flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
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New Photographer: Need Help!

Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:08 am

Hello,

I just want to say that I really respect you guys who take these great shots on here, you do some fantastic work!

Now to me, I am just starting out with really trying to get good photos, and hopefully one day, they'll make the cut. My best ones are on the thumbnails. I currently use a Kodak Z650, which is what was used on these. I also have PS. I need all the advise you can give me from photography, to editing, to technique. Anything you can tell me. I do know that these are bad shots.




Thanks
Shelby
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dlowwa
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:15 am

I'll be blunt, in anything other than ideal conditions your camera isn't going to be good enough for today's standards. You have a compact sensor in a compact super-zoom body that's going on five years old. The lack of quality in your examples is compounded by the fact that you were shooting through glass in poor light, almost the opposite of ideal conditions. My advice at this point will be short - if this is all you have to work with, get as close to the aircraft as possible (i.e. no windows between you) and only have hope on clear sunny days. Anything else will be a write-off. If you have the means, avail your self of a cheap, used DSLR (they can easily be found for only a few hundred dollars, no need to drop a ton of cash on a new high-end camera), which will instantly increase your potential for quality. Notice I said potential - you'll still need to learn proper photography techniques to get the most out of it. Beyond that, Photoshop is not going to save you at this point.

Dana
 
tguman
Posts: 380
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:19 pm

Quoting flinhion757 (Thread starter):
Kodak Z650

I used to shoot with a z650, it was and is a nice camera for personal shooting. Its also a great camera for starting to learn photography techniques like changing apertures, shutter times, ISO settings, and seeing what the different results are. My suggestion is to stay with the camera for the time being and go out and have fun taking pictures of airplanes, but don't bother trying to upload here, as dlowwa mentions above. Don't take it personally, its just the standards of the site.

Once you get the hang of taking great pictures of airplanes, then upgrade to a DSLR. Once you do that read, reread, and reread the photoshop quide in the upload section of the website. Then, and only then would I suggest starting to upload.

For ten years I tried to upload to airliners.net. Finally in August I got two accepted. Now there are 6 in the database. I shoot with an Olympus E-620 which is a 4/3 sensor and is smaller than nikon or canon but is a significant step up from the Z650.

Again, take the time and practice shooting with your current camera, constantly look at the pictures on this site for ideas and angles that you might like and try to imitate, then try your own stuff.

TGUman
Life is a Mine Field.
 
flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:26 am

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:35 am

Quoting tguman (Reply 2):
changing apertures, shutter times, ISO settings

See, I don't know what that stuff means, that's what I am trying to learn.

Quoting tguman (Reply 2):
Don't take it personally, its just the standards of the site.

I totally understand and I appreciate her being blunt so that I don't try to upload and get pissed off at the screeners.

Quoting tguman (Reply 2):
Again, take the time and practice shooting with your current camera, constantly look at the pictures on this site for ideas and angles that you might like and try to imitate, then try your own stuff.

I see pictures in the database all the time where the back ground looks like my pictures (in quality) but the actual airplane is in such great detail. What do they do to accomplish that. I am

I am going to LAX for my annual "After-Christmas-Spotting-Trip" with someone who is letting me use their Canon Rebel XS with the EF 55-300mm. Anything I need to know for that?

Thanks so much for the advise!
Shelby
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megatop412
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:42 am

Well, looking at your thumbnails, you've definitely got the right idea. Those are excellent shots. Had you been holding that XS at the time, you might have gotten shots that would be upload-able.

I echo what the others have said. Put in some time with the camera and get to know the allmighty "exposure triangle". You are going to need to do some reading and teaching yourself the craft. A lot of people reccommend the book "Understanding Exposure". You don't have to read that one, but it is pretty good, or at least read something like that.

The briefest advise I can give you for your after-Xmas trip is to put that XS on Aperture-Priority mode, set the camera to f/8, put it on Auto White Balance and enjoy yourself a little. You already know about the importance of getting the subject into focus.

Forget about uploading, forget about this site and all its standards, completely. Just focus on getting what makes you excited about the aircraft into the viewfinder, then see if you like the "look" of your style. You'll have plenty of time to obsess about what everyone else on the site obsesses about later, like noise and sharpness.
 
JakTrax
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:05 pm

I don't think they are bad shots at all. The lightning isn't great and the glass is detrimental but under such circumstances DSLRs shooters would face the same problems. I've seen far worse form new folks, believe me.

Karl
 
tguman
Posts: 380
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2001 11:47 pm

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:23 pm

Quoting flinhion757 (Reply 3):
I see pictures in the database all the time where the back ground looks like my pictures (in quality) but the actual airplane is in such great detail. What do they do to accomplish that.

that has a lot to do with depth. With a larger sensor you can create a greater sense of depth in the picture. Another aspect is photoshop, sharpinning the aircraft while leaving the background soft.

Your picture of the southwest aircraft was framed perfectly for filling the whole image. When you have a DSLR and can perform crops you will want to leave yourself some room to adjust the level of the picture to make sure vertical lines are vertical.

Have fun at LAX!

TGUman
Life is a Mine Field.
 
waketurbulence
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:56 pm

The shots are actually not that bad. Here is a quick edit of the Southwest shot with noise reduction, some color correction, and light sharpening. I don't know if it would pass for Anet, but it looks a lot better than it did, but only because the original was sharp, level, and framed correctly.
http://img576.imageshack.us/img576/9948/editedtf.jpg
Good luck at LAX. Imperial Hill is the place to be in the winter time. Learn the basics of the XS and take multiple test shots with it before you go. Also, try to learn the relation between aperture - shutter speed - and ISO. They are extremely important to know how to manipulate if you want to learn how to take photos in different conditions. As others have said, a good starting point if it is sunny outside would be to put the camera in Av mode, set it to f/8 and try to get some sharp shots that fill most of the frame. Good luck.
-Matt
 
darreno1
Posts: 221
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:56 am

I was a point-and-shooter for a long while until I purchased my first DSLR (d40) a few years back. I was in your boat in terms of basic knowledge and the d40 being a good bit more complicated than the camera I had, forced me to learn the basics on my own. IMO, trial and error is probably the quickest way to get up to speed on the various settings and the effect they have on your photos.

If I were you I'd pick up an entry level DSLR (like mentioned above used ones are very affordable) and practice on your own with the various settings. For example, dim the lights in a room, then try to take a pic that's not too dark or too light but looks as close as possible to what you're seeing by manually adjusting everything yourself. You can start with trying different apertures then different shutter speeds, white balance and ISO numbers etc. Keep doing this in various conditions (like bright daylight, evening, night etc) and you'll be comfortable enough with the settings in no time. This and lots of online reading (forums, photo websites, hobbyist sites etc) not only improved my photography skills but editing skills as well.

Right on this very site is a very nice photoshop editing guide that will eventually come in handy. However right now I think you should concentrate on the photography basics first then gradually dive into the editing basics. You see, when editing you'll realize very quickly that how sharp or well exposed a picture is from the start has a huge impact on the end result regardless of how good one's editing skills are. So what you want to strive for are great pics (sharp, and well exposed) from the start. Editing will take care of the rest.
Nikon D7000 / Nikkor 105mm AF f2.8 / Nikkor 35 f1.8G / Nikkor 50 f1.8D / Nikkor 85mm / Nikkor 300mm f4 AF
 
vikkyvik
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Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:58 pm

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:27 am

Quoting flinhion757 (Reply 3):

I am going to LAX for my annual "After-Christmas-Spotting-Trip" with someone who is letting me use their Canon Rebel XS with the EF 55-300mm. Anything I need to know for that?

As someone suggested, take some test shots with the XS before you get to the hill. Put them on a computer so you can see them full-size.

All of my 13 shots in the database are taken with a Rebel XS with either the 18-55mm or 55-250mm kit lenses (the ones from Imperial Hill are with the 55-250). Some of them are taken on full Manual, and some on Aperture Priority, all with Auto Focus and Auto White Balance. All of them have varying degrees of leveling, cropping, and sharpening, and usually some noise reduction and minor color tweaking.

After I got my XS, I took photos of airplanes and other subjects for several months before I tried uploading. It was a pretty steep but very fulfilling learning curve for me (it still is!). 10 months and 5000-odd shutter clicks later, I'm now having some decent success uploading here. I still only upload the absolute best of my shots. And sometimes, I'll go up to the Hill on a Sunday afternoon, take 200 photos, and not a single one will be good enough. So then I have to figure out why, and that's how I've gotten better.

What will help you the most is to get out to the hill on a nice sunny day. And get there early enough that you have some time to shoot before sunset. Once it gets toward 4 PM, the sun is getting pretty low, and although evening shots look really cool, they're more difficult.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:26 am

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:41 am

Thank you all so much! This has reall sent me in the right direction. I borrowed a copy of "Digital SLR Cameras & Photography for Dummies" and ive already learned about a lot of thethings you all are telling me such as f/8 setting, av, apeture priority, etc. I feel that I will be a bit more prepared for the hill than had I not posted this.  bigthumbsup 

Quoting darreno1 (Reply 8):
my first DSLR (d40)

After research, I considered something similar.

Thanks
Shelby

[Edited 2010-12-24 00:45:14]
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flightkid9
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:39 pm

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:48 am

Quoting WakeTurbulence (Reply 7):

Whoa, it looks like a totally different picture! what version of photoshop did you use? (or what other program)
 
waketurbulence
Posts: 1264
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:33 pm

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:07 pm

Quoting flightkid9 (Reply 11):
what version of photoshop did you use?

I used Adobe Photoshop CS3, but I think with any version of Photoshop Elements, you could achieve the same results.
 
flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:26 am

RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sat Dec 25, 2010 5:12 pm

Hey!

I got a T1i for Christmas with the 18-55mm and 55-250mm so that's what ill be using from now on. Ive read the material that comes with it for different settings and have set it for what you all have told me. Anything I should know about it?

Merry Christmas!
Shelby   
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snydersnapshot
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:55 am

Shelby,

Congrats on the new camera for Christmas! Now the work begins. Get out and take as many pictures as you can. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and don't be afraid to delete the bad ones.

Earlier in the post you said you're unfamiliar with the basics of aperture and exposure settings. A good place to start with your new camera would be the camera's manual itself. You want to get familiar with the controls and what they do. Try to stay away from shooting in the "AUTO" mode or any of the pre-programmed modes. Concentrate on learning what the Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual modes do. That will make you a much better photographer in the long run.

There are a lot of books and websites available for you to learn from. A couple of resources I've found especially helpful are Scott Kelby's Digital Photography series of books and the Strobist website. While these are both sources of information about all genres of photography, most of the concepts translate into aviation photography as well. (Note to moderator: This is my first post--if you consider my suggestions to be advertisements, let me know and I'll be send them in a private message)

I'm a newbie here myself, just learning about how to get pictures accepted as well. I look forward to seeing your work on here one day soon.

Ken Snyder
 
flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:19 am

Thanks Ken! No problem at all for me on the advertisement.

I have been reading that "Digital SLR Cameras & Photography for Dummies. It's helped me alot, along with everyone on here. I have been looking through the manual at primarily the settings I was told about in the above posts.

Quoting megatop412 (Reply 4):
Aperture-Priority mode, set the camera to f/8, put it on Auto White Balance and enjoy
yourself

And my dad "came out of the photography closet" and has helped me get a good understanding of what all of that means. I will continue to learn and grow with this great tool! I can't show enough gratitude to all for all of this amazing help for a new photographer.

On a side note, if any of you care to see my LAX pictures and critique, when I come back, I will have them in a photobucket album of which I will post a link to right here.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Shelby
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flinhion757
Topic Author
Posts: 229
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:48 am

Well, I'm back from LAX. That was one of the greatest experiences ever!    I deleted the REALLY bad ones and put the rest on a PB album. The link would not work, so if any of you are interested in looking and critiquing, just IM me. I was really impressed with the performance of my new T1i as well.

Look for the TR.

Thanks
Shelby
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ThomasWarloe
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:37 am

Hello Shelby,

If you'd like, I can take a look at your pictures. Though I'm definitely not an expert, I can help you find what to improve on in your photos and maybe help you with editing too if you need that. Can't IM your though, as I only have a photographer account. Go to my profile, click on the "x images by Thomas Warloe," click "contact photographer" on a random image, and send me your email or the link. Once you've done that, we can go from there.

Cheers from a fellow LAX photographer,
-Thomas
 
vikkyvik
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RE: New Photographer: Need Help!

Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:22 am

Quoting flinhion757 (Reply 13):
I got a T1i for Christmas with the 18-55mm and 55-250mm

I don't know anything about the T1i, but can comment a tiny bit on the lenses, as they're the two I have:

The 18-55 I've found is pretty consistent over the whole range (at least consistent enough for me). The 55-250 is not great above 200mm, and I've found it's really best below 170mm or so. I almost never zoom past 200mm due to loss of quality, so it's essentially a 55-200mm lens for my purposes.

I shot a ton on manual when I got my camera, just to learn how everything interacted, which helped a lot. Most importantly, be patient and have fun!

Quoting flinhion757 (Reply 16):
Well, I'm back from LAX. That was one of the greatest experiences ever!

Awesome! I'd be interested to see your photos, though I can probably only offer rather general critiques - still learning myself!
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".

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