Tag Archives: Getting started

Get some new ideas for your photography – a quick tip!

Get some new ideas for developing your photography

Here is a great book External link - opens new tab/page you can learn some new ideas about photography without paying…

New ideas to develop your photography…

Here is an interesting and easy way to find some new ideas. At the same time you can do some reading at no cost. A great way to grow your knowledge and find out more about photography.

How to get new ideas

I am sure you know Amazon, that great book-shop on the web. It is not all about book sales (and more). It is also a source of actual reading too. There are ways to use the website for new ideas and information. More to the point it’s free.

Let’s take an example to see how you can get these new ideas. The Collins Complete Photography Course External link - opens new tab/page is an excellent book. Well produced and researched. It’s a top seller and well reviewed. When you go to the Amazon page for it the book also has a readable section. That’s right. While on Amazon you can read several chapters. If the book has a “click to read” tag, like the picture above, you can read some of the text. The chapters you can read in this book are…

  • The story of photography
  • Camera types
  • Getting to grips with your DSLR camera
  • About various exposure modes

…and at the back of the book you can read a great little glossary of terms used in the book.

OK, so maybe you are not going to learn the whole of photography with this method. But, it is one way to pick up some new ideas and information. Other books are of interest too. This extends to books about art and composition ideas as well as other information. You could find yourself in a world of new ideas, facts and know-how.

One more new idea

If you are looking for projects or new ideas for a photograph try this. Go to the index at the back, or sometimes the contents at the front. Both of these areas of a book are packed with concepts. If you are in a book about art or composition in photography, these can start you thinking. Inspiration is all about the idea right? Use this resource just to get the new ideas flowing. Then follow your thoughts…

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Fifty tips to set photography starters on their feet

There are some great things to learn.

When you are starting out and need to learn some things fast, it helps to have some guidance. Here are a few things photographers need to know to get started. And some things I wish I had known when starting photography…

Roller coasters ‘R’ us – Photo-learning list…
  1. If you want to learn fast take lots of pictures.
  2. If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.
  3. Spend more time reviewing your pictures than it took to make them.
  4. There are billions of types of light. Learn to see 10 types to start.
  5. Get obsessed with the quality of light and its properties.
  6. Work on image composition at least as hard as your technical skills.
  7. Use natural light as much as possible. Learn its variations.
  8. Don’t use on-board flash. It will ruin your shots.
  9. Make people a central study of your photography.
  10. Count 1000, 2000 slowly then take your camera from your face.
  11. Think carefully about how to do it well. Then follow a process.
  12. Clean your kit before you go out and when you’re back. Cameras hate dust.
  13. “Learners don’t need a tripod”. My biggest learning mistake.
  14. Sharpness is a habit – work hard to get it right from the start.
  15. Think “Why am I taking this picture?” for every shot you take.
  16. Add another lens to your “kit lens” as soon as you can.
  17. Great lenses are more use than an expensive camera. Spend more on them.
  18. Don’t cheap out on a tripod. Cheap ones will not do the job.
  19. Use your tripod.
  20. Own more than one memory card AND more than one battery.
  21. Learn the meaning of RAW and then shoot with it.
  22. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ― H. Cartier-Bresson
  23. A keen digital photog can clear 10,000 shots in 14 days – shoot more.
  24. Make some photography gear. You’ll understand your needs.
  25. Gear lust replaces your photographic vision with a hole in your pocket.

More after this…

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  1. Carry your camera with you everywhere.
  2. Look at 50 pictures by other people every day.
  3. Take a clichéd shot – satisfy your curiosity. Store it in a secret place!
  4. The “Rule of thirds” works nearly all the time. Learn it early.
  5. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci
  6. Read your camera manual. Try something. Read that bit again. Repeat.
  7. Have a go at every setting on your camera lots of times.
  8. A proper stance will provide a steady hand-held camera position.
  9. Amateurs often do better pictures than professionals.
  10. And, Professionals do more good pictures, more often.
  11. If your photos look tired and drab – go manual – learn control.
  12. For every shot you do, look at 50 similar ones. How does yours look?
  13. Don’t panic. Usually there is no problem.
  14. No photo, however good, replicates reality. Cameras distort – get over it.
  15. If you see it one way, most people will see it a different way.
  16. Check all gear before you go. Have a list of what you need.
  17. Know why you are going to a location and plan shots in advance.
  18. Back up your files. If your hard drive crashes you will lose the lot.
  19. Wear the right clothes. You cannot do good photography if you are cold.
  20. Help someone else to learn. You will learn too, and make a friend.
  21. Learn the meaning of “exposure” – practice using manual settings.
  22. Learn “Depth of Field” and practice it with each of your lenses.
  23. Post processing is an art and part of photography. Learn it.
  24. Join a club or class – you learn fast with other photogs.
  25. Use Google Images to research every shot you take.
And one for luck!

Photography is fun. Make sure you go with that!

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

Don’t get lucky, get great photographs

Random or 'splatter' tactics when shooting are not going to make you lucky.

Random or ‘splatter’ tactics when shooting are not going to make you lucky.

Ever taken a few more shots, just for luck?

I think we all have if we are honest. We know that approach is really about random shooting and not about getting good shots. Here are some ways to help you get over blasting off shots just for luck.

The tell-tail signs

You always come back from a shoot with hundreds of shots. A high percentage of them are throw-aways. It’s difficult to know what to point your camera at when shooting. Your shots appear to be random. It is difficult to know what settings to use… feel uncertain while out shooting. You suffer photographic stress. Simple, you need to get organised about your shoots.

Here’s a plan…

To move forward, you need work on a plan to get past the randomness and work toward taking consistent shots.

Increase your confidence: Low hit-rates are pretty demoralising. You need to find ways to increase the successes. Go back to basics. BUT, you need to do it in a way that will help you move on. When in a new situation set your camera to auto-settings. Take a few test shots. Note what settings your camera uses. Once you have the measure of things, swap back to the settings that give you creative control. You will be more confident – you know what settings to return to if your settings don’t work out on a shot.

Learn about light: Light is a very fickle entity. Just when you want great light it’s not there. Other times it’s there but you are not sure how to use it to best effect. Well, here are two pieces of advice. First, shoot late or early – long shadows help define your subject and with better colours in the light. Second, learn the difference between hard light and soft light. Hard, harsh light will tend to be less forgiving and less aesthetically pleasing. Once you know these things, you are on the path to improvement. Check over our other Light and Lighting resources on light to continue your improvement.

Learn about settings on your camera and exposure: The most important ideas in photography rest on getting a good exposure. Start with simple shots, simple light. Learn the settings on your camera, in particular about ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Together these form a golden triangle for photographers. Read your manual so you know how to control them. Then read up on exposure. Here are a range of links to get you started on exposure…
Definition: Exposure
Definition: Aperture
Definition: f number
Definition: ISO
Definition: Shutter Speed

Portraiture: Friends or family expect you to do it right and you are under pressure. To make the situation more controlled ask a supportive member of your family, or a good friend, to try out a few poses. There are quite a few posing guides in books. Here are a list of books on Amazon that I have found particularly useful to get you started…

Start simple and work on a set of poses to commit to memory. Memorise about five or six poses for a male and the same for a female. These will let you get a session going. After that you rely on your intuition while working with your subject – work out what will suit them. Watchwords here are: Keep it simple; keep it well lit. To get under way read this article to get you thinking about portraiture… Simple positions for classic portrait work.

Finger off the trigger: I know it is easy to punch away at that button and hope something comes out. Take it from me you need to do just the opposite. Stop. Consider. Compose. Frame. Fire. Make sure you get into the habit of thinking each shot through before you push the button. Visualise your shots so you have a good idea for your picture before you even raise the camera to your eye. Pre-visualisation in most pursuits is how you can focus your energy and skill. It is no different in photography. Try improving your stance too. Most people improve their shots a huge amount if they take time to get the stance right. I have a system I teach my students. Read about it in: Simple tips for a good stance.

Composition: There are simple things you can do to improve immediately. Here are three posts on the fundamentals:

  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Golden Hour; Magic Hour;
  3. Don’t Stick the Horizon Line in the Middle!

Follow up with more composition reading: Composition – resource pages on Photokonnexion.

Planning your shoot and being productive: It is best to do a bit of planning. Get some ideas going before you start shooting. Read about planning a shoot without the scatter-gun approach: Shoot Less – Keep More.

Putting it all together…

That is the fundamental plan. To do it you need to work on one bit at a time. Practice the simple principles above, work with the camera, make sure you look at good photographs daily. Oh! And, one further thing… you are not alone. We all went through this stage. With practice you will soon be making great images regularly.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

A simple lesson in street photography

"Gritty Street" - Getting out there comes first. The shots come next.

“Gritty Street” – Getting out there comes first. The shots come next. Actually, the whole thing is about communication.
“Gritty Street” By Netkonnexion on Flickr External link - opens new tab/page

Some of the simple things are the most difficult when starting.

I have been asked many times why some people find street photography so difficult. Many photographers never get past the first step. Here is some advice to help you.


Getting out there is difficult if you think it is. Actually the most difficult thing is letting people know you are doing it. Most people just ignore you. My advice to beginners is, “just do it!” If you don’t start you will never do street photography. Once you are out there the next thing is taking shots of people. My best advice here is, “be a conspicuous communicator”. Walk up to people and talk to them. They will let you know if they are not interested. No harm done, say thanks, and just walk away. If they are interested then talk. Next, invite them to be photographed. Offer them copies. In fact, communicate. Most people love communicators. Do it the way you know best. Do it with enthusiasm. Then do some photography. That’s how to get started. Once you have done one or two shots you will wonder what the problem was to start.

Some things to do…
  • Find a busy place, stick with it for a while. People will be easier to approach from one spot.
  • Look for your shots. Don’t just photograph anything and everyone.
  • Make your shots important and meaningful. Have a very good reason to push the button.
  • Have your camera pre-set so you don’t spend ages fiddling around with it.
  • A good lens is a 50mm prime. You can use a zoom around the same focal length.
  • A setting of F8 gives you good depth of field and flexibility for street shots.
  • Try getting some candid shots of people (just capture them as they are).
  • Ask some people to pose or be themselves – talk to them before shooting.
  • Get in close when you can.
  • Be a part of the street scene, not a voyeur. People hate to be watched, love to be included.
  • Respect the people you photograph.
  • If you are asked to delete a shot – comply.
  • Remember you are an artist not a spy.
  • Search out peoples expressions and natural poses. Show what they feel.
  • Be chatty and grateful, apologetic and gentle.
  • Practice patience.
Some things not to do…
  • Don’t approach people in quiet places or where they may feel threatened.
  • Don’t be a predator, be a facilitator.
  • Wear simple, non-threatening clothes and appropriate for the weather.
  • Remember, make your intentions clear and friendly.
  • If you are uncomfortable/threatened don’t stay. Get out of there!

There, that’s it. Take it easy, have fun. Talk to lots of people. Take lots of photographs.