Beth from Manic Mother emailed me this question, and since I’ve been asked similar questions by others, I thought I’d base my Foto Friday post today on my answer to her.
I am trying to teach myself how to use our Nikon D80 , and I saw your post today and you gave me hope. I feel so overwhelmed by all the info you have to remember in order to break out of “Auto” mode. I was wondering what lens you use most, especially to take pictures of your children?
I was also wondering if you had any good book recommendations, that could help me try to understand it all better. I am hoping a community photography class pops up so I can can learn hands on, I do so much better that way. What has helped you to learn photography the most?
There have been many, many times along the way when I have felt overwhelmed by all of the information that I needed to learn and really understand (you know–more than just on-the-surface knowledge). I also suffer from inferiority syndrome, always feeling like everyone else had better pictures than me. ;)
There are a few things that helped me really progress.
First, I started practicing like crazy. Instead of taking pictures only when I “needed” to take pictures, I started taking pictures all the time–of things I normally wouldn’t have photographed. This year, to kick it up a notch (hopefully!) I began my own Project 365, where I have committed to take a picture everyday for the entire year. Practice and experimentation have been my #1 help. Try taking your camera out of auto when you don’t “need” a perfect shot–in other words, don’t try to learn a new technique at your daughter’s first concert, but try new things when you’re relaxed and can stand to throw away a shot or two (or 50).
Second, I read. Basically, I went to my library and checked out everything they had, one at a time. :) At the bottom of this post are links to the books I found the most helpful. At least, they were the best of what my library had to offer. I read the PC Magazine Guide to Digital Photography cover to cover like a novel. (PS–I’m not trying to sell you guys these books, but I thought it would be helpful to have the links to the book info)
Third, I studied the photos of better photographers and tried to “recreate” the things that I liked of theirs. My sister, Andrea, has been an inspiration and a help to me all along my “journey.” Right now, I’m loving the things I learn each week at I Heart Faces.
As for my favorite lenses (and camera), I have tried a bunch of lenses and really believe my true “favorite” is still out there to be found. But right now, I have a Canon 40D with a 50mm f/1.8, a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8, and a Canon 70-200mm f/4L. I like each of them for different reasons. The 50mm is a classic. Small and light, large aperture, great for portraits. I use my 18-50mm the most because it is relatively versatile and still has a nice large aperture. The 70-200mm takes the most stunning pictures because it is a pro lens, BUT it is MUCH harder to use. It’s big and heavy, which means that it’s tough to keep it steady enough to get a crisp shot without a tripod. It’s also hard to use indoors without a flash and fast shutter speed. But outside, it’s a beauty. I also love my Speedlight 430 EX flash.
I would love to answer more of your questions in future Foto Fridays! Please email me at lollislife at gmail .com. And now for those books!
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