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11/09/2009 05:48:21 PM · #1
I would like a mentor (or two). I am getting frustrated, discouraged, and could use some friendly guidance. I just don't feel like I have the 'eye' and I'm hoping that it's a skill I can develop with time and practice. I am looking for someone who can help me improve my picture-taking technique, as well as with processing the photos in CS4. I spend an hour in CS4 on an entry before I give it up and just submit it, whether it's good or not. I don't really know what I'm doing, and my scores suffer for it.

I am mostly looking to send 1-3 photos a week to someone to have them give me their opinion on them, both on the subject matter and processing suggestions. I am open to suggestions on websites/articles to read regarding the area(s) I'm not doing so well in. I am working my way through 'Digital SLRs and Photography for Dummies' book, as well as being subscribed to a few photography websites through an RSS feeder. I am working to keep myself from being overwhelmed with so much new information, and I think having an experienced photographer would help me to focus (no pun intended) on a few specific things to improve on and go from there.

My preferences for subjects are landscape, animals (domestic and zoo creatures), candids (mainly my nearly two year old son, who is growing up way too fast) and macros. I don't think I have the skill to really take a good portrait right now, although I'd like to start taking more portraits of my son as he gets older.

I'm sure this was a lot to read, and thanks in advance for your consideration.
11/09/2009 05:52:03 PM · #2
I'll help for a while. I hope you don't mind honesty. :) Because I can be quite honest.
11/09/2009 05:56:23 PM · #3
Well you have a good camera and thats just a start. Experience is key, editing software takes time to learn, just don't worry about that stuff yet until you get the main photography fundamentals down, like the politically correct ways to take a photo, whether landscape or portraits, etc. Also, learn from others.
11/09/2009 05:59:25 PM · #4
You can take a look at my page and see if you'd want advice from me. I'd be happy to help you as much as I can.
11/09/2009 06:51:42 PM · #5
I have found a number of books to be very useful in helping me think about visual design when making images. This is a very different topic than the mechanics of photography (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, strobes, etc.).

One of the best is "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman. In addition to covering the elements of design, he includes quite a few images in which he shows a handful of variations and discusses why he ends up liking one in particular. Another that I found useful is "Designing a Photograph: Visual Techniques for Making your Photographs Work" by Bill Smith. A bit denser and a lot more work to read is "The Photograph: Composition and Color Design" by Harald Mante. I wouldn't recommend this unless you get a lot out of the first two books.

I recognize that not everyone learns the same, but I know that these resources really helped me. Check your library, or browse in a bookstore to see if any of these might fit your style. They might be a good supplement to individual image review. At the very least, they have a lot of good images to enjoy.
11/09/2009 06:58:42 PM · #6
I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.
11/09/2009 07:00:56 PM · #7
I also don't mind sharing a few opinions and ideas with you each week. Count me in if you still want some honest eyes.
11/09/2009 07:04:41 PM · #8
Originally posted by Tammster:

I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.


In your opinion, if I tried to reproduce a great image on here for practice, do you think the original photographer would be more likely to be flattered, or offended? It wouldn't be something I'd submit for a challenge, of course (unless the challenge called for it). :)
11/09/2009 07:09:02 PM · #9
Originally posted by Tammster:

I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.


I'll take Tammy's comment further...take a challenge and make comments...THAT has really sharpened my eye...
11/09/2009 07:16:58 PM · #10
Originally posted by Ja-9:

...take a challenge and make comments...THAT has really sharpened my eye...


YES! When I first joined this site (this past April) I was very hesitant to post comments; I thought that I couldn't possible know something that these amazing photographers don't know. However, I realized that even the best of members on here like feedback on their shots. Not critisism but constructive feedback/opinions. If you think a picture is too dark, say so. When I comment, I always try to say something like "I think the top corner is slightly too dark" or "I'd like to see how this shot looks a little lighter" instead of "It's too dark".
11/09/2009 07:18:46 PM · #11
Originally posted by Ja-9:


I'll take Tammy's comment further...take a challenge and make comments...THAT has really sharpened my eye...

Very wise advise from my friend Janice! Where did I hear that advise before?? ;-)
11/09/2009 07:42:20 PM · #12
Originally posted by ahjenny:

Originally posted by Tammster:

I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.


In your opinion, if I tried to reproduce a great image on here for practice, do you think the original photographer would be more likely to be flattered, or offended? It wouldn't be something I'd submit for a challenge, of course (unless the challenge called for it). :)


Can't speak for anyone else, but if anyone tried to reproduce my images I would definitely be flattered, even if they submitted it for a challenge (unless they scored better than me in which case I would pout :) ).
11/09/2009 07:49:17 PM · #13
Originally posted by ahjenny:

Originally posted by Tammster:

I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.


In your opinion, if I tried to reproduce a great image on here for practice, do you think the original photographer would be more likely to be flattered, or offended? It wouldn't be something I'd submit for a challenge, of course (unless the challenge called for it). :)


I am sure they wouldn't be offended at all. I wouldn't be if someone tried to copy one of my efforts.. In fact they sometimes have a `deja vu ` challenge on here where you are encouraged to replicate images found on here. It is a great way of learning - lets face it, most of my stuff is ripped off from somewhere or another.
11/09/2009 07:51:11 PM · #14
Originally posted by ahjenny:

Originally posted by Tammster:

I have read tons of blogs, books & magazines... listened to podcasts, watched YouTube videos & tutorials.... BUT, what has helped me the most by far is looking at pictures on this website.

If you can identify what you like in a picture (and what you don't like) you will find it much easier to grow as a photographer. Look at comments people make (on your pictures and on other people's) because most of the time they're trying to help, even though it seems like critisism, it's usually not meant to be.

Just voting in the Free Study challenges each month is a huge learning aid to me, every single month.


In your opinion, if I tried to reproduce a great image on here for practice, do you think the original photographer would be more likely to be flattered, or offended? It wouldn't be something I'd submit for a challenge, of course (unless the challenge called for it). :)


Why reproduce? Tammster specifically said "identify what you like." Not the concept or content of the image, but the specific things that make it great. Don't copy an image, learn from others' technique. Don't copy Judi or pawdrix's styles, but see what in each photographer's technique makes the image great.

For post-processing help, you could just upload a well-composed but somewhat bland image to see what others can do, and ask your favorite to help you with the technique. Make sure you mention in the original post that you're looking for actual technique help, not just a pretty-fied image :)

Message edited by author 2009-11-09 19:56:08.
11/09/2009 07:52:26 PM · #15
Another plug here for commenting as a learning tool. Just be diplomatic (but honest) in the wording of your critiques.

I'm not a high scoring ribbon hog, but I'd be happy to help. I've made the offer to some others (several who previously posted in this thread) and we often do mutual pre-challenge critiques, agreeing not to vote on the others entry. I've realized that this friendly but blunt feedback is also one of the most powerful learning experiences to be had on this site.

Don't worry about imitating someone else's entry. Just look at the number of tilted wine glasses in the tilt challenge right now!

Message edited by author 2009-11-09 19:53:24.
11/09/2009 08:12:47 PM · #16
Originally posted by Covert_Oddity:



In your opinion, if I tried to reproduce a great image on here for practice, do you think the original photographer would be more likely to be flattered, or offended? It wouldn't be something I'd submit for a challenge, of course (unless the challenge called for it). :)


Can't speak for anyone else, but if anyone tried to reproduce my images I would definitely be flattered, even if they submitted it for a challenge (unless they scored better than me in which case I would pout :) ). [/quote]

Yeah, that's about it. I agree. And I left you a comment on one of your images (Window View, I think).
11/09/2009 09:53:36 PM · #17
Originally posted by bassbone:

Originally posted by Ja-9:


I'll take Tammy's comment further...take a challenge and make comments...THAT has really sharpened my eye...

Very wise advise from my friend Janice! Where did I hear that advise before?? ;-)


hmmmm............. I don't know...Who could have ever said that....
11/09/2009 10:28:08 PM · #18
i'm anything but a pro at this but if youd like someone to look at photos as you take them and send you comments/remarks/etc id be more than willing to do that. i wouldnt go so far as to call me a mentor im certainly not good enough for that but i enjoy looking at other peoples photos and commenting on them.
11/09/2009 10:41:10 PM · #19
Originally posted by ahjenny:

I would like a mentor (or two). I am getting frustrated, discouraged, and could use some friendly guidance. I just don't feel like I have the 'eye' and I'm hoping that it's a skill I can develop with time and practice. I am looking for someone who can help me improve my picture-taking technique, as well as with processing the photos in CS4. I spend an hour in CS4 on an entry before I give it up and just submit it, whether it's good or not. I don't really know what I'm doing, and my scores suffer for it.

I am mostly looking to send 1-3 photos a week to someone to have them give me their opinion on them, both on the subject matter and processing suggestions. I am open to suggestions on websites/articles to read regarding the area(s) I'm not doing so well in. I am working my way through 'Digital SLRs and Photography for Dummies' book, as well as being subscribed to a few photography websites through an RSS feeder. I am working to keep myself from being overwhelmed with so much new information, and I think having an experienced photographer would help me to focus (no pun intended) on a few specific things to improve on and go from there.

My preferences for subjects are landscape, animals (domestic and zoo creatures), candids (mainly my nearly two year old son, who is growing up way too fast) and macros. I don't think I have the skill to really take a good portrait right now, although I'd like to start taking more portraits of my son as he gets older.

I'm sure this was a lot to read, and thanks in advance for your consideration.


.
.
.

I'd be glad to help. I started with hardly any camera knowledge when I joined this site... If it interests you, I started a thread where people have posted pics that they have included setup pics for, so you can learn from them.
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SETUP-Pics-Thread
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and as far as 'coppying' someone elses's image, it's a great way to learn, but try and make it your own by making it fit the challenge, and be sure to give them credit in the description =)

just as an example, here is a picture by 21.gif eyewave
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Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_668800.jpg
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he included a full tutorial, and I studdied it very carefully and re-did it for the Numbers challenge,
it was one of my first ribbons:
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Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_720813.jpg
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and I also included a little turotial...
as time went on, I learned more and more, so when the Language challenge came up, I re-did it again (much better second time around)
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Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_775598.jpg
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there's nothing wring with using ideas from other photos =) just give them some credit =)

I would LOVE to see that someone else took a photo using info from my setup pics!

.
Let me know if I can offer you any help! You can always pop your pics up on Flickr,,, me, and many other DPC members are on there... add us as friends and we can give you some comments/tips there...

Good Luck!!!

,

Message edited by author 2009-11-09 22:42:06.
11/13/2009 07:36:58 PM · #20
I just wanted to update this: I will be responding to replies more in-depth, probably on Sunday. My kiddo caught a cold/the flu on Wednesday (middle of my weekend), and my doctor thinks I have the swine flu now. I feel like I've been run over by a MACK truck. I appreciate all the reponses I've received!
11/15/2009 06:55:14 PM · #21
Jenny, I too am new and learning. Personally I learn best with a very explicit instructive book. I found a series by Tom Ang that I truly love and that doesn\'t assume you know what you are doing. The setup of the book is as follows. He addresses a topic whether it be focus or DOF or lighting or whatever. does a thorough discussion on various techniques and then instead of showing you how he, the master, does it he has three or four of his students conduct projects using the techniques and then discusses the pluses and minuses of their attempts with earnest evaluation and tip for improvement. I think there is great value in that vice having a seasoned professional take the \"perfect\" picture then tell me in technical terms what he did. Not to mention the book is exciting vibrant and well laid out. it\'s carried at all the major bookstore
cost: $30.00
Title: Digital Photography Master Class
Subtitle: \"Advanced Photographic and Image Manipulation Techniques for Creating Perfect Pictures\"
Author: Tom Ang
Publisher: DK Publishing, 375 Hudson Street, NYC, NY 10014
ISBN:978-0-7566-3672-2

Jim

Message edited by author 2009-11-15 18:57:14.
11/15/2009 07:45:05 PM · #22
Here is a link with some reading that might help a bit link

Message edited by author 2009-11-15 19:45:25.
11/16/2009 11:49:22 AM · #23
Hi Jenny,
One thing that would be very important, is to associate with a friend that also does photography (if possible).
The learning curve is a lot quicker.
Me and a friend from work found a common interest in photo, and since a year ago we've been improving steadily.
We comment on each other's photos not in the manner "I could do better", but "You could do better". So we're not offended, because even harsh critiques sometimes makes us think, and the more objective the better.

Also, as mentioned here, copying other works is one way of learning. In most disciplines we're encouraged to do as the "master" does it, by mimicking and (sometimes) improving it. Know the basics so you can do your own thing.
Anybody should be flattered to have their idea reproduced, and even if your photo turns out better, than those people should learn from it :)
It's friendly interaction.

Cheers,
Joao
11/16/2009 11:59:11 AM · #24
I've been looking really hard around my parts for a photog that I can shadow on a few shoots. Just something to up my comfort level, and also just to learn some new techniques and managing models.
11/16/2009 01:19:42 PM · #25
Originally posted by ahjenny:

I just wanted to update this: I will be responding to replies more in-depth, probably on Sunday. My kiddo caught a cold/the flu on Wednesday (middle of my weekend), and my doctor thinks I have the swine flu now. I feel like I've been run over by a MACK truck. I appreciate all the reponses I've received!


Life definitely comes first. There is no time limit on my offer. Take your time and shoot as many ideas and questions that you have over.
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