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I need a tour guide!

Discussion in 'Introductions...' started by Olga, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. Olga

    Olga Member

    I bought a Canon Rebel T3i a while back *thinking* that I was going to pick it up & great photos were just going to happen. I guess it comes as no surprise to anyone when I say that didn't happen.

    I know: READ THE MANUAL. Problem is I have comprehension issues & it leaves my head spinning. Most of what I've done has been through trial & error, I can see improvements but the pace is too slow for me.

    What I'm looking for is a section of 'homework', I guess. I'd like to read a brief lesson, try to apply what I have read then report back to be graded. Does anything like that exist on this site?

    I am most interested in boudoir photography. I don't have a model, nor can I justify the expense of paying one at this point, so I've been using a timer & tripod to photograph myself and it's been very challenging to say the least.
  2. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I think the first thing to do is take a step or three back and start with something much easier to photograph while you're learning.

    What we have on this site is the Appraisal Gallery. You can post pictures (best to stick to one or two per thread) and ask for feedback. It can be a bit daunting because it's not like Flickr where people say "Great shot!" and "Nice capture!" all the time - you'll get honest appraisal and advice that you can go away and think about. You won't get 'homework' set for you - few of us have time for that, but if you buy Amateur Photography magazine there are often small projects for you to try. Or go to the website and look at the Techniques section for inspiration. Given where your interest are I'd start off with an indoor still life and practice getting the lighting where you want it first.
  3. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member

  4. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    A book is a good start and at the moment I am recommending this one to anybody who asks how to take better photographs (including myself)

    Edit: Try a cheap remote control before you bob up and down using the timer - you should be able to get one in Amazon for roughly £5-£10
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  5. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    You have to have "an eye" for great photographs, and sadly I don't have one. I could have the best kit in the world but with no artistic ability I'm never going to win any prizes with my photography.
    Having a decent camera and knowing how to use it is just part of the overall equation
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Well same for me, not an atom of artistic ability in me, but that doesn't mean I cannot enjoy my photography!
  7. Olga

    Olga Member

    Thank you so much for your reply, Geren.

    Those are the type of comments I want! I'd love to have the feedback but my pictures are really lousy compared to what I viewed on that page. Should I wait until I improve a bit or just go ahead & post a photo now? I think by doing it now the feedback would give me a good starting point but I don't want to offend someone.

    I really liked the Technique section, thank you for suggesting it!

    I think 'boudoir' was a bad word choice for what I like to photograph, but it is similar. I'd like to take photos of scantly dressed women at locations such as abandoned buildings & out in nature with the end result having a 'soft', 'feminine' feel to it. I recently purchased a few reflectors to try to bounce light with, but other than that I don't have much control over the lighting at those locations. The reason I've chose the route I have is because I love the locations & it helps keep me interested. As frustrating as it's been for me, I don't think I would have stuck with it otherwise.

    I have a similar video on DVD, thank you for reminding me about it as I haven't watched it in some time. Some of the features were too advanced for me at the time but I think they'd be really helpful now. Thank you again, frank1.

    That looked like a great book & it appears to be in a style which will probably be easy for me to learn from. I looked up some of the photographers that have photos in the book & I loved their work. Thank you for recommending it, I should have it next week!

    I have a couple remotes but I never use them, I could never think of creative ways to hide them while taking pics. A while back I purchased an intervalometer thinking it would give me more time to get set up but the instructions were so tiny I couldn't read them!

    I know what you mean! I'll have an image in my head & think I've captured it then when I look at the camera it's like 'what in the world is that'?
  8. Olga

    Olga Member

    I've dabbled in other forms of art & was quite pleased with what I produced, but photography is a whole different animal for me. For some reason, I can't seem to capture what I see.
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I 'know' a photographer (through a facebook group) who specialises in something like you have described. You could check out his instagram account for inspiration...

  10. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Part of that is because the human brain allows us to 'see' very differently from a camera. We're very good at looking at a scene and only honing in on the bit that interests us, ignoring anything that doesn't fit with our vision. The camera records everything that's in front of it. It has been said that if you paint, you start with a blank canvas and add to it until your painting matches your vision. With photography, you start with a fully loaded canvas and have to strip away stuff until your photograph matches your vision. That's why so many beginners take portraits of people with lamposts sticking out of people's heads, or photograph flowers and don't notice the dog's tail wagging away in one corner of the background. You first have to learn to really look at what's in the frame and how everything relates to everything else, which is why I think trying to learn by using yourself as your model is going to make life very, very difficult. Once you have a subject that you can actually look at through the lens you can assess what else is in frame and start asking yourself questions about the light and how much you want in focus until you've made what's in front of the camera reflect what it was that you saw.
    Terrywoodenpic likes this.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    The difficulty probably lies in the self-portraiture. You can't see what the camera sees if you are in front of it.

    The camera makes a literal record of what is there. There is some skill needed to actually look at what you are about to take - all of it - not just in the middle. If a model has one hair out of place then it will show. In the background light areas pull the eye from the subject, straight lines attract the eye. etc.

    If artificially lighting a scene then minute differences in positioning have an effect. In a studio with a very patient model you can make adjustments relatively easily but on location you will need assistance with reflectors, you will have a very difficult time running back and forward trimming them.
  12. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    At least you have the problem the right way round.
    many new photographers have no vision and very poor seeing skills. But manage the technical side quite well. They generally have no idea at all why their shots are boring.

    Techniques can be taught and learnt, it is much more difficult to be taught to see, or to have vision.
    Persist and learn one thing a week, or when ever you use your camera, and you will be quickly on your way.
  13. Olga

    Olga Member

    Thank you for sharing the link! I was surprised to see a few pictures thrown in that didn't really 'fit' with the others but were also photos I would have taken. For instance: the trees in the fog, I *love* taking pictures of both. You were definitely on the right track, but I think he's way more artsy & refined than I am or think I'll ever be. I guess that may change as I learn more though. Has your style evolved a lot since you started or has it remained about the same just with improvements?

    I was just talking about this to someone last night after viewing the pictures of one of photographers in the book Rogermac recommended & I said something like "the fact that the photographer made sure to include xxx in the bottom corner of the photo really added to it", I never thought of it in reverse; that he intentionally EXCLUDED things from the photo! This was a big lesson I learned the last time I went out, I hadn't paid attention to where my vehicle was parked or the telephone lines hanging right above my head. Luckily, I could crop the van out & I'm hoping I can somehow edit out the power lines but moving forward I'm going to pay better attention. I'm not keen on the idea of doing a lot of editing but I think I need to get over that & learn how to use the Lightroom program I purchased. (I think I've opened it a total of two times since I bought it)

    One of the things I've been doing before I start with the selfies is that I go to the location & take pictures of spots of interest. I look the pictures over when I get home then decide what needs to be excluded from the scene, what the best angle would be and so on. (I need to learn to do this on the spot!) I've taken my son's girlfriend with me a couple of times & it was a dream to actually have someone to focus on, being able to readjust an arm, sweep hair to the side, move around for a better angle & so on. She's only 20 & I don't want to influence her in any way to take the type of pics that I'm wanting to do so I just let her do whatever comes naturally for her. It is a big help to see how a body will look in the spots I've chose for when I go back to do my shots.

    It's really hard to do the selfies & early on a photographer told me that I'd never learn anything by doing them. I think I've learned quite a bit about angles & it has STUCK because I got tired of going back and forth to the camera to retake shots! I've had a lot of issues learning this way & it does limit the type of shots I can take. For instance when I was reading in the Appraisal gallery someone told the photographer that they should have been focusing on the subjects eyes. After reading that I looked at the pictures of my son's girlfriend & realized that where I was focusing was not right. Hard to do on myself, I recently started using a higher fstop to insure that I was actually in focus, most times I was not.

    Well, I didn't say they were GOOD visions! ;) I have often wondered what my photos need to get that 'WOW' factor going.

    I think what Geren said about removing things is going to be a huge help to me. It did recently dawn on me that I need to pay better attention to things in the background but I never thought about things that were closer in to my subject.
  14. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I did a month's worth of self-portraits just as an exercise once and found it useful to have a hairdresser's head on a stick that I could put where I would be standing/sitting. Then I could focus on that, ensure I had enough depth of field to cover any slight movement, jump into the frame and remove the dummy head. I acquired mine through nefarious means but I"m sure you could get one on eBay?
  15. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    You stole a head?
  16. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Well when you put it like that...

    It was in a bin outside the hairdressing salon at the local tech college. I assumed it was being thrown out decided to rescue it as it might prove useful. However, there was nothing wrong with it so I have since worried that it was there in error and that I have, in effect, stolen a head.
  17. Olga

    Olga Member

    I have a few that I've picked up just for this purpose, problem was taking them to the locations which are sometimes remote. Recently I thought to use a rubber mask (the type that goes over your entire head) to set on top of a spare tripod. Even doing this I still wasn't getting in the exact spot I wanted so focus was off a bit.

    I love that you 'rescued' the head! My heads are also 'rescues' as are most of the props I have. I recycle, reuse, repurpose as much as I can. Speaking of which... is there something I can use as a red filter? Someone suggested that I boost contrast in my last set of photos & when I googled to see how what I read said to use a red filter.
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Not much point when using most digital cameras. The camera will try to compensate for it unless you set a custom white balance before using the filter and it is much easier to achieve the effect in post-processing. Coloured filters are mostly used to control the tone distribution when using B&W film. You can test the effect putting your camera into mono mode which will also give you the option to apply some different filters but the best control is given post-processing a raw file.
  19. Olga

    Olga Member

    Thank you, I am certainly glad I asked now, I was getting ready to buy a kit of different colors to use for my black and whites.
  20. Olga

    Olga Member

    I have a question about the site: Earlier today I saw something to the right of my screen that said I have 5 messages, when I clicked the inbox I didn't see any. Did I do something wrong? Are these messages stored somewhere else? I wouldn't want someone to think I was being rude by not responding

    Speaking of being rude... I also noticed this page has a UK web address & I wanted to point out to everyone that I am in the US. Thought I'd mention this in case I say something that may come across as offensive, I would never intend that, it'd be more an issue of a difference in etiquette.

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