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08-18-2014, 04:48 PM   #1
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Eager to learn and take great shots

Hi All,
I'm a novice to photography. I recently bought a Pentax K-50 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a second 50-200mm lens. I've been watching a lot of videos as well as taking a lot of pics to learn. I've looked at some of the weekly contest submissions and am really impressed. Hoping to capture some great pics soon.


08-18-2014, 05:03 PM   #2
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Welcome to photography, to Pentax, and to Pentax Forums! Your kit is pretty much the same as what I started out with 7 years ago; I think you'll love it. The learning process is so much fun (and never-ending).
08-18-2014, 05:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by nna_misc Quote
Hi All,
I'm a novice to photography. I recently bought a Pentax K-50 with the 18-55mm kit lens and a second 50-200mm lens. I've been watching a lot of videos as well as taking a lot of pics to learn. I've looked at some of the weekly contest submissions and am really impressed. Hoping to capture some great pics soon.


I would advise you to buy a fast and cheap 50mm manual prime or the Helios 58mm (also cheap) as soon as possible.
That's when the fun begins. The kit lenses were always albatrosses around my neck. Last week I managed to sell the 18-55 off for 20 quid, and I was immensely pleased with the transaction.

Don't be afraid of experimenting (and failing from time to time).
08-18-2014, 06:18 PM   #4
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Here is my 2 cents. There are some topics that are a must and a bit of advice.

1. light and lighting are going to be far more valuable to you than anything else. Yes, in my opinion learning about good light and how to read light and how to compose with it and so on and so forth (and how your camera and lens reacts to different light) is more important than any gear you might get/look at/or oogle.

2. Being artistic is more important than most everything else. This is combined with #1. If you focus your efforts on light and on artistic elements such as composition or whatnot you will be ahead of most people. Some people have natural talent for such things.

3. Know how your gear works, and yes you "need" good lenses but try not to get overly zealous (it's easy to do) with all the technical stuff.

I've been taking photos for 2 years and I am barely getting my head around #1, and I have discovered I am not that good at #2, and yes, I have fallen into the trap of #3.

08-18-2014, 06:48 PM   #5
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One good place to start is by reading "Understanding Exposure". It really opened my eyes up on the exposure triangle.

A second good thing to do is get involved in a group on Flickr or here. For me, it was the "Single In..." challenge group here and the "Our Daily Challenge" group in Flickr. When you get to know the people in a group, and they get to know you, they will be more honest about ways to improve your shot, in helpful ways. In the Single In challenge, you post one photo each day from the lens of your choice (the same lens all month). You also comment about each photo (most of us use Flickr, and post the comments there). The great thing about this exercise for me is I try to think of something I like about each photo, and maybe something I don't like. Then I try to copy the things I like, and avoid the things I didn't like. I found a similar spirit at the Our Daily Challenge, but I don't really have time for two groups, so it's just the Single In for now.

There should be a posting to start the Single In September group sometime in the next week or so. Look for it in the forum under the Mini Challenges, Games and Photo Stories subforum.
08-18-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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Welcome to photography.
I know more than I used to but in many ways still such a novice. Even the old hands will usually say they are still learning new tricks.

The home page will show you that the kit lens is capable of taking great photos so start taking lots of photos. Why doing so keep an eye on what focal lengths you like using most because you may eventually crave another lens (often called Lens Buying Addiction or LBA) and it is an interchangeable lens camera after all! When you feel like something different you might find that a lens with a fast aperture (like 1:2 - 1:1.4) will give you more control of depth of field (what is blury and what is sharp) and is better in low light etc.

Some tips I got early on:
1. Read up on composition. There are many online articles - including some on this site.
2. Don't photograph a subject from just one angle all the time - try different angles - maybe from high or very low. Doing so you can learn something about light and composition over time.
3. Consider getting a tripod. While I do a lot of hand held shooting, a tripod is great for low light, night photography and shooting close ups and telelphoto. It also slows you down when setting up a shot which can be a good thing because then you think about the shot more.
08-18-2014, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I set you a challenge.

Take a digital camera it doesn't matter what kind.

Go into your bathroom

Lock the door

Don't come out until you have 20 unique images each showing a different aspect of that bathroom.

This will challenge your creativity. Creativity seperates a real photographer from the millions of incompetent fools carrying a camera.
08-18-2014, 10:21 PM   #8
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Thanks for the welcome and words of encouragement. I'll take up the challenge of 20 pics in the bathroom and post back

08-19-2014, 12:02 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum and your new Pentax camera, enjoy them both.
08-19-2014, 12:16 AM   #10
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Might I recommend one of my favourite links as I started out.

Cambridge in Colour - Photography Tutorials & Learning Community
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