2008 – the year you get to grips with photography

Photography Basics

2008 has arrived, 2007 seemed to be about 2 weeks long, so let’s hope 2008 takes it’s time and we can make the most of it.

Over the Christmas period you may have been lucky enough to get a new camera, or are about to tackle the January sales and spend your cash on one. Or you may have got a new bit of kit to use with your camera, maybe a tripod, flash, or even a new lens to add to your collection. So now what do you do with it?

For those that got a new camera, you’ll have no doubt taken lots of pictures of the Christmas tree, your relatives, your feet, the dog and anything else that doesn’t run away when you point the lens at them.

I bet most of you just put the batteries in, put the memory card in and snapped away on the camera’s fully automatic setting. Great! It’s so easy to get up and running with a new camera, as they are clever enough to do most things for you, but is it doing the right thing?

The first thing to try is to look at the different camera modes, even the automatic ones like portrait, night time, landscape, sports etc etc these all have their own little icons and your manual, yes, the manual…. you have still got that haven’t you….. will tell you what they are. They are still point and shoot modes, but you will get different results from each one so experiment with those for a while.

Once you have tried those, and more importantly, noticed the differences in your images between each one, then you can move on to more manual settings. But let’s not run before we can walk!

So there you go, that’ll keep all you new camera owners happy for a while, now on to you new camera kit people.

So, you got a tripod for Christmas, what will that do? Well a tripod is a very useful piece of kit. OK, so all it does is keep your camera still when you take a picture, big deal. Well actually it is. The less movement in your camera when you take a picture, the sharper the image should be. It also can help you position the camera at angles that might be a bit awkward otherwise, good for close ups or slightly abstract view points.

So, you got a new camera bag for Christmas, how will that improve my photography? OK, I’ll be honest, a new bag won’t make you take better pictures, but having a better organised bag will make life a lot easier for you and will let you get the right piece of kit quicker so you don’t miss that one in a million shot! So take the opportunity to do a bit of a new year clean of your kit and organise it a bit better.

So, you got a new lens for Christmas, what do I do now? Well, aren’t you lucky, a new lens is a great addition to your kit bag. I’m assuming it will have been something you asked for and not a random gift from a long lost Uncle, so you’ve got it for a purpose. If it’s a telephoto zoom lens you can now explore things at a distance. Capture relatives when they don’t notice you are pointing the camera them, or maybe try getting pictures of birds feeding at the bird table where before you would scare them off by having to get too close. If it’s a wide angle lens, then maybe landscapes are your thing so go and experiment with those vistas and funky converging lines. Just remember to keep it dust free, and when swapping lenses try and do it as quick as possible to avoid dust getting in the camera or the lens.

Wow, that was a long post from what was initially going to be just a Happy New Year message.

Let me know what you got for Christmas or what you have bought in the January sales.

14 thoughts on “2008 – the year you get to grips with photography

  1. No camera related gifts, but just before Christmas I chanced on a couple of pristine Pentax 200mm lenses in Oxfam for 20 quid apiece. That made my day.

  2. I was lucky enough to get/buy a Pentax K100D Super with 2 Sigma lenses. I also just bought a tripod for it as well. Oh yeah, let’s not forget I have buds/watches on eBay for a Nikon SB-28 SpeedLight and a Nikon SB-24 Speedlight as well. Let’s hope I win one of them, I really want to try my hand at off-camera lighting.

  3. Funny you should mention it! I JUST finished reading the whole Lighting 101 series there! Now, just waiting for my SB24 and eBay trigger

  4. I look forward to seeing your pictures with that set up. I just don’t seem to have the time to experiment with off camera lighting at the moment, but it’s the one area I really want to do more of.

  5. I decided last year I wanted to learn to take better photographs but I’ve had to buy a new camera (my ‘ex’ got custody of the last one !) Not wanting another expensive hobby I decided to stick with a compact camera. I’ve just treated myself to a Nikon Coolpix P5100.

  6. Looks like you are having good fun experimenting with it Bruce. At least you have no excuse not to have a camera with you where ever you go now.

  7. I was lucky enough to receive a Panasonic FZ-8 which is just fantastic. It’s been a long lay off for me having photography as a hobby, however now if it moves I capture it.

    I am hoping that you might set some assignments for us during 2008, as it’s always nice to have a challenge and see how others got on too.

  8. Hi Garry (great name), I will be setting some tasks and assignments throughout the year. Keep popping back to the site, or better still subscribe to the feed to keep up to date.

  9. Hello Garry

    Don’t know how it happened but your “funky spider” site came up on my computer… and in rumaging around I got here. Looks interesting so I’ll be back as it’s now in my favourites folder :)



  10. I just upgraded my kit from a 350D, to a 40D with a 580EXII speedlite, 70-200 DG MACRO HSM and 18-50 Macro lens, Plus battery grip and other bits and bats…. LOVE THIS SITE THOUGH, as someone else commented, straight to the point, no messing….. EXCELLENT

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