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Thread: Best 2 tips for beginners

  1. #1
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    Best 2 tips for beginners

    Dearest All,

    I have just purchased a Canon 7D 15-85mm and plan to immediately purchase the 70-200mm F/4 IS USM lens.

    There is an absolute wealth of knowledge on this forum so I thought that I would start a thread which could greatly assist 'us' beginners (or just me)!

    What are your 2 BEST TIPS in taking great pictures, or actually, in anything to do with photography (maybe even post processing / HDR / anything you like). Of course don't feel limited to just 2!!!

    There is so much to learn!!

    Thanks a million

  2. #2
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    First tip: practise.
    I got my 7D as my first (digital) SLR August 2010. I think by about April I had been averaging 30 photos per day. Now i've slowed down a bit, maybe 25/day since then. But the more you use it, the more adept you become, try out all the functions on your camera, the 7D has a lot of them. Shoot Av and see how it helps, learn when to use 'wide-open' and when to 'stop-down', shoot Tv and see why and when that's better, shoot M and realise why that's better for what situations. Try out all the focus points, and focus-point modes (single, spot, expansion, zone, all, etc), see which one is better for what situation. Learn its limitations and when it's better to use MF.

    Second: Learn from others.
    You've taken a good step by starting this thread, so this one may be a bit obvious. If you've got a lot of spare time, read through a lot of the threads here, pick up useful bits of info from every thread you read. People here have been writing 'tips-and-tricks' on various subjects (I swear i'll write one soon), the latest from Neuro is about Auto-Focus Micro-Adjustment, which will be very useful on your upcoming 70-200, the others are also good for expanding knowledge.

    Third tip: Buy a circular-polariser.

  3. #3
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    1) Photography would be nothing without light. Learn how to find and harness natural light and modify it when necessary (reflector, anyone?). Once you've learned how to seek out and utilize beautiful natural light, you may want to leap into flash photography and learn techniques that will help you create beautiful light anytime, anywhere (trust me, that can be quite liberating).


    New Neighbor by budrowilson, on Flickr

    2) Oh yeah, and buy a circular polarizer. :-)
    Last edited by Sean Setters; 11-24-2011 at 03:10 AM.

  4. #4
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    1, understand exposure, histogram, and shoot in raw.
    2, try 50mm1.4 or 85mm1.8 or both before you get the zoom

  5. #5
    Senior Member btaylor's Avatar
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    1. Never leave the camera at home. You never know when an amazing photo opportunity might come by.

    2. Always take the camera with you.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_taylor_au/ www.methodicallymuddled.wordpress.com
    Canon 5D Mark III | Canon 5D Mark II | Samyang 14mm f/2.8 | Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM | Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM |Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II |Canon 2 x Teleconverter III | Canon 580 EX II Speedlite | Really Right Stuff TVC 34L | Really Right Stuff BH55 LR | Gorillapod Focus | Really Right Stuff BH 30

  6. #6
    Senior Member thekingb's Avatar
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    1. Practice and analyze the metadata of your shots to see what worked and what didn't.

    2. Get a good book like Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, read it and try out the techniques.

    3. Even if it's the cheapo EF 50 f/1.8II, get a prime lens and experiment with wide apertures/depth of field.

    4. Shoot in RAW/JPEG mode while you are learning. That'll show you how much power you have to manipulate RAW files. The ability to change white balance alone can save shots (especially when you mistakenly choose the wrong setting, forget etc, and especially when shooting a prime a wide apertures indoors).

    5. Experiment with an external flash in full midday sun to break down heavy stripey shadows.

    Have fun!

  7. #7
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    • Sean's tip about light is the best. Photography is about capturing light. Light is everything, without it there is nothing to capture. I find myself looking at looking at everything in that respect, I have become a hunter of natural light that will make that special picture.
    • The three variables ISO, shutter speed and aperture all three combine to make one correct exposure. The camera can do this itself, with you only taking control of what you want to control.
    • The 7D if using the ISO Auto mode is fully automatic. What that means is that if you are in Auto and you are setting the other two functions yourself it will adjust the ISO to compensate. This is a negative for a someone starting out and a positive for someone with skill. The reason it is a negative is the camera will show proper exposure and it will let you have your ISO to high. High ISO is ok at night or when it starts getting darker, it still degrades your image. Watch your ISO, try and keep it low or set it manually.
    • Aperture, there was an old saying that went something like this (maybe not exactly). "Be at 8 and be there". Very seldom unless I am doing landscape am I above 11, at some point around 13 your IQ will start falling off.
    • Your camera will give you as much control as you want. In fully Auto you let it do the work. In TV mode you only select the shutter speed. In AV mode you are only selecting aperture. In fully Auto it is fully Auto. This allows you take take as much control as you want or feel comfortable with.
    Good Luck

  8. #8
    Senior Member ham's Avatar
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    Being a beginner myself (first serious camera in April this year). My tips would be as follows:

    Shoot in RAW. Boring. But it helps me see why photos went wrong, when I see an under or over-exposed image, rather than just ditching it, I have to correct it. Because I'm consciously correcting it, my nature means that I want to know why it was wrong, and how I could have avoided that happening. I think if I shot JPEG, my pride would stop me from analysing too much, because there's nothing (/less) you can do about it.

    Share photographs for critique. You will get you lots of contrasting comments, many critiques will make you reconsider an image, questioning your own thoughts about it, and the methods you used when you took it.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. A lot of good advice. Much of the good advice I got from other forum members when I was first starting out has already been covered. A few preventative measures include 1) back up your photos, maybe with multiple back ups. I have my photos on my computer hard drive, an external hard drive at my house and then an external hard drive I keep away from my house. 2) insurance. Check your policies and make sure all this expensive gear is covered. You may need a separate floater policy. A couple of other thoughts. By ruthless when deleting photos. Especially at 8 gps, you can easily end up with a lot of the same shot. Only keep what you need. I tend to keep almost all of my family but only 1 in 10 of birds or 1 in 4 of nature shots. Just makes overall management that much easier. Regarding taking photos, check your settings the second you pull the camera out of the bag and adjust as needed, be patient and be creative.

    Most of all, enjoy.
    Brant

  10. #10
    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    For me, the most important two have been covered: Practice, practice, practice and Seek advice/suggestions from others. Beyond that I do have a couple more:

    1. look at lots of pictures, critically analyze them and ask yourself "what is it about this picture that I like/don't like"

    2. In addition to asking questions about your own pictures, equipment, techniques, ask lots of questions from others about the same, i.e what settings did you use, what equipment, How did you do that etc. The people on this forum are excellent about giving advice or suggestions

    Good luck
    Bob

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