Getting into photography? SLR basics
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Thread: Getting into photography? SLR basics

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    Gnar Shreddage!
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    Default Getting into photography? SLR basics

    So you probably want to get into photography, right? Good, it’s a great hobby and there is a lot of fun to be had in doing so.

    The most common types of cameras that professional and hobbyist photographers alike use are Single Lens Reflex cameras, or SLRs. Single Lens Reflex means that the camera only utilizes one lens to expose the film/sensor, and to project an image through the viewfinder as well. The camera does this by using a mirror to reflect the image from the lens upwards into the viewfinder cavity. The mirror is opened barely before the shutter opens, so while you take a shot, the viewfinder will go black for a short amount of time. There are digital SLRs, too, (called DSLRs) which record image data via a sensor to a memory card, instead of negative or slide film.

    The Big 3
    Exposure
    Exposure is the process of letting in light to the sensor or the film to create a photograph. As you better learn your camera, you will probably want to start using your SLR to its full potential, in manual mode. This will require you to plug in your own settings for exposure. Exposure is calculated through three variables.

    Aperture:
    The aperture is the small hole in your lens, formed by multiple blades. This allows light to pass through the lens, directing it onto the mirror (for viewfinder purposes) and the sensor or film (during exposure). This is measured in f-stops. A larger aperture is attained through using smaller f-stop, like f/1.8. Smaller apertures that let less light in are f-stops like f/11, f/16, f/22, etc. Not only does the aperture determine how much light is let in, but it also determines the depth of field. The more you stop down (increase aperture number), the large your depth of field gets. A lens set at f/1.4-f/1.8 will have a very small depth of field, creating "bokeh" in the background (out of focus light reflections from background objects). A lens set to f/3.5-f/8 will have a larger depth of field, but will still be able to create an out of focus background. F/11 and up will usually have most of the frame in full focus. Depth of field depends on the f-stop you are using, and the distance between you, your subject, and the background. Telephoto zooms are able to achieve a smaller depth of field at smaller apertures due to the ability to get "closer" to the subject, while still staying just as far from the background.

    ISO/Film Speed:
    The ISO (digital) or film speed (film) is the sensitivity of the sensor/film to light. The lower the number, the less sensitive it is to light, therefore the longer exposure you will need to attain proper exposure. Low ISO's like 100-400 tend to produce low grain, with higher ISO's like 800-1600 becoming more grainy, gradually. You should usually dial your ISO in first, and then adjust your other settings.

    Exposure Length/"Shutter Speed":
    The exposure length is the amount of time the sensor or film is exposed to light. Perfect exposure will create a photograph that appears just like how you would see it, nothing overly bright or overly dark. When shooting hand-held, it is best to adjust your ISO/Aperture to allow for shutter speeds of 1/80 or higher. I stick to 1/100 just to ensure sharpness. Lengthy exposures can be utilized to capture perfect exposure in a dark area, though moving things will appear extremely blurry. A way to solve this is by using a flash, but we’ll get to that later.

    Composition
    Composition is what makes the photo appealing to the eyes. There are numerous shot composition techniques that can be applied to the photograph creation process. The whole idea of composition is to take a step back and THINK before you snap away. It is best to ponder the photo, the subject, and its surroundings and think “how can I take this scene and make it into a work of art?” Shot composition techniques include framing, leading lines, weighting, RULE OF THIRDS (necessary in most photography), lighting, etc. This article covers a lot of the basics, so as opposed to explaining each of them, I’ll just link you:

    http://photoinf.com/General/Robert_B...ual_Design.htm

    and for skateboarding:

    http://www.hdskate.com/skateboarding...sition-basics/

    Equipment
    The most asked question by beginners is this: “what camera is best for ____?” Every camera has its perks, but they all accomplish the same task: capturing a scene. If you REALLY want to learn photography from the ground up and become the best photographer you can be, I suggest starting to shoot with 35mm film. I’d suggest a Canon AE-1. AE-1’s, originally made in the early 1980’s, are one of the most popular 35mm SLR cameras. These contain a built in light meter in the viewfinder so you can accurately expose, but are full-manual in controls, requiring you to set the Aperture and Shutter Speed, and manually focus the lens too. Film speed is set after loading in a new roll of film and shouldn’t be changed midway through a roll because your light meter will not meter correctly for the film you have loaded. You could always go straight to a DSLR too. Brand does not really matter, though I suggest sticking to Canon/Nikon due to the wide availability of lenses and third-party products available.

    The next most important thing for your camera is the lens. You can have a camera body, but you’re not going to be going very far without a lens. A few things to keep in mind with lenses are its focal length, and its maximum f-stop. There are zoom lenses (zooming from one focal length to another) and prime lenses (fixed focal length). Prime lenses tend to offer higher quality images due to less internal glass elements, and also usually offer a larger maximum f-stop. However, primes are not as flexible as zoom lenses to fit multiple scenarios. In a situation where you would need only one zoom lens, one would need around three or four prime lenses to cover the focal lengths that the zoom lens would. For a first and second lens, I’d suggest buying a 28-105mm zoom lens, and a 50mm prime lens.

    Keep in mind, good equipment does not equal great photographs. It is the photographer that takes the great photograph, the camera is only the photographer’s means of doing so.
    There is a lot more to cover, which I will post up soon, but these are the basics to getting started in Photography. Read, learn, enjoy, and best of all, get out and SHOOT! The only way to get better at photography is to keep shooting.

    Written 26 Jan. 2009 by Joseph Bergdoll

    Useful Links:
    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/P...re-Basics.aspx
    Last edited by ShredTheGnar; 05-06-2009 at 03:11 AM.
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    Very nice, this will be great help to the wave of people getting started in photography.
    Basics are the key haha

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    great thread bro.

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    Could you make a guide for lighting/flashes too? I know they pretty much have it covered at SP, but they can be a little overwhelming for the absolute beginner, so maybe a simpler watered down version would be appropriate here.

    Also... what do you have to say about scanning? I've been trying to find the best/cheapest way to get 35mm to a computer, and I've come up with nothing thus far. What do you have to say about just having Walgreens or w/e put your **** on a CD when they develop your pictures? This seems like the easiest solution to me, but I have no idea what kind of BS "image enhancing" software they use to do this. I'm keeping a Canoscan in mind, but I don't exactly have a lot of money and I have a million other things that I'd like to buy before that.
    Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Higher-Class View Post
    Could you make a guide for lighting/flashes too? I know they pretty much have it covered at SP, but they can be a little overwhelming for the absolute beginner, so maybe a simpler watered down version would be appropriate here.

    Also... what do you have to say about scanning? I've been trying to find the best/cheapest way to get 35mm to a computer, and I've come up with nothing thus far. What do you have to say about just having Walgreens or w/e put your **** on a CD when they develop your pictures? This seems like the easiest solution to me, but I have no idea what kind of BS "image enhancing" software they use to do this. I'm keeping a Canoscan in mind, but I don't exactly have a lot of money and I have a million other things that I'd like to buy before that.
    I recently bought an Epson V500 scanner. It was fairly cheap, as photo equipment goes, and does a great job. When I ordered it I was nervous because I was used to using dedicated film scanners at school, but this scanner does the job very nicely. Obviously the quality isn't the best, but its suitable for for most prints and definitly online.

    Heres a 35mm film scan:

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    Great topic, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by andius View Post
    I recently bought an Epson V500 scanner. It was fairly cheap, as photo equipment goes, and does a great job.
    I know that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to photography, but I don't have $150 laying around and my birfday is 7 months away. Is there anything anyone can recommend for under $100 that would still be pretty sharp? Probably not, but I thought I'd ask.
    Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it.

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    http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/c...s&oid=63060806

    literally the same scanner as the v500, but the v500 uses LED lights so it has zero warm-up time.

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    Thanks mate. This helped me

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    Definitley going to be using this once I get my camera. Already read all of this post, just gotta check out the articles and such.

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    If I can help anyone with photo or video I'll be happy to do so.

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    Wow, this thread is very helpful and thanks to you for that! I learned so much! Thanks for sharing again!
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    Default skateboard photography basics

    HI, the bennys.tv website also has some very useful and illustrated articles for skateboard photography beginners! Just google it!

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    hi, great article. thanks for the opportunity to learn even more.
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