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Author Topic: Supplies for beginners?  (Read 3267 times)

cmercer

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Supplies for beginners?
« on: October 29, 2012, 05:08:36 PM »
I am starting to be asked to take pictures for families and I only have the Canon T3i and the 85-300mm lens.  And of course the lens that came with the camera.  I don't have any other tools and wanted to know what should I start with buying?
Oh and I have an OK software Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera...would like some recommendations for software too! User friendly...something I don't need to take a class on how to use it!

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Supplies for beginners?
« on: October 29, 2012, 05:08:36 PM »

Drizzt321

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 05:19:31 PM »
In terms of equipment, probably a speedlite would be good (flash that goes in the hotshoe on top of the camera), they tend to provide better photos than the little popup one on the camera. For a single lens, I've heard some fairly good things about the 17-55mm, although I've never used it. Alternatively I have used the older Sigma 17-70mm and thought it was pretty good, the newer version is supposed to be better and have some image stabilization technology in it.

In terms of software, DPP is pretty good for provided software. Otherwise, the main software is Lightroom or Aperture (Mac only), with a couple of smaller and lesser known software packages out there. I've never used Aperture, but I wouldn't say Lightroom is immediately easy to use, although I got the basics of it down fairly quickly. If you want to go beyond the iPhoto type use, you likely will need to do a combination of online tutorials, classes, and just plain messing around with the settings on different photos to see what happens. Both of those software packages are quite powerful, combining both DAM (digital asset management, e.g. catalog/tagging/etc) and general global photo editing.

DPP, as I said, is pretty good, especially for it coming with the camera. It will let you do pretty much the same kind of things that Lightroom/Aperture can do, although it's a different interface and is more about the photo you're looking at, rather than providing much in the way of DAM. Whatever software you go for, I'd highly recommend taking a workshop class in basic photography and basic editing at your local camera store/continuing adult education place. Those will likely help you a lot in understanding some of the underlying terms and concepts, and often you can use online tutorials and forums for a lot more.
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cmercer

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 05:28:10 PM »
Thanks for the reply and info!  I am actually enrolled in my first class which starts on Monday! 

Drizzt321

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 05:47:40 PM »
Great, good idea. A basic class or two can go a long way to improving your photos. That and shooting a lot of different things, and remembering what you were doing and what you were trying to do. Then figuring out why your photos didn't turn out how you wanted, and repeating the whole thing over again slightly different :)  It can be a lot of fun, but sometimes time consuming process.
5D mark 2, 5D mark 3, EF 17-40mm f/4L,  EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 135mm f/2L, EF 85mm f/1.8
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PackLight

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 05:52:41 PM »
I am starting to be asked to take pictures for families and I only have the Canon T3i and the 85-300mm lens.  And of course the lens that came with the camera.  I don't have any other tools and wanted to know what should I start with buying?
Oh and I have an OK software Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera...would like some recommendations for software too! User friendly...something I don't need to take a class on how to use it!

I would suggest a new 5D III with as many prime L lenses that you can buy. Of course you will want a full set of L zooms as well.

For now though I think you need to define your photographic style and then find out how to taylor from there.

cmercer

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 06:00:32 PM »
I am starting to be asked to take pictures for families and I only have the Canon T3i and the 85-300mm lens.  And of course the lens that came with the camera.  I don't have any other tools and wanted to know what should I start with buying?
Oh and I have an OK software Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera...would like some recommendations for software too! User friendly...something I don't need to take a class on how to use it!

I would suggest a new 5D III with as many prime L lenses that you can buy. Of course you will want a full set of L zooms as well.

For now though I think you need to define your photographic style and then find out how to taylor from there.

What are the Prime L lenses and L Zooms you are referring to?

cmercer

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 06:04:01 PM »
As for my photographic style??? I have no clue.  I just want to be able to take family portraits inside and out and newborn photos.  That is about all I am really interested in thus far!

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 06:04:01 PM »

robbymack

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 06:10:54 PM »
As someone stated above a speedlight, the 430 is reasonably priced right now, and also pick up the Ef 50mm 1.8 as its great for the price. Maybe invest in adobe's Lightroom or apple's aperture depending on your flavor. Read as much for free on the Internet and also buy some books, Brian petersons "understanding exposure" is ubiquitous. Since you want to photography newborns see if you can rent a macro lens, newborns are so small it's nice to be able to get in close. If you like it then you have what you'll want as your next lens purchase when you can afford it. Otherwise have fun.

jthomson

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 06:21:39 PM »
You don't say which lens came with the camera.  If it is the 18-55mm then you have a good lens to to practice with out doors.

I would recommend adding either the 50mm f1.8 or the 40mm f2.8 lens for your indoor shooting. 
As others have suggested a dedicated flash would also be useful, personally I would recommend the Nissin Di 866 as a better value option to the canon 430.

Drizzt321

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 07:03:42 PM »
I am starting to be asked to take pictures for families and I only have the Canon T3i and the 85-300mm lens.  And of course the lens that came with the camera.  I don't have any other tools and wanted to know what should I start with buying?
Oh and I have an OK software Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera...would like some recommendations for software too! User friendly...something I don't need to take a class on how to use it!

I would suggest a new 5D III with as many prime L lenses that you can buy. Of course you will want a full set of L zooms as well.

For now though I think you need to define your photographic style and then find out how to taylor from there.

What are the Prime L lenses and L Zooms you are referring to?

I'd hold off on spending a bunch of money that L glass (the designation that Canon gives to it's top end lenses) and an expensive body. The kit lens will be alright for outdoors, or get a lens with a larger aperture (smaller 'f' number) for more inside, and possibly the 430EX as robbymack recommended. Then in a year or three once you have more experience and are more comfortable with what you are doing, you can figure out what additional lenses and/or body you want to get.
5D mark 2, 5D mark 3, EF 17-40mm f/4L,  EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 135mm f/2L, EF 85mm f/1.8
Film Cameras: Mamiya RB67, RB-50, RB-180-C, RB-90-C, RB-50, Perkeo I folder, Mamiya Six Folder (Pre-WWII model)
http://www.aaronbaff.com

cmercer

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 07:35:28 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the input!  You have given me a lot to research and think about!


Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 07:40:10 PM »
I am starting to be asked to take pictures for families and I only have the Canon T3i and the 85-300mm lens.  And of course the lens that came with the camera.  I don't have any other tools and wanted to know what should I start with buying?
Oh and I have an OK software Digital Photo Professional that came with the camera...would like some recommendations for software too! User friendly...something I don't need to take a class on how to use it!
If you want to get the most out of your camera, use RAW.  Nothing wrong with using jpegs but editing them will degrade the quality even further.
The most powerful RAW editor is Lightroom.  Adobe has free video tutorials and there are a ton of good books.
If you just want the software to do the work for you, DXO takes a fairly good stab at developing RAW images, you will probably be happy with them.  However, if you want special effects or more control, use Lightroom or Aperture.
You are going to go thru a learning curve no matter what you choose.  Many people try to organize their images into directories or folders on their computer.  Lightroom has a built-in image management system, but you should learn to use it before jumping in and trying to organize by folder.

Rat

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 08:16:28 PM »
My go-bag contains at least an extra battery, an extra 32GB card and a microfiber cloth. Then, depending on the weather, I bring a rain sleeve (that will fit both camera and a pretty large lens), and although I too always shoot raw only (meaning I can change the white balance afterwards), I usually bring a white balance cap. Most all of these items can be had for peanuts on eBay, except the memory card (for which you should do a little more research, quality and speed varies wildly). But the cheapest gadget will always be the trusty plastic bag - fill it with a bit of sand and you have a great tripod ;)
Fed up with brandism.

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 08:16:28 PM »

DB

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2012, 08:49:11 PM »
@cmercer

As others have said here, initially just get some spare batteries + SD memory cards, then if I were you I'd get a Lastolite collapsible White Balance (WB) card - they cost about 25 bucks and allow you to use custom WB on your T3i. For now I'd keep shooting JPeGs, take your photography class and learn about the 'Exposure Triangle'; Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO settings.

Then later, once your course is finished, invest in a 50mm prime (fixed focal length) lens e.g. the EF 50mm f1.8 is only about 120 bucks. Using such a lens will get you on  a steep learning curve.

Then later, a few months down the road, when you feel that you're able to take better pictures in Manual (M) mode on your Rebel, then get some editing software like Photoshop, Elements or Lightroom....and then you can start shooting RAW (unprocessed files). Trying to shoot & edit RAW files first is a bit like being thrown in the deep end to learn how to swim - it works well for some but not for others.

gloch

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2012, 09:05:06 PM »
When you are just starting, what you really need to focus on is just learning the mechanics of photography (eg. Aperture, shutter speed, iso, and how to balance all of them) and the art (composition, contrast, rhythm, line etc.) to achieve your vision and adjust to circumstances. Then you can start add lenses and lights. It would be a good idea to pick up a nifty50 right away. It will be a great bang for buck on portraits and will teach you more about composition and the mechanics because it is a 'fast' lens and pretty sharp given the right circumstances.

Other items would be a decent tripod, shutter release, lens cloth, a few SD cards and eventually blower for keeping the sensor dust free when you swap lenses.

Most of all, I would offer your services for free or really cheap until you really start to get a hang of how it all flows. It will be a great learning opportunity and they will be more forgiving.

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Re: Supplies for beginners?
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2012, 09:05:06 PM »