New Members & Improvers
Help Is At Hand!
This section is for new club members and those just starting out on their photography journey. We call it a journey because the move from ‘point and shoot’ fully automatic picture taking to the time when you have full control over your camera and the images you want to capture is a long one. But that’s why you joined the club, isn’t it!
By coming to the weekly club meetings, hearing from experts in various fields of photography, watching competitions, and talking with more experienced members, you will find that your confidence grows and your abilities improve.
So listen to the various presentations, study the images which appear in competitions, ask lots of questions – either at meetings or via the web site forum – and above all take lots of images! Experiment with your camera’s settings, try different composition techniques, make mistakes and learn why they happened. Nothing substitutes for getting out and practicing your skills.
And remember that you don’t need to buy a load of expensive gear to get started. Many people think that spending hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds on a camera will instantly mean that you can take great images. Wrong! Whilst a good camera will undoubtedly improve the quality of the images you capture, if you don’t know how to use it properly and don’t have an eye for good composition, the pictures you take will still turn out to be disappointing.
“Your first ten thousand photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Some Terms You Will Hear At Meetings
North & East Midlands Photographic Federation
Lincolnshire Photographic Association
Projected Digital Image competitions
Printed image competitions
Competitions between clubs
Josephine Watt – The Josephine Watt Memorial Trophy
This competition is open to all members except those who have been awarded a trophy in either of the club’s League Competitions, the POTY or who have photo awards/qualifications from the RPS, PAGB or any other similar organisation.
A panel consists of 4 or 5 images linked by a recognisable theme, of the author’s own choice.
POTY – Photographer Of The Year
The aim of this competition is to encourage members to diversify and tackle a range of new subjects. It is also an opportunity for club members to see a range of new work. Note that POTY is a print only competition.
This competition is so called because the trophy was originally awarded by the local firm, Brotherhoods, in 1992. It has been held every year since then. It is open to up to 15 photographic clubs/societies within an approximate 40 mile radius of Peterborough, on a first come first served basis. The competition is for Projected Digital Images (PDIs)
On-line Learning Resources
The Internet is a huge repository of information on all aspects of photography, but listed below are a few links to sites and pages which are particularly useful for those wishing to develop their skills.
For information about specific cameras, YouTube will usually provide what you need, although the quality can vary considerably – and if all else fails, there’s always the manual 🙁
Tony and Chelsea Northrup publish a huge number of tutorials, both in video and book form. Their YouTube channel offers a wealth of well-presented information on all aspects of photography.
Digital Photography School
The Digital Photography School is another large on-line resource, offering advice on equipment, techniques, and processing of images. This is a very well presented site, with contributions from numerous photographers around the world on just about every topic, with sections for absolute beginners right through to serious shooters.
A ‘Where To Start Chart’
This is an extremely useful interactive chart which will take you through all of the settings choices available on your camera, depending on what sort of photograph you want to take. The chart also provides links to videos which explain any terms and techniques which you may not be familiar with. This is a large chart, so not really suitable for smartphones or tablets. Best viewed on a full size computer screen. Click to view/download here.
The Exposure Triangle Explained
Just what are Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO all about and how do they relate to one another when adjusting settings on your camera? This interactive graphic should help you understand the essentials.
JPEG vs RAW
Like most of us, you probably started out with a camera that only captured images in the JPEG format. If you’ve now moved on and have a DSLR camera, you’ve probably encountered the term ‘RAW’ as another option for storing image files. But what’s the difference and why might you choose one rather than the other? This video explains.
The term ‘Stops’ is one you hear frequently in discussions on camera technique, but what exactly is a Stop and why is it important to understand? This short video introduces the subject.
For a slightly more detailed explanation of the concept of Stops, covering Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO click here.
Depth of Field
A very simple but effective explanation of what depth of field is and the various ways in which it can be varied.
For a more detailed explanation of hyperfocal distance and when to use or not use it, click here.
This section provides links to some useful tools which you can download for your PC, smartphone or tablet.
PhotoPills – One of the best and most comprehensive ‘toolkits’ available. PhotoPills includes just about everything you will need when planning a photo shoot. It includes calculators for Exposure, Depth of Field, Hyperfocal lengths, Field of View, Sun and Moon times (Phases, Rising, Setting, Golden Hour, Blue Hour, etc), plus a remarkably clever planner which enables you to work out all aspects of an outdoor shoot for a specific location – before you even get there! For more information, click here to watch the video.
Photo Processing Software
By far the most widely used applications for processing and manipulating your images are Lightroom and Photoshop. These are excellent tools and have the advantage of vast amounts of tutorials, books and articles, not to mention the availability of club members who can give advice.
However, the downside is that these applications are not cheap. So if you’re new to photography, working on a limited budget (who isn’t), but still want to get into processing your own images, there are some alternatives which might surprise you. These are all applications developed by the Open Source community; a world-wide movement involving thousands of professional developers who believe in making high quality software available to all at little or no cost.
In the photographic realm, there are some great alternatives to both Lightroom and Photoshop, which can do pretty much everything that their better known counterparts are capable of (and sometimes a bit more!).
If you are a Windows or Mac user, then there are a several applications worth exploring: As an alternative to Lightroom, try Darktable or Raw Therapee. Also check out a very powerful competitor to Photoshop named GIMP. Both of these applications can be downloaded for free. But remember that, just as with Lightroom and Photoshop, the learning curve is quite steep! Having said that, there are plenty of on-line tutorial resources available on the web, including a wealth of videos on YouTube.
One other free Open Source application worth considering is digiKam. This is an excellent photo library manager, which also offers some useful JPEG processing tools. Great for keeping all those images in some sort of order.
Tell your travel story – using just one lens
Some great ideas for creating memorable images, without having to haul a whole bunch of lenses around