New camera, now what?

calder12
calder12
Senior MemberPosts: 13,303 in Photography
So my wife bought me a Rebel SL1 for Christmas. I've always wanted to learn photography, and now have a decent camera, so I'm just curious if you guys have any advice or resources for learning.

It came with the standard 18-55mm lens. I need a bag at least, what are the basic lenses that people start with? Is there a good beginner online resource that anyone recommends for learning what all the settings are and how to use them?

I thought there was a stickied thread like this but apparently I was wrong.

Any advice/help appreciated!

Comments

  • Sherbs
    Sherbs
    Oo-ee-oo Posts: 2,948
    Try getting into using Manual mode asap. Using light is probably the most important part of photography. Learn to balance, ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture and you're half way there. That kit lens will do you well for a bit! Are you looking at telephoto or macro photography?
  • moz
    moz
    The 1970sPosts: 6,587 edited December 2016
    Get a nifty fifty (50mm prime lens - doesn't cost much). Good depth of field with f/1.8. Legs = Zoom. Gets (and keeps) you creative/fit.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,616
    I'd get a tripod before any new lenses. A good tripod + ball head. It might seem strange to get a tripod that costs more than your camera but it's worthwhile.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    Agree with all of the above.

    I have a very old 40D and haven't used anything on it other then the standard 18-55mm lens.
    That's just broken on me and i've borrowed a prime 50mm lens it's pretty damn good, smaller and more mobile. It's made me think differently about the shot by having to move myself. Well worth it but the standard lens will get you far as it depends on what you want to photograph.

    +1 for Manual mode, don't take it off, learn each dial or what changes you need to make.
    Turn iso to auto for now, learn what f-stop does if you don't already know and then learn the shutter speed. Should be able to walk into a room/scene and get those two pretty close to what you need, so you can then start messing with White balance and iso.

    I have a pintrest with tips n tutorials for starting out, its handy to go back to .
    settings reference example

    You tube is awesome for the basic stuff too. hard to beat practical experience though.

    Most of all just have fun.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,616
    I must disagree with spending much time in manual mode learning to guesstimate exposure. Your camera's meter is way better than your eyes, and you're better off learning how that meter works. You can certainly deviate from the camera's meter using the exposure compensation feature, but think of the meter as the expert (because it is expert at this).
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894 edited December 2016
    That's not how I see manual mode at all mate.
    The problem with automatic modes is they leave no need to learn whats happening in the camera at all and that is extremely important when it comes to learning the trade and being able to adjust on the fly rather than trying to understand why your camera is making specific choices you don't want in the middle of shooting something.

    You still have an exposure meter that you can see move as you make adjustments.

    What if you need to adjust for an overly bright or dark situation? Otherwise the camera forces you to go down a specific path that you may not understand why if you have never had any need to learn.
    May as well just get an iphone and use that instead.

    Doesn't mean you can't use aperture priority mode or that you shouldn't, just means if you start out in manual you are forced to learn what is happening or how to shoot a moving object in a dark room and being able to decide how to compensate rather than only having one choice.

    Creative control.
    The meter is the expert until you are.
  • moz
    moz
    The 1970sPosts: 6,587
    ^ Yup. I started off using Aperture priority mode but when I started to use manual I was able to really get creative with lighting. It helped me compose a great scene, taking a bit of time instead of snapping a good scene and walking on.

    Understanding how you can control light with your camera (rather than letting light control your camera) is something which takes a little time to master but the results can be astonishing/dramatic - experimenting is how you make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes can knock your socks off.
  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,303
    Thanks guys! I already have a decent tripod, a Velbon Sherpa 250 I bought years ago. I appreciate the advice on manual mode too, it fits my way of thinking. Even with my code I've always wanted to know how things work, not just that they do. So it sounds like manual mode for my playing (and auto mode for taking things like Christmas pictures that my wife will kill me if I screw up!)

    @Sherbs I want to play with macro photography a bit but I'm not sure if there is a specialty I want to pursue just yet. I always liked old buildings and interesting architecture, and since those don't move I thought that would be a good place to start.
  • Sherbs
    Sherbs
    Oo-ee-oo Posts: 2,948 edited December 2016
    You can use Av or Aperture priority mode as an inbetween for Auto and Manual. I use it like semi-auto.
  • David
    David
    Keeping Tom Happy Posts: 12,895
    I switch between aperture and shutter speed priority mode depending on what I'm shooting - I'll only revert back to manual when I want to purposely over expose or catch light trails - otherwise let the camera do its job
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,616
    Bishop wrote: »
    Doesn't mean you can't use aperture priority mode or that you shouldn't, just means if you start out in manual you are forced to learn what is happening or how to shoot a moving object in a dark room and being able to decide how to compensate rather than only having one choice.

    I don't understand this "only having one choice" characterization. You have no more choices going full manual than I do using aperture (or shutter speed) priority + exposure compensation.
  • moz
    moz
    The 1970sPosts: 6,587 edited December 2016
    calder12 wrote: »
    @Sherbs I want to play with macro photography a bit but I'm not sure if there is a specialty I want to pursue just yet. I always liked old buildings and interesting architecture, and since those don't move I thought that would be a good place to start.

    I don't know if you recall but I do some macro photography and started a thread about it some time back:

    Macro Photography

    I have two Raynox adaptors which fit on the end of your lens; you may need an step down ring which clips into the end of your own lens (they're cheap enough and you can pick one up on eBay).

    Hopefully you'll find some useful tips there.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894

    I don't understand this "only having one choice" characterization. You have no more choices going full manual than I do using aperture (or shutter speed) priority + exposure compensation.

    One choice of shutter vs DoF. Shutter compensation does in effect the same thing, however it's less control and again, doesn't help you understand why the camera is making these changes.
    Exposure compensation doesn't work in manual because you make the changes yourself. ( At least on my old beast )
    There is also a limit to what exposure compensation can do it only goes so many stops. Don't think I am claiming manual is superior to any other method. you said manual was guessing, I am saying learn to use manual so you don't guess. Chuck yourself in the deep end so to speak.

    I think you should learn both manual and auto priority, in fact a lot professionals I know and have talked to online use Aperture priority majority of the time and manual the rest.. They all recommended that I start in manual mode to learn the camera settings. I used that advice, it helped me, I am passing that on.You don't agree, there isn't much else to it.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,616
    Bishop wrote: »
    They all recommended that I start in manual mode to learn the camera settings. I used that advice, it helped me, I am passing that on.You don't agree, there isn't much else to it.

    But it's still a useful discussion. I'm in no position to say "my way definitely is better" but I will argue the merits of using the meter, even in the learning phase.
  • Bishop
    Bishop
    Eating out. Posts: 6,894
    I would agree, maybe better to say then rather than use the manual mode, instead, don't be afraid of the manual mode and have a go.
  • handcraftedweb
    handcraftedweb
    thought leader Left coastPosts: 6,616
    Ok, regardless of the technique you use to get to the exposure that works for you Calder, this is one of the great intros to the subject of exposure and the technical side of photography in general:

    https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-3rd-Photographs-Camera/dp/0817439390
  • moz
    moz
    The 1970sPosts: 6,587 edited December 2016
    I learnt a ton about photography (in particular lighting etc) from this youtube channel:

    Dom Bower Photography

    When he started it he really concentrated on photography but I suppose there's only so much you can say about a specific subject (when you've covered metering/lighting/flash etc you've covered it) so his later videos are more about reviews and critiques etc.

    There are a few videos where he explains how he does property shoots (part of his business) which have some good tips, such as tilting mirrors by placing a small object behind it on one side (or opening windows slightly) to hide your reflection.

    Well worth a trawl.
  • calder12
    calder12
    Senior Member Posts: 13,303
    Thanks guys, I really do want to learn to control light better. Last night was a good example, went to the Niagara Falls festival of lights and a lot of the shots turned rather rough, mainly because I had no idea how to adjust for bright lights and dark backgrounds.
  • Nilbrain
    Nilbrain
    Hey, I am curious too to learn about Photography well. However, for me I took few gorgeous picture and share it within my friend circle to get feedback how they look like? I think you should do that if you want to learn actually. In this way they could be able to catch what's you did wrong while taking the shot.
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