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by Bart Arondson

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Am an Painting Artist, I would like to start photography. But I don't know the basics of photography, and I need to purchase a good entry level SLR Camera. So Please help me to findout a good beginner tutorial or helping articles, what are the Do's and Don't. How can I select a camera.

Thanks in advance!!! Have a nice day.

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4  
Maybe you want to split your question in separate questions... –  Carles Aug 24 '10 at 7:13
    
please write answers in two part. :) –  coderex Aug 24 '10 at 7:24
1  
this really is two distinct questions. And "best camera" should be a community wiki. –  hometoast Aug 24 '10 at 12:09
    
possible duplicate of What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR? –  mattdm Jun 2 '11 at 10:28
    
Here is an excellent article by the always-worth-reading Mike Johnston which I highly recommend as an answer to this question and in general for anyone starting out: What I Would Get If I Were Starting Now –  mattdm Jun 30 '11 at 14:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 27 down vote accepted

You've asked quite a few questions, each that is not necessarily as straight forward to answer, but I'll do my best.

For reference, check out this link for some definitions for key terms often used in photography.

[What are the] basics of photography?

The very basics are:

  1. Adjusting your camera settings
  2. Aiming your camera at something
  3. Pressing the shutter release button

And that results in an image, which you then do something with (edit, upload, print, etc).

Producing better images is usually a function of adding more detail to each of these steps.

Camera Settings

There are three key settings to photograpy:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO Speed

Each of these settings are methods to adjust the amount of light that is captured by the camera. In addition to controlling the amount of light, each has a "secondary" function.

Aperture also controls the depth of field--the distance infront and behind the focal point that is also in focus. A "shallow" depth of field means that the space that is in focus is narrow.

Shutter speed controls the "stopping of action." Long shutter speeds will blur motion, while short shutter speeds will freeze it.

ISO Speed, specifically when talking digital, increases image noise. This is usually not desirable.

In addition to these settings, camera's have a bevvy of other options, such as autofocus controls, flash controls, metering modes and so on, but Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO settings are what is most important.

Aiming your camera

This part, is in my opinion, one of the most vital parts of photography. From choosing your subject, to properly lighting the scene, to setting a good composition, this is likely where you will spend most of your time learning.

As this area is very broad, I can only hope to point you to some decent web sites to better explain this topic.

Pressing the Button

This is probably the easiest step. There are some techniques that you will learn for this, but in most cases, this step is fail-safe.

Buying a Digital Camera

Buying a camera can be a difficult process. I highly recommend buying either a Nikon body, or a Canon body. There are other manufacturers that produce very nice dSLR's, but Canon and Nikon are the two top manufacturers, and are likely to continue to be around for a long time.

I also recommend buying a camera kit, which usually comes with a body and a lens. The typical kit lens is often mediocre, but until you know what you want to shoot, it will be nearly impossible, and cost prohibitive to purchase any other lenses. Nikon and Canon both have models that are suited for beginners, along with mid-level, and professional-grade bodies. All models, regardless of target demographic, will produce excellent images--there are "professional" photographers who make a living through photography who shoot with so called "beginner" models. I suggest you look at these entry-level dslr (Canon Rebel class or Nikon D40/D3000 class bodies).

One dirty little secret in the photography world is that camera bodies are probably the least important part for making a beautiful photograph.

DPReview has a good buyers guide, which is definitely worth reading.

Assuming you live in the United States (from the OP's profile you live in India--not sure where to buy from in India), I recommend purchasing camera gear from:

And if you live in the greater Seattle Area:

Do's and Don'ts

Here is my personal list:

Do's

  • Have fun
  • Take lots of images
  • Think about what you are shooting, before you shoot it
  • Ask more questions on Photo.SE
  • Experiment--don't be afraid to try new things
  • Learn from others. Good photographers borrow techniques. The great ones steal.

Dont's

  • Do lens testing
  • Be a pixel peeper
  • Ask "is this lens soft?"
  • Worry about buying the "best" gear
  • Aim directly at the sun
  • Aim at a laser
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Thank you Alan for the answer. –  Slavo Aug 24 '10 at 9:30
    
+1 I think Alan has it covered. –  John Cavan Aug 24 '10 at 10:53
    
+1 superb answer –  Nick Miners Aug 24 '10 at 11:55
    
Very good answer –  John Aug 24 '10 at 19:53
2  
You've been a good apprentice, young Alan. You have mastered the art of Answer Crafting, beyond that of my wildest expectations. I now graduate you to the rank of: "Master"! –  jrista Aug 27 '10 at 21:45

I'm new to this photography lark too - ken rockwell (kenrockwell.com) is currently 'my Captain, my Captain'. His site features some great articles and I find his writing is very accessible, practical and sensible.

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2  
Well, it may be accessible, but don't take it too seriously. He's prone to writing whatever comes into his head at the moment as gospel. Make sure to read kenrockwell.com/about.htm#intro –  mattdm Dec 9 '10 at 20:02
    
Yes, he is a good writer but not necessarily the final word. Plenty of people doing the opposite of what he does and are happy with it. And the nice thing about Photography is that there isn't a final word on how to go about things. As long as you are happy with the results, you can go out there with a hand-made camera and make prints on t-shirts with a screen printing machine. –  David Rouse Dec 9 '10 at 21:55
    
I've learnt not to take anyone too seriously. Not even those who contribute to StackExchange sites ;-) I'm not suggesting he's God, but I think its a decent enough place to start learning how to operate an SLR, do bokeh and put a basic set of kit and lenses together. –  5arx Dec 9 '10 at 23:40

The only thing I could possibly add to Alan's answer would be to suggest finding a good used camera store with a staff that are photographers themselves and don't mind talking to newcomers (a college city would be a good place to look). Back when I was starting out, that was one of the best resources I could find (they didn't have the Internet back then). Get a camera you enjoy holding and that you can afford -- more expensive doesn't guarantee better results (trust me, I've taken lots of crap images with very upscale cameras).

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