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Learning basic photography - Me again another question please

This is a discussion on Learning basic photography - Me again another question please within the Digital photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Ok, read most of the night last night after the kids were all tucked in. The information on the internet ...

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    40piggies is offline Junior Member
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    Default Learning basic photography - Me again another question please

    Ok, read most of the night last night after the kids were all tucked in. The information on the internet is amazing and I do believe I am absorbing some good thoughts and points.

    I have decided to go with the Canon Rebel. Hopefully will be able to purchase this weekend! Very excited!!! And thankfully the store I was hoping to purchase from has a March Break Sale. Do you think I would be smart to go with what they are offering OR purchase the camera body and lenses separately. And and all advise is so much appreciated. This is what they are offering:

    Canon Rebel XTi with a 18-55mm EF-S lens for $749- (50 off regular)
    then they are offering and add on 75-300mm Telephoto zoom for an additional $199- (60 off regular).

    Now my MAIN and possibly only focus right now is taking portraits... and really focusing on newborns and children. I have read that a Canon ER 50mm f/1.8 lens is amazing for portraits. I must admit much of the terminology is still lost on me. This is such a big decision... we will be using money that could be going to better places like a savings account, but also wishing to invest for learning/hobby and hopefully income potential down the road.

    What else is a must right now.... a camera bag, extra memory card, extra battery, tripod, lighting??? What is the minimum in your opinions to start me off in the learning process.

    Thank-you ever so much. Your expertise is invaluable to me.

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Canon Rebel XTi with a 18-55mm EF-S lens for $749- (50 off regular)
    then they are offering and add on 75-300mm Telephoto zoom for an additional $199- (60 off regular).

    Now my MAIN and possibly only focus right now is taking portraits... and really focusing on newborns and children. I have read that a Canon ER 50mm f/1.8 lens is amazing for portraits. :from 40 Piggies

    The 75-300mm translates to about 110mm to 450mm when you put it on a digital camera, so it is strictly an outdoors lens for shooting at medium to long distances. No need to get close to a bear for a portrait with that lens.

    The 18-55mm translates to a 27mm to 80mm when you put it on a digital camera. You would need to be careful doing portraiture at the 27mm to 50mm range to avoid wide angle distortion and this lens also requires more light than the 50mm f1.8 lens.

    So, if money is an issue and so is immediate needs for the baby and other shots that you are doing, then body only and then buying the Canon ER 50mm f.1.8 lens is probably the way to go. This lens require less light and you can blur out problem backgrounds more easily than with some lenses.
    It can be used indoors under less light and it is also easier to learn with in that you do not have to learn about telephoto and wide angle right away, which would be necessary with the other lenses.

    Either a good size memory card or an extra one is useful. An extra battery is also helpful, when you forget to recharge the one you are using or don't have time during shooting to worry about it. A tripod has advantages and disadvantages. It eliminates most camera movement but it slows down your shooting. You cannot change to a different camera view quickly if you are moving a camera that is on a tripod. Some photographers use a tripod most of the time while others are more comfortable handholding or bracing the camera against an object in the environment.

    Tegan

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    40piggies is offline Junior Member
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    Teagan~ Thank-you for your advice, it is much appreciated. The decision has been make and for that I am glad as my head was starting to spin over it...lol. Now I can save the head spinning for all I have to learn. :-) My husbnad actually found an even better price through Blacks... didn't even think to look there I was focusing on different photography stores. Ended up going with the Rebel XTi with the kit lense for only 649- and then we were sold the 50mm f/1.8 also cheaper than anywhere else at 100-. Went with a 2G memory card for now, I think this is an appropriate size for now. Will save up for another memory card or two and an extra battery for sure... and and and... all the other things I am sure to desire. Not that I am anywhere near at knowing all the proper terminology, but if shooting in RAW format I will want at least a 2G card for space? I feel so lucky to be able to make this purchase! A big thank-you for your guidance through this purchase. Oh where to start!?$:-)

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    For some basics in portraiture you might want to look at www.lumitouch.com/benstudiotutorial/rules.html

    For some short articles of composition: www.photoinf.com

    To train your eye for attention to detail I would suggest a $13 book:
    Mega Picture Puzzles by Ulysses Press

    Tegan

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    40piggies is offline Junior Member
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    Thank-you for the links and reading suggestion. That was most thoughtful. I have also ordered Understanding Exposure and another book on portraits by Bryan Peterson... they also came recommended, what do you think?

    The camera is still in the box! So I hope today the kids are co-operative enough so I can start reading and hopefully get the battery charged. I am bursting to start!

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40piggies
    Thank-you for the links and reading suggestion. That was most thoughtful. I have also ordered Understanding Exposure and another book on portraits by Bryan Peterson... they also came recommended, what do you think?

    The camera is still in the box! So I hope today the kids are co-operative enough so I can start reading and hopefully get the battery charged. I am bursting to start!
    Definitely a good place to start. The basics of portraiture are posing, framing with the camera, lighting and accurate colour. The challenge for a beginner is also a background free of clutter and one that does not distract from the person in the portrait.

    In a television and film course I took way back when, I always remember being told that "A good camera person has square eyes." It applies to still photography as well. What it means is that a good photographer pays close attention to everything within the camera frame and does not tunnel his/her vision only on the person in the portrait for example. In that regard as well there is a rule about space close to the frame.

    Tegan
    Last edited by tegan; 03-06-2008 at 08:31 AM.

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    40piggies is offline Junior Member
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    Thank-you again Teagan. Camera is ready to go, but I am more than baffled and feeling like I am in way over my head. Posing, colour, lighting and the like do make sense when I am read about it... so much to learn, but it is in plain english. I have yet to take a picture because, and I could be very wrong here, I don't want to shoot in automatic mode... I may as well have bought a P&S. ??? Truthfully though, with my extreme lack of knowledge is this area I feel overwhelmed. I read a sentence in the manual and then reread and still have ???. A course is definately in order, but until that point how to start? F stops, ISO, and on and on, I am most eager to learn, but it is almost like I don't know how...lol. If there are any tips or websites you could direct me to I would be most grateful.

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    Hi there 40piggies,

    I'd suggest learning about the relationship between ISO-F-stops-and shutter speed to start. This relationship is essential and not that hard to understand, but a bit to lengthy for a forum post.

    In a a nutshell - start off in manual mode. Right on! Don't use flash until you understand how the camera works without it.

    ISO refers to 'film speed'. Use low ISO ie 100 for bright light (day) and use higher ISO ie 800 for night and indoors when the light is low.

    F-stops - referes to the size of the hole through which the camera shoots the scene. YOU the photographer choose the size of that hole. You can choose a large hole like F-2.0 or a small hole like F-22. MANY people get confused at this point because the smaller # is a larger hole. Thinking of the F-stops as as a fraction helps to remember this. So 1/2 is indeed larger than 1/22

    Shutter speed - in front of the hole is a shutter. Think of it as a flap. How long the flap stays open to let light (the scene you are photographing) in, is the shutterspeed. If you are shooting at night, you'll need a long shutterer speed because it's dark and more light needs to get through the hole to properly expose the scene. In bright light the shutter speed will be much faster.

    Now your camera meter will tell you if the scene is correctly exposed.

    But you as the photographer can change things up by changing either the ISO, shutter speed or aperture (F-stop). Just know, that when you do you have to make adjustments.

    There is a crazy amount of info on the net...but here are 2 or 3 links from this site that may well help you to further understand these basics.

    This first one was written a few years ago but all the rules hold for digital photography.
    http://www.photography.ca/phototips/trinity.html
    http://www.photography.ca/blog/?p=56

    This is a podcast (audio recording that you can listen to on your computer)
    On exposure in general - http://www.photography.ca/blog/?p=13
    On Depth of field - (F-stops) - http://www.photography.ca/blog/?p=5

    Hope that helps - and of course feel free to post some pictures if you want us to comment on them.

    NB - I edited the thread title to be of help to future visitors.

    best!
    Marko
    Last edited by Marko; 03-06-2008 at 03:02 PM.
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    40piggies is offline Junior Member
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    Thank-you for all the information! I have been trying to fiddle around with the ISO, aperature.... but going very bumpy, to be expected. I don't want to use the flash at all yet, but broke down and did as my pics were very dark. I still need to set up the computer so I can transfer the pics in (I suppose I will use the camera program for now... thinking of purchasing Elements?) Yesterday I took some of the kids around 4pm... snowy overcase day but the light through the window felt bright enough... gently hitting their faces. Tried putting the light on above them and then another to the opposite side of the window... still fairly dark. Used the flash and MUCH clearer, but too bright? I forget where I had the camera set now... lets see aperature 10, ISO 400... I think I tried 800 too? I didn't do anything with the shutter speed... I think I forgot that..lol. I am going to work on getting the photos uploaded as I would greatly appreciated any and all comments... I just feel I am so new that you all won't know where to start! I am amazed that you would take the time, and I am grateful.

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    (I suppose I will use the camera program for now... thinking of purchasing Elements?) --40 Piggies

    I would suggest that you compare Elements with Paint Shop Pro X2. Both are Photoshop-like, but PaintShop Pro X2 has more Photoshop features than Elements for a lower price.

    Tegan

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