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Author Topic: Personal photography classes  (Read 644 times)

Tom

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Personal photography classes
« on: February 02, 2017, 07:11:35 PM »
Our oldest grandson arrives with his family (including our great grandson) next month. Our grandson has a successful pro photo business in the UK, and has promised to give me some hands-on photography "lessons". As a photography neophyte, I can't wait.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 07:55:31 PM by Tom »
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Massmerch

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2017, 07:57:14 PM »
I recently bought a "quality" camera that I thought would be good for retirement.   Photos of places we visit and of the family.  It has a ton of widgets, gizmo's and software on it, that I find it hard to even turn on.  Maybe I need to take a photo class too, or just take pictures on my phone.  I'll figure it out...maybe.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2017, 08:06:16 PM »
I hope he is successful Tom. ;D
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2017, 09:00:29 PM »
Me too  :)
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2017, 08:19:03 AM »
Tom,

The mechanics of using the camera are not hard to learn. What is hard, is learning where to point it. Get a book called Chased by the Light. https://www.amazon.com/Chased-Light-Journey-Jim-Brandenburg/dp/1559716711

Jim Brandenburg gave himself a challenge: for ninety days between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, he would make only one photograph a day. The photos in the book are absolutely beautiful, yet I would have walked right past most of them without a second thought. The book is not expensive, and is well worth studying.

Another thing, is to understand that while good photos may be taken great photos are more often made. I can recall an interview with Cole Weston (son of photographer Edward Weston), where he talked of going into the field with his dad, and watching him spend an entire day taking one photo. H could then spend a week in the darkroom making a single print.

Today's "digital darkroom" is a lot less smelly, but not much easier to master. Get a book called The Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers. The Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers. Most books on Photoshop are almost useless. They tell you how to use all of the tools in Photoshop, but nor when or why. This book is different. It focuses on common problems that are often encountered in your photos, and how to fix them, using Photoshop as a tool.

Joel
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 08:32:17 AM by Great Horned Owl »
Joel & Dorothy
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2017, 08:36:22 AM »
Thanks Joel. I grew up watching my Dad taking photos, then spending lots of time in his dark room. Wish I'd paid more attention.

I was an 'early adopter' of digital cameras, but I'm habitually a point-and-shoot guy. All the electronics and auto this & that merely feed the bad habits. I've had/used PSE for years, but usually stumble through it (trial & error). I'll get the PSE book you suggested.

FWIW I recently decided to dust off Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure and re-read it. I'll supplement that with your suggestion of Chased by the Light.

I bought my first (non-digital) SLR in the 70's, while on a business trip around Asia. I had no idea what I was doing, but pointed it out the window of a bullet train while in Japan and just kept shooting. Those were the best photos I've ever taken, but I have no idea how I achieved it  ???
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2017, 09:09:23 AM »
Actually, with two exceptions, the auto exposure mode on modern cameras does a rather nice job. The two exceptions, are when the main subject is actually very dark or very light. The auto exposure will tend to shift both of them toward gray.

Bird photographers often have this problem. If you want a Raven to come out really black, then you will need about one stop less than what the camera thinks you need. If you want your Great Egret to turn out white, you need about one stop more that what the camera thinks.

Fortunately, in the heat of the moment, when I don't remember, a one stop adjustment with Photoshop, usually works pretty well.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
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2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
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1994 19' Class B Horizon / Chevy

SeilerBird

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2017, 09:35:27 AM »
As far as I am concerned learning the mechanics of how a camera exposes is a total waste of time with modern cameras. Modern cameras get everything right the huge majority of the time. Yes, if you take a photo of a black bird with a white background or a white bird with a dark background the bird will not be exposed properly, but how often does that come up? If it does come up often, like it did for me when I was photographing Condors, I simply use center weighted metering and the problem never happens. IMHO if you want to improve your photos you need a good book on composition.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2017, 09:44:53 AM »
As far as I am concerned learning the mechanics of how a camera exposes is a total waste of time with modern cameras. Modern cameras get everything right the huge majority of the time. Yes, if you take a photo of a black bird with a white background or a white bird with a dark background the bird will not be exposed properly, but how often does that come up? If it does come up often, like it did for me when I was photographing Condors, I simply use center weighted metering and the problem never happens. IMHO if you want to improve your photos you need a good book on composition.

Right on!

That's more or less what I was saying. You're just a bit more blunt about it.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2017, 09:47:21 AM »
As with most subjects, all the experts have their own preferences for 'must read'. I have no idea who's right or more right, and it merely adds to my confusion. In a similar vein, every expert I ask or watch in action approaches the exposure triangle differently; This merely sends me back to the 'safety' of full auto, and I'm usually disappointed with the results  :-[
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Great Horned Owl

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2017, 10:05:20 AM »
As with most subjects, all the experts have their own preferences for 'must read'. I have no idea who's right or more right, and it merely adds to my confusion. In a similar vein, every expert I ask or watch in action approaches the exposure triangle differently; This merely sends me back to the 'safety' of full auto, and I'm usually disappointed with the results  :-[

Nothing wrong with that. I am usually shooting with long telephoto, so I want the maximum shutter speed. I almost always shoot in aperture mode, with the aperture set wide open. I let the camera automatically select the speed. The only exception, is when I want to control depth of field.

If you don't have a particular need for shutter speed, full auto mode will be just fine for a good 90% to 95% of your shots.

Joel
Joel & Dorothy
Retired electronics engineer. Avid photographer, paddler & birder.
2011 Silverado 2500HD, Duramax, 4x4,crew cab, 8' bed
Palomino Puma 253-FBS  27' 5th wheel
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Hammster

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2017, 12:36:40 PM »
approaches the exposure triangle differently; This merely sends me back to the 'safety' of full auto, and I'm usually disappointed with the results  :-[

Approaching the triangle in different ways will result in different effects within the picture. Here are 2 pictures with the exact same exposure but one used a large aperture, f3.2, and one a small aperture of f16. Shutter speed and ISO were adjusted to achieve the same exposure value (no over, or under, exposure) but you can see how different the backgrounds are. The f3.2 background is quite blurry whereas the f16 is not as blurry. How you use the triangle will determine the end result and ultimately whatever your artistic intent was. Note that absolutely no post processing work was performed on these images except to convert them from the camera's native RAW format to jpg.
Apologies for enlarged size on screen. I put them up kind of quickly.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 12:38:27 PM by Hammster »
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2017, 12:54:55 PM »
Our oldest grandson arrives with his family (including our great grandson) next month. Our grandson has a successful pro photo business in the UK, and has promised to give me some hands-on photography "lessons". As a photography neophyte, I can't wait.

Tom, nothing beats hands on, one on one, photography lessons/mentoring from a pro photographer.  What type of photography does your Grandson specialize in?
A girl called Max, her husband Eric, and Kitty their black velcro cat.

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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2017, 02:36:06 PM »
Quote
What type of photography does your Grandson specialize in?

He has two 'brands' in his business ... his premium brand focuses on weddings and engagements, and his other brand focuses on babies and infants in a studio.
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2017, 06:56:34 PM »
That means he is a portrait photographer and he will definitely be able to help you understand exposures and using your DSLR in manual mode.   

Don't give up on trying to understand the exposure triangle.  With the right instructor, you will have an "aha" moment and it will all start making sense. 

Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" is a good place to start.  He also has several free YouTube videos.  Jim Brandenburg (a native Minnesotan by the way) is an excellent wildlife and nature photographer but he doesn't specialize in portrait photography. His book "Chasing the Light" is more like a coffee table book.  It's a beautiful book but if I remember correctly it doesn't get into explaining the technical details of his images.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 07:14:34 PM by MN Blue Skies »
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2017, 07:04:44 PM »
Good to hear, thanks.
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2017, 10:40:56 PM »
Quote
Apologies for enlarged size on screen. I put them up kind of quickly.

Thanks, I downloaded the photos to view.
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2017, 09:27:53 AM »
Hammster, please correct me if I am wrong.  I think you are describing "Equivalent Exposure".   At first, equivalent exposure was a hard concept for me to grasp.  Thankfully one of my photography instructors, who is also my mentor, sat down with me until I had that "aha" moment.  After that I designed my own chart which made sense to me. Now the exposure triangle and equivalent exposures are almost second nature to me but it took some studying and memorization.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2017, 09:32:49 AM »
If you don't have a particular need for shutter speed, full auto mode will be just fine for a good 90% to 95% of your shots.
Bingo. With me it is 100%.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
2016 photos:
https://goo.gl/photos/aXQPbnVpgzNvs4Jq8
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7

MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2017, 09:44:11 AM »
I always use a DSLR on manual mode for portraits and creative images. 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 09:54:14 AM by MN Blue Skies »
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2017, 09:51:06 AM »
Defining the purpose of your photography will help you decide what equipment and training is best for you. 
 
I am a professional portrait photographer and I am in the DSLR camp.  My images are meant to be printed. I like DSLRs for many reasons including more creative freedom both in camera and post production as well as better print quality.   

A few quotes by Ansel Adams, who was primarily a landscape photographer.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.”
“The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.”
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”
“Photography, as a powerful medium…offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.”
“There’s nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.”
“I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.”
"No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.”
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 11:06:25 AM by MN Blue Skies »
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Hammster

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2017, 10:01:49 AM »
Hammster, please correct me if I am wrong.  I think you are describing "Equivalent Exposure".   At first, equivalent exposure was a hard concept for me to grasp.  Thankfully one of my photography instructors, who is also my mentor, sat down with me until I had that "aha" moment.  After that I designed my own chart which made sense to me. Now the exposure triangle and equivalent exposures are almost second nature to me but it took some studying and memorization.

I was trying to keep it simple and may have oversimplified. My only intent was to show Tom why someone may have used different "triangle" settings to achieve whatever artistic effect they were going for. So, yeah, equivalent can be used but whatever term the intent was to indicate that the exposure compensation gauge in the viewfinder was kept at the center so that the only difference in the images would be dof due to aperture change. Other example could be shutter speed adjustments to give a sense of motion in a shot, things like that.
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2017, 12:26:43 PM »
Yep,  understanding the exposure triangle and the relationship of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will give a person a lot of creative options.  I used a pumpkin on a table in the yard with some bushes in the background to practice and observe depth of field (DOF)
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2017, 09:29:05 PM »
Quote
Get a book called Chased by the Light. https://www.amazon.com/Chased-Light-Journey-Jim-Brandenburg/dp/1559716711

Looks like the book is out of print, but used versions are available online.

Quote
The Photoshop Elements 11 Book for Digital Photographers

It's on order.
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jackiemac

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2017, 03:38:08 PM »
I was excited there, I thought you were posting some photos you'd expertly taken  ;D
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Tom

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2017, 04:22:26 PM »
LOL Jackie, my teacher doesn't arrive until the middle of March.
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DutchEagle

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2017, 05:09:18 PM »
All good tips and a book is ok too but some people are visual learners. In that case you can search on udemy.com for a course on photography or Photoshop elements. When you find a course you like, find a coupon code using google or bing. Most of the time you can sign up for a class costing only $10 instead of $50 to $100. Look in the description and notice how many hours it takes to complete. All courses are video and may have additional documents. Some courses are completely free. You have lifetime access and can watch it many times and any time but only online.
Udemy has many courses about a wide range of interest. Most courses have preview video's, that is important to use so you know you can understand the instructor. I have trouble with instructors from India, their accent is not compatible with my accent :) Also read the reviews, some instructors are bad and only in for the money. I recently signed up for some web development courses and totally like it.   

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jackiemac

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2017, 05:22:22 PM »
LOL Jackie, my teacher doesn't arrive until the middle of March.

Ah! I'm not the best at paying attention to detail  ;D

Look forward to seeing them....
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: Personal photography classes
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2017, 07:41:12 PM »
All good tips and a book is ok too but some people are visual learners. In that case you can search on udemy.com for a course on photography or Photoshop elements. When you find a course you like, find a coupon code using google or bing. Most of the time you can sign up for a class costing only $10 instead of $50 to $100. Look in the description and notice how many hours it takes to complete. All courses are video and may have additional documents. Some courses are completely free. You have lifetime access and can watch it many times and any time but only online.
Udemy has many courses about a wide range of interest. Most courses have preview video's, that is important to use so you know you can understand the instructor. I have trouble with instructors from India, their accent is not compatible with my accent :) Also read the reviews, some instructors are bad and only in for the money. I recently signed up for some web development courses and totally like it.

Thanks for the tip on Udemy.  I will have to check it out.  I am going to purchase two Creative Live Lightroom on-line classes that are on sale right now.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 07:43:06 PM by MN Blue Skies »
A girl called Max, her husband Eric, and Kitty their black velcro cat.

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