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How to get started with Photography?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I think I have a creative side to me I never bothered to explore. I used to write poetry and some "moving" essays in college that were presented and won some awards. At the same time I am more of a visual person than a writer. I can't draw and after 5 years of piano classes, I was told I am an excellent clinical player, but without any gifted hearing and soul in my music, which is true.

I want to try photography, but I don't want what to start. What should one focus on - the actual content? For example - below is one of the most famous and EPIC photo's ever taken:

The execution of a Viet Cong (communist) terrorist who had just murdered an entire policeman’s family during the Vietnam war



This photo tells an entire story, but is it about WHAT is shown on it or HOW it is shown or is it both? What should I prioritize - the quality of the photo or the content itself? This photo captures a PERFECT moment as the fired bullet enters (and/or exits?) the man's head.

What about equipment? I do not want to buy an expensive camera, especially if taking great photo's is not about graphical quality, but the content, the story behind it, the meaning of it. Right now all I have is my Galaxy S5 camera and all I THINK I really need is Tri-Pod...

Any advice?
post #2 of 13
To be honest, you may want to move this to the photography thread.

MAYBE

http://www.overclock.net/f/266/photography
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post #3 of 13
If you truly want to learn photography, buy an old manual film camera and some film. But first do a lot of research on what each setting on a camera does (Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO for starters) and be able to adjust your camera to get the result you are looking for. Also you need to learn about composition, study it closely and learn what makes or breaks a shot. The rules of composition go back to the days before cameras and are found in many of the great artworks you find hanging in galleries around the world. Don't get focused on gear, that old film camera can outperform you as a new photographer for a long time. It will also teach you to get the shot as close to perfect in camera and not rely on digital software as heavily as some do.

Experiment for a bit and find a niche that speaks to you. Your example is photojournalism and requires a unique set of skills. Find a mentor and/or someone who you like what they produce and find out why you like it and break it down so you can do the same in the future.

Your S5 can take pictures. IMO if you really want to take a powerful image you a camera phone isn't what you want, being able to control the light and framing is something that just doesn't work as well with a camera phone. Can it be done? Yes, camera phone images are being use for the covers of time and nat geo, however, I would bet if you look behind most of those images you would find a photographer who really knows what they are doing.

Start of simple, focus on the basics. Using a film camera forces you to really think through it all. Also with digital we get greedy/lazy and take to many pictures. Film isn't expensive but it isn't cheap, knowing you want to make each frame count and working on getting it right before you press the shutter will help you in the long run.
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post #4 of 13
Silvrr makes some good points, but I really need to disagree on the film bit. Telling someone to start shooting film is kind of like telling someone who wants to get into the recording industry for music to start on reel to reel. While it can teach you to get the shot, it can also be a huge deterrent based on the cost to purchase/develop film, the non-instant feedback, etc. There's nothing quite like getting a roll of film back and having it be completely screwed up because the tech exposed it to light (or some other circumstance outside of your control). There absolutely can be merit to 'getting the shot right' the first time, but when you're learning the basics, the benefits of having a decent digital camera (I believe) heavily outweigh however much shooting film 'could' teach you when you're just starting out (and that's coming from someone that actually learned on film).

Film should really be recommended in cases where people have an understanding of the exposure triangle, know how their gear works, and have a specific reason for wanting to use film (large format printing, nostalgia, swagger (and yes, that counts as a reason), etc).

You say you want to learn about photography but you don't know where to begin. Honestly, my suggestion would be to learn the stuff that you can anticipate and manipulate first. Learn about the exposure triangle - aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Learn how changing each one impacts the others.. Learn about how the settings on whatever camera you have in your hands. Get the mechanical basics down and have a general understanding of how cameras work - and when and why they may not work. Your goal while you are learning about the exposure triangle is to stay out of green box or full automatic mode. Finally, go out and try it. Don't be afraid to fail. Try to take photos at night. Try to take photos in the middle of the day. Try panning motion. Try capturing the everyday world. Take notes about what you're doing and when you're doing it, and then go back and look at your images. Are they sharp? Are they well exposed? If not, do you know why?

Knowing when and what to shoot is not something that can be 'taught'. It's something you pick up with experience. Decent observation skills and anticipation go a long way. Do you think the guy that captured the shot of the execution of the Viet Cong member above practiced that at home or ever even really thought they would have an opportunity to capture an image of that gravity? That was one part right place, right time, and one part ready to capture the shot. Remember that technological advances makes capturing 'moments' easier, but still requires you to be there and be ready to capture the moment. Nowadays, the person would have had multiple frames, probably of the guy with the gun drawing, lining up, and depending on the camera being used, perhaps even muzzle flash, kickback, impact, etc.
Edited by MistaBernie - 9/23/15 at 8:03am
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post #5 of 13
I think mistabernie hit the nail on the head really.
Just get out there and start shooting with your phone, if you feel like you want to take more control over your images prepare your wallet and get yourself a DSLR biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 13
i second what bernie said.

also want to add that images like the one you posted are taken by photographers that have been shooting for years and likely decades. no one first starting out will have the experience to consistently capture compelling images. photography is a craft and takes time to learn. in most cases BUT NOT ALL it takes a lot of time of just getting out there and shooting before you find your bread and butter, nitche, subject matter that inspires you the most. as an artist you just have to stick with it and grow thumb.gif buy books, look at peoples work, always ask questions no matter if you think they are stupid. the best way to learn is to get out there and do it but to maximize your experience is to find a mentor to share that journey with as they will help guide you so you dont get overwhelmed. a great image looks simple but the knowledge that went into learning how to capture that image can potentially require a lot of technicals
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot!!! I shall surely take your advice. I have quite shaky hands, so I definitely need a tri-pod, but that will make things limited. I know shutter-speed can be adjusted, but I also like sharp pictures.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by MonarchX View Post

Thanks a lot!!! I shall surely take your advice. I have quite shaky hands, so I definitely need a tri-pod, but that will make things limited. I know shutter-speed can be adjusted, but I also like sharp pictures.

most good lenses no days have image stabilizer so camera shake is a thing of the past.
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Not on my phone, I don't think.

OK, so what is a GOOD digital camera for a beginner? No need for anything expensive, just good enough for someone like me - please advice!

EDIT: Off-topic, but I just had to brag! Here's a picture of my first-made pizza!



From bottom to top - thin crust (Gluten-free - I have Celiac Disease - Gluten kills my stomach lining), pasta, pesto, a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, feta cheese crumbs, bell peppers, onions, olive slices, ham, some Italian spices (basil, etc), and a thick layer of mozzarella cheese! The result - crust melted a bit due to juice and large amount of toppings, but the taste was exquisite! A small amount of feta cheese makes pizza taste AMAZING! The photo sucks though...
Edited by MonarchX - 9/26/15 at 8:48am
post #10 of 13
Are there any photography classes at a local college you could take?
I took some back in the day, and it was fun, and you learn a lot.
You will learn about aperture, iso, speeds, how to develop your own film, etc.
They are typically pretty cheap classes too, but you get to meet like minded people, and have access to a teacher who had a wealth of knowledge.
When I took classes it was all manual cameras, I have no clue how many of them use digital now.
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