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04-10-2011, 01:35 PM   #1
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Shooting Portraits

I have a new Pentax K-x and don't have a clue how to use it. I think I'm way over my head.

I want to take my granddaughters pictures on Easter. I've been told to Put On Manual, Change Lens Opening to f5.6 and then get close to the subject and pull away and the camera will tell me if the exposure is correct.

Well - didn't work.

Any suggestions? The shot was a "white out".

Thanks.

04-10-2011, 01:42 PM   #2
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If you want to start taking pictures you can put it on AUTO and start that way.

Manual mode implies you are going to control the variables. If you feel you are over your head, read the manul once and then a second time more slowly. Experiment and enjoy. It is a nice little versatile camera.
04-10-2011, 02:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jijo272 Quote
I have a new Pentax K-x and don't have a clue how to use it. I think I'm way over my head.

I want to take my granddaughters pictures on Easter. I've been told to Put On Manual, Change Lens Opening to f5.6 and then get close to the subject and pull away and the camera will tell me if the exposure is correct.

Well - didn't work.

Any suggestions? The shot was a "white out".

Thanks.
my wife's been using here k100 (earlier model) on auto for years and she gets amazing portrait shots. just like learning anything, start small and step up a little at a time. we have practiced for years shooting things around the house just to see what the extra settings do.... she still only wants to shoot in P mode.

If you need any help what so ever, feel free to pm me or anyone else on this forum, they are all great people and an amazing source of education.

remember, start with the camera on P when you are taking important shots when you first start out, then shoot not so important things on your own time using other modes. pentax cameras are more then capable of being a point and shoot until you are ready to learn more

good luck

cheers
04-10-2011, 02:42 PM   #4
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there is a scale which shows a marker rangining from -3 to +3 ..

the market should always be at zero. if not, adjust the shutter speed.

if you are too shoot at f 5.6 .. trying using the Av mode.

04-10-2011, 02:43 PM   #5
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If you look at professional studio shots, you can get some ideas. Uncluttered neutral backgrounds and foregrounds. Natural light or something that looks like it. The subject in focus, especially the eyes, but often everything else is not that sharp. Some of that might be a long-term goal. If you have enough natural light to avoid using the in-camera flash, that's a big step forward.

Last edited by Just1MoreDave; 04-10-2011 at 03:51 PM.
04-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #6
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Some photos on the forums have 'camera settings' attached to them, ie a landscape photo that has an aperture of f/22, 1/125 shutter speed, ISO of 200, etc... I am a beginner too, have only had my K-7 for a month or so, and going into the world of DSLRs had no idea whatsoever! I still have tons to learn, and I would never even consider calling myself anywhere near a pro, but once you've got a handle on things, you can have so much fun!

Read the manual, but if you really find yourself struggling, read the book 'Understanding Exposure' by Bryan Peterson. It's an excellent resource for beginners, and has really been helping me to find 'creatively correct' exposures for all kinds of shooting situations!
04-10-2011, 03:36 PM   #7
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Easter isn't far away you won't have time to master things by then. Photographing young children is difficult. Turn the dial to the picture of a running man and take many pictures. Most of them will be motion blurred. But you will get a few keepers.
04-10-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
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That was really horrible advice for someone starting out. Except for certain studio environments, or very unusual situations, very few people use manual. Most use either program, or aperture or shutter priority.

Paul

04-10-2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jijo272 Quote
I have a new Pentax K-x and don't have a clue how to use it. I think I'm way over my head.

I want to take my granddaughters pictures on Easter. I've been told to Put On Manual, Change Lens Opening to f5.6 and then get close to the subject and pull away and the camera will tell me if the exposure is correct.

Well - didn't work.

Any suggestions? The shot was a "white out".

Thanks.
You have to provide a little more information, like what lens did you use (AF or MF), did you physically change the aperture ring on the lens to f5.6, and so on. Best thing to do is to leave the lens on "A" and shoot in "P" mode. You can change the aperture of an "A" lens from the camera body via the rear wheel and the camera will automatically adjust the exposure for you.
04-10-2011, 03:56 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jijo272 Quote
I I've been told to Put On Manual, Change Lens Opening to f5.6 and then get close to the subject and pull away and the camera will tell me if the exposure is correct.


Thanks.
Wow, that has to be some of the worst advice I've ever heard.

My advice is to put it on "P" mode. This is the same as auto mode except in auto mode the camera will decide for you whether it will use the pop up flash, whereas in "P" mode you get to decide youself and have to pop it up yourself (by pushing the flash release botton) for it to fire. If even that sounds too complex just put the camera in "auto" mode and fire away.
04-10-2011, 04:17 PM   #11
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Look at the OP callsign, ex Canon FD. Cameras in that era didn't have Program modes. The only camera that I had that would take an FD lens was an AE-1. The AE-1 was only slightly better than a metered manual, it introduced Av mode to SLRs. The person that gave that advice is probably stuck in that era - set the Av to 5.6 and fire away was the only thing you could have done with an AE-1. Not sure about the manual mode advice though, Av mode would have done it.

Anyway I think sports mode works better for young children. The pop up flash might be a bit distracting, they'll want to pull the camera out of your hands. Oh wowee, look I can make a bright light go off, gimme, gimme. No and then there's tears and sulks all round.
04-10-2011, 08:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
Look at the OP callsign, ex Canon FD. Cameras in that era didn't have Program modes. The only camera that I had that would take an FD lens was an AE-1. The AE-1 was only slightly better than a metered manual, it introduced Av mode to SLRs. The person that gave that advice is probably stuck in that era - set the Av to 5.6 and fire away was the only thing you could have done with an AE-1. Not sure about the manual mode advice though, Av mode would have done it.

Anyway I think sports mode works better for young children. The pop up flash might be a bit distracting, they'll want to pull the camera out of your hands. Oh wowee, look I can make a bright light go off, gimme, gimme. No and then there's tears and sulks all round.
The "P" in AE-1P stood for "Program", and the FD era extended to the far more technologically/electronically advanced T-series. So the OP may have had experience with Program mode. But I'd consider AV much more closely related P than to M.

Paul
04-10-2011, 08:29 PM   #13
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Hard to understand the advice to use manual mode, certainly. Might have been a die hard purist - "its an SLR so if you cant shoot in manual, you shouldn't be using one" type of attitude.
04-10-2011, 10:35 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone.......... Tons of good advice.
04-11-2011, 06:31 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Poor guy! I agree with everyone else that whoever told you to start in "M" mode was just plain mean! I got my k-x about 9 months ago, and for the first few months I thought I'd made a big mistake not to just buy another good point-and-shoot camera. I was very overwhelmed, mostly because I wanted to use all those new dslr buttons and have my pictures come out like the ones I saw everyone else here taking. Yeah. Most of my pictures were terrible. So I ended up putting my camera on the green "Auto Pict" setting when I really needed to have my photos come out decently (like the Easter photos), then when I had more relaxed time to play and not to worry if I failed, I started experimenting with the other settings. The running man setting would be good for active kid shots, and if your grandkids will stand still for portraits, try setting it to the icon of the head/shoulders.

If you've never used a dslr before, I think the manual was very difficult to really understand. i.e. "If [green button] is assigned to the (green) button in [green button] of Rec Mode 4 ..." WHA?? (Actually, even that starts to make sense after time. This forum, particularly the Beginners Q&A threads, have been of the most help and encouragement to me. I have read through the manual once and then gone back to re-read many of the sections as I have been working on understanding specific operations of the camera. And I finally broke down and got a copy of "Understanding Exposure," and it IS everything everyone has cracked it up to be. It has been most helpful. The other thing I have found comforting from threads here is that even some of the seasoned pros say they have gone out for hours of shooting and have come away with "a handful of keepers." I assume that means that they have taken lots of pictures that just didn't come out so great. So I guess I shouldn't be discouraged if not all my pictures are perfect either.

So, don't sweat it for Easter... turn your k-x to Auto Pict or one of preset modes and let it do its thing. Then start really playing with it so you can find out what it is capable of! Enjoy your great camera... I keep reminding myself of the same thing.
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