I have been corresponding with some friends lately who are interested in photography and I have had the pleasure of advising them on what cameras to purchase:) I enjoy watching them grow as they have watched me grow since I was given my stepmothers Nikon D80 back in 2009 after her passing.
I wanted to share with you a few things I have learned. (I totally need to get my blog going again but this Note will have to suffice)
When I got my camera I was impatient to get my pictures to look like my favorite photographers! So I jumped into using my PhotoShopElements 7 (a smaller,lighter version of the big expensive PhotoShop) I had no clue and the learning curve was HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Knowing what I know now-I have realized instead of starting at the beginning -Getting To Know My Camera and taking good photos FIRST -I jumped into the middle and stupidly thought well I can make it look right in PSE. WRONG!
So if I had to do it over again-this is what I would do!
Get a good DSLR with a “kit” lens (which is usually what is in the package deals when buying a starter camera like a NikonD40-D90) And READ YOUR MANUAL, and then READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN! Keep in in your camera bag so you can refer back to it!!! I mean it!!! There is so much to it! (I was taking a workshop online back in Sept and Ben came in the room to listen is for a bit and he looked at me and said, “Mom, you can’t do Algebra but you can do this?” I had to laugh! It is true-this stuff is confusing, Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance! It is not easy-especially for someone like me who does not use my the Left Side of my brain much! So hang in there! The only reason I didn’t give up at trying to understand all of this is because I had/have this passion for Pictures! I love pictures! And I have a passion to be good at it! So I have stuck it out and still have SO MUCH MORE to learn-like tons!
The next thing-STOP USING AUTO! I mean it-even if you don’t have a clue about A,S,P,and M modes. My reccomdation-Put it atleast on A (Aperture) and set the Fstop to 2.8-3.5 and start clicking-(assuming you are taking pics of people) I think you will see a dramatic difference in your photos! Take your camera everywhere! And try to take pictures every single day even if it is of the dog or a can of soda-shoot something!
The internet has by far been my biggest teacher!!!! You Tube has tons of how to videos! Blogs are also another great way to learn-but you have to want it-you have to be willing to search and read and try! Websites like The Pioneer Woman, EveryDayElements, The Coffee Shop Blog, and The Texas Chicks Blogs and Pics are great places to start! I would also recommend paying the $25.00-$100.00 bucks to join sites like ClickinMoms, Rock The Shot, and Love That Shot! It is well worth the money!!!!The info those sites have to offer has been immeasurable to me! I learn something new every day!! (which is good because like I said I still have so so so much to learn:)
When I had my 35 mm camera I used a lab to print my pictures. I never did to take that course I wanted to to learn to print my own photos which lead me to where Digital Camera Photographers do there developing-“the Digital Darkroom” ie-photoshop, lightroom,picnik,picassa etc. We used to have darkrooms, now we have computers! Use them!!! I gaurtanee that all professional photographers use SOMETHING with their photos. I get frustrated when I hear people say, “oh I don’t like the look of an edited photo”. The best edited photos are the ones where the viewer can not tell it has been edited! (which is hard for me on Clean Edits not to do too much!!!) It is a fine line. Anyway, start with Picnik it is free! Then do a trial of PSE10 or Lightroom3-free for 30 days! And keep reading, watching tutorials, and taking pictures!!!
Finally, I just wanted to say don’t be discouraged. In Sept I said to myself, “I am going to learn Manual Mode if it kills me!” Well, some days when I am shooting in Manual-I totally get it and feel so proud of myself because I am getting good pictures!! Yay me! And then the next day I start clickin away and I suck!!!!! So I go back to my blogs, boards and forums and keep reading….
Hope this helps! I always like to give back;)