at Myshelf.com asked me to do a column on photography.
Obviously she thinks I know a lot about it—I
don't. I have been taking pics (snapshots) for
over forty years in that dreaded mode that will
get you either laughter or derision--auto. Most
of my photographer friends like me so mostly they
just laugh at me.
if you are just starting or thinking about it,
I do have some things to say that might help.
I call these all these things I did wrong in my
attempt to learn the finer points about photography.
First of call, I think you need to get a fairly
sophisticated camera—not a point and shoot
as you will be quite limited as to what you can
do with your camera. Nikon has good camera deals
for the the beginner. I have the Nikon D3200 and
some of my friends have that camera and take breath-taking
photos. I just take photos. This is one of the
few things I did right. I had an Olympus E-500
which is a good camera but most of the people
in our area teach from the Nikon perspective so
I suggest you get one.
of the first pieces of advice I got was “know
your equipment” in this case your camera.
And believe me there is a lot to know. If you
are not careful the info will overwhelm you and
your will learn everything and actually learn
nothing. Take is slow and nail down the executions
one at a time. I have found that one strategy
works for me: don't tell me—show me. Sometimes
you can pour over the manual for days and still
not have the answer when a a good instructor can
show you in a matter of minutes, but you have
to forego your embarrassment of not knowing and
ask the question no matter how simple. Once you
are shown the correct way to do the correct camera
strokes—take notes and practice, practice,
of the hardest habit to break is shooting in auto.
After all the Nikon D3200 takes razor-sharp photos
and after getting a few fuzzy, dark, or bleached
out shots, the temptation to return to auto is
quite strong. Yes, shoot in auto when you really
need a good clear photo but the next day shoot
the same scene in one of the other modes. Maybe
learn one mode at a time.
can be your biggest enemy. It only slows you down
in your effort to learn the craft. So shake it
off and try one more time. A good things about
digital photography is the fact that you can shoot
as many shots as you like for practice at no additional
cost. In the old day one had to pay every time
an image was made.
course, the standard mantra comes into play. When
all else fails, read the directions (i.e. read,
study and digest your manual). But at that there
will be times when you need a patient teacher,
coach or friend to show you what the manual is
telling you. Afterwards you will be amazed at
how the manual was telling you exactly what do
It can be embarrassing especially if you are the
type of person that was always at the head of
the class, but what means more to you: not be
embarrassing or learning how to take terrific
photos. And really there is no need for the embarrassment—someone
next to you needs the same information.
said all this, my photography (thanks to kind
and patient teachers and co-photographer) has
improved greatly and I take some decent photos,
but I want to be able to travel around in that
camera much like I did my grammar and composition
books when I was teaching high school English.
I have always said to be a good teacher you have
to know your stuff. Same goes with photography.
If you want to take those special photos, know