A little over two years ago, I bought my first digital SLR camera. When I first started taking pictures with it, I kept the settings in automatic mode. I had the feeling that if it was on automatic, then it would handle just about any situation on its own without any intervention. Well, that was when I found out I was completely wrong. After going to local classes at a camera store, I started to understand the different settings and when to use them. I still continue reading many articles online and tutorial books at my local bookstore. Because I know what it was once like to start off with a DSLR for the first time, I thought I’d share some helpful places where you can find tips on how to use your camera to its full potential.
By far, this has been one the most helpful little books that refreshes just about anything when you need it. The Digital Photography Field Guide book gets you started off with the basics of the camera controls and slowly leads into the more complex things like lighting and exposure. I still bring this book in my camera bag because I know that there will always be a time when I need it.
TWIP is a podcast created by Alex Lindsay of PixelCorps. When I first started listening to this podcast, one of the main things that I really liked was that the guys were straight up about their reviews. They would tell you what works and what doesn’t. That’s the kind of the material you need at the beginning because the further along you come, the more options there are as far as photography equipment and software goes. In each episode, they go over a poll that was posted the previous week, post a contest link, reviews of the week, and websites or podcasts to visit.
When it comes to learning about anything Photoshop, these guys know it best: Scott Kelby, Matt Kloskowski, and Dave Cross. In each video episode, each guy usually shows a tip that they have learned recently in Photoshop. Ranging from anything like making people look skinnier or how to create a holiday card. Thankfully, because they show some really creative tips, I always find something useful that I can use within my own photos. Another nice part of the show is the quick breaks that they have with tips on using your SLR camera or other equipment.
Probably one of the most useful resources for me by far, Digital Photography School, created by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, has tons of everyday tutorials. Each week, I like to check out the newest content on their website and see if there’s anything that I could use as an outdoor photographer. Fortunately, I always come across something that I can use like “Family Portaits Do’s and Don’ts” or “10 Ways to Take Stunning Portaits“. The best part is that if you are unsure about what to do, you can always ask the thousands of users on the forums who are willing to help you.
Fabio Sasso, is one of the most inspirational graphic designers I’ve ever seen. Everyday, he posts something called “Daily Inspiration”, which is basically a collection of graphic design pieces or photographs that he has found creative. As a photographer, it helps to see how other people work and what other styles of art are out there. I’ve learned to look at taking pictures very differently after browsing through some of Fabio’s Daily Inspiration posts. His blog also covers many other topics such as web design and Photshop, so I would highly recommend you take a look at it.
The first time I saw this magazine was in a bookstore when I was just browsing around the Photography magazine stand. The title of the magazine was what initially grabbed my attention, “Outdoor Photographer”. The main reason it grabbed my eye was the fact that I was an outdoor photographer myself, so it would only make sense for me to be focused on that name. Since that day, I’ve been a subscriber to Outdoor Photographer. I love how they show detailed pictures in their articles to make it feel like you’re actually there. The topics in the magazine cover anything from creating powerful landscape shots to thinking like Ansel Adams. If you’re just starting off with photography, I would recommend keeping the magazines because they are very informative for only a couple of dollars an issue.
One of the best ways to share pictures with friends outside of email is Flickr. Many users like it because it gives others a chance to see your work and comment on it as well. On the other hand, I use it to find out how certain images were taken. One of the coolest features about digital photography is that everything can be stored electronically, including the properties used when taking the picture such as: ISO, shutter speed, white-balance, and aperture. When you want to learn the most about your SLR and when to use certain settings this is when it becomes helpful. When you are browsing through someone Flickr photos, there is usually a link that is called “More Properties” located under Additional Information. Having access to what settings were used in other people’s pictures is very valuable information. I also find Flickr helpful for finding places to go. When I’m about to go on trip somewhere, it helps to know what places look nice, especially for photography. And what a better way to find out than Flickr. Users post pictures of the places to visit and best locations for taking pictures. Just like I talking about earlier with Abduzeedo’s Daily Inspiration articles, Flickr has many creative photos which give you a new perspective on how to see things the next time you’re out on a photo shoot.