Wannabe Photographer

I have always been interested in photography. I remember my high school offered a class that a few of my siblings took as well as many of my friends. I was always interested in the projects they worked on. They made cameras from soda cans, learned to develop their own film and played with double exposure.

Why did I not take the class? I knew that the highest paying jobs were lawyers, doctors, accountants and engineers. I didn’t want to waste my time with artsy stuff! It wouldn’t help me get into college!

I don’t want to sound like I have regret because I don’t but I do want to say my opinion has changed and my life’s experience has changed my attitude towards art and creativity. I have always enjoyed the arts but I have ignored them.  Many of my learning goals now relate to the arts. I want to learn photography, music and graphic design most of all.

My Camera

I didn’t know much about cameras when I got married but I knew I wanted a nice camera.  It was 2005 and we were both still in college. For my birthday, my wife let me get a nice camera. It was about the nicest digital (non SLR) camera we could get and it wasn’t cheap. I think we paid something like $400 for it. It is a Canon S2 IS. It was been a good camera. It does video and has a nice 12x optical zoom. I remember that was one of the features I was most interested in. I also wanted to make sure there wasn’t a shutter delay. My camera at the time took forever to take pictures after pressing the button.

Fast forward 5 1/2 years. Last week I took my first course on Lynda.com. It was a sweet course about Photography and exposure. I learned all the ins and outs of shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings.

15 seconds wasn't enough time to get the "H" on the end of my wife's name.

I actually learned some settings on my own camera that I never knew how to use all these years. I was motivated to get out my manual to see what my camera was capable of and I was surprised how much I could do. I learned that I could change the shutter speed to 15 seconds. This is cool if you want to take interesting pictures at night. I also learned that my camera has some serious limitations.

 

ISO Makes Good Photographers Great

The ISO range on my camera is 50-400 and at 400 the images are really grainy. In case you don’t know (I didn’t really), ISO is basically a setting where your image sensor amplifies the light as it captures the shot. ISO is unique to digital photography and can compensate for low light. So I basically learned that my ISO capabilities are pathetic. To get a good image without using the flash I need to be outside in sunlight. Nice DSLR cameras these days have ISO ranges up to like 3200!

Why do I want to upgrade my camera? It mostly comes down to the image sensor and the quality of image it can capture. There are a few other nice benefits of owning a DSLR; for example, you can look like you are professional. Although it seems like more and more people are opting for fancy cameras. Sometimes I think this is similar to soccer moms with SUVs. They have them for looks and never take them off the paved road. Especially after taking this class and learning how much I could do with my existing camera I couldn’t help but wonder if the people I know with nice cameras actually know how to use the different settings or if they mostly use them like point and shoot cameras. I don’t want to do that.

Going Pro

My goal is to work with what I have and prove to myself that I will not put an expensive camera to waste. I have some ideas of how to become a professional and I think they just might work. I can totally justify getting nice equipment if I’m making money with photography. More on that later. I have a long ways to go before I can consider myself a professional.

If you know photography help me out please. Critique, critique, critique. I really want constructive feedback don’t just tell me these look good because I know they have a ton of room for improvement. I want to know what I can do now with what I have to improve.

Photos I’ve Taken This Week



K, Thanks.

9 Replies to “Wannabe Photographer”

  1. OK, though I am not the best photographer in the world, I have some input that I think would be very helpful for you. Firstly, you definitely need a new camera if you are going to push yourself. Though your current one has some manual features, it just won’t compare to a true SLR. The sensor in your camera is about 6mm X 4mm, in a APS-C sized DSLR (that’s all of them except the pro-level ones) it’s about 24mm X 16mm. That’s about 12 sensors instead of one! That means a huge difference in resolution and in ISO flexibility. Oh, and ISO is actually a film camera term, and is what we used to call “film speed” and it got grainy when you went over 400 then as well.

    As to your photos, here’s my input:

    Photo #1 – underexposed (I know, not easy to remedy with your camera), get the light to hit faces more, especially the “catchlight” in the eyes, Google the “rule of thirds” if you haven’t and think about it when you shoot (don’t put subject in the center unless it’s very intentional

    Photo #2 – Good rule of thirds, maybe you know it already. Underexposed, can’t see his eyes, football is distracting and actually the camera focused on it instead of Jackson

    Photo #3 – Pretty nice, you have foreground interest, nice reflection in the lake. Only criticism, don’t put the horizon in middle of the frame, use the aforementioned rule of thirds.

    Photo #4 – Never cut a person off in mid-hand or foot. Do it mid calf, mid thigh, mid forearm or mid upper arm. Move a little left or right, or have your subject move, so there’s some negative space on one side or the other (that dang rule of thirds again!)

  2. OK, though I am not the best photographer in the world, I have some input that I think would be very helpful for you. Firstly, you definitely need a new camera if you are going to push yourself. Though your current one has some manual features, it just won’t compare to a true SLR. The sensor in your camera is about 6mm X 4mm, in a APS-C sized DSLR (that’s all of them except the pro-level ones) it’s about 24mm X 16mm. That’s about 12 sensors instead of one! That means a huge difference in resolution and in ISO flexibility. Oh, and ISO is actually a film camera term, and is what we used to call “film speed” and it got grainy when you went over 400 then as well.

    As to your photos, here’s my input:

    Photo #1 – underexposed (I know, not easy to remedy with your camera), get the light to hit faces more, especially the “catchlight” in the eyes, Google the “rule of thirds” if you haven’t and think about it when you shoot (don’t put subject in the center unless it’s very intentional

    Photo #2 – Good rule of thirds, maybe you know it already. Underexposed, can’t see his eyes, football is distracting and actually the camera focused on it instead of Jackson

    Photo #3 – Pretty nice, you have foreground interest, nice reflection in the lake. Only criticism, don’t put the horizon in middle of the frame, use the aforementioned rule of thirds.

    Photo #4 – Never cut a person off in mid-hand or foot. Do it mid calf, mid thigh, mid forearm or mid upper arm. Move a little left or right, or have your subject move, so there’s some negative space on one side or the other (that dang rule of thirds again!)

    1. Thanks for the awesome info and feedback. That was exactly what I’m looking for. And I know you know what you’re talking about. A new camera is definitely in the cards. What do you think of the Canon T2i? I know 5d and 7d are supposed to be awesome but I don’t have unlimited resources…yet! 😀

      You have a Nikon, right? My plan is to do a lot of video too and the T2i seemed to be enough to meet my needs.

      1. I shoot Pentax, and love them! The T2i is a great camera and you will have at least a couple of years before it doesn’t have the features you want. The Pentax K-7 is an amazing camera, weather sealed and pro-level features, my buddy just bought one and I have been using it.

  3. Just read the comment below and he has great advice! For me, I like pictures when they are little over exposed so I move my light meter more to the right (this is limited with your camera i think). Rule of thirds is huge– I break this too ever once and a while but when I’m shooting it’s definitely in mind. As far as portraits, I was taught to never cut off a person’s hand or foot. Ever since then I definitely notice when a picture shows someone with no feet.

    Good start though! seriously just keep reading online tutorials and get out and shoot. It’s my goal to go professional too. Let me know if you have any questions. I am always happy to talk about photography.

    PS do you have access to photoshop?? I would be very happy! let me know 🙂

    1. oh and I am a canon person. I got he canon rebel 5 years ago and its a fantastic starter camera! definitely definitely recommend it. I will probably be selling mine soon. I want to upgrade to a full-framed sensor so the Canon 5d mark II is my next step in photography!

    2. Thanks. I do have some control of the light meter. I’m really just figuring out how much control I do have. You are definitely good enough to have people pay you. I thought the same thing about making websites then I had to realize that I know more than most. And as long as you know more than the person that his hiring you then you have something to offer.

      Sarah was about to hire a friend for our family pictures and she charges $100/hr
      http://jenniedeephotography.blogspot.com

      She’s okay but nothing exceptional. I would say you take better photos. The photo editing looks like some features I’ve played with on Picasa.

      I can get a site up for you and you could definitely start doing paid gigs. If you want to start going on that you could be ready to start soon after you get here.

      I’m considering taking the sports photography route which may require more expensive equipment but I think I would really enjoy it. I have an idea for breaking into that niche doing high school and youth sports.

      1. Thanks micah! I might just have to take you up on that website offer. I ‘m really wanting to do a photography and painting site. I’ll definitely talk to you more in detail once we get to AZ. you are great with all the computer mumbo jumbo and I just don’t know that stuff at all! haha

        and yes, I did use picnik on picasa for a few thats because I just got this computer I am working on and it still doesn’t have photoshop. I almost always use photoshop. Many people like lightroom but I prefer photoshop.

        Sports photography would be way fun. It’s definitely a whole other arena as far as lens go than portrait/wedding photography. It’s worth it for a good lens.

        Anyways, good luck and see you guys soon!

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