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Purchasing & Learning


TlTANlUM

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While in Thailand I was an avid, yet amateur, photographer for a time and had some nice equipment.  My photography ranged from landscape to photographing gogo girls in their natural environment (approved by owner/management).  I really liked working with the girls…lots of fun cracking jokes to get them relaxed and having fun with it.

 

When I returned to the States I lost the passion and inspiration for photography and sold all my gear.  I'd chalk it up to there not being much here worth photographing.

 

Since I'm going to return to the LOS, I'd like to get back into it as both a hobby and a way to perhaps earn a bit of cash.

 

To be honest, I was over my head with the Nikon D7100.  Photography just sort of came to me naturally, and the lack of professional training that I would have obtained through a course or mentor meant I couldn't make rhyme or reason of all the various settings the camera had available.  I received quite a lot of complements on my shots, and the girls liked the photos enough to show them off to their friends and want more, but there was only so far I could get in terms of skill due to my lack of knowledge.  I basically got by on my eye, if that makes sense.

 

What I'd prefer is a mentor who can teach me the intricacies of my camera, which means it'd be best to have the same camera as him.  And therein lies the problem.  If I purchase a set-up in the States before I meet a mentor, then what's the chances I'll choose the same camera as the person who will mentor me?  I could wait until I reach the LOS, find a mentor, and then purchase the gear then, but I'm wondering if I'd end up paying more there for equipment I could get here.

 

If camera equipment is limited and/or crazy expensive there, and it's recommended I make the purchase in the States, do you all have recommendations of what I should look at (make & model).  I don't want something I'm going to outgrow, and I don't think I need something a professional would use.

 

The first time around I thought the D7100 would be manageable…certainly better for me than something like a Nikon D3.  Yet I was out of my element.  Or perhaps I should give the D7100 another shot due to the possibility of a mentor helping me push through my previously reached ceiling?

 

Given the cost of equipment, I'd rather not approach this willy-nilly, so I appreciate any advice and guidance you all can give me.

The artist formerly known as Shivers.

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If I was you I would try to start without a mentor as I would imagine that it is expensive. I think you can learn a lot with resources that are free or of minimum cost.

 

I get the impression that you do not understand the basics of photography so you could first do a basic photography course. There are some that you pay for and have someone review your photos and make suggestions. Others are free of which I would recommend the one by Karl Taylor. If you like what and how he teaches he has more advanced training for sale.

 

To learn the camera controls specific to your camera you could buy a DVD. Here is an example: Michael the Maven DVD: Nikon D7100 DSLR Camera Crash Course. I have no idea if that is a good one or not. I only did a Google search to give you an example.

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The Canon 6D full frame is a very good deal in Thailand at 45k Bht . 

 

I think having the same camera as your mentor isn't that important . 

In the end it all comes down on the same things , aperture , lighting , 

ISO , feeling , the right moment , lot of practise , ect . 

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I'm not sure how well I'd learn photography via a video…I'll give that a shot in the hopes I can pick some things up, but what would be ideal is someone next to me answering questions and demonstrating changing the settings on the camera based on the desired effect or what the situation warrants.

 

What percentage would you all say post-processing plays in your photography?  I don't mind throwing pictures into a program to level a horizon or do a bit of cropping, but overly fussing with photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom would quickly bore me to tears.  I'd much rather get it right when I take the picture rather than spending time getting it right in editing software hours later.  Is that going to be a problem?  Does anyone take naturally great photographs anymore or are great photographs only produced on a computer?

The artist formerly known as Shivers.

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I would forget the mentor and the high end dslr equipment for the time being and just get out there taking loads of snaps to get your eye in.

 

There are plenty of good photography forums ...lets say you shoot 500 pics and out of those 500 you get 10 that you don't hate, you can post those 10 in the forum asking for criticism/advice for improvement and literally have 100s of potential mentors laying experienced eyes on your work, maybe half a dozen will respond with something useful to say.

 

I would consider a good quality compact initially, which you can easily stash in a day bag and is easy to use, full dslr is too high maintenance & can be off putting for both beginner & live subject.  Keep the compact on full auto at first & work on your framing and finding good subject matter, experiment with macro(good for boring places, can always find something interesting in the macro world regardless of location).  When you begin to feel constrained by auto(literally point and shoot) on canon you can switch the dial to P which means auto...but individual settings can be adjusted as required, further down the road you can go full manual if you like, but tbh these days modern cameras are so good you'll never really have to do this unless taking highly technical pics...like 20min prep for 1 shot.

 

As for post processing, you should be looking to nail it in pre-processing or prep, maybe if you have a good pic ruined by some acne or what not you can fire up photoshop and remove it or some cropping here and there for better framing. Over processed pics look like they have lost something imo.

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I'm not sure how well I'd learn photography via a video…I'll give that a shot in the hopes I can pick some things up, but what would be ideal is someone next to me answering questions and demonstrating changing the settings on the camera based on the desired effect or what the situation warrants.

 

What percentage would you all say post-processing plays in your photography?  I don't mind throwing pictures into a program to level a horizon or do a bit of cropping, but overly fussing with photographs in Photoshop or Lightroom would quickly bore me to tears.  I'd much rather get it right when I take the picture rather than spending time getting it right in editing software hours later.  Is that going to be a problem?  Does anyone take naturally great photographs anymore or are great photographs only produced on a computer?

Your aim should be to get the best possible photo you can when it is taken. You can not make a crap photo taken by the camera look great in Photoshop!

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Learning during the digital age is a breeze. Shoot a lot, experiment with the settings and learn everything you can about your camera.

 

Post processing should be subtle editing. Do not shoot with PP as the ultimate goal. Take the best shot possible. Shoot every shot like you are using your last roll of Kodachrome film.

 

Most "amature" photograhers rarely learn about proper framing, lighting or lens choice. 

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As we ARE in the digital age I disagree.

In the film days you were limited by the film speed you put in your camera, and the 24 or 36 shots per roll.

We don't have those limitations anymore.

Composition is important, unless you have loads of megapixels, then you can crop it to suit your want.

Post processing is really important.

In the old days tourists and the normal snapper developed their film at a local chemist.

They took holiday snaps.

Avid amateurs used camera clubs to develop theirs.

They took artistic snaps.

Semi pros and pros either had a dark room or sent their film off to professional developers.

They sold their snaps.

 

We now have computers and raw developing software.

 

There are many professional photographers on youtube giving out advice on everything

 

Especially post processing.

 

And lighting is important in the studio not on the street where available light can be enhanced in PP.

 

Scumbag is 100% correct in saying shop can't help a bad photo.

But an average photo can be made look amazing if you have the skill.

 

I don't so I try and get as much correct as I can in camera. :)

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Many camera stores offer classes. Also, many community colleges have classes as part of their continuing education programs. Some of these classes are aimed at a specific brand of camera, some are for specific type of camera and others for the different aspect of photography.

I did not know her name, I did not know her name but I sure did love the way she laughed and called me honey.

I did not know her name, I did not know her name but I sure did love the way she laughed and took my money.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi

 

my partner has recently started photography and also has a D7100

 

he chose that as it produces RAW format images that makes it easier to recover any aspects of a photos due to poor settings as the data is not lost as much as in the case when saved as a jpg format

 

his settings allow the camera to record both RAW and jpg so you get the best of both worlds.

 

he also is a member of lynda.com that teaches online video training

 

He would also like to meet with others in Pattaya when he arrives next week, that has an interest in photography

 

hope that helps

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he chose that as it produces RAW format images that makes it easier to recover any aspects of a photos due to poor settings as the data is not lost as much as in the case when saved as a jpg format

This feature is available is some of the small cameras such as the Canon S series.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I started my career as a technical support / help desk for Adobe & Quark in the beginning of the 90's. So RGB, CMYK and color profiling / PPD was huge then - and still is but today it's more automatic and most people doesn't have a clue about it anyways.

 

I'm far from a professional photographer but I can summarize what I have learnt in Photography and DTP during these 20 years:

 

1. ANY good photographer must understand the principles of LIGHT all the way from the rays of sun to CMYK INK printing. This is fundamental. If you don't understand this you will NEVER become even close to a good photographer. Without light there can be no photo. It will be pitch black and you better just stare into a night wall. Too much light and you can instead watch directly into the sun. Everything between is what makes your photo average or amazing - this is up to you how you decided the light fall onto your subject.

 

2. If you can't take good pictures with a $200 Canon IXUS, you are not going to take better pictures with a full fledged $10K equipment. It will just become more obvious that you are clueless. It's like a race driver that can't handle a low powered car - how could he ever try to attack a bend in 200km/h if he doesn't know how to aim for apex? A superior guitarist would play heavenly and make your arm hair raise even on a cheap 2000B guitar.

 

3. Without photography goals, themes, creativity you will forever be useless as a photographer. Maybe you are a real estate agent and need to take AMAZING interiors. Or you a wedding / party / fashion photographer. Or you shoot aerial with a drone. Whatever your goals, they should be guiding you in what you need to learn, and what kind of gear you should use.

 

Many people are talking about RAW vs high res JPEG's. Taking pictures in RAW is for MOST people completely useless because most people don't understand PHOTOSHOP. So unless you are king in photoshop and use FX all over your lens-range shooting RAW is like using a 50 step equalizer for a budget  surround sound system - it just doesn't fit into the proportions. Post processing for the normal photographer has become a nuisance. Helmut Newton himself would turn in his grave if you say you EDIT your photos.

 

ALSO A good camera and lens is coming closer to the human eye more now then ever. BUT - the problem is the limited color "range" reproduction of RGB and CMYK. So, how you will present your photos ultimately - on a big canvas with 30% gain or a 4K TV with sRGB will completely affect the way you need to prepare your photos.

 

LASTLY:

CAMERA is secondary to ANY Lens. Choose LENS first. THEN camera.

 

OFF TOPIC, but still interesting: Helmut Newton was partly color blind thus shooting mostly everything in B/W but is still considered to be the master of fashion photography, maybe because he understood light better than anyone else?

 

helmut-newton-z-21_jpg_1332151127-573x43

Helmut-Newton-5.jpg

01-black-and-white-photos-of-famous.jpg

 

A Helmut Newton interview can be read here with more photos and inspiration:

http://tasteofphotography.blogspot.com/2012/07/photographer-helmut-newton.html

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All the answers here are good. I learnt all my stuff on the internet little by little. There are thousands apon thousands of very talented people on youtube showing you what they know for free. Then get your gear out and practice what they taught you. Look and study other photographers work and take what you need from each and you will develop your own individual style from it. I use post processing extensively its what makes my photos what they are. I shoot with that in mind but my post processing is only a tool, we all use tools for a job, but we don't all use the same ones to get the job done. These days you can take thousands of photos and not cost anything, so I say fire away all you want it gives you experience. Now days I am a little more methodical with my approach but I still find myself firing off 500 frames in a day of shooting which would have been cost prohibitive back in the film days. Having a passion for photography is probably most important of all. I think it is more fun learning it than knowing it.

 

Cannon or Nikon or Sony are about the same to me, I use Canon and wont change only because of all my lenses I have. I would start with a low end DSLR with a kit lens and continue to climb from there. Have fun.

 

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Lots of answers, lots of opinions.

 

I don't think you need the fine understanding of CYMK vs RGB before you can make a decent photo.

 

I do think that post processing has a significant place.

But Photoshop is a dog, an unwieldy overweight dog. Far to complex. I own the latest version, because it came with the Lightroom package I bought in my last update of LR, but never use PS.

LR is much easier to learn, and use. Has been my main processor for years now, highly recommended!

 

But for quick small adjustments on the go, I use pS Express, a very basic processor, built on the same principle, allowing you to use the main controls to control exposure, contrast, composition, etc. cost next to nothing, and works on my iPad.

 

Cameras...

I have a range from point and shoot (Canon 110s), to the Canon 5D mkII. Horses for courses. If you are moving about a lot, keep it compact, my big Canon plus 24-70 zoom weighs a ton, I rarely bring it except for an important planned shoot.

The best camera is the one you have with you, not the one in your drawer at home.

 

You shooting style and subject matter will influence your choice of lens. I bought a Fuji X100s a couple of years ago, fixed lens, equivalent to a 35 mm wide angle. High quality image, compact, I can go out and only use that, and do most of what I want. The single focus lens is a self imposed limitation, but very good to learn by practicing to work within that limitation. Sixty plus years ago, many pro's would use a Rolleiflex, with fixed standard lens only. Cartier Bresson used 35 mm lens for much of his work, or a 50 mm. Keeping it simple teaches you to focus on the image.

 

To be more versatile, indeed, a high quality compact with standard zoom will fit most of your needs, until your specialty shows the cameras limits, at which you will know what to buy to go beyond those limits.

 

I have been using the ultimate in portable compact thse last few weeks, a Sony RX100III. Not cheap, but quality, versatile, and compact. I think I could do 95% of the work on it that previously needed my big Canon with zoom, with quality that would be good enough for 95 % of my end use.

 

As for learning and mentor, the suggestions above are sensible, go out, shoot a few things, and put them online in a place where you get feedback. If your subjects are BGs, this forum has a thread where you will get feedback, but there are better general photography forums. Let us know which one you end up using, and I'd be very happy to look it up and comment.

 

A mentor, or peer assessment are further good options. When you are here, keep track of the more established photographers on this board. If you admire someones work, ask them for feedback on your work.

 

But most of it is just doing it, editing down to the best few images, and tweaking those a bit to get the best out of them. Looking at those, and going back to do it again, but better... Practice, practice...

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