Monday, June 7, 2010

Taking Great Photos – Part 1: Introduction

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Part 1: Introduction

I’ve had many people ask me over the years, “Teachinfourth, how are you able to take such great photos?”

Wow, how much time do you have?

While many may claim that natural ability and ‘the eye’ are key elements (which they are) there is no reason why the common man (or woman) cannot take great pictures of their family, friends, people they stalk, and beauty of the world around them.

By the way, I was just kidding about the stalking part. Please don’t think that I condone stalking – that is, unless you’re stalking me, and the main reason thereof is to shower me with lavish gifts, heaps of money, and summa cume laude.

If that were indeed the case, please feel free to stalk…

I digress.

To help those who’ve asked (and those freeloaders who didn’t), I have decided to start a series of photography hints and helps. This will be a collection of posts to help you understand just what photography is, how to compose a great shot, and a little bit about all of those buttons and dials on your camera that you never seem to touch. I feel the reason we don’t mess with these buttons is that they are so deliciously scary that we believe that the camera just might explode if we touch them.

Don’t worry, your camera really won’t explode; well, that is unless your camera is a bomb. If this is case, then this is not the tutorial for you; I would suggest consulting the MacGyver series.

Now, just understand that you shouldn’t get too excited; in this series I will not be explaining everything. I do not consider these mini-lessons to be ‘explain-it-all’ tutorials, but rather small helps and hints which will (hopefully) be of assistance to those of you out there who want to do just a bit more with your camera other than just point, shoot, and hope for the best.


Thanks for reading the introduction. In a sense I feel that this is like those pages in the novel we all skip because we don’t feel that it is important to the overall story, and we want to get on to the good part. I’m flattered that you felt it important enough to read in its entirety.

“So, when do we start, Teachinfourth, today?”

Patience my young padawan, patience.

I look forward to creating this series, and hope that you are able to walk away with something of value. If not, you might just want to consider taking up bomb diffusing as a pastime instead.

Until next time; shoot ‘til you get it.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: About Your Camera
Part 3: Aperture
Part 4: Shutter Speed
Part 5: White Balance
Part 6: ISO
Part 7: The Breath

* This is a term used to say something to the affect of, "Ya feel me?", "Ya get the overall gist of what it is that I’m saying?" , or “Do you understand the extent of what it is that I have just told you?" Also used to ask the person being spoken to whether he or she would like to add to the statement.


The Empress said...

Oh, I look forward to this series. I would love to start using photos on my blog, but have ZERO idea where to start.

Thank you!

novidiac said...

never before have I looked forward to being a freeloader :-)

it does seem that more people are interested in learning photography skills these day than ever before, myself included...

excited for a front row seat in the freeloader's class!

A Lark said...

I read the whole introduction and no tips? I will have to remain mortally afraid of my camera buttons..."somebody save me...."
BTW: Clever Intro

Emily said...


Following from FF! Glad I found you we JUST bought a new camera, it is the first expensive camera we have ever bought because we were tired of taking horrible pictures, problem is we have no idea how to use the new one, lol! Hopefully your series will help me! :)

Chrissy said...

Can't wait to read what u have to say... I've been told that I have an 'eye'.... No formal training.. Mine is all instinct and what I look for personally... I will say less is more... and I don't edit the heck out of my photos, don't believe in it... I may tweak it a bit but that's all.. Most of my friends just tweak their photos... hence - 'less is more'

Mr. Stupid said...

Wow. This is such a great idea. I better get my Camera fixed. I left in the washing machine a few months ago. Even though, it was sparkling, it never seemed to work.

Bomb diffusing, sounds exiting. At least if there are hundreds of people around cheering!


Mamma has spoken said...

I am SO looking forward to your helpful hints, since I really have a hard time taking pictures. I really do suck at it :o/

tammy said...

Oh good. I need this! Although my boys would probably like it better if I did turn the camera into an explosive device.

Rachel said...

Kinda like, "I tell ya what!" And then everyone waits for the, "what". Only there isn't a "what". I already told you the "what". :)

All I can say is, IT'S ABOUT TIME! I need all the help I can get. I tell you what!

Just SO said...

I can't wait!!!

Richard & Natalie said...

YAY! Some Summer School of my own. Can't wait and I even have a new camera on the way to use with your tutorials.

You just made my day.

Ally said...

i think taking great pictures is truly a skill, art and talent. obviously you have all three.

PMC said...

ooooooooo!!! i am rubbing my hands together in evil anticipation! (well, not evil. but it sounded better.)
i have a nice camera and no skill.
right on!

PMC said...

oh, and i do hope you explain all those buttons on my camera....

Danielle said...

OOOH! So exciting! Can't wait!!!

Teachinfourth said...

E - Hopefully it will be something you can learn something from. I guess if you're starting at zero, I really can't go wrong, can I?

N - Freeloading can be a good thing sometimes. I think photography is now a sport for the 'commoner' because of the advent of digital. It's not nearly as expensive and as elite as it once was.

J - That is the BEST song!

E - I hope that there is something that will help you out in the series. Since I've never written anything like this, I am just going to be going off the cuff. Hopefully I won't skip a lot of really important things…

C - Looking for 'personality' is something which really can't be taught, but it can be improved. Tweaking is good…too much is too much.

MS - Hope you're able to get a newish camera, sir!

B - If it were easy, everybody would do it, right?

R - What are you going to tell me?

S - Hope you're not underwhelmed by what comes in the future.

N - I think that "A" might have been a bit bummed that we didn't do any shooting today in class…we mostly discussed a lot of the stuff I'll be covering here, too.

A - I appreciate that. I blame my grandfather and my mom…

M - I will explain a few of them, the manual is really better for that as cameras are so different that some have options that others do not. I will cover three or four that are common for most cameras though…

D - How the heck are you? If you didn't just recently start posting again, I'd have thought you'd been abducted.

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