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episode 58

A Message For Beginners

Hey everyone! This is Jordan from Sleeklens.com, welcome to another episode of the Sleeklens Photography Podcast. This one is going to be a little bit different from the ones that we’ve done in the past. This is all based on about 15 to 20 emails and messages that I’ve read on our various boards and comment sections about people, more or less photographers, struggling to learn the basics of photography, learning the basics of editing, getting fed up with not being able to understand certain things; and there’s been a few emails that came in about that, particularly where a lot of people are just fed up. They’re very frustrated because they learn a new technique, maybe watching a YouTube video or something like that, and they go out and try to produce something using that technique and they can’t figure out. It doesn’t come out the way that they thought it would, that was displayed on whatever they were learning, so they’re very frustrated.

So, obviously, I’m not able to help everyone with everyone specific situation what’s going on, but I do want to go over three things that happened in the beginning of my photography career, to show you how ridiculous and stupid you can be when it comes to trying to learn new things, especially some of the beginnings of when I had my first camera and I was trying to figure out certain settings and I found out that there was a setting, the turn of the aperture. I didn’t know what it was, but I thought it, though it did something that really didn’t do. That I thought I want to look at the photos like ‘oh wow, that actually worked’ and I’ll get into that in just second, but actually I’m going to share three of the mishaps, or three of the things that I’ve done – not necessarily wrong – but things that I’ve learned from starting my photography career.

This is just meant to help the beginners out there understand that everyone starts as a beginner. I don’t care if they’re the most famous photographer out there now; putting photography and you noted in this aspect. It’s photography but is not even photography as a specific situation, but you know any artist any, any person out there who started something they always were beginners in the very beginning. That’s what the moral meaning of it. They were beginners; the famous painters out there, they were beginners at some point they painted probably weird stick figures and now they can do photorealism.

It’s all kinds of fun stuff like that, that really gets people in into the mindset of hate. They should be doing more than they should be now, but will get into that just second so I want to go over three the things that happen in my photography career, that I looking back now, that was really, really ridiculous.

Experience #1

Okay so the first one is actually going to be the situation that is kinda mentioned and that is aperture. I had my first camera. It was a Sony 8200. So a very old entry-level DSLR camera and it was a great camera, actually, wish I had one right now decide I can have like a souvenir in a way, but it was really a great camera and I started to learn manual. I started to play with manual settings and figuring out what, you know, what certain things did.

I knew what ISO was sort of. I didn’t know necessarily had understood aperture, but I thought; shutter speed was sort of easy to understand. And so, going down the road I was actually traveling with my father and we were going on like a little photo trip together, and I remember this distinctly where I was riding in the passenger seat and I took my camera out in manual mode and I started playing with the settings. And so, I noticed that the settings I had; currently I was taking a picture in the sky was blown out. It was completely blown out, and I was like ‘how do you get a photo where you can get the sky not blown out’, and I was playing around with settings and it turned out what I did is I had a lower aperture number so always leave the scene was brighter for what the other settings that I had, and so was like ‘let me change this, this, this 00 number, zero Aperture number’ – whatever was – let me change is aperture number to a higher number to see what happened. So, I changed it to I think f/18 or /f22 – to one of the highest of ago on the lens – and when I took a photo I was like ‘whoa! there’s the sky, it’s not blown out anymore’. That’s awesome; so what I didn’t realize everything else was completely dark, but I exposed basically for the sky, changing my aperture darkening the whole scene.

And so, when I went out to take a couple of photos after that, I kept the settings the way it was. When I wanted to go take photos, I put the camera on top of my tripod and I took a photo, and everything else was completely, completely black; or the whole foreground is black, but the sky was what I wanted. So then, I’d figure out ‘okay, what does that all mean’, and I did never figured out from what I remember that trip. I still was very confused on that trip. Wondering why I couldn’t get one thing exposed right and the others exposed right.

So I end up learning, obviously, what that was, but that was kind of a funny little thing that now looking back was a kind of a learning curve I guess.

Experience #2

So, obviously you can tell that I was really stupid when it came to the learning the manual settings on my camera; but nouns can talk about another one that happened, and this one was, not necessarily a learning experience but it did make me think about my future purchases when looking at gear so this one was. I had had a cheap kit lens that came with my camera. It was actually my Canon T2i, which I bought after my Sony and I had the kit lens, the 18-55 kit lens, and it was a version 2 but still is a very cheap kit lens, and honestly those kit lenses is pretty decent when I was actually really, really nice images starting out using that, and I always preach to people who who are thinking about upgrading gear, get super comfortable with your kit gear first because that will that’ll get you learning many different things; and then once you get your nice gear, your nicer lenses and all, I can you get all kinds of fun gear you’re able to really appreciate that much more.

But so, I have my kit lens on my camera and I don’t, I don’t remember exactly what happened but, somehow, I think I either had a Manfrotto tripod and I think I twisted the plate on the bottom. It said for the lens to point forward; my mount plate was actually reversed. So, when I went to put on my tripod it fell forward, and my lens just smacks the floor. It broke my lens, and I was actually planning on going to take some photos of the wedding that I was quote-unquote hired to do and, I didn’t have a kit lens, a variable aperture or variable zoom kit lens – I think I just had a prime at that point. Hence, I had to figure out what I needed.

I went on eBay and ordered the cheapest 18-55 Canon lens, because of the time I didn’t really know exist exactly what gear I needed, so I went with the cheapest kit lens. I think it was like the very first 18-55 that they ever made, and that was a very, very bad decision because I looked at the cheapest price found lens got shipped to me and it was garbage. No matter what I could do. The lens, it just was not sharp; and think I did have to apply so much sharpening in Lightroom that it almost ruined the images just to get some sort of sharpness there. And I felt really bad about using that lens for the wedding that I had to go to, but that was really all I had on a setting to pay that much for the wedding so it really affects me that much, but so that was that. That was a fun little learning experience of even if you’re in a crunch time just to pay attention to the gear. Just because it’s the lowest price and in it, you can get it in time and all I can stuff doesn’t mean that you know obviously it’ll probably be one of the lenses. One of the pieces of gear that you keep for the longest time.

Experience #3

Alright, so this last scenario is kind of a funny one. I was actually hired when it comes to doing jobs that I tried to take in the very beginning; I was actually trying to take whatever job I can get to make a couple of bucks here and there using my photography skills. And I majorly quote-unquote say photography skills that I didn’t have a lot at that point. But it was hard to do; I guess would be cool called a knitting show knitting I got they would. They knit sweaters and all that kind of stuff. They hired me to do two days of work; and what that was basically walking around a convention and getting candid photos of people shopping at vendor booths and stuff like that.

That was the first day that was maybe about two hours or three hours of work, and then the next night, actually, was when they had this kind of like runway show – the kind of fashion show, showing off these cool knitted things. I never even knew this world existed but I told him I would be able to take the runway shots. And so, what I did was I showed up that night, and I knew that it was can be very dark in the room – that was given – and I knew that I would probably need some sort of shallow depth of field because there’s a lot of people in the background and I just wanted to concentrate on the model.

So, I think the only lens that I brought was my 50 prime – my nifty-50 – so that obviously I wasn’t thinking, but it encountered a couple of things when I got to the place because the seat that I had was very close to the stage, and it was 50mm – that zoomed in a little bit, so I need to be farther back.

That was one issue, but also the other issue that I had was that I needed light. I need more light, and even though I was maybe shooting at f/1.8 because that’s the lowest that the nifty-50 could go I still needed more light; and plus I didn’t really want to shoot at the average f/1.8 because I knew that if I missed focus, the person was gonna be a focus very, very easily. So I used a flash; I used not pop-up flash, but I used the external Speedlight that I had, that I just put on my hot shoe, and I tried not knowing – again this is all beginner mistakes. I was trying to balance the flash off of maybe a 25-foot ceiling that was not white. I think it was like a gold – maybe a gray and gold color mix are something like that. If I remember correctly it wasn’t a pure white ceiling. So anytime I bounce the light off there, if it didn’t make it to the model when it bounced off the ceiling, it fell down to that to the stage. It was, it barely covered the person and it was also weird colors, all weird color cast.  So, I do make the decision of not using my flash at all; and that really, really hurt because I had to be spot on with my focus, and also I had to underexpose my images in my camera little bit to get a fast enough shutter speed.

And so, it was a lot of hoping and praying that I got some images right. When I got back the next day, I think I had maybe 200 images of these different people walking on the stage. Thankfully, that in use, I think the only used one image at both days of coverage that I had for first small little magazine part that was put in there. They did give me credit, which was nice, but they only use one image and it wasn’t any of the runway. So now I’m thinking of that was my fault, or if that was just because they didn’t want to use those for that purpose but; that was a very good learning experience of, you know, being prepared for any situation as best as possible. I obviously was not prepared for that. I did not have the right gear for that. I don’t have the right skills for that, and thankfully I was able to make a few bucks here and there to kind of get me going in that direction, but I still need a lot more training and learning to go when it came to all that.

Conclusion

So there you go. Those are some of its three different scenarios where that when I was beginning to learn photography. I had something weird, weird situations that I put myself in; thankfully they worked out okay but I wanted to share this with you for those beginners out there who are struggling to learn any kind of editing technique using your camera in certain ways, new gear, I mean I’m still learning flash photography. Now there’s a lot of different techniques that I’m learning, especially with new gear than trying to get in and play with and see how that works compared to old gear; and you know, there’s a lot of learning. I mean, even the masters out there I think are still learning. So that’s just a little, a little inspiration for you out there if you’re trying to get in there and learn as much you can.

Take your time; there’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to understand. But once you get there, it’s almost like a click – here, that instant, a click in your mind and you’re really ready to go to again.

Thank you join me in this fun little podcast assuring these weird stories and kind of embarrassing myself. This is Jordan from Sleeklens, and see you next time!

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