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Looking to become more skilled at photography

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Ok well the title says it all.

I have been an avid photographer for years now. Got my Nikon D3000 DSLR last year and love it. But I want to become better, I want to learn how to do professional portrait shots. And how to utilize the features in my camera a bit better.

That being said, my sister has all the camera gear but combined we have enough to make things work.

We have a
55-200 Nikor Lens
2x 18-55 Nikor Lens
A macro lens (sorry not in front of me)
Multiple mono and tri-pods,
And a few lighting elements.

Sometimes you can't really set up a perfect shot because you're on the go and its spontaneous, but when I want to have something professionally done I feel lost in how to properly set it up.

All insight is greatly appreciated.

I will upload some shots when photobucket and my internet is co-operating later.

Thanks guys! OCN is always helpful
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post #2 of 24
I honestly mean this, there are three ways to get better in photography IMO.

1) shoot more. lots more. go out and try everything.
2) look at other people's pictures. this isn't just going to flikr and going "aw pretty". but rather look at the exposure data. try to recreate someone else's picture that you consider "good"
3) read. can't stress this one enough. Pick up a few good books on photography style and mechanics and go through them about 3-4 times ea. this helps ingrain in your brain what to expect when, say, you're shooting at f/16 at 1/30 sec at 200 ISO (rather than just numbers). If you're not a reader, you might also try taking a college-level course on it. But courses are only as good as the instructors.

Just keep with it. It becomes more natural over time.
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post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
See those are incredible insights. Yeah I have multiple magazines and photography books. Learned a lot from them.

I am kinda confused, when you say "f/16 at 1/30 sec at 200 ISO"

I've never totally understood the meaning or the dynamics behind the ISO settings, shutter rate and what the f/16 thing means.

Sure ISO is the light exposure, higher setting means for more light to enter the lens. Leaving a brighter photo. Correct?

Shutter rate, well I guess that's self explanatory, the higher the fraction denominator, the faster the shutter will close and capture an image. Great for sports and other action type photography. Correct?
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post #4 of 24
Looks like you need to work on the basics. Read about the exposure triangle. That excerpt is from Bryan Peterson's book Understanding Expoosure, which is definitely a must read.
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post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shovah View Post
See those are incredible insights. Yeah I have multiple magazines and photography books. Learned a lot from them.

I am kinda confused, when you say "f/16 at 1/30 sec at 200 ISO"

I've never totally understood the meaning or the dynamics behind the ISO settings, shutter rate and what the f/16 thing means.

Sure ISO is the light exposure, higher setting means for more light to enter the lens. Leaving a brighter photo. Correct?

Shutter rate, well I guess that's self explanatory, the higher the fraction denominator, the faster the shutter will close and capture an image. Great for sports and other action type photography. Correct?
If you don't know the basic principles of focus,apperature, and lens size and the lingo, you might want to take time reading a few wiki's on aperature sizes to start with...
 
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post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shovah View Post
See those are incredible insights. Yeah I have multiple magazines and photography books. Learned a lot from them.
In my opinions, most magazines are there to sell gear. Rarely do they really have much (I'm ready for the flames!) about real technique.

What books have you read? (honestly curious)

GT recommended a great book. Peterson is one of the best.
(amazon: ) He also has one on shutter speed.

You might also try: "The Photographer's Eye" by Freeman
( )

Books are a great aid, because they can show you pictures of what the same scene looks like at different settings. They can also help with what happened when things go wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shovah View Post
See those are incredible insights. Yeah I have multiple magazines and photography books. Learned a lot from them.
I am kinda confused, when you say "f/16 at 1/30 sec at 200 ISO"

I've never totally understood the meaning or the dynamics behind the ISO settings, shutter rate and what the f/16 thing means.

Sure ISO is the light exposure, higher setting means for more light to enter the lens. Leaving a brighter photo. Correct?

Shutter rate, well I guess that's self explanatory, the higher the fraction denominator, the faster the shutter will close and capture an image. Great for sports and other action type photography. Correct?
Eh, sorta and sorta no.
ISO is about sensitivity. First film, now digital sensors. It is kinda like the temp on your oven. You can bake cookies at 350 degrees for 20 min or 15 min if you crank it up to 450. But then problems come into the mix (cookies and ISO alike!)

A quick shutter does help in action, but there is also a minimum shutter (normally called "the inverse rule") sometimes you also need to vary it or slow it down for the desired effect.

Again, this is my opinion, but the f/16 thing is the most important variable in photography (well at least the most important mechanical variable) it determines depth of field and bokeh (somewhat) - it will basically tell you what your picture will be about. an f/3.5 will be a portrait or item shot, a f/8-/16 will be a landscape.
Edited by beldecca - 6/11/11 at 10:49am
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post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beldecca View Post
In my opinions, most magazines are there to sell gear. Rarely do they really have much (I'm ready for the flames!) about real technique.

What books have you read? (honestly curious)

GT recommended a great book. Peterson is one of the best.
(amazon: Amazon.com: Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (9780817439392): Bryan Peterson: Books) He also has one on shutter speed.

You might also try: "The Photographer's Eye" by Freeman
(Amazon.com: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (9780240809342): Michael Freeman: Books)

Books are a great aid, because they can show you pictures of what the same scene looks like at different settings. They can also help with what happened when things go wrong.



Eh, sorta and sorta no.
ISO is about sensitivity. First film, now digital sensors. It is kinda like the temp on your oven. You can bake cookies at 350 degrees for 20 min or 15 min if you crank it up to 450. But then problems come into the mix (cookies and ISO alike!)

A quick shutter does help in action, but there is also a minimum shutter (normally called "the inverse rule") sometimes you also need to vary it or slow it down for the desired effect.

Again, this is my opinion, but the f/16 thing is the most important variable in photography (well at least the most important mechanical variable) it determines depth of field and bokeh (somewhat) - it will basically tell you what your picture will be about. an f/3.5 will be a portrait or item shot, a f/8-/16 will be a landscape.
Ah ok. That makes more sense now. Those books are a definite must, I'll check my sister's mini library, see if she has any. If not those books will be on my next pick-up list
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post #8 of 24
Like what everyone else has mention take plenty of pictures and get to know your equipment. This may mean going out to take some casual pictures and just tinker with your settings.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
As Promised Here are some past photos. And photos from Today

Past (done with D3000 and Nikon DX AF-S 18-55mm Lens)










Stuff Done today with my sisters Nikor 1:1 Micro Lens







Now these are two entirely different sets but i can still learn. Thanks so much!
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post #10 of 24
I'll critique a few of the shots.

Photo of the boat- straighten the horizon and crop that random guy and the concrete dock out of the bottom.

Mountain and clouds - Too many clouds and not enough mountain for my liking.

Lake - Is that Vignetting or were you shooting out a small window? not desirable. If it''s vignetting it can be caused by being at full zoom, or having too small of an aperture. Zoom out and increase your F number a couple stops.


1st airplane shot- Lens flare is distracting. You can either recompose the shot so that the lighting is to your back, or if that is not possible, use a lens hood to reduce flare.

Airplane shots from the front - The framing bothers me. you clipped out the wings in one of them, and its off to one side in the other, but not seemingly for any artistic purpose.


Animal shots are hard to take. Especially indoors. Get a fast prime lens and wait for them to stand still. Use a fast shutter speed and low F stop. You might have to take a bunch of pictures to get the perfect one.

all the rest just aren't too sharp. Faster shutter speeds can reduce shake if you are taking pictures hand held. Otherwise if you are photographing a lot of landscapes and still subjects, invest in a tripod so you can take nice sharp photos with slower shutter speeds or more Depth of field.



Do you have Photoshop or adobe lightroom? If so do not be afraid to mess around with contrast, saturation, sharpness, and cropping. Just because you took a 10 MP image does not mean that you need to use every part of it. Some photos are just better with stuff cropped out to minimize distractions.



If you do not have a photo editing program check this out http://www.overclock.net/online-deal...ompetitor.html I downloaded it for the hell of it, and it seems to be pretty comparable to Adobe Light room, which is a great comprehensive cataloging and editing program.
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