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06-20-2013, 03:04 AM   #1
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If you were to give one piece of advice to a complete beginner?


If you were to give one piece of advice someone, who has never touched a dslr camera before.
What would it then be?

I just got my first camera, and I would like to know what I should focus on in the beginning.


06-20-2013, 03:19 AM   #2
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Read the manual with the camera next to you.

Then go out shooting, bring the manual with you.

You will learn exposure fastest in M mode, and might want to read this to make it a pleasant experience;
Understanding Exposure
Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera:Amazon:Books

Don't buy more gear until you have done this, and enjoy the learning process.
06-20-2013, 03:41 AM   #3

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Use a manual film camera with a TTL light meter.
-Properly exposed shots due to the meter
-You'll learn how to balance shutter speed and aperture since you need to set them manually.
06-20-2013, 03:45 AM   #4
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One top thing that helped me become more familiar with my dSLR was to pick up a cheap manual focus prime lens (an M 50/2 can surely be found for less than $15), as using one slows you down and releases you from easy reliance on autofocus and auto-everything and makes you learn the functions and handling of your camera more. Plus, it's just more fun with a prime!

06-20-2013, 03:52 AM   #5
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Nice question

Find a buddy to go out photographing with or join a local camera club provided they don't spend their time being superior. When ever you get the chance keep it social and fun. My photo buddy lives in South Africa and I am in Australia. We swap photos about twice a week. When we get the chance to get together we go wild (literally) with our gear.
06-20-2013, 04:02 AM   #6
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A manual focus prime will teach you a whole bunch of things regarding photography. And you'll begin to love photography the way you never imagined. And of course enjoy!
06-20-2013, 04:09 AM   #7
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One of the best sites to learn the basics, in my opinion.

Cambridge in Colour - Photography Tutorials & Learning Community

ISO's, shutter speeds, aperture, depth of field, focal length and so on.

Hope it helps
06-20-2013, 04:12 AM   #8
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1) Take your time to understand how everything works
2) Read as much as you can
3) Try try try

06-20-2013, 04:18 AM   #9

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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
Use a manual film camera with a TTL light meter.
-Properly exposed shots due to the meter
-You'll learn how to balance shutter speed and aperture since you need to set them manually.
I don't fully agree with this. His digital camera can be used in Tv or Av mode and it is the same as using film but without the cost. All of my manual Pentax film cameras had a light meter in them. Once I put film in them the ISO was set. If I chose the shutter speed (Tv mode) when taking my picture, I then adjusted the lens aperture (f-stop) to move the light meter to the center. If I chose the lens aperture instead (Av mode), I then had to change the shutter speed to move the light meter to center. With the digital, he will still make the same decisions but the camera will do the adjustment to center the light meter. He will need to check the view finder to see if anything is blinking (light meter not centered).

If someone wants to learn the relationship between ISO, shutter speed, and f-stop, there are several websites available with camera simulators.

The SimCam: Film and Digital Camera Simulator -
Aperture, shutter and ISO value | SLR Camera Simulator

Great pictures come from understanding light and composition. My suggestion is to search the web for information on these subjects.

Ron Bigelow Photography Articles
The Luminous Landscape
Cambridge in Colour - Photography Tutorials & Learning Community

Of course, don't forget to have fun and get out there and shoot.


Last edited by atupdate; 06-20-2013 at 04:34 AM.
06-20-2013, 04:46 AM   #10
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Read a good book about photography. Understand the relationship between aperture, exposure time and sensitivity. Then understand the effect of focal length on perspective, depth of field and hand-holdable shutter speed. Then understand the effect of aperture on sharpness and diffraction, and how they influence resolution. Then learn about composition and go out and experiment.

Actually, forget all that. Just go out and experiment.
06-20-2013, 05:12 AM   #11
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I am a complete beginner too. I just purchased a k-30 and the first thing I did was read the entire manual to get an overview of the camera's functions. As I read the manual, I would refer to and use the functions being discussed in the manual. I reviewed the settings, and set them up how I like them. I then downloaded the latest firmware.

One book that I have that is useful for a beginner is Tony Northrup's Stunning Digital Photography. He is very accessible through email and on Facebook, and he answered some questions I had.

One piece of advice that I received from members here is not to buy too much equipment at first. Start with the kit lens and experiment a lot! Decide what you like to photograph and later you can buy better lenses and items attuned to what you like. Reading books on photography is essential, but nothing beats experimentation and seeing what the various functions do. I go out and make stupid mistakes and forget things, but that is what you have to do to learn. Take a lot of the same photos with different settings and compare them. It does not cost anything but time! It can be frustrating at times, but keep trying--things will start to make sense.
06-20-2013, 05:24 AM   #12
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Great advice given here so far! The book "Understanding Exposure" really helped me a lot.

I think the most important thing is to just keep shooting. Don't get frustrated. The more you shoot, the more you learn. I can remember after having my K-r for about a month, I felt like I'd wasted my money. I just wasn't getting it or getting any better. But I keep shooting and I had one shot that I was really proud of. One shot that I actually thought was good enough to want people to see. That one shot changed everything for me and inspired me to keep going.

So, get out there and shoot and experiment and don't get discouraged.
06-20-2013, 05:39 AM - 3 Likes   #13
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just take the lens cap off.
06-20-2013, 05:54 AM   #14
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Different courses fo different horses?

Hello Thue, Welcome to the Forum!
As you might expect, everyone's suggesting the way they would learn best, but none of us really know YOU.
Some learn best by a full technical understanding of the camera, lens, exposure options, composition and lighting. Plus post-processing. All before they click a single frame.
Some absorb and retain information better by watching videos, instructional DVDs, online tutorials, with hands-on practice excercises.
Others do better with a live 'buddy' system, the in-person classroom or club environment.
You'll surely find people who would rather go through the process of trial and error alone, shoot a lot and learn from their mistakes.
However, we don't know how you process information and retain it, best.
But I'll bet you know.
There's no one best way, one size fits all. There's no single bit of advice that will work for everyone. There are general guidelines and most of them have been pointed out here. Certain key elements in the learning curve are necessary and they've been posted.
How do you learn?
06-20-2013, 06:01 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThueO Quote

If you were to give one piece of advice someone, who has never touched a dslr camera before.
What would it then be?

I just got my first camera, and I would like to know what I should focus on in the beginning.

It's all about software...

Get a copy of Lightroom, plus NIK's collection of plug-ins for the same followed by a computer paired to a decent monitor with enough juice to power everything. Dedicate the next six months to becoming a post processing wizard. Your goal is to pp any image presented to you from any camera-lens pairing to completion in less that three minutes. All of this is very easy to learn on your own using how-to books and free on-line tutorials. Give yourself a month to establish a work-flow, then spend the remaining time studying and fine tuning. If you are disciplined and willing to do the work, your gear lust will soon to disappear.

The reason the old cliché "Its the photographer NOT the gear..." is true, is because it is.... and you'll soon know why. 2 cents....


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