Welcome, I created this site around the premise of teaching a friend or family member how to get the pictures they want from their new photo gear.The examples and techniques discussed here are primarily based on digital but just as easily translate to film cameras.
A little about how you can navigate this site to begin or enhance your photographic journey.To the left is a list of topics in order.Please feel free to jump around if you have questions about a specific topic.However, if you are just beginning I suggest you follow the topics in order and use the navigation on the left sidebar to pick up where you left off previously.
Enough of that let’s get started!
Did I say let’s get started?Hold it! The first thing you should do is ”read the manual”.I know this sounds simple and if you are like me you say to yourself “I don’t need to read the manual, I can figure this out on my own”. However you can save yourself a lot of headaches and grief by taking some time in the beginning to learn what your camera can do and what buttons, dials or menus control those functions.
I usually do not read manuals either, but I always end up having to go back and read them after all.So, just pick up the manual and read it.Save yourself the grief and trouble down the road by doing this first.
If you just purchased a new camera, the fact of the matter is that you usually need to charge the battery before you can do anything else with it. So spend this time familiarizing yourself with your camera.
Don’t have a camera yet? – No Problem Visit the Camera Types Page for some thoughts.
OK, so you have read the manual and are ready to run out the door.But is the battery charged?Is the battery even in the camera?Do you have a memory card?Does that memory card have any available space?Is the lens clean?
I always do a check of my equipment before I head out to take pictures.I want you to close your eyes and imagine (No, if you do that you won’t be able to read, so wait until you finish this section).Anyway imagine you come across the photo opportunity of a lifetime and your camera won’t turn on because it has run out of power. Maybe your memory card is full of pictures you took at Aunt Mabel’s wedding (or is not with you at all).There goes your shot and it may never present itself again, you just lost it.
I remember coming across a great photo opportunity only to find I had taken all my pictures with the wrong camera settings.I was trying to get a shot of a mountain waterfall just off a narrow two lane road.In my rush to run over and get a few shots before any traffic came I ignored my own rule to slow down and get setup correctly before pressing the shutter.
I had my aperture stopped down to F18 (I wanted a greater depth of field, which we will get into later) and let the camera choose the shutter speed for me. In my rush to get the perfect shot I had forgotten that I had left my ISO speed at 1600 for some night shots I was taking the weekend before.So I just snapped some quick shots and got off the road.
Needless to say the shots I had just taken were all overexposed and washed out. If I had taken a quick glance at my camera’s meter I would have seen that the reading was all the way to the right and blinking at me screaming “Warning!Warning!Too Much Light”. I guess what I am trying to say is slow down and make sure everything is set the correct way before you take your first shot.
Today in the digital age we may tend to rush things because we know we can take as many shots as our memory card will hold for no additional cost.Slow down and pretend that you are using film and only have 36 exposures available.
Here is a list of things you may wish to consider when preparing for an outing.
Lenses (for DSLR)
Is your lens clean?
Batteries for flash
Tripod or Monopod (to hold your camera steady)
Now on to some of the basic controls on your camera that will allow us to adjust how our camera behaves when we depress that shutter button.If it helps you have your camera nearby for reference and on hands testing.