Topic Wiki

Quick tips on random subjects that come up in between classes (will add as we go along):

Food photography tips
Newborn photography tips

Table of Contents (I'll change each line to a link as we go along.)

Introduction

1) Choosing a camera: Point and Shoot vs. Mirrorless vs. DSLR
2) Camera specs: What do they mean, and which ones matter to me?
3) Exposure Basics Part 1 - the shutter speed/aperture/ISO triangle
4) Exposure Basics Part 2 - getting to know your mode dial, and other exposure controls
5) All about memory cards
6) Using ultra-wide lenses





Lenses 101 - technology, terminology, and specs, zooms vs. primes, basic/advanced/unique lenses

Lighting 101 - focusing specifically on easy to afford and easy to use setups
Small flash - on camera, off camera, modifiers and accessories
Studio strobes
Continuous lighting - fluorescent, LED, and halogen
Basic light modifiers - umbrellas, softboxes, gels, reflectors
Basic supports - lightstands, umbrella brackets, backgrounds, etc.

All about accessories - memory cards, tripods, bags, filters, remotes, adapters, grips, geotaggers, and more)


So I bought all my stuff - now what?

What makes a compelling photograph?
Depth of field
Composition basics - rule of thirds, perspective, framing
Advanced composition - negative space, inclusion and exclusion, compression
Light - natural, golden hour, basic flash usage.

Let's start shooting...

Kids:
In the park
Playing sports
At home

Landscapes and wildlife:
"Grand" landscapes
"Intimate" landscapes
Seascapes
Waterfalls
Cityscapes
Wildlife
Birds in flight
Shooting in bad weather

Portraits:
Babies and newborns
Single person - indoors
Single person - outdoors
Families/siblings/groups
Natural light
Artificial light - simple
Artificial light - complex
Mixed light

Others:
Close up and macro
Product photography

How do I...? (Some specific scenarios/techniques - Basic)
Shoot out of a plane window?
Shoot underwater?
Shoot compelling black-and-white?

How do I...? (Some specific scenarios/techniques - Advanced)
HDR
Long exposures
Light painting
Twilight landscapes
Milky Way
Star trails

Basic editing concepts:
Exposure
Contrast
Clarity/sharpening
Color
Layers and masking

Poll

What type of camera do shoot with?

Point & Shoot - basic (Canon Elph style) or Smartphone
115 (38.5%)
Point & Shoot - advanced (Canon S100 or G Style)
42 (14%)
Mirrorless
23 (7.7%)
DSLR - consumer (Up to a Nikon D5200 or Canon Rebel)
67 (22.4%)
DSLR - prosumer or pro (Nikon D7000 or Canon 60D and up)
26 (8.7%)
P&S, but I plan on getting an SLR or Mirrorless in the near future
26 (8.7%)

Total Members Voted: 245

Author Topic: Learn Photography Master Thread  (Read 158864 times)

Offline wayfe

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #345 on: December 30, 2013, 10:52:36 PM »
Basically the problem with autofocus is that's its, shall we say, auto. You can't choose what it focuses on, so often it won't focus on what you want it to.

The trick is knowing how AF works, and using that to your advantage. The camera uses contrast to decide what to focus on. In your picture, the branches in the background have a sharper contrast than the flowers in the foreground. That means that the difference between the dark brown branches and the sky behind it is much more pronounced than the differences of the flower petals to each other. Since one thing is so much more obvious, the camera will choose to focus on that.

So how do you fix it? The trick is to find the most contrasty area of the flower - in this case, either the darker center - and try to get the camera to focus on these. Move the camera back and forth a bit, or even better, put that area dead center. You could also try blocking off the high-contrast background spots with your hand.

You'll notice that your shutter button is not simply a one-press affair. Press it slowly and gently and you'll see that there's a spot in the middle where there is some resistance. This is called a half-press. By pressing the shutter button only halfway to this spot, you are telling the camera to focus, but not take the picture yet. Once you have focus, you do what's called focus lock. Still holding the button halfway down, you then compose your shot. During this time you could move the subject off-center, or remove your hand from where it's been blocking the background. Once you're set up, finish pressing the button all the way down to take the picture.

Two important  things to remember:
- When moving the camera while holding down the button to lock focus, don't move the camera front or back, only sideways. This is because focus is based on distance. If you change the distance between the camera and the subject after focusing, you will lose focus. Moving side to side, however, doesn't change the distance, so you will maintain focus.
- Remember that sometimes a scene could simply have to little contrast for AF to work properly. The flowers you show are not quite so bad, but they're still very tough AF subjects.

I find that each time I half-click to focus- I find that the camera re-focuses when I click down all the way...
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #346 on: December 30, 2013, 10:53:31 PM »
I find that each time I half-click to focus- I find that the camera re-focuses when I click down all the way...

Shouldn't be happening. What camera?
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Offline wayfe

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #347 on: December 30, 2013, 10:54:22 PM »
Shouldn't be happening. What camera?

My old G11
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #348 on: December 30, 2013, 10:56:23 PM »
My old G11

Weird. Are you on servo focus?
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Offline wayfe

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #349 on: December 30, 2013, 10:57:50 PM »
Weird. Are you on servo focus?

Not sure but I don't think so, I sold the camera a year ago... I was just going through some of my old photos trying to decide what to print for my home wall gallery.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #350 on: December 30, 2013, 10:58:54 PM »
Incidentally, I'm just wondering why the you don't consider the Canon 40d a pro DSLR?
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #351 on: December 30, 2013, 11:19:51 PM »
Incidentally, I'm just wondering why the you don't consider the Canon 40d a pro DSLR?

It's a prosumer camera, not pro one. Not bad at all, but still mid-level.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #352 on: December 30, 2013, 11:24:22 PM »
It's a prosumer camera, not pro one. Not bad at all, but still mid-level.

And what features make the 60d pro and not prosumer?
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #353 on: December 30, 2013, 11:25:38 PM »
Not bad at all, but still mid-level.

Personally, I'm hating the 40d pretty badly.
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #354 on: December 30, 2013, 11:26:42 PM »
+1000

Focus or not, it's a lovely shot.

Thanks! And thank you for taking the time to explain about the auto-focus.
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Offline Mordy

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #355 on: December 30, 2013, 11:42:03 PM »
It's a prosumer camera, not pro one. Not bad at all, but still mid-level.
And what features make the 60d pro and not prosumer?

The double-digit D cameras are Canon's prosumer line, a step above the Rebel class (triple digits) while still being consumer-oriented. If anything the 60D was actually a step BACKWARDS from the predecessor, as the 50D has micro-adjustments for focus and a weather sealed body. The 60D went plastic feeling more like a t3i than other xxD models.

More on Canon's lineup was described here:
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=28454.msg660798#msg660798
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #356 on: December 30, 2013, 11:44:35 PM »
Also on the subject of focus, I pointed out in the other thread that I actually like manual-focus for that reason- sometimes the Auto is too auto.

On the plus side, there are some nifty new touch-screen shooters out there these days, that actually let you touch the area of the screen you want focused for the picture. Pretty cool and useful instead of hoping the autofocus figures it out, but again as SF said, this requires the subject have enough light to determine proper focus (especially with constrast-based focus).
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Offline Centro

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #357 on: December 30, 2013, 11:48:32 PM »
On my T3i when using the viewfinder is there anyway I can control that red dot auto indicator left or right where it should focus or its just an indicator and it's not controlable?

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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #358 on: December 30, 2013, 11:50:15 PM »
On my T3i when using the viewfinder is there anyway I can control that red dot auto indicator left or right where it should focus or its just an indicator and it's not controlable?

Sure it's controllable. But you have to get out of auto-everything for that. It should be called single-point AF or something similar (sorry, only know the Nikon nomenclature by heart ;)).
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Re: Learn Photography Master Thread
« Reply #359 on: January 01, 2014, 10:02:05 AM »
I've been looking into flashes and was wondering if i specifically would want one with "TTL".  I'm sure it'll be covered in a lesson on flashes and such, but was hoping to get a preview?
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