snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » SLC Central » SLC: A Best Buy Christmas » I'd like to be a better photographer.

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: I'd like to be a better photographer.
black roses 19
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for black roses 19   E-mail black roses 19   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I've been doing photography as a hobby for a while, but I'd really like to be better at it. I'm planning on trying to take an introductory photography course at my local university, but I'm having a difficult time working it into my schedule (with my other classes and everything) and they're rather difficult to get into because it seems everyone wants to take them.

While I already posted my Flickr URL on another thread, I was hoping for some suggestions, critiques, etc from the photographers here on the board.

Right now my biggest problem is that I haven't quite figured out my camera. I'd like to have more control over what my photos look like but it seems my camera is all automatic and i'm having a difficult time changing any of the settings (such as exposure time, etc) and it seems like no matter what I do, all of my shots turn out blurry.

Does anyone else have a Sony Cybershot? My model is a DSC-S40. I'm not saying that I *can't* change the settings, all i'm saying is that I don't know how or what most of the stuff in the menu means as I never received an informational booklet with the camera (it was missing in the package).

If anyone has this camera, I'd appreciate some help on figuring it out!

Thanks, everyone [Smile]

--------------------
"I find them to be in contradiction of the basic principles of YOUR MOM!!!" -We've Got Mail

Posts: 1361 | From: Muncie, IN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dancin' Fool
Deck the Malls


Icon 99 posted      Profile for Dancin' Fool   E-mail Dancin' Fool   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Try this link:

Camera Support and Download Page

I just surfed through it quickly but you can download the operating instructions and several other articles and "toys" for your model camera.

Hope this helps...

ETA: I just looked at your pics on your link and you are doing pretty fine with what you know already. I hope the manuals, tutorials are what you are looking for.

Posts: 266 | From: Windsor, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Amigone201   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Wow, nice job Black Roses! I'd say that even with a camera of limited customizability, you're taking some amazing pictures!

I've been putzing with cameras for several years now, and I've learned a few things. I'm a member over at the Digital Photography School, where I've been privileged to join an open, friendly community of photographers of all ages.

I also enjoy perusing the Photography Composition Articles. There are a lot of them, and often are redundant, so pick whichever ones you prefer the most. I think a great starting point is this one here. It's not very long and lays out lots of new tricks that will make you smack your forehead and say "Why didn't I think of that?" (I did, plenty of times.)

And finally, if there is no other piece of advice that you remember, remember this: Put your subject off-center. Trust me here. The articles do a much better job of explaining what I mean and why, but that's the basis for everything you'll do as a photographer. Put your photos off-center.

Just try and imagine it for a minute. A photo with the subject smack dab in the middle looks like your Aunt Lottie's vacation reel from the Grand Canyon. A photo with the subject off-center looks like National Geographic. Don't believe me? Read the articles [Smile]

Good luck!

--------------------
Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

Posts: 1527 | From: Buffalo, NY | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
black roses 19
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for black roses 19   E-mail black roses 19   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Amigone:

Thanks! [Embarrassed] I really appreciate the tips! I went to the pages you linked to and they seem really interesting. I'll definitely have to read through them. I'd love to see some of your photography sometime [Smile]

Dancin' Fool:

Thanks for finding the manual and everything for me! There are a few things that I was confused about and now know what they do, however I've discovered that my camera actually is as non-customizable as I thought [Frown]

I want a new camera.

--------------------
"I find them to be in contradiction of the basic principles of YOUR MOM!!!" -We've Got Mail

Posts: 1361 | From: Muncie, IN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If all your pics come out blurry, it's probably one of two things:

1. You are not holding it steady. It's usually a matter of jerking the shutter button instead of slowly squeezing it, but I've also seen people who don't realize that the camera (unless it's a more expensive system camera) needs a short moment to focus and moves the camera immediately after they've pressed the shutter button. My mother did that, and got a lot of pictures of her feet as she was in a hurry to look at the screen to see the photo...

2. The camera may have been bumped, causing something in the lens system or sensor system to move slightly. Try to put the camera on a solid surface where it will not move, with a simple object (good light, lots of details for the camera to focus on) and shoot on full automatic. If the image still comes out blurry, the camera is probably damaged.

I got a book (actually a PDF of a book) named Digital Art Photography for Dummies, and I really recommend it. I usually detest the 'for Dummies' series, but this one is good. It gives good, simple advice that improves your photos a lot, even for a fairly advanced photographer as well as for the total newbie. I've given it to several persons, of various experience, and they all felt that it was very good. It's main focus is on simple things that are easily forgotten, many of them which are quite obvious once you've actually read them.

My other advice is to practice, practice, practice. With a digital camera, there is no cost associated with taking pictures, so go wild. Take many pictures of the same subject, with different compositions, different light and different settings. You'll soon see what works and what does not work. The examples I give below are my pictures (except a couple taken by my sister), but I'm not a master photographer. These examples are taken from over 6000 photos, most which are of average quality.

I'll also agree with the off center composition. You are not a sniper, don't go straight for the target. You need to sneak around it more seductively. This is usually referred to as the 'Rule of thirds', ie put the subject 1/3 from the edge of the photo. This applies to the horizon as well, don't put it in the center of the image, put it either 1/3 from the top or 1/3 from the bottom. Sounds like a detail, but it makes a world of difference.

Look at this image:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=89&phid=26 (me having a drink by the beach)

Pretty OK, but still not that good. Now hold your hand so that you block the right 1/3 of the image. See the difference? Don't be afraid to crop you pictures to get a good composition.

If possible, have the light more or less behind you (to bring out the colours), but slightly offset (to give some shadows and depth). Of course, sometimes you can get dramatic effects by breaking the rules as well, such as these:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=24&phid=0 (for the religious or archeologically inclined, this is the supposed site where Jesus was baptised)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=24&phid=37 (same site as above)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=30&phid=87 (ancient city of Jerash, Jordan)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=58&phid=153 (St Peter's cathedral, the Vatican)

The best light is usually in the morning or evening, as the overhead light during the day tend to wash out colours and make everything flat. Look at the huge difference on these pics, te first being almost postcard quality, the second being a crappy tourist photo:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=10&phid=18 (evening, Aqaba, Jordan)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=45&phid=27 (almost the same scene, during the day)

If taking photos of people, don't arrange them or give them time to arrange themself. It becomes stale and arranged. The best images are usually of people who don't know they are being photographed. A zoom can be a great help there. Examples:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=40&phid=70 (me philosophizing in the Roman theatre in Amman, Jordan, shot by my sister)

Understand the subject. What is it that makes it so special? Look at the following examples of desert (Wadi Rum, Jordan). What is it that makes a desert look so grand? Lots of sand? No, it's the huge, blue sky that makes it look large. Any shot that shows lots of sand makes it look confined, it's the sky that opens up the landscape, so get the huge sky. Also, panoramic images works best with landscape, so get some software that can stitch photos together to panoramic images.

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=25&phid=32
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=47&phid=197

Another example of understanding the subject. Look at this winter landscape, shot at a natural spring the day after a snow storm. Look at the cold, serene feeling of the still water and the untouched snow in the slightly copper light of the setting sun.

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=37&phid=51

Another winter picture, this showing a less serene cold:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=62&phid=4 (my street, after a storm)

Another image from the same winter set that displays the importance of knowing the limits of your camera. The bright white snow effs up the automatic exposure, causing the camera to think that it's over exposing. You need to compensate for this by increasing exposure a few steps above what the camera thinks.

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=37&phid=0 (without manual compensation)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=37&phid=1 (same motive, with manual compensation)

Go for the cheap shots. There is a reason that some motives are popular, and it's not cheating to use them. Look at these:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=89&phid=36 (sunset at Koh Chang)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=89&phid=45 (fishing boy at Koh Chang)

Know what tricks makes a certain scene look better. Look at these fire dancers, and see how the second captures the intensity of the scene much better:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=88&phid=21 (taken with my sister's camera, which does not allow me much manual control)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=89&phid=98 (taken with my own camera, with longer shutter speed)

More tricks:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=49&phid=7 (Jerash, Jordan, using zoom to compress the perspective, making the columns appear closer to each other)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=49&phid=50 (another example of the above effect)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=2&phid=2 (Stockholm, new year's eve, using a long shutter speed to capture fireworks)

Try to look fo the unusual, sometimes even the unusual in the usual. Some examples:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=92&phid=17 (my house and garden, with the contrast between the red blooming tree, the yellow house, the clear blue sky and the green grass)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=99&phid=4 (a yellow paprika that just happened to look like some wierd skull when cut open)

Use interesting colours, contrasts and shapes to your advantage. Look at these pictures from Petra, Jordan. This is the natural colour of the rock!

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=42 (inside al Kasneh)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=34 (approaching al Kasneh)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=99 (looking out from one smaller facade)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=162 (Me outside the Urn Tomb. Sisters of Mercy fans will recognize the scenery.)
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=446 (Silk Tomb, famous for it's almost organic colours and shapes)

If everything else fails, go for the common lowest denominator and go for crude attempts at comedy:

http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=73&phid=22
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=81&phid=99
http://rpglab.net/troberg/gallery/view.php?gid=48&phid=391 (describe this image to test if your V-chip is working (points for reference))

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
black roses 19
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for black roses 19   E-mail black roses 19   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Troberg! Goodness gracious! I could kiss you! I just got my own personalized photography lesson [Big Grin]

I understand what you guys are saying about keeping things to the side of the frame. Generally, I try to stick to that rule - and was going to say something about it. Then I looked through my Flickr album and noticed that the majority of them are centered [Roll Eyes]

By the way Troberg, your photos are amazing. I particularly like the one of St. Peter's Cathedral - breathtaking.

I think I'm going to start this thread on the other board (since *duh* i've just found it today and this board seems to have been mostly abandoned) in order to get more advice [Smile]

Troberg, as to your fire dancers picture: that's exactly the kind of effect I would like to get with my camera but I can't figure out how to change the shutter speed. I've tried and I don't think my camera will let me change it. Also, the exposure on my camera seems to be just a "regular" "high" and "low" without anything in between.

I'm also really jealous of all of the places you've visited. I love traveling and would love to go to all of those places.

Again...wow! Thanks!

ETA: As to the blurry photos - I think my camera is just broken. I know I definitely don't have the "moving it too early" or "holding it steady" problems. In fact, i've had many blurry photos from timed shots sitting on a flat surface. In other words, my camera is crap [Frown]

--------------------
"I find them to be in contradiction of the basic principles of YOUR MOM!!!" -We've Got Mail

Posts: 1361 | From: Muncie, IN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Troberg! Goodness gracious! I could kiss you!
I might cash in on that, given opportunity... [Smile]

quote:
I just got my own personalized photography lesson
I got carried away, and I lika writing about photography.

quote:
By the way Troberg, your photos are amazing. I particularly like the one of St. Peter's Cathedral - breathtaking.
Thanks, but as I said, these are a selection from over 6000 photos. Anyone could get a bunch of good ones in that many.

quote:
Troberg, as to your fire dancers picture: that's exactly the kind of effect I would like to get with my camera but I can't figure out how to change the shutter speed. I've tried and I don't think my camera will let me change it. Also, the exposure on my camera seems to be just a "regular" "high" and "low" without anything in between.
The best photos I got with my sisters camera, I had to fool it by holding my hand in front of it and pressing the shutter halfway (fooling it to believe it was pitch black), then removing my hand and taking the shot. These shots were slightly out of focus, as it couldn't focus correctly under those circumstances, but it used a slightly longer exposure.

In the end, though, to do certain things, you need a more advanced camera.

quote:
I'm also really jealous of all of the places you've visited. I love traveling and would love to go to all of those places.
I've had some time to do it. Actually, I don't travel a lot, but when I do, I try to go to interesting places, not just "sun&beach". I worked in Jordan for over a year, so I got a lot of pictures there. I'll be going back there this summer, although not for work, just to visit friends and the country again, so I'll take some more pictures with my new camera. I will probably get an underwater case for my small camera and do some snorkling as well.

quote:
I think I'm going to start this thread on the other board
Yeah, if just my login there would work, it would be even better...

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
black roses 19
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for black roses 19   E-mail black roses 19   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
[hijack]

Yours won't work over there either? Whew! At least it isn't just mine...

ETA: I reset the password and it worked. Hmm...maybe you should try it?

--------------------
"I find them to be in contradiction of the basic principles of YOUR MOM!!!" -We've Got Mail

Posts: 1361 | From: Muncie, IN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
black roses 19
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for black roses 19   E-mail black roses 19   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Troberg! Goodness gracious! I could kiss you!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I might cash in on that, given opportunity...

Hmmm....take me to any of those places and you've got yourself a deal, buddy! [Big Grin]

--------------------
"I find them to be in contradiction of the basic principles of YOUR MOM!!!" -We've Got Mail

Posts: 1361 | From: Muncie, IN | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Elphaba Fabala Elphie Fae
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Elphaba Fabala Elphie Fae   E-mail Elphaba Fabala Elphie Fae   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
One of the things I love about my camera is the ability to change the F-stop easily and quickly -- i have it set so that my left and right keys open
and close the iris, so I don't have to mess with the settings very often. Just remember that F-stop numbers are counterintuitive -- a larger number means a smaller F-stop, or less light let in.

I'm a sucker for silhouette shots, and intentionally underexposing a shot can lead to some awesome photos.

This photo came out this way by accident *blush* but I ended up really liking it, and now I do this sort of thing on purpose -- yay for educational mistakes! http://s71.photobucket.com/albums/i136/ElphabaFabalaElphieFae/?action=view¤t=WPRCEmployeeparty020.jpg

Also -- my personal philosophy is "The zoom button is your friend!" Pictures are much more interesting if it's really, really clear what the subject if your photo is. If you're zoomed in close, there's no question, and every photo ends up looking different, because there's no background to compare it to. Obviously you'll want some shots with backgrounds and such, but for shots of people, I like to get in close.

ETA: After re-reading my post, I think I sound kind of pretentious, so I'd like to add a disclaimer that I don't pretend to be a professional -- or excessively talented, for that matter. [Smile] My education is limited to the tips and tricks that I've picked up in some of my introductory radio/television classes. Here's a large grain of salt to add to all of my advice [Wink]

--------------------
The Wicked Witch of the West was FRAMED!

Posts: 201 | From: Orlando, FL | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Vinnichanka
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vinnichanka   Author's Homepage   E-mail Vinnichanka   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Black Roses, you have some great photos! I agree with everyone's suggestions, especially with "practice, practice, practice". I have a Master's in photography, but my first pictures (of a trashcan, nontheless) weren't that great, and for a while my camera's manual seemed like gibberish. Once I figured out f/stop - aperture relationship, I could move on to well-exposed photos [Big Grin] . Have you considered looking at some art photography books? I am not saying immitate, but deconstruct the photo: looking at light, focus, point of greatest interest, contrast etc.. Don't be afraid of shooting in less than perfect conditions. Fog, mist etc. can give some beautiful and haunting results. Maybe, invest in a cheap $20 tripod, so you can keep the camera steady. Well, enough of my rambling. My photos (www.juliabedriy.com) are all digital, so it is possible to figure out the user manual. Good luck! [Smile]
Edited for spelling, since my Master's wasn't in English

--------------------
Ladies and gentlemen, chlorinate your gene pools!

Posts: 250 | From: Brooklyn, New York | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Griffin at the Maul
Joyeux New Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Griffin at the Maul     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Elphaba, many of the best photos are ones that the effect is originally an "accident".

As Troberg said (without actually saying it), one of the best ways to get good at taking photos is to go out and take photos. Spend as much time as you can shooting, and you will build up a portfolio of images that you love (and with digital being what it is, it is a simple matter to delete anything that you do not like).

BR19, take a look at some of the newer Nikon dSLRs. A camera such as the D40 will set you back just under $600 w/a lens, but it is a great entry-level SLR, and allows the full manual control and all that goes along with that, as well as the ability to change lenses.

--------------------
Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

Posts: 782 | From: Arlington, TX | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
nanbanan
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for nanbanan     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Wow. what a treasure I stumbled into this morning. Thanks to all of you. Now, I want to dust off my camera and take pics of my 2 g-kids.
Black Roses 19 -- saw the pic of the kitten and thought, "That looks like Indiana." guess it was.

--------------------
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. - C.S.Lewis

Posts: 3 | From: Indiana | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troberg     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Looking over your pictures again, one more reason for blurry pictures comes to mind. Many of them are taken through a glass window. Cameras often have problems focusing through a window, as they focus on the glass instead of the motive.

--------------------
/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
WaldemarInTheWoods
I'm Dreaming of a Wide Isthmus


Icon 1 posted      Profile for WaldemarInTheWoods   E-mail WaldemarInTheWoods   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My students past have told me that the best compositional advice I ever gave them was "See the light." That is, concentrate on the effect of light and shadow irrespective of the physical objects in the frame and strive to have the light express your point of view.
Posts: 8 | From: Longmont, Colorado | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Amigone201
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Amigone201   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by black roses 19:
Amigone:

Thanks! [Embarrassed] I really appreciate the tips! I went to the pages you linked to and they seem really interesting. I'll definitely have to read through them. I'd love to see some of your photography sometime [Smile]

Thanks!

I'm going to set up a Photobucket account or something soon, so I can contribute over at DPS too. I have them shared online at Yahoo, but I'm not going to give out the web address here [Smile] It's strictly for family and friends.

I'll let you know when I have a few set up to share.

--------------------
Check out my blog! http://fundiewatch.blogspot.com

Posts: 1527 | From: Buffalo, NY | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2