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Thread: Best way to learn Photography...

  1. #1

    Default Best way to learn Photography...

    Hi all,

    seriously, I have been thinking... what is the best way to learn photography?

    I am talking about using SLR compared to Digital cam/DSLR.

    I started out shooting film but the cost is a bit high to maintain and I have a prosumer digi cam now to shoot with. Happily snapping away....

    For digi cam with the preview LCD, I can know the outcome of the pic from the LCD and make adjustment to the aperture and shutter speed to get the correct exposure before the final click.

    But for SLR, every shot is $$$, and can't really tell if I have the right aperture and shutter speed used.

    Can you guys share your experiences and thoughts about it and your POV which is the way to learn photography....

    I don't mean to start a war here, but really want to learn.... thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Use digital to reduce the curve of learning Thats what I do. If shooting film and unsure, i usually meter with my digital cam and replicate the settings but I learn overtime what is suitable for what.

    Cheers~

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Its a double edge sword. When u use digital, u know it costs nothing so u click click click very fast, hoping u would get 1 good shot out of hundreds. When u use film, u know its expensive so each frame u would do very carefully and with a lot of thinking before u press the shutter.
    The only good thing about digital is that the camera will record down the aperture, shutter speed, ISO setting etc for u. In the past when we used film we used pencil and paper to write down the settings 1 by 1.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Quote Originally Posted by kevyan
    Hi all,

    seriously, I have been thinking... what is the best way to learn photography?

    I am talking about using SLR compared to Digital cam/DSLR.

    I started out shooting film but the cost is a bit high to maintain and I have a prosumer digi cam now to shoot with. Happily snapping away....

    For digi cam with the preview LCD, I can know the outcome of the pic from the LCD and make adjustment to the aperture and shutter speed to get the correct exposure before the final click.

    But for SLR, every shot is $$$, and can't really tell if I have the right aperture and shutter speed used.

    Can you guys share your experiences and thoughts about it and your POV which is the way to learn photography....

    I don't mean to start a war here, but really want to learn.... thanks
    Well, I started out, like many, using SLR due to interest in travel photography. I used the Nikon F65, after trying out my dad's and friends cameras. The F65 comes with a preview button, which allows me to see what is the DOF, lightning, how the pic will likely turn out. Of course, it's only useful for landscape, or potrait photography, not for action photography though you could do a preview before you compose the action shot.

    Other than practical experience, which nothing can replace, I read photography guides and magazines to see how the experts do it, and try to emulate in similiar conditions.

    Yes, every shot of the film SLR cost money, but it's money well spent, cause you have got to think about the story behind your picture and compose the shot accordingly. It's not that i have alot of money, but I would spend it on the film processing. It's not much compared to the cost of the camera. Of course, you could also do your own B&W processing too. Each camera functions differently, so you really have to know your equipment, and the only way is to use it.

    You could also attend many of the local photography courses or attend clubsnap SEED or sessions to interact with other photographers and practice.

    Just my personal experience.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Digital SLR can both expediate and impede learning. Many DSLR users learn by simply shoot, review on LCD, delete. A lot of times, learning is very random rather than purposeful.

    However, as you mentioned, the digital form can drastically cut down cost of learning. LCD review can actually be very misleading, unless you can read histogram very well. Of course, some cases it is extremely obvious a pic is blown up or underexposed. But if it's by one or two stops, you can't really be sure with LCD. However, reviewing the pics on computer is much cheaper than developing film. But other areas to exploit include seeing the impact of ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed on your pictures.

    For film, one structured way of learning is through taking notes.

    For each frame, record down what is the shutter speed and aperture (as well as the ISO for the roll of film used).
    Try out different combinations of shutter speed and aperture, and see how it affects the depth of field and captured motion.

    As time passes, the learner can move on to record down the metering mode used, where the meter reading was taken from and even focus point.

    Eventually, even without LCD preview, film SLR users can intuitively make accurate judgement when shooting. In fact, the rigour of the training makes SLR shooters snipers. One shot, one kill.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Quote Originally Posted by shinken
    Eventually, even without LCD preview, film SLR users can intuitively make accurate judgement when shooting. In fact, the rigour of the training makes SLR shooters snipers. One shot, one kill.
    One shot one kill is another double edge sword. It's a good learning strategy, but if you have to get a certain image, it's over rated, you can never be sure, so you bracket like hell.
    deadpoet
    my portfolio

  7. #7

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet
    One shot one kill is another double edge sword. It's a good learning strategy, but if you have to get a certain image, it's over rated, you can never be sure, so you bracket like hell.
    Agreed. At a certain point, some value "correct exposure" more than "creative exposure". The former can be mastered, but the later are often much more unpredictable.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    at the learning stage, it is better to shoot slowly and selectively. i think autofocus and point and shoot digitals have vastly increased the speed of shooting in general. this in itself is not bad, and i am not trying to downgrade them in any manner. on seeing something that we think is photogenic, we need to decide how we should shoot it- up close with a wide angle, from far with a telephoto or any intermediate range. we should walk around to see how the same scene can be captured with different backgrounds and different lighting conditions. a good way is to always keep looking through the viewfinder at the composition. [on the other hand, learn some basic theories regarding effect of aperture and shutter on movement and depth of field.]

    our eyes can selectively focus on objects but we cannot change the focal length and so we use our feet to magnify an object. with photography, you have 2 options- change the lens focal length, or change the object-camera distance. so when we see something that we wish to capture, we should think what exactly we would like to capture and act accordingly.

    learn at a leisurely pace. go to one place and spend a few hours there and capture many shots using various focal lengths, camera settings, view angles, backgrounds etc. and come back and compare them on a computer. try to analyze why you prefer some over the other. now all this might sound tedious or boring, but it isnt. i am also not saying that you should not shoot impromptu or at fast speeds. indeed, some ocassions demand a fast response. but this is possible only after you have a decent grip over the camera functions and hence know the range where you cannot go wrong.

    if you already have a camera, i think the best way to learn is to go out and shoot rather than reading more books. this is the advantage of digital- there is no developing cost! you can even start doing this with your prosumer digital camera. no need of DSLR. first, stop using the LCD panel. in fact i would advice you to swtich it off permanently. use only the viewfinder even though it gives only about 70% of the coverage. i personally feel that it is easier to compose through the viewfinder as you are only seeing the composition rather than the whole scene + your camera. use the aperture and shutter speed to get various types of shots. however, the only main difference would be the extensive depth of focus afforded by the prosumer. in fact that was one of the main reasons i went from prosumer digital to digital SLR. i missed the DOF capabilities of a SLR.

    one final thing, learn NOT to shoot! yes, many a times i see something and i want to capture it. however, conditions are not right or i dont get the right composition. i have noticed that whenever i shoot inspite of this, my shots are not that great. i mean, technically they are right but nothing special. so it is with great discipline that i am trying to learn to shoot selectively.

    i know there are a lot of exceptions to what i said. sometimes you need to shoot indiscriminately, or shoot a lot of events or people, or you want to shoot more to be on the safe side etc. but as a learning tool, i think shooting leisurely is the best way to learn.

    i hope this helps

    kashi

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    I am a newbie too, started off with a point and shoot, now having a prosumer. I'm no expert here, juz only kay poh and chipping in my 2 cents only

    I'm glad i have a digital to start with as i don't have alot of time to go developing film...and i'm lazy too
    Digital lets me experiment with settings at no extra cost and i get to see the result of my experiments almost instantly. And the more i shoot, the more i learn...and i still have much to learn...hahaha.

    I believe the quality of the pictures rely more on the hand of the photographer than the camera itself. Therefore mastery of the camera's feature will also improve the quality of the pictures. After nearly 2000 shots on my Oly C-7070WZ i'm still struggling on finding the best way to utilise the features...phew...luckily it's digital...else $$$...

    Like what vkashi say, many have the habit of looking at Lcd screen...me included. But sometimes got no choice 1....my optical view finder is not the TTL type, thus with add-on lens and filters, only can look at lcd . I personally find that composing a shot can be easy with the view finder than lcd.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best way to learn Photography...

    fast way is still via digital, exifs are especially helpful.

    but not to fall into a shoot first talk later...get a super slow digicam.. this will force you to try 1 shot 1 kill if you are trying to "catch the moment".
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