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93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 10:48 a.m.

I just got an older Olympus micro 4/3 camera for cheap and am about to get a decent prime lens to go with it. Where should I start to actually learn to take non-E36 M3ty pictures?

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
1/10/20 12:11 p.m.

What kind of photos do you want to take, and where do you expect to take them (city, town, rural, or something specific like the racetrack)? What is your objective: print (big or small?), or remain digital? How much work are you willing to do to get what you want?

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
1/10/20 12:42 p.m.

Start by taking tons of pictures, then look at them on a computer. See what you like/don't like about them.

And then buy a book. Or five. I really like Henry Carroll, and Scott Kelby if you can take a joke.

Then take a class at the camera store.

Shadeux
Shadeux Reader
1/10/20 12:45 p.m.

My wife teaches a photography class. Its main premise is to teach someone where to point the camera and why.  She dips into the technical side as per the needs of the student.

Since we're located in central Florida, we can't have a class together, but my wife would not mind critiquing your photos. She has other students who send photos and receive gentle and constructive criticism. 

There are zillions of YouTube channels, books, internet articles that tell you what to do also. Your local camera club and the community college or adult education may offer classes.

It's super easy to get trapped into the quagmire of equipment. No matter what your camera is you still need to point it in the right direction.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
1/10/20 12:49 p.m.
Shadeux said:

My wife teaches a photography class. Its main premise is to teach someone where to point the camera and why.  She dips into the technical side as per the needs of the student.

Since we're located in central Florida, we can't have a class together, but my wife would not mind critiquing your photos. She has other students who send photos and receive gentle and constructive criticism. 

There are zillions of YouTube channels, books, internet articles that tell you what to do also. Your local camera club and the community college or adult education may offer classes.

It's super easy to get trapped into the quagmire of equipment. No matter what your camera is you still need to point it in the right direction.

 

Shadeaux, does she have any general advice for taking photos of a newborn? Both in the hospital and out?

 

Also, everyone: when you have a baby, take as many photos as you possibly can. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa New Reader
1/10/20 1:00 p.m.

What do you want to take pictures of, and why does that appeal to you?  Do you care about sending a message with your photos or do you want to capture a moment?

Biggest advice that helped me: learn what different apertures will result in (sharp foreground, blurry background, etc) and save your photos in RAW format (for Olympus it is ORF?)  This gets you much more control over the photo in post processing.  It allowed me to salvage a decent amount of pics as I was learning.  It's good after as well.

Learn how to control the camera manually as well so you understand what goes into a good picture as opposed to the camera doing what it thinks is best.

Best way to take good pictures is to take a lot of crappy pictures and reflect on them.  A small class will help as well.

 

codrus
codrus UberDork
1/10/20 1:01 p.m.

I would start with this book:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1607748509

That covers a lot of the basics of the technical aspects -- shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, what each of them does and how they interact.

I also recommend many of the blog articles on this site:  https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

It covers using artificial lighting (strobes, umbrellas, softboxes) to create certain types of effects in photos.

That largely leaves composition -- deciding what to include in the picture, what to leave out, what angle to put the camera at relative to the subject, etc.  This is much more about individual "style", and also varies widely with what you're shooting.

 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa New Reader
1/10/20 1:02 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

For those baby on a blanket pics everyone loves, spread the blanket on you, then put the baby on the blanket

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 1:31 p.m.
02Pilot said:

What kind of photos do you want to take, and where do you expect to take them (city, town, rural, or something specific like the racetrack)? What is your objective: print (big or small?), or remain digital? How much work are you willing to do to get what you want?

Photos I mostly aiming at are to do with biking (a mix of landscape, urban and action) and also macro watch shots. Objective mostly for myself and a bit of social media. Maybe print some if I have shots I really like for around the house.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 1:36 p.m.
Shadeux said:

My wife teaches a photography class. Its main premise is to teach someone where to point the camera and why.  She dips into the technical side as per the needs of the student.

Since we're located in central Florida, we can't have a class together, but my wife would not mind critiquing your photos. She has other students who send photos and receive gentle and constructive criticism. 

There are zillions of YouTube channels, books, internet articles that tell you what to do also. Your local camera club and the community college or adult education may offer classes.

It's super easy to get trapped into the quagmire of equipment. No matter what your camera is you still need to point it in the right direction.

I was thinking of doing a class. There are a few locally. As far as equipment, I could totally see that but I have found with most hobbies it is archer not bow so my plan is to just get the camera, a 25mm prime lens (which would equal a ninfty fifety for the 4/3 if I understand correctly) and a macro lens at least to start.

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
1/10/20 1:41 p.m.

Clubs and classes are fine if that's the sort of learning experience you want. Most of the content on the internet is pretty poor, unless you prefer to learn from a 22-year old who bought a $4k DSLR last month or a self-important douche who's taken the same landscape or bird in flight photos for the last 30 years. Digitial photos are free - go use the camera.

I'll add my voice to those who suggest the equipment is not where you should be focusing. You need to know how to use it, but that comes quickly. Developing an eye for what you want and learning how to create it is what takes all the time and effort. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, "Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything."

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 1:43 p.m.
llysgennad said:

Start by taking tons of pictures, then look at them on a computer. See what you like/don't like about them.

How do you judge a good picture from a not as good one? I guess I should figure that out.

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
1/10/20 1:48 p.m.
93EXCivic said:
02Pilot said:

What kind of photos do you want to take, and where do you expect to take them (city, town, rural, or something specific like the racetrack)? What is your objective: print (big or small?), or remain digital? How much work are you willing to do to get what you want?

Photos I mostly aiming at are to do with biking (a mix of landscape, urban and action) and also macro watch shots. Objective mostly for myself and a bit of social media. Maybe print some if I have shots I really like for around the house.

OK, so you're getting a 50mm-equivalent, which should be fine. Hopefully it's reasonably fast (I don't know the M4/3 ecosystem). When you say "to do with biking," do you mean pictures taken while you are biking (i.e., what you see while you're out), or pictures of people biking (i.e., very specific action photos)? The former is easy, the latter may be a little tricky depending on what you want the end product to look like. People are very conditioned to see things in a very wide angle perspective these days due to the profusion of cell phone cameras with 21-24mm-equivalent lenses; it make take some adjusting to get used to the 50mm.

You may be able to get away with extension tubes rather than a macro lens, but if you can get one cheap then go for it.

Also, what's your knowledge level going into this? Do you know the basic of exposure? Are you willing to learn, or will you be relying on the camera to make those decisions?

Shadeux
Shadeux Reader
1/10/20 1:54 p.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

I often hear my wife ask the question "what is the subject of your photo?" There should be something that draws your eye to it. If you look at a photograph and your eye wanders around then it needs better composition. Once your interest is drawn then you look around and take in how the whole photograph supports the subject. But, this is what you need to learn. Don't worry about learning your camera yet. 

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
1/10/20 1:57 p.m.
93EXCivic said:
llysgennad said:

Start by taking tons of pictures, then look at them on a computer. See what you like/don't like about them.

How do you judge a good picture from a not as good one? I guess I should figure that out.

Define "good". Technically good is also often painfully dull. Technically poor can be beautiful. Look at other people's work and see what resonates with you, then try to figure out why it does. Don't try to copy them, but certainly keep their ideas in mind. I strongly suggest you look at some photography monographs (the Thames & Hudson Photofile series is great for this; well-printed and cheap) rather than the internet for this - most photography on the internet is cookie-cutter and boring. At the risk of shameless self-promotion, here's a couple things I wrote a while back on the subject: Happy Little Photographs and my Manifesto.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 2:00 p.m.
02Pilot said:

OK, so you're getting a 50mm-equivalent, which should be fine. Hopefully it's reasonably fast (I don't know the M4/3 ecosystem). When you say "to do with biking," do you mean pictures taken while you are biking (i.e., what you see while you're out), or pictures of people biking (i.e., very specific action photos)? The former is easy, the latter may be a little tricky depending on what you want the end product to look like. People are very conditioned to see things in a very wide angle perspective these days due to the profusion of cell phone cameras with 21-24mm-equivalent lenses; it make take some adjusting to get used to the 50mm.

You may be able to get away with extension tubes rather than a macro lens, but if you can get one cheap then go for it.

Also, what's your knowledge level going into this? Do you know the basic of exposure? Are you willing to learn, or will you be relying on the camera to make those decisions?

It is a Panasonic 25mm f1.7 Lumix G. As to do with biking, a bit of both leaning towards stuff I see while I am out. I am assuming action shots are going to be harder so probably something to work up to. Should I be looking at a shorter lens.

As far as macro, it seems not uncommon to use an adaptor and an older macro lens with the 4/3 system for a cheaper solution which is where I was leaning. This would only allow for manual focus but it seems like from what I have read I'd want to use manual focus on macro shots anyway.

Knowledge level basically zero. I mean I have done a decent number of art classes (painting, drawing, etc) and consider myself relatively creative but that is about it. A big part of this is that I haven't been doing art projects like I used to with other hobbies and house renovations and I miss it. Photography is a part of art I have never really tried.

02Pilot
02Pilot SuperDork
1/10/20 2:07 p.m.

The lens is fine. You won't need anything else for a while. FWIW, I normally carry something between 35mm and 50mm when biking, and it's never been an issue. I'd argue you should use manual focus all the time because it will help you learn about things like zone focusing and depth-of-field, but that's probably a few steps down the path. Definitely for macro stuff, though. Get a little table tripod - it will make those shots much easier.

If you are looking at this as an artistic endeavor, I strongly recommend Bruce Barnbaum's The Art of Photography.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 2:17 p.m.

Thanks for the recommendations on books. I think I will start with the Art of Photography and the Understanding Exposure plus read through some of those blogs and just start messing around with taking pictures.

Is there anything I need to start out as far as accessories? The camera has a battery and battery charger. I figured some SD cards, extra battery and a strap. This model camera has an attachable viewfinder and flash. Is that something I want soon? 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa New Reader
1/10/20 2:27 p.m.
93EXCivic said:

Thanks for the recommendations on books. I think I will start with the Art of Photography and the Understanding Exposure plus read through some of those blogs and just start messing around with taking pictures.

Is there anything I need to start out as far as accessories? The camera has a battery and battery charger. I figured some SD cards, extra battery and a strap. This model camera has an attachable viewfinder and flash. Is that something I want soon? 

Get a good carrying bag that wont let anything fall out if its upside down.  Until you find out how long the batteries last, I wouldn't worry about getting a spare.  Look up lens filters, then find a clear one that doesn't do anything to the picture, it's cheap protection for the actual lens.  SD cards are cheap enough that I buy a new one when I fill one, the cards are one of the most durable memory storage methods most people will encounter so it's cheap insurance to make sure you dont lose photos. Maybe the viewfinder? What does it use instead?

Shadeux
Shadeux Reader
1/10/20 2:35 p.m.

In reply to mtn :

mtn, here is what my wife wrote back to me:

"These are a few of my suggestions and I hope they give you some ideas where to start.

TAKE YOUR TIME!

KEEP BABY SAFE!

Try for a quiet setting

Keeping the infant warm will exponentially comfort the infant - no drafty rooms or under air conditioning.

Look for small details - hands or feet close up; these are perfect for your black & white or sepia toned photographs

Experiment with lighting and angles - natural light from window or soft lighting from table lamp, it is best not to use on camera flash but off camera flash can work.

Include family members - Dad cradling the child with the head in one hand and the other hand securely holding the baby's bottom while the Dad's arms are extended (make sure PLAIN background!)

                                          Mom with baby against chest - kinda like a Madonna pose - let the Mom some time to get ready and primp; after all it is her photograph also

                                          Siblings - watch your overhead shots.  This is the time to try different angles.

Remember this:  What is the subject(s)?"

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 2:36 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:
93EXCivic said:

Thanks for the recommendations on books. I think I will start with the Art of Photography and the Understanding Exposure plus read through some of those blogs and just start messing around with taking pictures.

Is there anything I need to start out as far as accessories? The camera has a battery and battery charger. I figured some SD cards, extra battery and a strap. This model camera has an attachable viewfinder and flash. Is that something I want soon? 

Get a good carrying bag that wont let anything fall out if its upside down.  Until you find out how long the batteries last, I wouldn't worry about getting a spare.  Look up lens filters, then find a clear one that doesn't do anything to the picture, it's cheap protection for the actual lens.  SD cards are cheap enough that I buy a new one when I fill one, the cards are one of the most durable memory storage methods most people will encounter so it's cheap insurance to make sure you dont lose photos. Maybe the viewfinder? What does it use instead?

Just an LCD screen on the back.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa New Reader
1/10/20 2:40 p.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

I prefer the viewfinder over the screen in the back.  That seems like a personal preference thing.

 

One exception is if I'm on a tripod doing long exposure stuff in low light, then the larger the screen the happier I am.  If I can hook up my laptop and control the camera through that I'm great.

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
1/10/20 2:45 p.m.
93EXCivic said:
llysgennad said:

Start by taking tons of pictures, then look at them on a computer. See what you like/don't like about them.

How do you judge a good picture from a not as good one? I guess I should figure that out.

I didn't say good. They will all be bad to start. At least 99% anyway. But look at them all critically and you'll see things you like somewhere, maybe a "happy accident" in the background. Then figure out how to do that on purpose.

I wouldn't get hung up on the composition "rules" you'll eventually hear everyone espousing. Do what you like. Digital is free for learning.

If you're doing macro, you'll need a tripod and maybe a remote. But you can use the 10second timer instead.

Lighting is the key to good photography

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
1/10/20 2:55 p.m.
llysgennad said:
93EXCivic said:
llysgennad said:

Start by taking tons of pictures, then look at them on a computer. See what you like/don't like about them.

How do you judge a good picture from a not as good one? I guess I should figure that out.

I didn't say good. They will all be bad to start. At least 99% anyway. But look at them all critically and you'll see things you like somewhere, maybe a "happy accident" in the background. Then figure out how to do that on purpose.

I wouldn't get hung up on the composition "rules" you'll eventually hear everyone espousing. Do what you like. Digital is free for learning.

If you're doing macro, you'll need a tripod and maybe a remote. But you can use the 10second timer instead.

Lighting is the key to good photography

Gotcha. Why a remote for macro? I figured I'd add a cheap eBay/ Amazon studio kit box at some point for the macro photos. 

As far as lighting I figured most of it would be figuring out how to deal with the lighting I have since most of what I want to shoot is outside.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/10/20 2:57 p.m.

I took a bunch of classes at the local Community College.  I'd recommend that route.  I completed the requirements for a "Career Studies Certificate".  Time well spent, though I am not in a photography career.  Lots of good memories.

Good pictures of people (and really of anything) utterly depends on the quality of the light, IMO.  On-camera flash is always very un-flattering.  A diffuser will help, but not a lot.  Use natural light where possible.   Shoot a lot.  Take notes.  See what works and what doesn't.  Take classes.

My favorite part of photography was darkroom, and that unfortunately is mostly a thing of the past.  But digital is cheaper and good for those for whom instant gratification is important.  laugh

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