Beginner Photography

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  • Beginner Photography
  • bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Basically where do I start and how to get some inspiration. Now I bought a Bridge Camera three years ago and was hoping to go out a snap away, took it to Greece with me and took a few arty farty shots then never bothered. Now with a new motorbike incoming next week I’m looking at getting out and taking some nice shots of the bike and scenic views etc and hoping to get some nice shiny night photos of my bike in the city etc.

    But when I attempt they just come out crap. Now I bought photography books think one was understanding exposure but they all seem like they cater for the DSLR users. Now my camera Fujifilm s1000fd has manual mode and I’m hoping to get to grips with it before spending money on a DSLR.

    main aims are scenery, photos of my motorbike and night photography. Any tips?

    bencooper
    Member

    Don’t read books on how to take pictures – that’s like reading a bike maintenance manual to inspire yourself to go for a ride. Instead go look at lots of books of photography, and work out what styles and subjects you like and why. Then work out how to take photographs like that.

    richpips
    Member

    The internet is full of inspiring pictures.

    I’d concentrate on what works in good composition before getting bogged down in shutter speeds etc.

    Then get out there and take some pictures, the best way to learn.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Define ‘crap’. What’s wrong with them?

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Like to get pictures of my motorbike at night with it all looking shiny but more emphasis on the bike rather than the background. Also trails of light on a busy motorway are my first aims and then work from there. Are these doable on my camera?

    richpips
    Member

    >

    Like to get pictures of my motorbike at night with it all looking shiny but more emphasis on the bike rather than the background.

    Quite tricky to do well. Can be done with either “light painting” or off camera flash.

    >

    Also trails of light on a busy motorway are my first aims and then work from there.

    Long shutter speed, fairly easy to do, but why you’d bother.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Cougar they just didn’t seem to have any wow factor. Like oh there is some sea or there is a cat with sea in the background. Then when I see other people take photos they jump out at me. Like wow what a fantastic bit of scenery or what gorgeous lighting in that photo. Half the battle is when I see a nice view I’m stuck with my mobile phone camera. I took a pic of the sunset we had on Saturday and just think it would of been better on aproper camera.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Yeah stuff like that. Have my battle is trying to get composition right.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Cougar they just didn’t seem to have any wow factor.

    Well that’s just it, isn’t it? If it were easy everyone would be doing it!

    The technical side is one thing, you have to know something about that, but you really need to think of ideas and inspiration. I read the manual cover to cover for my camera many times, and I’ve got most techniques down, but I still spend most of my time searching for great photos and I imagine I always will!

    As above – look at pictures you like and figure out how they’re done, and think about what you’re doing. You’re painting a picture with light instead of paint, so imagine a frame you want to create and construct it.

    Or do what I do and go looking for things that’ll create cool effects.

    Oh and I should add that you need to try and think about your images from someone else’s point of view. Many of my pictures are of things I know well and I’ve seen lots, maybe even taking many pictures of that subject or of things like it, so the impact is lost. Someone else however seeing it for the first time might see it differently.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Then you don’t need camera skills, you need Photoshop skills.(-:

    I’m only semi-serious here of course, but a lot of the ‘wow’ shots you see in magazines will have been subsequently improved with something like Lightroom. It’s only half the story as you still need a good quality image to start with, but comparing your shots to the output of professionals who send hours in pre- and post-production getting the perfect picture is only going to wind up making yourself feel inferior.

    Taking a good photo isn’t as simple as putting the camera into “wow” mode and pulling the trigger (despite what camera manufacturers might have have us believe), otherwise we’d all be doing it.

    Try picking a project, and sticking with it beyond firing off one shot and going ‘oh, it’s crap.’ For instance, your light trails can be achieved using “aperture priority” mode (or fully manual!) as you want to have direct control over the length of time the shutter is open. You’ll also need a tripod or some other method of keeping the camera from moving. What settings exactly will depend on a million factors, only way you’ll achieve what’s in your head is by taking a load of shots and changing settings till it’s what you want.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Hah, great minds. Or something.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Yeah I think a project is a good idea. I’m assuming the camera is fine for now till I learn and then get myself a DSLR when I’ve learnt a bit more.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Camera will be fine. All you need is control over shutter and aperture. A DSLR will help if you’re taking photos at night, and with your cam you might not have control over first and second curtain flash (but you might) but don’t get hung up on it.

    seavers
    Member

    You could join a photo blogging community. That way you can upload images you like and receive comments, comment on others and generally get inspiration and tips from others.

    It’s a really good way to plot your photography too. Projects are a great idea, maybe set a goal of producing a set of 3-5 images on a theme.

    Reading up on the basics is a good idea, if you don’t understand the fundamentals you could easily end up going round in circles and getting frustrated. The only other thing is just experiment, take hundreds of pictures on a day out, work out what works and what doesn’t.

    After a while (if you start a blog) you can look back to see how you have improved. I think that is really important, as you improve you can look at older images and see different way you can approach and improve them for next time. I’ve been doing it professionally for over 15 years and still do this, blogging keeps me interested and there is always something new to try and learn. That is one of the best things about photography.

    globalti
    Member

    Composition is all about the one thirds-two thirds rule, usually.

    Why not post one of your pics on here for us to laugh at critique?

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    This is the last photo i took and i like it but some how I’m underwhelmed and think it could be better. Was taken with my Mobile though this one.

    Stuff like this i want to Improve. Scenary photos. I should of brought the camera with me.

    Last time i used my Camera, a Night shot in Rhodes

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    1) Lovely sunset, but is it a lovley image? The problem is with sunsets is that the’rey amazing when they’re blazing all around you, but not so much when stuffed into a 6×4. You need stuff in the foreground and sides that’s nicer than the back of the car, some houses and a road. Sunsets are one of those things that make you feel a particular way, so try and include things in the picture that’ll make the viewer feel that way, and focus on them. Presumably in this picture you’re in some kind of urban place, it looks quite quiet so I’m guessing it was nice and peaceful. You could have run down a side-street to capture the sunset from a row of pleasing terraced houses, give people cosy home feelings instead of the main road an scruffy houses which makes people feel a bit anxious and depressed, probably 🙂

    2) Landscapes are hard, you need something in the foreground to give the background context. The bike isn’t close enough to qualify, it’s just sort of nowhere. It doesn’t add any kind of counterpoint to the scenery so it’s just plonked there. The view looks great in real life because it’s a huge expanse of countryside which has an effect on your brain; but on a picture it just all looks tiny so you need to trick the viewer’s brain a bit to make them think of wide open spaces. By having something in the foreground it’ll make the background feel further away and convey some of the feeling you had when you were there.

    Also, you need to put stuff around the sides of the picture. If you only have stuff in the middle it just fades away towards the edges instead of being nicely framed. Look at other photos and paintings, see where stuff is in the frame and how it draws your eye and what that does to the whole image.

    3) What’s this meant to be a picture of? If it’s the hill, forget it. Too far away, too dark. If it’s the street scene then it’s only filling half the picture. Think about what you want to say to your viewer when they see the picture. If you were writing a description of the scene instead of taking a photo, what would you say?

    “There’s something vague in the background, and then there are umm, cars and stuff, and some flats” doesn’t sound great. If you want to show how it feels to be out in a warm mediterranean evening then go find some things that sum that feeling up.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Molgrips-

    Thanks for the advice and Constructive Criticism. The Aim of the first picture was to capture the sunset and as you’ve said it would of been nicer to Capture the Road heading upwards towards it. Was quite busy even though it doesn’t seem it in the phot (1730 in the middle of Bolton town centre) think we were the 2nd car from the lights.

    Second picture, i don’t know what i was trying to achieve, i wanted the bike to stand out against the View of Tockholes and The Vast Horizon.

    The third photo was from 2011, and i think the aim was to capture the street lighting showing a quiet Street in Faliraki away from all the bustle of the bars and nightclubs etc. Didnt help being on a Balcony and resting it. Any lower and i would have got the Hotel Pool and Wall in.

    Just thinking of some ideas to helo me start off. I like Scenary but maybe it would be easier to start shooting objects first like say my MTB and motorbike?

    Waiting for a new usb cable for my camera as i can’t find it 🙁

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    For ideas, look at other people’s photos.

    Premier Icon Russell96
    Subscriber

    Join a forum/group where they have a weekly/daily photo challenge of anything/something specific each time. Examples from here, photo a day, weekly bike leaning against something of a particular subject challenge etc..

    Look at things from a non human perspective, different angles/heights can change an everyday common subject into something interesting.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Yeah gonna give them a whirl. May even slap it in the bag when i go to work etc. Was thinking about buying a DSLR for my birthday (January the 2nd) as the Canon 1100D seems quite cheap now with the 18 – 55mm Kit Lens.

    Or should i learn the basics on my Fuji first?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Use what you have until you find its limitations, that’s my policy.

    Plus the lens on your Fuji will be more versatile. It’ll do better macro than the Canon for a start, unless you buy another lens. What Fuji is it?

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Its a S1500 with a 12x Zoom.

    richpips
    Member

    That camera will shoot in manual, I’d stick with that for now.

    Check this flickr group out http://www.flickr.com/groups/fuji_s1500/

    There are some nice shots in there.

    vorlich
    Member

    Learn about exposure – ISO/shutter speed/aperture and the relationships they have with each other.

    And how focal length affects depth of field, etc.

    Sounds like you’d like to achieve something like this:

    This one.

    Bah, anyone know how to post from Flickr with an ipad?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Much more to that pic than the shall depth of field though – much more. The picture would be just as good (perhaps better) without it.

    Right now, I’ve got a picture in my head. It’s a view froma village over a river estuary. It needs the right sunset and, being a wide angle picture with little chance of anything happening to provide foreground interest, it needs some detail in the sky. Not overcast, and not a clear day, but a few scattered, intresting clouds. Black and white film pic, so a red filter to add some contrast in the sky
    So what?
    So I’m thinking about this picture. I know what I want and how I want it. That’s what you need to do, Think and plan the pictures. seeing something and grabbing the shot rarely works until you’ve learned to plan, because when you plan, you know what you want. That sunset coud have been brilliant, and you should be able to work out why it shoud have been and why it isn’t. So when yoou’re going about your day, always be looking – you know what, that sunset would have been excellent from here – and when it happens, grab the bag and go.
    Also, keep taking pictures – don’t just say that#s crap, say that#s crap becasue and it would be better if.. And if you’re ;looking at other folks pics, and they’re good, look carefully and understand that they’re good because..

    Sorry, uber ramble.

    dan74
    Member

    Join http://www.talkphotography.co.uk
    Stw for photographers!
    Some really good images to browse and you can ask anything on there and you’ll get good advice.
    It’s got a good classifieds too but i think you need a certain amount of posts/membership time to access it.

    My favourite forum (that I’ve tried – must be a million others out there) is AV Forums (loads of good info about other gadgets too) – find the photography forum quite friendly.

    DO NOT join DP review – it’s just one big tech fest argument

    vorlich
    Member

    Much more to that pic than the shall depth of field though – much more

    Never said there wasn’t. Just posted that to try and gauge what sort of thing the OP has in mind.

    but more emphasis on the bike rather than the background.

    seavers
    Member

    I’m going to be mean… don’t waste your money on a new camera, it won’t make you any better. If you really are interested in taking better pictures you have a lot to learn before a different camera or lens choice has any effect. I suggested starting a blog but on reflection you might be better joining a club. You are at the snap shot stage, like it or not so go and learn with and from others in a club. If you want a head start read or watch on Youtube Ways of Seeing ( John Berger).

    Premier Icon JohnClimber
    Subscriber

    3 simple tips

    Look at this ever changing link EVERYDAY for inspiration
    http://www.flickr.com/explore

    Take a photo a day for a full year
    I’ve been putting shot on this Flickr group since 2009, although I did 3 years I did a hit and miss year in 2012. I’ve nearly completed 2013 and 2014 will be a hit and miss year
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/941393@N25/

    Learn to use gridlines
    http://photography.about.com/od/takingpictures/a/ruleofthirdsdet.htm

    Happy snapping

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Some good advice thankyou and seavers yeah summed up perfectly.I am at the snapshot stage and want to improve and take better pictures. Get on my bike and get snapping. Maybe take some pictures of the animals.

    Would reading the books I purchased help to understand stuff a bit more. Think there is a photography club in Darwen. I like trains aswell so would like to get some shots of them too.

    I’m going to be mean… don’t waste your money on a new camera, it won’t make you any better. If you really are interested in taking better pictures you have a lot to learn before a different camera or lens choice has any effect. I suggested starting a blog but on reflection you might be better joining a club. You are at the snap shot stage, like it or not so go and learn with and from others in a club. If you want a head start read or watch on Youtube Ways of Seeing ( John Berger).

    I do agree to a certain extent.

    These two photo’s below were taken in the Lakes and I’d taken my compact Olympus (an old 5mp 4x zoom jobbie) that I’d not used for ages, with the intention that I was going to think about the pictures I was taking. Prior to this, all I’d ever taken were ‘snaps’.

    Whilst the shots aren’t going to win any awards, I got home, played a bit in Picasa and decided I could actually take a photo that I’d look at again. Think about things like getting down low for some shots – like the lake – it wouldn’t have looked as good if I were stood up.

    It then spurred me on to get a decent camera – and learn – about exposure, apertures, shutter speeds, ISO, lighting and composition.

    I still take a load of rubbish, will always be learning, but just sometime, get a picture I’m really proud of.

    Half decent phone cams are one of the greatest pieces of kit for me, as they are always in your pocket. It doesn’t have to be high end kit.

    MrSmith
    Member

    Photography is about ‘seeing’ and visual awareness not the camera, that’s just a tool that you master to enable you to capture what you see (not just what’s in front of the camera)
    Have a look at PolarisAndys pics in the photo thread, they show the difference between snapshots and ‘well seen’ images.

    Have a look at PolarisAndys pics in the photo thread, they show the difference between snapshots and ‘well seen’ images.

    Yes, yes they do – but don’t use Andy’s pic as a benchmark (yet) – admire and aspire, but don’t expect results anywhere close to his until you have really mastered the use of a camera and the art of processing your images. Expecting to achieve results like Andy’s will only end in disappointment until you really have a lot of experience – there are a few other contributors I’d put in this category too – it’s professional level stuff.

    bwfc4eva868
    Member

    Is it something you can learn or is it just some people have it and others don’t. Like I can play the piano but my late Grandpa had a talent with any instrument he played.

    I’d say (only my opinion) that anyone can learn to take photographs that will be visually exceptional – yes, some people will find this easier than others – but only certain people will be able to develop a talent for playing a musical instrument to an advanced level.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Molgrips-

    Thanks for the advice and Constructive Criticism.

    With respect, I think you missed the point. Don’t answer his questions literally, use that thought process when you’re shooting.

    Also, TAFKASTR talks a silly amount of sense here, pay attention. (-:

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