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02-10-2012, 07:54 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Best advice for beginners

On the rare occasion when I offer advice to beginners, my one objective is to make sure the next photo they take is better than the last one they took. In other words, good advice must offer instant gratification.

A friend recently borrowed her brother's Canon DSLR for an upcoming horse show. He told her it was set on ISO 200, and aperture f8.0 to give her the best quality photos. The camera would select the shutter speed. He gave no alternative advice. This, of course, might as well have been Greek to her. My friend took the camera to the horse show, and happily began shooting everything in sight. This worked well in the morning, for the sun was up and the sky bright and clear. As the day progressed, however, clouds and light drizzle moved in, and late in the afternoon it became quite dark. The Canon did what it was told, and stopped the lens down to F8 and maintained ISO 200. The only option left was to keep slowing the shutter, until the necessary exposure approached a half second. By this time even my friend recognized that the previews were bad, and the camera was acting "weird". She thought she had broken something and asked me for help. It was too late for many of her best photos, but a quick switch to auto made things much better, and she was back in business and happily annoying everyone with the now functioning flash. And her photos looked good again.

My point? When giving advice to beginners, make sure they get good results the next time they take pictures. Improve their photo skills one step at a time. If you make things too complicated, too fast, and they do not get decent photos right away they can easily become completely frustrated and give up.

At least her brother did not tell her to "shoot raw".

02-10-2012, 09:01 AM   #2
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Good and reasoned advice.
02-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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Weird way to send someone out to shoot. When I have loaned my camera (rare) to another I set it on the big green setting, show them how to zoom manually, and tell them to keep the strap around their neck.
02-10-2012, 10:29 AM   #4
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I'd have to agree with you on handing my camera to someone like that.

02-10-2012, 01:27 PM   #5
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very good advice
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