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Beginner seeking starting point!

16 Feb 2013 4:47PM
Thanks for that Brendan- very helpful reply and food for thought for the future.

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16 Feb 2013 5:01PM
Please note that the advice to shoot RAW if fine if your camera allows it. As far as I am aware the Nikon P510, as used by the OP, produces JPEG only.
16 Feb 2013 5:08PM
At present I have a Canon 450 D and a Lumix tz 18
Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
16 Feb 2013 5:28PM
True Pete but I was answering Steve.
p12owe Plus
5 101 2 United Kingdom
16 Feb 2013 5:31PM
There is some great advice here... I started photography relatively recently compared to most on the site, but the best advice I can give you is just to take as many shots as you can in as many different situations as you can. If you can tell what works and what doesn't you are already halfway there. You will find some great tutorials and projects both here and on youtube and if the weather is rubbish, why not try some home projects that will let you familiarise yourself with the controls on your camera in comfort and in your own home.
16 Feb 2013 6:00PM
......for a regular source of advice and ideas, the Photo Month Forum is worth a look.
16 Feb 2013 7:24PM

Quote:True Pete but I was answering Steve.

sorry, Bren - it was just a general comment, not aimed at anybody in particular.
It could be off-putting or confusing to somebody asking for help if they are recommended to use features that are not available on their camera!
Jestertheclown Plus
9 7.6k 252 England
16 Feb 2013 7:30PM

sorry, Bren -

Don't be.
We're all trying to help.
lemmy Plus
10 2.7k United Kingdom
16 Feb 2013 9:09PM

Quote:, but the best advice I can give you is just to take as many shots as you can in as many different situations as you can

That's the best advice + look at as many photographers' work as you can + never, ever take the easy way and shoot jpg. Shoot jpg and RAW, maybe but all your learning and skill will come from RAW. Otherwise, it's as if you were trying to learn photography in film times by looking at prints, after the printer had worked his magic.

And also, remember, the best photographers are not trying to be painters. They are observers, more akin to novelists or poets. And that the ones who are quickest to talk about themselves as artists and photography as an art are the least likely to be so and the least likely to understand how it can be.

Talk is cheap - pictures are harder.
User_Removed 10 736 4
16 Feb 2013 9:33PM
I'm going to advise something different but not radical. Start by shooting film. My first camera (the first that was my own and not borrowed - the real first one was a Baby Brownie (which was my parents') and the second a Voigtlander (my Grandad's), but I digress) was a Nikon EM, aged 18. It was aperture priority. Not what I wanted at the time but it was a birthday pressie and about 20 cheaper than the OM10 with manual adaptor I really wanted (in the early 80s, 20 was a lot!).

A basic film camera like that will really look after you and teach you, whilst making it as simple as possible. No massive, overcomplicated menus and settings. No need to think about ISO/(ASA) once you've chosen the film. I had mine stolen several years ago but still use the (very basic) Nikon F55 the insurance company replaced it with. It simplifies everything, which is great for the beginner and great for the pro who wants to get back to basics at the weekend. If you don't have a good lab near you, send it to Genie in Wimbledon - a pro lab that is happy to receive things in the post, not a bad price and they can do you a dev and scan, so you can tweak it (if you really have to tinker).
16 Feb 2013 10:23PM
Thanks to all for their valuable comments and advice. This was Gav's topic so my apologies for butting in but I think we have both gained from this thread
Paul Morgan Plus
16 19.0k 6 England
16 Feb 2013 10:30PM

Quote:If there is one technical rule I would suggest for any new photographer it is don't touch jpg. Learn how to work with your RAW files from the outset . Make jpgs from them but always, always shoot RAW. If you shoot jpg you really are letting the camera take over and even for auto users like myself that is a step too far

I don`t know about that, Jpegs are pretty good these days, its a bit like telling a fleet street photographer to print his own negatives, many had there own favourite printers Smile
Carabosse Plus
14 41.0k 269 England
17 Feb 2013 2:11AM
You can certainly learn quite a bit about image processing if you shoot RAW. However, Paul is right: these days you can sometimes struggle to get your processed RAWs to look as good as JPEGs straight out of the camera.

If you are a beginner, I would not bother about shooting RAW at this stage.

Plenty of professional press photographers and the like shoot JPEG. Smile
Paul Morgan Plus
16 19.0k 6 England
17 Feb 2013 3:38AM
I`m not saying don`t shoot raw, shoot raw and jpeg.

Processing raws is a bit like processing your own films and producing prints, there` no harm in using labs to begin with Smile
lemmy Plus
10 2.7k United Kingdom
17 Feb 2013 10:36AM

Quote:I don`t know about that, Jpegs are pretty good these days, its a bit like telling a fleet street photographer to print his own negatives, many had there own favourite printers

That's true but your analogy doesn't really work in my opinion (and I am always right, as you will have noticed Tongue)

I had a favourite printer but he worked with my negative and made the best of it or re-interpreted it. That's the RAW and he's making the jpg, would be the analogy.

Your analogy is more akin to giving the RAW to the printer who, having printed it, throws the negative away.

I'd agree with shooting RAW and jpg. It can take along time before a photographer will make a better job than the camera but I'd prefer my worse to the camera's better.

A quick story since printers have been mentioned. I used to do some work for a Conde-Nast magazine called Brides, very glossy and utterly top of the range quality reproduction (same mag group as Vogue, of course). Snowdon had done a fashion shoot for them with the models in a garden of plants with outsize leaves, all very soft and romantic. But he had ****ed up and shot all his trans 5 stops under. Useless. They were all in a tizz, pages waiting and they didn't know how to tell Snowdon what he's done.

They gave the trans to the darkroom to see if anything could be salvaged. It couldn't but one of the printers had an idea did a set of duo-tone blue 20x16s (selenium toner, as I recall but I'm not sure). They looked great since the lack of detail, the veins of the leaves and the shapes looked dreamy and romantic in the prints. Editor delighted and they run the set with Snowdon's by-line. That's what a printer can bring to the game.

Incidentally, when Snowdon saw them and realised what he'd done, he had a dozen bottles of champagne sent to the darkroom with a note thanking them for saving his day so brilliantly. I've known photographers who would have passed the whole lot off as their own idea!

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