Recommended reading for someone new to DSLR cameras?

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zepp76zepp76 Frets: 412
I have decided to dip my toes into the world of DSLR cameras and have just ordered an entry level camera (Canon EOS 1300D) and would like to know if there are any recommended books that I should read, I don't want anything too in depth but something that covers photographing landscapes, rivers and the sea and very close up pictures of insects and plant life please. Thank you in advance.


Edit: Also any advice on any essentials I may need would be greatly appreciated.
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1624
    With a digital camera, trial and error is a very viable solution, and you don't need a book for that. Find some images you like and see what lens and exposure was used and give it a go.

    I trained as a photgrapher almost fifty years ago and the biggest problem was getting to the final print or slide, because it took a lot of time.  Now, you can take twenty shots, look at them all in seconds, see what's wrong, see what you like, and then have another go.

    You'll find as much in something like AP as you will in a string of books.
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • benmurray85benmurray85 Frets: 1019
    I’m in a similar situation and I think you can get all the advice you need off youtube. There’s a hell of a lot of conjecture and brand pushing but if you dig through all the “you NEED x lens/filter/body etc to do this” there is a wealth of info out there. 

    Other than that just get out there and throw yourself at it. Find out what type of photography it is that you enjoy and research the different ways that different people do that style. There’s so much advice out there. 
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  • benmurray85benmurray85 Frets: 1019
    Also, try and go out with others more experienced than you. I recently did this wth a pro friend of mine and learnt more in one evening than I have done in the past year of dicking about 
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  • boogiemanboogieman Frets: 5036
    YouTube is a great place to start. Join a forum like Talkphotography for more in depth advice. 

    Dont get bogged down too much with extra gear at first, learn how the camera works first and what it can and can’t do. You can add other stuff as you realise what it’s limitations are. Beware that if you do get into it seriously it’s a worse hobby for GAS than guitars!  :)
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3821
    100% watch some Chelsea and Tony on YouTube. They have beginner guides to help explain concepts like focusing, aperture, shutter speed and film speed.

    I learnt all of that stuff from the camera manual back when I got an old film SLR though :) so maybe they still do discuss it in the manual.
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  • RiftAmpsRiftAmps Frets: 1229
    Your first big 'milestone' should be to shoot in Manual mode full-time. That requires an understanding of the big three exposure controls - Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Learning what each does, how they affect the other two, and how to manipulate them for your creative needs is the foundation of any good photographic skill set.

    YouTube is your friend here, go watch!
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    +1 to the above - watch some vids and read some beginner articles and experiment with aperture, shutter speed and ISO until you're familiar with how they interact, and how you need to balance them to get the right exposure. Like everything, it's usually a compromise to get the right depth of field, the right amount of motion blur (or none) and the right amount of light onto the sensor to get the picture to look ok. 

    I wouldn't necessarily worry about actually using full manual mode, but it's good to understand it properly. I rarely set all 3 settings manually - I'm perfectly happy choosing aperture myself, sticking with ISO 200 (in daylight) and letting the camera pick shutter speed for me. But i'm perfect capable of doing it myself should the need arise. It all depends on what you're shooting really.

    All bear in mind that you'll almost certainly need to spend a bit of time processing anything you shoot. I use Lightroom, but there's plenty of other options - Capture 1, or even Apple's Photos app or Google photos are pretty powerful these days. 
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  • benmurray85benmurray85 Frets: 1019
    +1 for manual mode. I started here but only as the Youtubers banged on about it! I just thought that’s how you did it. It is hard but once you get your head round the exposure triangle it will make sense. 

    Also +1 for processing. Tbh I find that side of it more enjoyable than anything else. 

    You have a lot to learn but starting from scratch with photography has reminded me of how exciting it can be to learn something and appreciating those little milestones along the way. 
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3821
    boogieman said:
    YouTube is a great place to start. Join a forum like Talkphotography for more in depth advice. 

    Dont get bogged down too much with extra gear at first, learn how the camera works first and what it can and can’t do. You can add other stuff as you realise what it’s limitations are. Beware that if you do get into it seriously it’s a worse hobby for GAS than guitars!  :)

    Second on the gear. Seriously, if you have a kit zoom it's a decent lens. If you want something else, be clear on what it is you'd like to achieve before asking for advice :) 

    I'm a member of a few Facebook groups (nikon and Sony - I'm going to move to Sony) and I was astounded at how many people have purchased a Sony A9 and three G master lenses before asking why some of their picture isn't sharp and what depth of field is etc. I don't begrudge spending lots of money on gear, but often they have inappropriate gear for their goals. 
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3821
    Forgot about processing! It's amazing what Lightroom can do these days and most images only go through photoshop for specific work or if they are to be printed big.

    Also, don't use windows Photos app - it's not colour managed and if you have a decent monitor your photos will often look over saturated or generally nasty. 
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    Forgot about processing! It's amazing what Lightroom can do these days and most images only go through photoshop for specific work or if they are to be printed big.

    Also, don't use windows Photos app - it's not colour managed and if you have a decent monitor your photos will often look over saturated or generally nasty. 
    Yup. Without wanting to get into gear-spend-mode, I love that I can take an iPad with me when I travel, import & edit photos in the evening or on a plane, and have them quickly download to my laptop for final tweaks as soon as I'm home. Then share them from my phones & when I want to, making the same level of edits on any of those devices as well. 
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3821
    Forgot about processing! It's amazing what Lightroom can do these days and most images only go through photoshop for specific work or if they are to be printed big.

    Also, don't use windows Photos app - it's not colour managed and if you have a decent monitor your photos will often look over saturated or generally nasty. 
    Yup. Without wanting to get into gear-spend-mode, I love that I can take an iPad with me when I travel, import & edit photos in the evening or on a plane, and have them quickly download to my laptop for final tweaks as soon as I'm home. Then share them from my phones & when I want to, making the same level of edits on any of those devices as well. 

    Yup, I use Lightroom mobile on my Nokia 8 - works really well, and results are very good indeed! Very few features are missing for me (brush tool is it I think). Great for on-the-go instagram stuff.

    Beggars belief that some apps (*cough* Microsoft) are not colour managed but hey ho. Lightroom mobile also does a great job of editing jpegs taken from my phone. 
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  • jellyrolljellyroll Frets: 2150
    zepp76 said:
    I have decided to dip my toes into the world of DSLR cameras and have just ordered an entry level camera (Canon EOS 1300D) and would like to know if there are any recommended books that I should read, I don't want anything too in depth but something that covers photographing landscapes, rivers and the sea and very close up pictures of insects and plant life please. Thank you in advance.


    Edit: Also any advice on any essentials I may need would be greatly appreciated.
    For Landscapes, rivers and seas - to start with, I would give the opposite advice to most posters above. Set the camera to auto exposure and worry about COMPOSITION. Later on, you can get into manual exposure setting (for instance to freeze or blur moving water) but I would say that comes after you develop an instinct for what makes an interesting (to you) photograph. Look at a ton of photos online and start to form opinions on what works,etc. 

    For very close up insects and plant life - this is a very technical area of photography (usually called "macro"). The closer up you want to get, the more technical it becomes. To start, you'll need a close focussing lens (a "macro" lens)  which let's you get near to the subject.  Macro lenses tend to have monikers like 1:2 or 1:1 which is the magnification ratio of the lens (1:1 gives twice the magnification of 1:2)  A focal length of about 100mm is usually good for macro (but it must be a "macro" lens). 

    If you want to get the ultra close up insect mandible type shots, you'll need quite specific equiprment - but I would wait before buying that stuff. I would say get a macro lens, see how far you get playing around and if the bug bites, then think about more gear. A tripod would probably be the first thing
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2700
    I Googled 'Lightroom' and the response was a number of books offered to help. Is Lightroom computer software and if so, where can it be bought? I have heard about Photoshop but it appears very complicated to use. The free image software supplied with my Canon DSLR is overwhelming without being shown what it can do or how to do it. All help or pointers appreciated. Even the name of a good book on the subject would be a great help. Thanks
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • GagarynGagaryn Frets: 1291
    Rocker said:
    I Googled 'Lightroom' and the response was a number of books offered to help. Is Lightroom computer software and if so, where can it be bought? I have heard about Photoshop but it appears very complicated to use. The free image software supplied with my Canon DSLR is overwhelming without being shown what it can do or how to do it. All help or pointers appreciated. Even the name of a good book on the subject would be a great help. Thanks
    Adobe Software - can buy on line or subscribe.

    Re books to help a beginner, the "Digital Field Guide" series is pretty good, they have specific editions for most popular DSLRs so you get camera specific help which is useful if you are starting with zero knowledge.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    @Rocker - as above, Lightroom is an Adobe software series. It’s a cataloguing and developing app, with options for local and cloud storage. 

    Unlike photoshop it’s aimed specifically at photographers and focussed on photography-specific adjustments compared with photoshop which is a generic image editing suite. 


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  • NomadNomad Frets: 508
    +1 for manual mode. I started here but only as the Youtubers banged on about it! I just thought that’s how you did it. It is hard but once you get your head round the exposure triangle it will make sense. 

    People think it's hard because they're used to cameras doing it all for them, aided by marketing blurb that implies you need the latest whizz-bang auto camera to rescue you from the perils of indulging in the black art of making a correct exposure. I learned it aged 16 with a manual-only mechanical film camera, a hand-held light meter, and a few minutes chat at the local camera club. When your only option is manual, you just accept it as part of what gets learned to be able to take photos. It's not hard, it's easy.


    Nomad
    Nobody loves me but my mother... and she could be jivin' too...

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  • Axe_meisterAxe_meister Frets: 2199
    Get the book "Understanding exposure" utterly brilliant and the "night and low light photography"
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    Nomad said:
    +1 for manual mode. I started here but only as the Youtubers banged on about it! I just thought that’s how you did it. It is hard but once you get your head round the exposure triangle it will make sense. 

    People think it's hard because they're used to cameras doing it all for them, aided by marketing blurb that implies you need the latest whizz-bang auto camera to rescue you from the perils of indulging in the black art of making a correct exposure. I learned it aged 16 with a manual-only mechanical film camera, a hand-held light meter, and a few minutes chat at the local camera club. When your only option is manual, you just accept it as part of what gets learned to be able to take photos. It's not hard, it's easy.

    Yeah. And it's *really* easy with a modern digital camera - just decide which setting is most important, adjust the other 2 to get your exposure meter close to 0, then adjust again to under/over-expose as desired. 

    Or keep it in Aperture/Shutter priority and skip the second step - I love Fuji X series as it lets me set aperture and use the exposure comp dial for everything else.
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  • RaymondLinRaymondLin Frets: 3610
    edited July 12
    I don't understand why the need to shoot manual, or make it some kind of target.  I never did learn in manual (I know how to use it), but I stick to Aperture Priority almost all the time.  Instead I used to exposure compensation dial to bump up and down the stops of light  With off camera flashes I use manual but that is a different kettle of fish.

    Once you get how the ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed affect each other and what it does, there is no brownie points shooting in manual.

    Here is another tip, don't dwell on the science of it too much, it really isn't that much to learn, there are 3 settings and 1 shutter button.  Spend time learning the art, I am serious.  I see a lot of people spending ages trying to learn how a camera work but they get bored, because they end up taking uninteresting photos of their cats a lot, but its the same shot after shot of it, there is nothing inventive of the cat.

    In the end it is the art that is the fuel to make you take more photos, same way like the music that makes you want to learn guitar.  Learning to play single note isn't that fun, but when you put them together, that's where the fun begin.
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  • thumpingrugthumpingrug Frets: 1196
    I cant recommend the Dummies guides enough.  I find these well written, hight informative and straightforward.

    https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Digital-Photography-All-Dummies-Computers/dp/1119291399/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531422279&sr=8-1&keywords=dummies+guide+to+dslr



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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 749
    The photography guide books by Michael Freeman are very well written and informative. His "The Photographer's Pocket Book" is useful because it is convenient to carry around as a handy reference. It covers the technicalities of DSLRs and guidance on producing good images.
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  • Jimbro66Jimbro66 Frets: 749
    Rocker said:
    I Googled 'Lightroom' and the response was a number of books offered to help. Is Lightroom computer software and if so, where can it be bought? I have heard about Photoshop but it appears very complicated to use. The free image software supplied with my Canon DSLR is overwhelming without being shown what it can do or how to do it. All help or pointers appreciated. Even the name of a good book on the subject would be a great help. Thanks

    @Rocker Adobe Lightroom is software for processing your digital photographs and then cataloguing them in a way that makes them easy to find in future. It is not as complex as full Photoshop but still requires some training or a decent guide book to help you find your way around. Photoshop is also available in the "Elements" version which is aimed at hobbyist photographers. Again it allows you to process your photos and also to catalogue them. It is less complex and more novice-friendly than full Photoshop - and far cheaper.
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  • BudgieBudgie Frets: 676
    edited July 12
    jellyroll said:
    zepp76 said:
    I have decided to dip my toes into the world of DSLR cameras and have just ordered an entry level camera (Canon EOS 1300D) and would like to know if there are any recommended books that I should read, I don't want anything too in depth but something that covers photographing landscapes, rivers and the sea and very close up pictures of insects and plant life please. Thank you in advance.


    Edit: Also any advice on any essentials I may need would be greatly appreciated.
    For Landscapes, rivers and seas - to start with, I would give the opposite advice to most posters above. Set the camera to auto exposure and worry about COMPOSITION. Later on, you can get into manual exposure setting (for instance to freeze or blur moving water) but I would say that comes after you develop an instinct for what makes an interesting (to you) photograph. Look at a ton of photos online and start to form opinions on what works,etc. 


    Apart from COMPOSITION, which pretty much conquers all, I really disagree with this. Don’t use auto settings because you’ll just end up with either blown out highlights or under exposed foregrounds. There are just three considerations - Aperture, Shutter and ISO all of which affect each other.

    Landscape photography generally demands a tripod so therefore the shutter speed is made virtually redundant. Either go full manual, which is NOT at all complicated or Aperture Priority, meaning you set the aperture and the ISO setting to determine the shutter speed which, with a tripod, can be whatever length of time.. Most landscape photography is based on mid aperture settings for good/acceptable front to back sharpness. There are other considerations like how to deal with flowing water, freezing movement to trees, focus stacking, long exposures etc but all of these are part of the fun of learning about your camera and editing software. Also, if you have an interest in landscapes, - as well as a tripod, get a circular polariser. Other filters can be easily overcome by using your camera’s bracketing setting and exposure blending in post production in Lightroom etc.

    Also, shoot in RAW, it makes processing much more flexible.

    There are a lot of excellent YouTubers making great photography content. I tend to take landscape images so Nigel Danson, First Man Photography, Andrew Marr, Thomas Heaton, Adam Gibbs are all worth checking out.

    Photography is great fun!




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  • BlackjackBlackjack Frets: 155
    If you want to get books, which I must admit I like to do too, I would recommend anything by Scott Kelby.  His books are very informative but written in a really understandable, easy to read and humorous style.  The set in the below link is a great starting point, it’s expensive but you can also buy the books individually if you wish.  Scott’s books definately are great though as some books seem to assume a certain level of knowledge and whilst contain good information, become very technical and hard to read but his are not like that at all. 
    Great choice with a Canon! I have a 40D and love mine! 

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scott-Kelbys-Digital-Photography-Boxed/dp/0133988066/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1531461691&sr=8-6&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=scott+kelby&dpPl=1&dpID=51%2BhY%2BKBT%2BL&ref=plSrch
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  • sinbaadisinbaadi Frets: 819
    Auto modes are fine for general snapping.  I put it auto when I'm on a holiday wander.  The composition is what makes it a really good picture, or not.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for software to help speed up the whole "keep it", "bin it" process?

    I'd like something with quick previews and the ability to create shortcuts on the keyboard, or drag and drop, for sorting images into different folders/recycling bin.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    sinbaadi said:
    Auto modes are fine for general snapping.  I put it auto when I'm on a holiday wander.  The composition is what makes it a really good picture, or not.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for software to help speed up the whole "keep it", "bin it" process?

    I'd like something with quick previews and the ability to create shortcuts on the keyboard, or drag and drop, for sorting images into different folders/recycling bin.
     What exactly is your workflow at the mo? 

    You can do it very quickly in Lightroom - just hit "x" on anything you want to delete to mark it as rejected, then ctrl+backspace (cmd+delete on mac) to delete anything marked as rejected.

    If I'm importing via iPad I just use the iOS photos app to "star" anything I want to keep then quickly delete the others. Those 2 are about as quick as the process can ever be.
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  • ThePrettyDamnedThePrettyDamned Frets: 3821
    sinbaadi said:
    Auto modes are fine for general snapping.  I put it auto when I'm on a holiday wander.  The composition is what makes it a really good picture, or not.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for software to help speed up the whole "keep it", "bin it" process?

    I'd like something with quick previews and the ability to create shortcuts on the keyboard, or drag and drop, for sorting images into different folders/recycling bin.

    Lightroom. I import, then run through keep/bin, filter the bins and delete them. 

    The keeps are not all excellent, but the bins are poor composition, focus missed or just a terrible exposure. 
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  • sinbaadisinbaadi Frets: 819
    I connect to my windows 7 PC by USB, import them all and then use Windows to preview, which is a pain sometimes if you have multiples of the same image and only want to keep the best one. I don't usually bother shooting in RAW.  I then edit with Photoshop.

    My camera automatically Bluetooth transfers smaller file format previews to my phone, but I can't mark them in any way.  I can also ask it to transfer the original but it takes longer as you can imagine.  I do edit a lot of images for general sharing on my phone with Photoshop and Google photos.

    I've never tried Lightroom, because I'm quite proficient with Photoshop and never feel I can't achieve what I want to achieve.  I was not aware it included the sorting features too!

    Looks like I should give it a try.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9362
    You already have access to Lightroom if you're using Photoshop via the creative cloud subscription. It's *awesome* - I literally never use PS.
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