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eponymoushipster's avatar

What books or resources would you recommend for someone who's interested in taking up art photography as a hobby?

Asked by eponymoushipster (20207 points ) December 8th, 2009

I’m looking to start taking photography up as a hobby. I have a friend who is a photographer and has his own gallery, even. Obviously, he’ll be a great resource. But I like having references I can go back to, re-read, etc.

I’d also be interested in using Photoshop for processing the photos.

I just purchased, in conjunction with this new hobby, a Lumex 12megapixel with a UV lens, based on my friend’s recommendations.

What recommendations would you offer?

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16 Answers

stratman37's avatar

LOADS of free info out there. Just google “photo tips” and you’re off and running!

dpworkin's avatar

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans

CMaz's avatar

There are plenty of good books out there.

Buy a 35mm film camera. You want a manual camera.

Look on Ebay see if you can get something like a Pentax K1000.

Stay away from photoshop for the time being.

This way you learn proper composition, exposure (fstop, shutter speed) and lighting.

stratman37's avatar

Stay away from photoshop for the time being. – good advice. Like telling today’s crooners to lay off the autotune until they can actually sing. I like it.

evegrimm's avatar

Some good advice, given to my by my photo teachers: make a scrap book, either virtual or real, of photos that you like. You don’t have to justify why you like them, just start collecting photos!

This way, you will start to realize what kind of photos you should learn how to take (there are so many!) and what sorts of color schemes and subjects you like.

If you end up liking people photography, for instance, collecting poses is helpful for when you finally get around to doing a shoot with a person.

deviantART is an excellent resource for ideas and browsing.

seeing_red's avatar

Do you already have photoshop? If not, you could test the waters with GIMP since it’s free. Not as awesome as photoshop, but a great source to help you learn how to edit. As mentioned above, you may want to stay away from editing too much at first. What always helped me, and what I found fascinating, is looking at the photography of others. I’d see it, like it and then try to mimic it; helped me learn. This site lists some of the top photography sites out there, as far as looking at photography. DeviantART, as mentioned, is another good source. As is flickr.

stratman37's avatar

Learn, and USE, the rule of thirds.

aprilsimnel's avatar

My roommate, who is a photographer/cinematographer (and at the moment works for Canon), recommends this book for the basics of digital photography. As for Photoshop, I’d look for a Lynda tutorial.

simpleD's avatar

Newhall’s History of Photography is the gold standard of photo texts. It will give you some historical perspective, and expose you many genres that might inspire you. It also has technical explanations of exposure controls, composition, design, and lighting.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@aprilsimnel good suggestion. i get access to Lynda for free thru work!

thanks so far guys!

arpinum's avatar

Serious photographers use Lightroom or Apature to manage digital files.
I agree in getting a camera with full manual controls.
Ansel Adams has three books I would consider essential to understanding how a camera functions. Though some information is outdated, it is always good to learn from the master. I believe the three titles are The Camera, The Negative , and The Print. I think they were last updated in the early 80s.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@arpinum I’m familiar with Aperture, as i’ve demo’d and sold it to people.

i’m more interested in learning the settings and tools, as opposed to how im going to store the pictures, at this point.

arpinum's avatar

Apeture will do far more than just store photos. It can do all sorts of adjustments to photos. Levels, curves, temp, exposer shot tools, healing brushes, channel mixers, and much more.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@arpinum yes, i realize that. believe me. but i’m talking about using the camera itself.

Marmeduke's avatar

I think I’ve learnt the most about photography through looking at awesome photos by famous photographers, or talented photographers whose galleries are online. It gives you lots of ideas and helps you make sense of what things go towards a strong image.

It’s definitely important to trut your own eye and shoot things in your own way. Don’t get bogged down in rules. But – this is a fantastic book: ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ by Michael Freeman. It’s all about the artistic elements of photography and the things that make an image ‘work’. I go back to it all the time.

There are loads of great coffee table photo books knocking around. It’s great to look through quality photos on a regular basis – check out ‘Henri Cartier Bresson: The man, the image and the world: A retrospective’ – I love it!

I agree with others who’ve said there’s lots to be found online’ I use ephotozine, photobucket, deviantart, redbubble and flickr. They’re all different and useful for different things but I’ve learnt stuff through all of them.

Since you like references to go back to all the time, the reference book I probably spend most time dipping back into is ‘Photoshop Elements 8 Book for Digital Photographers’ by Scot Kelby. It’s got 12 chapters on all the main aspects of the software.

Good luck!

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