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  1. #1
    Community Host Ladybugsteph's Avatar
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    Default Lurkers Unite - The Group

    Okay lurkers! It's your moment! In this group, we're going to get you all to come out of your shells, and get you to start learning your camera. It's pretty easy to read articles and books, but it's another thing to actually get feedback on your practice shots. That's what I'm here to do. Sometimes, you won't know where to go next after you create an under or overexposed photo. I'll help you out with that.

    So, in this group we have:
    Elizabeth - yellow.rose.of.canada
    Marie - DrakePlusOne
    Amanda - Muddee
    Jill - Jillie Bean
    Jess - Omrithekat
    Marymoonu
    Lynsey - RedCherry

    What I'm going to ask for first is a little introduction on who you are, and where you are in your photography journey as well as a few recent photos. I want to know if you've never ever switched the dial over to manual, or if you've been trying manual for quite some time. I need to know if I need to go over the basics of the exposure triangle. We're going to start with the basics. In this group, we're going to be shooting in full manual mode, and not in the priority or auto modes.

    I definitely want you to share the shots straight out of the camera (SOOC). If you've edited the photo, please share that one as well. But if I don't see your SOOC, then I won't know how to help you, since you may have changed the exposure in your edit. We won't really be talking about editing early on. We need to get your exposure right, first.

    We're going to play this week by ear. We may or may not have to take this week to talk about exposure and have questions and answers. So, lets get started!
    Stephanie - Mama to Carson, Jackson, and Hudson

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  2. #2
    Prolific Poster yellow.rose.of.canada's Avatar
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    Yay!

    Okay here we go... My name is Elizabeth, I'm married with two kids (info in my siggy). I'm originally from Houston, Texas, but now I live in northern British Columbia, Canada. My husband and I pastor a church, and I teach at a local school.

    I've been wanting to learn about photography for quite a while, but especially since I've had kids. I really want to have good pictures of them for when they grow up. When I was a kid I would always try to take pictures with my dad's Minolta he got while in Vietnam. He recently gave it to me (along with some awesome lenses), so I'd really like to get all the technical aspects of photography down so I would feel more comfortable using a film camera.

    I got my DSLR in December (entry level Rebel XS) and immediately began using manual (due to lurking on this board). I definitely need to work on better exposure, but I feel my biggest problem is focus. I feel like no matter what I do my pictures look soft. I haven't been able to practice much over the last few months because I've been mostly bed ridden. Which is a bummer because we have such a short window of nice weather. I'm hoping I can get around enough to get some nice fall pictures.

    Here are pictures from the last month:

    My mom and dad came to visit- my mom loved this tree! Lol


    This one is way too cool

    My son just lost his first tooth


    This one looks too yellow



    I know that I posted a ton of photos but I wanted to give you a good idea of how bad I am. I didn't know if you wanted settings?
    Ladybugsteph likes this.
    Elizabeth

    TTC #3 since January, 2011
    DH Trevor, married 08/2005
    DS Aidan, 12/31/2006
    DD Ainsley, 06/26/2010
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  3. #3
    Posting Addict Muddee's Avatar
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    Thanks for letting me join in on this.

    I've loved photography since I was a kid, I got my first camera at about 10 years old it was a Polaroid, sorry not sure on the brand, have been taking lots of pictures since, I was one of the early adopters of the digital cameras and got a Minolta P&S the Christmas after DD1 was born, and loved it.

    I have been posting here for about 2.5 years on and off, I started off with a Cannon Powershot A2000 IS (P&S) but upgraded to a Canon Rebel T2i in the spring of 2011. I've played with several settings and at home I try to keep it in manual, I will switch over to full auto when going out to fairs, amusement parks or at family gatherings because I find that getting the moment can be a little challenging when in those settings, but I know the setting is limited and am often not happy with the results from auto.

    I do have two lens, the one that came with the camera, EFS 18-55mm and a EF 50mm f/1.8.

    On the personal side of things, I have been with my DH for almost 16 years, we have two DD's aged 13 and 3. We also have a house full of pets, 2 cats and 2 dogs.

    I will have to go through my pictures tonight and post a few.
    Last edited by Muddee; 09-04-2012 at 12:13 PM.
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    * Amanda *

  4. #4
    Super Poster RedCherry's Avatar
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    I first started taking pictures of the kids with my phone so i could email everyone pictures as they grew. I was always receiving comments on how great the pictures were but never really thought about it. My husband was the one who suggest getting a SLR so i could really start to grow. I am a bit of a guilty spender and didn't want to spend that much on something i might not use, seeing how i always have my phone with me ready to snap pictures. It was my 30th birthday present from my whole family and I am so happy with it. I find it easy to pull out and put away if i need to when the kids need me. Much easier than I thought it would be.

    My husband was actually the one who did all the research on the Nikon D3200 and told me about all the new features and tricks. Once I got it everyone wanted one it seemed.

    I have been practicing with manual and auto, mostly staying on auto in case i miss something. I try not to use the flash that much as i don't really like the "shine" it gives the pictures but without it everything isn't to my liking. That is when i start to play with the AP and shutter. Although to be completely honest, i have no clue what i am doing. I am going to need the basic BASIC training :S

    I am so excited to be part of this group, i have told everyone! I can't wait to start seeing progress even though i know it will take time.

    As for a little of my background, I have 2 kids, Gemma is 2 (going on 16 i think most days) turning 3 in December and Luke will be 4 months on the 13th. He right now is my squatting duck and kind of has to do whatever i want him to seeing how he can't get up and run away yelling "NOOOO!" like his sister does. I'm sure this will only last so long and he will crawl away pretty fast once he sees the red camera come out of the case! DH and I have been married 4 years on the 12th, but together for 7 in total. He is the best dad and he really does push me to think outside the box and try new things.

    When Luke was born i have a friend who is into photography and she has taken some classes. She came over and took "newborn" pictures of Luke which i couldn't wait to see. Sad to say i was pretty disappointed with the turn out and i felt she missed a lot of moments that i would have caught. I might not be good with the settings but I do like to think that i have an eye for what to catch and get a great picture when i do.

    Here are a few pictures (within the past two weeks). I dont have any of the settings i used, but i am guessing i can get that information once they're uploaded? Like I said i'm pretty basic and have no clue on a lot of things. Sorry! All the pictures are unedited and I know they all need to be cropped.


    ash but didn't like the reflection it gave on my sisters face.


    This was at lobsterfest, my family and friends sitting down to dinner. I was trying without the flash and did this one in manual. After about 50 pictures i got something that was somewhat clearer but i find it "dull"


    This is with the flash


    Gemma was playing hide and seek in the backyard and i got her face looking cute. I find it not quite clear though.


    I had to use the flash on this one and i had a window right next to him that was open. I wasn't getting any natural light for the picture.


    No flash on this one but it seems too dark to me


    Outdoor action shot



    Again, this had the flash. you can see the window in the backgrond which was giving some light but not too much


    Same thing, i find this dark. Perhaps I was too far?



    Im a virgo, a perfectionist. I analyze everything and critic everything. I like the shots but really see a lot of flaws with them.
    Last edited by RedCherry; 09-04-2012 at 02:19 PM.
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    Lynsey

    DH Tom
    DD Gemma December 9th, 2009
    DS Luke May 13th, 2012

  5. #5
    Super Poster Jillie Bean's Avatar
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    Hi!! Looking so forward to learning more about photography and getting to know all of you better! I'm Jill and have 1 DS, 2.5 years old. DH and I recently relocated to Colorful Colorado (ha ha ha) and are loving life!! For a little about my photography 'background'. I too have loved taking pictures from a very young age. I think I was 12 when I got my first pink vivitar p&s and I took pictures of everything. Drove my family nuts. Fast forward, I got my DSLR (rebel XSi) as a gift from DH the Christmas before DS was born (2010). For most of the my 2 years with it, I have been on automatic (gasp!). I would tinker around with manual and EVERY once in a while I would get something that resembled a good shot. DH also bought me Photoshop and so I thought for sure I could make the pictures look good then...yeah, not so much. I figure out how to make the flower red in a black and white shot, so I wore that one out. About 2 months ago I finally took a little Saturday morning photography class that I found on Groupon from a local Denver photographer. He was great. He did a great job teaching us about exposure, ss, aperture, WB, touched a little on flash and little on focus. After that class my pictures immediately got better. Not great by any means (thus the reason I'm here) but definitely better. I currently only use my kit lens (18-55) but I have a 50 mm/1.4 on the way thanks to amazon in hope that it might help my portraits and I am a little in love with bokeh and cannot come close to getting anything with my kit. Ok, enough blah blah blah. Here are some of my recent stuff. Probably too many, but I couldn't decide what to share...and these are all SOOC. I did edit some but I have to be back online for work in 10 minutes so I will just post these for now!

    This is from the inside of a REALLY old Catholic church in Estes Park, CO. I love the feeling I get from this photo. I know it is under exposed and warm...
    Untitled

    Same weekend, Lily Lake, Estes Park, CO. Again, this is a little under exposed?
    Untitled

    Little mini shoot I did with my Cooper in the next 2.
    Untitled

    (cropped version in my siggy that I like better)
    Untitled

    My other baby, Lucy and her nuisance Cooper.
    Untitled

    The next 3 are some practicing I did with my nanny's 6 month old. She has some expressions!! Again, trouble with my exposure a bit...
    Untitled

    Untitled

    Untitled

    Last 2 are a little breakfast time impromtu shoot I did a couple of mornings ago with Coop. He's a ham.
    Untitled

    Untitled

    Like I said, all SOOC, most need cropped and a little or a LOT of editing but here's the start. Excited to learn how to get better!!! Thanks so much for setting all of this up Steph!!! You are awesome. I have to tell you too, that from the first time I saw your pics on our birth board, I've been jealous of your mad skills!!
    Ladybugsteph likes this.
    DH Tyler, 10.8.05
    DS Cooper 2.20.10


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  6. #6
    Mega Poster DrakePlusOne's Avatar
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    Hi ladies. I am so excited to get back into the photography game. Here goes......
    I'm Marie (31), SAHM, married to Paul (34) with 2 boys (8,2) and one mystery baby on the way. Due Dec 26th! I've always dabbled in photography, I think mainly b/c my late father was an awesome photographer. I just would love to get to that level someday. I started off learning with his old film Canon (F-1) and it was all trial and error. EXPENSIVE errors at that. I finally broke down and bought a second Canon film camera and learned a great deal more, but still, very expensive to not know what you're doing and waste all that film. About a year ago I got my first DSLR camera, a 50D and I think I've come a really far way!
    My biggest issues are trying to remember ALL the tricks to producing a perfect picture and not missing the moment. I worry about lighting and by the time I have my exposure set up, my subject is long gone. Or I've chopped off a hand. Etc, etc. I think my photos of still subjects are getting better by far, but moving subjects are really a challenge. I've done about 3 or 4 paid photo shoots since purchasing my DSLR camera and would LOVE to do something in the vein some day. Oh, I shoot in Manual unless trying to shoot kids in variable lighting situations, then I switch to Av (app priority)

    Phew! Ok, on to the pics!. Posting raw photos out of the camera is going to make me bite my nails a little, but here goes.....

    Here are some from a really neat old graveyard my friend and I shoot photos in:
    1) This first is on the dark side, but it was nearing twilight and lightly misting. I'd probably do some processing on it in Gimp to get it looking better
    IMG_3598

    2) Another from the same spot. I love the color in this one.
    IMG_3572

    3) Some shots of my son. Failed attempt at 'good' photos of him. He is a terrible subject to shoot!
    IMG_3707

    4) Another one
    IMG_3716

    5) A before and after editing shot. I took yesterday with my ISO pumped to the max! I think 5000 or 6400 or something. It was a really rainy day and the lighting (as you can see) was just horrible. It kept giving me a red cast even with a custom white balance.
    IMG_3756

    I edited in Gimp and then B&W it b/c I thought it looked best this way.
    IMG_3756b

    Ok! There you have it! I can't wait to read through everyone's posts and get to know everyone better.
    Ladybugsteph likes this.
    ~~Marie~~
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  7. #7
    Community Host Ladybugsteph's Avatar
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    I'm first going to go over the basics of exposure real quickly for those of you who might be a little confused.

    ISO - Brightens or darkens up the entire picture. The higher the number the brighter you go. The lower the number, the darker you go. In a well lit area (outdoors) you will probably keep your ISO low. When indoors, you will, most likely, high a high ISO.

    Shutter Speed (SS) - This is how long your camera is actually taking the picture. The higher the bottom number, the more motion is frozen, because your camera takes the photo quickly. The lower the bottom number, the more motion blur you will see, because your camera is taking the photo more slowly. Not only that, but the lower the number, the more light you let in. With a higher number, you won't let in as much light.

    F-Stop/Aperature (AP) - The lower the number the more blur (bokeh) in the background (This is called "open"). The higher the number, the more you will have in focus (this is called "closed"). But, again, that's not the only thing that it effects. The lower the number the more light you let in. With a higher number, you will get less light in.

    When you are posting your pictures for CC, please include those settings. If you're using Flickr, you can find them by clicking on the "Actions" tab, then on "Exif info". With this info, I will be able to tell you what you could have changed to get the exposure better, and what you you need to think about next time you practice.

    Light Meter - This looks different depending on if you're using a Nikon or Canon, but the basic concept is the same. Here's what it looks like:
    -3...-2...-1...0...+1...+2...+3
    ..............'

    (Please ignore the periods before the '. I'm not able to put the ' where it is suppose to be without them. Refer to the image below to see the actual light meter)

    The little ' under the 0 tells you if your photo is properly exposed, underexposed, or overexposed.

    -3...-2...-1...0...+1...+2...+3 = Underexposed
    ........'

    -3...-2...-1...0...+1...+2...+3 = Overexposed
    .................................'

    -3...-2...-1...0...+1...+2...+3 = Properly Exposed for all intents and purposes
    ...................'
    Not paying attention to my light meter was my biggest hinderance of my growth. I didn't pay attention to what it was telling me at all. In fact, I didn't even know what it was for the longest time. So, learn from my mistake. Pay attention to what your light meter is telling you!

    So, if you're photo is underexposed, you need to change your settings. If it's reading extremely underexposed, first raise your ISO. If it's only slightly underexposed, lower your SS or AP. To determine which one to lower the number of, think of your subject. If you're photographing a child, you want to keep your SS high (at least 1/200). If you can't bring that number down, try to lower your AP. If your AP is already as low as your lens will allow, then you'll have to raise your ISO. If you're not photographing a child, then you will probably be ok to lower your SS. If you go under 1/60, you probably won't be able to hold it with your hands without getting a blurry photo due to the shake of the camera in your hands. You'll have to use a tripod or a steady surface and a remote or self timer.

    If your scene/subject is reading extremely over exposed, try lowering your ISO first. If it's slightly over exposed, start by raising your SS.

    Keep in mind that all of your settings work together, and when you change one, it effects the others. Sometimes you might end up needing to change more than one setting to properly expose your photo.

    Here is a fantastic visual.


    I want to give you a simple little assignment. Get yourself a stuffed animal or toy (or something that will sit there completely still), and go outside in the shade. Set your camera to ISO 100. Adjust your SS and AP so that your light meter reads at the "0". Take the picture. Raise your ISO to 200. Notice how you have to change your other settings to accommodate the ISO change. Adjust your SS and AP so that your light meter is reading "0" and snap the picture. Do this until you reach ISO 800. Report back here, and ask any questions that you might have.
    Last edited by Ladybugsteph; 09-04-2012 at 04:19 PM.
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    Stephanie - Mama to Carson, Jackson, and Hudson

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  8. #8
    Mega Poster Omrithekat's Avatar
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    My name is Jess and I got my first DSLR right before the birth of my son, Corbin, in 2007. That was a Rebel XTi. I used it exclusively on auto for a little over a year, and then I accidentally dropped it out of the car and onto a concrete parking lot. Insurance covered the costs of replacing it, and I bought a Rebel XSi. I used that camera on auto mode until the birth of my twin sons, Cameron and Jameson. Then sometime in late 2010, I decided that I was going to learn how to use my camera. I have been shooting in RAW and in manual mode since about that time, but haven't really put a lot of effort into learning techniques until the past two or three months.

    I'm so excited to report that I just bought a Canon 5D Mark ii and it came in the mail yesterday. I had my first photo shoot with it last night with my in laws and I just love it.

    I have a lot of issues with camera shake because I am naturally very shaky (take a lot of asthma/allergy meds). But I've learned a stance that works fairly well with reducing that, and I've been trying my best to shoot at 1/250 or higher. I just got a lens with IS, too, so hopefully, that will also help.

    I also have major issues with skin tones. I do most of my editing in Lightroom for now (but I am getting photoshop at the end of October), so I know the trick for that, but I get very frustrated in trying to actually achieve it.

    I already saved off all of my unedited photos to our home server and I am too lazy to retrieve them, so here are edited photos. For some reason, I missed that part of the assignment; however, I am certain that I will be shooting photos with the new camera today and tomorrow, so I will be sure to put the SOOC images from that on here.

    I plan to have a part time photography business before I return to the workforce in 3 years. Then I will keep that job on the side as well. I don't think it will ever be a full time, family supporting business for me, but I guess we will see where it goes.

    I decided to take this somewhere because I have a huge passion for photography. I haven't yet accepted a dime for any photoshoots, but I have booked some later this month for $50/session. Let me tell you, I am going to be super nervous the first time any money changes hands. Eek!!














    I haven't used this site in a loooong time, so I know I need avatar and siggy pics that are recent. I will try to do that today, too!


    Also, I used Photobucket to drop the photos here, but if Flickr is better, let me know and I will set up an account there.

    ETA: Oh crap, these files are HUGE and they got cropped from the site. The kids aren't going to allow me time to resize them right now, so forgive me for the time being. I'll get the hang of it!
    ~ jess ~

  9. #9
    Community Host Ladybugsteph's Avatar
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    It's so nice to get to know all of you a little better! I'm so happy that you all came out to play! I think we're just waiting on Marymoonu at this point. Take the rest of the week for the little assignment. I know that it may be a little mundane for some of you who have been shooting manual for a while, but it's a good refresher for you, and it will give the others a chance to catch up a bit. I'd love to see your results when you're finished! Feel free to post the photos you took.

    Jess, it's up to you which service you want to use. You're pictures look just fine to me right now. Sometimes, when you resize in Photobucket, it may look okay to us, but not to you. I think that logging out and then logging back in will fix it on your end.
    Stephanie - Mama to Carson, Jackson, and Hudson

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  10. #10
    Community Host Ladybugsteph's Avatar
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    I'd like to respond to each of you individually. I will get this started, though children might distract me in the middle of it!



    Elizabeth - Dawson's Creek, huh? You must love the show I can definitely give you some pointers on focusing. I know it's something that a lot of photographers struggle with, including myself. There's always so much to think about while taking photos!
    Stephanie - Mama to Carson, Jackson, and Hudson

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