera, where the menus are, what you need to change often.
     
  15. d00d

    d00d

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    6,523
    Name:
    David
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    Yes
    "cameras don't take pictures, people do"

    Ha! I've always liked that, don't know who first said it, but it's so true.

    I knew it before I learnt to use a camera properly, and I know it now.
     
  16. Mr Badger

    Mr Badger

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    2,063
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    I wish I didn't know how expensive good equipment was! ;)

    What do I wish I'd known when starting out? Probably the old skills of experimenting and getting to know depth of field and hyperfocal distance and thinking how a photograph will look. Learn those well, and the effect they produce with the camera you use, and I found I could take much better control of what I wanted to photograph.
     
    Leroy4bz likes this.
  17. Sectionate

    Sectionate

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    2,281
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    Nick
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    That's you more often that not be disappointed with images if you have 'gone for a wander with the camera' and not planned anything before hand.

    The ones I like, print and hang on the wall have all be part of a planned trip and not from a random wander with teh camera
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  18. Ed Sutton

    Ed Sutton

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    3,843
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    Dave
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    That when you ask for advice about which gear to buy within a set within a budget you will always be recommended to spend more.
     
    sirch likes this.
  19. Slyelessar

    Slyelessar

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    508
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    Slyelessar
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    Advise I would give to myself:

    Get into prime lenses early.

    Learn your camera and lens inside out, before deciding to buy something new. It is likely that you will not feel the need.

    Observe how snooty people can be over sensor size and brand, and then make sure do you not fall for this BS.

    Play with editing in colour, and try to feel out a look/ taste that suits you. This is quite important, and to make sure you avoid the clarity slider on lightroom unless you absolutely have to.

    Fibonacci spiral, golden angle, and rule of thirds. Practice, absorb, and they will become some of the most useful tools in your arsenal.

    Don’t post mediocre photographs on online forums. Just because you love most photographs you take, 99% will not be as good as you think, learn to feel out what is appropriate. By all means seek feedback, but do not post daily or weekly.
     
    Phil V likes this.
  20. ancient_mariner

    ancient_mariner

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    8,647
    Name:
    Toni
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    Photography is a journey, not a destination.
     
    Krisstiffer likes this.
  21. JohnM100

    JohnM100

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    239
    Name:
    John
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    1. Photography is an art, not just for recording what is in front of the camera - *make it a picture* to tell a story or evoke an emotion.

    2. How critical it is to have good composition, and wherever possible take the shot a bit wider to allow flexibility to crop the image later as the overall picture (ie composition) often looks different on screen to how it does in the viewfinder.

    3. Take time to put the camera down and enjoy the moment rather than only seeing everything through the viewfinder.
     
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  22. snerkler

    snerkler

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    11,583
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    Just how important light, light quality and direction of light are.

    To realise how important composition is to making a great photo.

    To realise that most of the fantastic shots you get blown away by on Flickr etc are down to processing skills rather than the gear (as well as composition and light of course).

    To look at how lenses render rather than fixating on sharpness.

    To realise that gear does matter and that it is not all about the person behind the camera. For example some lenses have more pop and 3D look that is just not achievable with other lenses.
     
    Phil V, sep9001 and ancient_mariner like this.
  23. T_J_G

    T_J_G

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    3,333
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    Tim
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    Yes
    That manual mode is not what it’s cracked up to be.
     
  24. Pete B

    Pete B

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    289
    Name:
    Pete
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    Yes
    Saved up a lot of money to get my OM1n back in the day, the 50mm prime was my only lens for at least a year!

    It can be, but most modern cameras are awful for adjusting the settings without taking your eye from the viewfinder.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018 at 1:40 AM
  25. Phil V

    Phil V

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    20,735
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    Phil
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    Understand that in the scientific and artistic sense photography is the act of capturing the light reflecting off a subject to create an image.

    So the light is just as important as the subject. Learn to see the light (sounds pompous, but is the best practical advice you’ll ever receive)

    A crap subject well lit is better than an awesome subject badly lit.
     
    juggler, Ceejay and GreenNinja67 like this.
  26. Furtim

    Furtim

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    1,399
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    David
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    A few things from me...

    You'll take 10,000's of photos, most of which won't work. Take time to go back over the ones that do click for you and try to work out why. Revisit them years later and you'll spot things you missed while you were starting out.

    Don't worry too much over the 'technicalities' - most people won't notice noise or indeed sharpness when looking at your images - they will focus on the content and mood.

    You will buy a lot of crap you don't need. Everyone is either trying to sell to you, or justify they own purchases by telling everyone else why they need it too. If you're strong, you can avoid this, but most of us (me included) are weak and it takes time to build the understanding that extending your kit really isn't all that important. You will have weak moments even then (I really did need that 80mm Macro lens I'm sure)

    If it's not fun, take a break and do something else.

    What's right for one person, is wrong for another - there are no absolutes (raw versus jpg, prime versus Zoom, Lightroom versus Capture One, etc)

    Camera Bags are proof that the devil exists and has a monopoly over their design.
     
    Ed Sutton likes this.
  27. Nawty

    Nawty

    Messages:
    5,999
    Name:
    Ned
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    Yes
    Subject, background, light. Not necessarily in that order.

    Get those right and the kit you use becomes largely irrelevant.
     
    juggler likes this.
  28. Bollygum

    Bollygum

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    375
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    Steve
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    If we hadn't made the mistakes that we did, we wouldn't be the photographers that we are.
     
  29. juggler

    juggler

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    4,108
    Name:
    Simon
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    No
    2 things I don't think have been said already..
    1. If you hear of a photography rule then try to understand the thinking behind the rule rather than following it blindly. Then break it.
    2. Learn to critique your own work. Watch critique videos - e.g. FStoppers, Scott Kelby, Dom Bower, Frank Doorhof & anyone else you can find. Look at lots of critique discussions here and elsewhere -you do need learn which bits of advice to discard and which to take to heart, though.
     
  30. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    926
    Name:
    Mike
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    Photo's are a picture; they have no reason to be unless anyone looks at them.
    There is no point then taking a photo, unless its going to be looked at.. so WHO is going to look at it? WHY are they going to look at it? WHAT are they going to be interested in?

    Maybe it will only ever get looked at by the person who took it.... and then, maybe only once, to decide whether its any good or not, and the interest might be no more than whether the camera they took it with did a better job than their old one.... Or it might be something that goes in the family album, a moment from family history when little Billy took his first steps on the beach, or it could be something used to sell holidays in a brochure, seen by millions..... BUT, regardless of who will look, some-one has to or it may as well never have been taken.

    My kids will not be at all interested, when they have shuffled me off to the care-home and have to clear the house in all the thousands of photo's I have of developing spirals or action men, taken under a spot-light as experiments in lighting set-ups. They wont be all that interested in beautiful landscapes of places they cant identify that I might have visited decades before they were born. They wont be interested in MUCH.. they MAY be a little bit more enthusiastic about photo's of their now dead great grand-mother, they may remember meeting once or twice when they were five; they may be slightly interested in photo's of her house before they were born. They wont be interested in how wonderful the resolution of photo's might be.

    So.... what is worth taking? What is worth keeping? What is the real 'worth' in a photo?

    Everything beyond that; how beautifully composed and exposed, how fantastically resolved, how wonderful the kit that took it may have been, matters little... the photo needs a reason to be, before all.

    ONE thing to wish I'd known? That... and I probably DID.... I just didn't think about it all that much! And THAT is probably the key... not the knowing, but the thinking! Using the knowledge, turning it into wisdom... knowing a tomato is a fruit, but not to put one in a fruit salad sort of thing.
     
  31. Phil V

    Phil V

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    20,735
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    Phil
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    Mike; your premise is false. Many photographers shoot just for themselves, and for many the act of shooting is more important than the viewing.
     
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  32. mark.roper

    mark.roper

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    88
    Name:
    Mark
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    Yes
    Ditto ^

    For me I just enjoy taking photos, most never see the light of day, some I share on social media but most I don't, it's the taking of the picture I enjoy, not the finished result (although I am of course overjoyed when the finished result is something other than garbage).

    To answer the question: I wish I'd known, or rather appreciated, how much stuff weighs! For me the size and weight of camera gear had become an obstacle to lugging it around and using it. Going m4/3 has helped enormously in that regard.
     
  33. juggler

    juggler

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    4,108
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    Simon
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    No
    e.g. Vivien Maier
     
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  34. Teflon-Mike

    Teflon-Mike

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    926
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    Mike
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    Yes
    I don't deny it, and the hat probably probably fits better than I would like to admit,.....but puts a rather perverse, but potentially interesting and revealing, twist in the debate.

    As said, photo has to be looked at to have purpose; might be that the photographer is the only person that will ever look at it, and the reason for looking at it will be similarly perverse, and the view very short-lived ... that damn hat again..... but there has to be a photo made some-where along the way, and some-one, even if it is only the picture taker has to look at it.

    If it's the 'act' that is more important than the product.. what is it in the actual act that is providing pleasure? And is there any merit, let alone import to the photo?

    Eg; If you are not going to make a picture out of it, why lugg a ruddy great SLR round a water-park... just take a pair of binoculars; you are a bird watcher, not a photographer.... just go bird watching... not 'distracted' by playing cameras, you'll probably see more and get more from the experience of not taking photo's..... no?

    Substitute whatever scenario that suits, from a motor-sport event to kids birthday party, to an alpine holiday, for the birds and water-parks... same still applies.

    As my original comment; the top tip and putting tomatoes in a fruit salad; is its NOT the 'knowing', its in the 'thinking'. And starts, right at the very beginning, backing right up to the basics fundamental questions
    - WHY am I trying to take a photo?
    - WHO, is going to look at it?
    - WHAT, is it that will make it 'interesting' to that viewer.

    Start at the top.... WHY.. if the answer is 'because I have this camera, and its fun to use'....... fair enough..... but carry on... WHO... and the answer 'Well, I don't know! Maybe only me!".. more fair enough..... carry on.... WHAT.... and "err... well, Err... Well, It looked interesting at the time...... "I wanted to see if I could get that sort of dreamy cloudy effect so and so got in his sky, and whether the kids freckles came out so much sharper with the prime lens.... etc etc etc".... First up, a photo has to have been taken..... or you may as well have been playing golf.... like Churchill said, ruining a good walk in the country whacking a plastic ball about..... or lugging a load of unnecessary camera paraphernalia with you..... next up, the 'audience' has been identified.... you, the snapper! More, the purpose has been recognized, whether its the effect or the resolution, or the importance or beauty of the subject, matters not a lot, the 'THINKING' has begun....

    And its that 'thinking' that takes the act from being a casual snapper, to being a photographer... and is the start of making better photo's. not by chance, but by intent.

    As a 'Pro'... you are probably saved a lot of that fundamental thinking; The 'Why' is self evident.... to sell the photo! Make money, be able to afford the rent! The Who? Is the customer! Who-ever is going to give you the money to pay the rent! WHAT? Well, whatever the 'who' tells you they want or are interested in!!!

    For the amateur? THIS is actually a LOT harder, and even if the questions are asked, answers can be a lot more woolly, as the Why, Who and What, are even less distinct, and the brief is completely open, and the amateur, has utter licence to do whatever they want, almost completely* unconstrained by a customer demand or expectation.. the amateur has to first ask, then answer those rhetorical questions, and conceive their own 'brief', long before they pick up a camera, let alone start waving it around and fretting on settings.....

    I say almost completely unconstrained of 'customer expectation'.... little niggle here, is that the casual snapper IS their own customer, and they usually have some sort of expectation.... and they so frequently fail to meet them..... that damn hat again!!!!! But why? And, answer is probably in the question.... and simply NOT asking them before you begin.

    Yup! A lot of folk get more pleasure from playing cameras than making photos.. not a lot wrong with that... like golf.... but how many get frustrated by their photo's and the gear they use to take them along the way... where the expectation is of so much more than just playing cameras?
     
  35. Bobsyeruncle

    Bobsyeruncle

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    7,052
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    Robert
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    Stay away from internet forums :wacky:
     
  36. Ed Sutton

    Ed Sutton

    Messages:
    3,843
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    Dave
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    No
    I wish I had known that photos, including snapshots, of everyday things, people I knew, places I went regularly, would have a value beyond being 'good photographs' thirty or forty years later. Had I known that I'd have taken a lot more. :(

    Someone said they never regretted the photos they'd taken, only the ones they didn't take. Photograph stuff you take for granted. Chances are it won't be around forever.
     
    newbie1 and Phil V like this.
  37. Phil V

    Phil V

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    20,735
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    Phil
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    @Teflon-Mike
    I’m confident that if you cut that to less than 300 words 20x more people will read it.
     
    john.margetts likes this.
  38. Phil V

    Phil V

    Messages:
    20,735
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    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    This too^
     
  39. PhilH04

    PhilH04

    Messages:
    481
    Name:
    Phil
    Edit My Images:
    No
    This....

    Things I wish I had known;

    1) That I would never be the second David Bailey.

    2) That I would never make a fortune from photography.

    Would I still have devoted a 40yr career to photography... You bet I would !!!!
     
  40. newbie1

    newbie1

    Messages:
    983
    Name:
    Tim
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    ....that a 50mm prime is a wonderful lens and that flash can be bounced.

    I started a long time ago with a kit lens then added a superzoom. Photos of family events indoors, while a nice record, were always disappointing as pictures. Would be great to have a time machine and reshoot with what I know now...
     

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