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    Hi there, need some help am super confused, My lovely husband brought me a Samsung NX1000 mirrorless camera because I was moaning that I wanted nice photos of the kids rather then the crap I take, however, I still don’t know how to take a good photo and want to learn, do not ever want to do this for a job, am very happy with my current job, but am a ECE teacher and want nice photos for the kids, books etc as well as family holidays, photos for my wall at home.. Been on goggle for 3 days now and its all too confusing so many websites and  online help that contradicts itself, don’t even understand what light, composition, and all the other terms mean, its overwhelming for someone that has only ever had a point and shoot auto thing. is there a basic website, book, online course that you can recommend? do not want to enrol for a paid course as its just a hobby and am super busy with work.


    Well, it’s kind of hard to point you in a good direction since you don’t want to spend money and don’t have much time.  I can understand, what you are saying, but yes it can be very confusing and a lot to take  in a short period of time.

    The best thing I would suggest is to learn your camera and it’s features to the point that you know where pretty much everything is without having to look.  I don’t have one of those, but just knowing how to navigate through the menus and selecting various options and settings is key.  You don’t need to know every aspect of every feature, most people don’t use all the features of all devices anyway.

    Learn a new technique or trick or 2 each week until you got the full hang of it.  Keep shooting and trying new things.

    In your case and I have said it all the time, YouTube can be a treasure trove of information, but don’t put all your stock in just one video.

    The fundamentals have not changed much since the days of film, every photo is based on 3 things, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  To take a photo, your shot will be different based on what these 3 settings are in relation to each other.  Change 1 and it affects the other 2, slightly more with every step.  If anything, learn these 1st, since they do not change.

    Automatic mode is nice for on-the-go quick snapshots, but the camera has no idea what you are trying to do and how you want the photo to turn out.  In Automatic mode, the camera is trying to achieve the best photo possible based on the lighting conditions not what you intend for the photo to look like.

    Try the different modes of your camera first. like Av, Tv and P.  When you see a shot that you like that turns out nice, look at the settings and see if you can duplicate those setting on your own in M mode (M stands for Manual).  Remember, if you see a photo that you like and try to duplicate it, you will have to adjust at least 1 of the 3 settings to compensate for any lighting differences.

    If you have scene modes like beach, winter, night, action and such, give those a try and see what the settings are after taking the shot.  They will vary slightly from shot to shot, so keep that in mind.

    In time it will come to you, but do yourself and your family a favor and take it in stride.  Your head may explode if you try to digest too much information at one time.


    Good  Luck!!



    I can understand not wanting to get into big bucks for a hobby, but there’s a difference between paying for a $39 community education class on composition and investing your life savings on a Canon 1Dx and $30k worth of lights and backdrops.

    I’m an old car buff. I even own one, a 1963 Studebaker. It’s a hobby, and I’m not a professional racer, car show trophy winner, or mechanic. I’m a hobbyist. But even as a hobbyist, I spent $70 on the shop manual for my car a few years back. I still spent about $100 on paint and supplies to freshen it up under the hood. I still spent about $40 last week on points, a rotor, and a distributor cap.

    I guess my point is that even hobbyists invest something into their hobby. Often times, what you put in is directly proportional to what you get out. Someone who will only ever take what they get for free will get a lesser quality education and in turn enjoy the hobby less.

    Okay, now that I’ve hammered on you for that, I’ll try to actually do something useful :). Truly, if you go looking for a step-by-step how to take a photo guide, you’re going to find just what you said, lots of people with different, sometimes conflicting ideas. It’s important to know that those ideas are not always wrong. The end goal is to get a usable exposure, and truly, there are many roads to get there. One person might like a super low ISO with a long shutter speed, while another turns his ISO to the max for a short shutter speed, while yet another guy rides somewhere in the middle.

    If you want entertainment value with a little bit of know-how thrown in, Check out DigitalRev on YouTube. They’re a little on the crude side with their language sometimes, but I get a laugh out of their antics (most of the time – I cringe when they destroy a high end camera!), and you’ll learn something useful. From their videos, the related video streams are usually full of good stuff.


    At the end of the day though, your best experience may be to experiment. Take an exposure, then take a good, serious, almost cruel look at it. Pick it apart and look for all the flaws. Then adjust your camera settings. Open your aperture and see what it does. Tweak ISO settings to see how much grain and noise drives you nutty. Experimentation is going to be the key for learning the technical side. From the artistic side, some people naturally have it, and others don’t. Composition is one of those critical aspects of photography. Go to the library and check out look books and books on composition and posing. It will help a great deal.

    Okay, that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope it’s helpful. Peace.


    I basically did what JimC is talking about- I experimented a whole ton with things, picking a different thing to experiment with each week. I started with ISO, then shutter speed, and then aperture to learn exposure. Read the owner’s manual cover to cover so you can learn what the different things your camera can do is.

    I also would consider taking a community college course. I know ours has some available for beginner beginners and covers the owners manual and all that good stuff, and then just very basic stuff, and moves into more stuff if you decide to take further classes on composition and manual modes.

    Also I do think it’s important for us moms to spend a little money on ourselves. I know we tend to forget ourselves, but we deserve a little extra too, the kids can’t get all of it 🙂 But the awesome thing is that you can follow your kids around with your camera all the time and they’ll give you plenty of practice opportunities. And like JimC also stated, there’s nothing wrong with investing money in a hobby either. I’m literally tens of thousands of dollars into my favorite hobby (horse riding) and I continue to invest in it, because that’s what makes me happy. It makes photography cheap, haha.

    You might also want to check out the website iheartfaces.com, it’s geared more towards the momtog audience and is pretty straightforward in their tutorials and all that.


    thanks heaps, this helps and I get what you are all saying about investing a little money, I will be happy to put in some money as long as its not $1000s and I do have nights and weekends to practice, will look into a few basic books and maybe a night time basic course for absolute beginners. and thanks for the hints and tips, will start there!


    You will be amazed how little it costs to get quality instruction.

    Be sure to check out the big camera shop in your area. Our local camera shop is staffed by a lot of pros (good ones too, judging by their work), and they will offer evening or weekend classes on a variety of topics. $40-$100 is about the range in our area, your mileage may vary. Sometimes they’ll even offer you a discount or free admission to a class if you buy a related product. Our local shop will give you a free enrollment in their $100 lighting workshop if you buy a $120 softbox. If you were going to buy a softbox anyway, it seems like a good deal.

    Another resource is local photography groups. I am part of one, where about once a month a bunch of folks ranging from pro to amateur enthusiast get together and talk shop. Sometimes they’ll even have a photo critiquing night. It’s not as bad as this site. Usually folks are commended for their bravery, and I’ve never heard someone critique a shot in a hurtful manner.

    As I alluded to in my last post, practice makes perfect. The best advice I ever received about photography was “take a photo every day.” Now, the point of the advice wasn’t to just point and click once a day, but rather to actually put thought into a shot. Compose it, then recompose it. Tweak settings, then push the shutter button and take that photo. It’s an easy goal, and if you do it, you’re going to see a much more rapid improvement in skills than if you spent a million years reading forums and books on photography while the camera collects dust.

    Good luck!




    Worth reading.  Much of the content is “just do this”.  If you follow the examples  and try things out, you will know a lot when done.  See if you can get the books through your local library.



    More oriented toward composition


    I skimmed through the user manual for your camera and it has a lot of good information in it. If you only read the first chapter you’ll “understand what light, composition, and all the other terms mean.” I don’t know what manual shipped with your camera, but the online one is here: http://downloadcenter.samsung.com/content/UM/201303/20130306135004922/NX1000_English.pdf

    The great thing is it’s all about your camera.

    I learned photography basics initially by watching videos by Ben Long. He has a video series on Lynda.com (a great resource for learning anything having to do with electronics or computers) called Foundations of Photography. It is several hours of instruction, but well worth the time. Lynda.com is a pay service but not expensive, and sometimes they have trial periods. Most educational institutions provide a group membership for staff and students alike, so you might want to check that too.


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