(Closed) Photography as a Hobby? (New camera for Xmas, not sure where to start)

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
575 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am actually the opposite, I want a new camera but decided to get familiar with my old camera first. Pinterest has been quite helpful for me!!

Post # 4
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I got a nice camera for Christmas as well and have been trying to muddle my way through it 🙂

These two blogs have been helpful for me.






Some of the information is slightly contradictory–like preference of aperture and shooting speed, but I think this is a personal choice that you can decide as you play around.


Both these blogs use easy to understand language and give examples. I feel like I’m starting to understand my camera 🙂  The Kevin and Amanda posts oyu have to find the photography ones, but there’s quite a few good ones if you search for them.  They also blog about other stuff, so check the tags and such.

Post # 5
6889 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Ask your Darling Husband where he bought them, I know for where I purchase my camera/lens they offer free classes when you purchase camera/lens that give you lessons on how to use the products. 

Post # 6
280 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am in the same position as you!  I purchased a used Olympus DSLR in November but I haven’t had a chance to figure it out yet.  I’ve researched the camera and I’m very excited about it, but for me I need the structure of a class setting so I’ve been keeping an eye open for classes in my area.  I’m going to start with a basic intro class for DSLRs and go from there.  I also purchased a couple of books on Amazon that helps you understand the settings and what configurations the pros use to get specific shots.  Reading the books have been a blast, but I don’t know if I’ll actually retain the info when it comes to shooting lol.  Luckily the guy I purchased the camera from had a ton of accessories including lenses, as he used it when he was starting his photography business but has since upgraded to a higher-end camera.  I have everything I need to start, I just haven’t found the time to do it.

Post # 7
128 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I just finished a photography class at my college.  If you can afford it, do it.  It’s not so much about learning your camera, though of course they cover that, but the assignments really help force you to start looking at things. That may sound insane but how you look is important since the pictures you take will be for looking at… I think i’m rambling and missing my own point.

 Learn the basics about ISO, shutter speed and what have you and simply carry your camera everywhere.  Like, don’t even put it down.  Take hundreds of pictures.  I read a quote one day from a potographer that said he took hundreds of pictures in one trip and 3 of them were any good.  

The one thing i really learned to take from my class that i hadn’t been doing at all was to always shoot in color.  I love black and white, but black and white is better when it is altered color by color in a program like photoshop then when it is shot directly from the camera.

Oh, and for those long zooms, you’re likely gonna want some kind of tripod, but dont buy it until you learn your shooting style.  

Good luck, it’s a great hobby, and i have that same camera, it’s a great beginer. Just shoot everything and have a blast!

Post # 8
10363 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’d actually recommend Lightroom or Aperture (Apple only) instead of Photoshop. Photoshop has way more than you need for photo editing, and can’t handle RAW format photos like Lightroom can. (Oh, step 1: only shoot in RAW! Pretend like your camera doesn’t have a JPEG setting!).

Most places i’ve lived, there have been good beginner photography classes through local community college or art schools. Usually don’t cost that much and are on the weekend/evening. Depending on where you live, camera stores like Adorama or Calumet also give these types of classes.

Also, if the lens is returnable, i’d really recommend not using a cheap kit zoom lens. They don’t have good aperture ranges, and are not crisp like more expensive lenses. Zooming is never as good as getting closer to your subject. I’d buy a “nifty fifty” 50mm lens – even the cheapest 50mm Canon lens will out perform and really allow you to learn how to use the camera better. In my kit, I have 17-40mm (landscape lens), 24mm, 50mm, 100mm and 70-200mm lenses. All of these lenses have the option to go wide open with the aperture for shallow depth of field/low light situations, and all are very high quality, sharp lenses.

Post # 9
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I went through the same process (considered the same camera!) for my husband for Christmas.

I bought him a book on Amazon called Beyond Snapshots, and I coordinated with our parents so they both bought him lessons at a local photography shop. The lessons start out with the super easy basics and build from there onto more advanced concepts.

Honestly, it seems there’s no easy way to learn everything your camera can do. Read the manual, read a good book about it, and practice ALL THE TIME. There are blogs, classes to take, etc – it just takes familiarity!

Oh, and Stanford University has their photography course online for free!

Post # 11
7131 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

First things first, you need to know about ISO, shutter speed, aperature, and how they relate to each other. I suggest you should get the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. 

Taking a photography class doesn’t do much until you really know how to work your camera and WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Getting an assignement to shoot something is great, but if you can’t execute it with your technical skills, it’s really not doing you much good. Shooting on auto doesn’t count. You should be able to shoot manual choosing all your settings. Read the book, study, and practice. Just remember, it takes time. 🙂

Post # 12
60 posts
Worker bee

I have been doing photography for about two years now and have done 3 paid photoshoots. One for a friends daughter and two for my sisters sports teams. 

Pinterest is great for learning small things and for getting ideas. It is frequently my inspiration “go to”. 

The most helpful thing I have done is read my user manual that came with my camera. It is so important to understand the F-stop, ISO, etc. Those are things you will need to learn how to adjust. It is also important for you to learn the settings such as portrait, landscape, TV, etc.

The best thing to do to improve the quality of your photos is practice practice practice! It’s okay to offer to do a few free photo shoots because then you can take lots of pictures and practice editing them. Those have been so beneficial because it’s practice without the pressure. 

I use photoshop elements to edit my photos but I also like photo monkey which is a free online site. I think you should pick one and really work on learning it and then have something simple to accompany it. 


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