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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 20 Aug 2010 (Friday) 12:32
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Breakthrough Improvement in Your Photography

Karl ­ Johnston
Cream of the Crop
9,334 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Jul 2008
Aug 22, 2010 21:30 |  #16
bannedPermanent ban

my shoulder healing to the point where I could go out and create new stuff rather than re-circulating old shots.

Adventurous Photographer, Writer (external link) & Wedding Photographer (external link)

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far from having everything figured out!
16,302 posts
Gallery: 120 photos
Likes: 467
Joined Jun 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Aug 22, 2010 21:33 |  #17

Being able to purchase a DSLR. Trial and error became a useful tool. Have always had a fully manual SLR but the time between taking the picture and seeing it in print made it rather difficult to remember settings and figure out what I should do differently. I learn much better when it's visual/hands on.


Cream of the Crop
6,231 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Sep 2007
Location: Sitting atop the castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Aug 23, 2010 07:44 |  #18

Realising it was all about light - the quality of light in particular.

Understanding that shooting with less light (ie golden hour as opposed to noon sunlight) can dramatically improve a shot.

Having a camera makes you no more a photographer than having a hammer and some nails makes you a carpenter - Claude Adams
Keep calm and carry a camera!
My Gear

1,781 posts
Likes: 25
Joined May 2007
Location: Orange County, CA
Aug 23, 2010 10:34 |  #19

learning how to use flash properly, especially off camera flash.

Canon 7D / 50D / 30D / SL1 / XT

My photography-related addiction makes a crack habit look like a fiscally responsible pasttime.

Senior Member
392 posts
Joined Apr 2008
Aug 23, 2010 22:30 |  #20


1,601 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
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Joined Apr 2010
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Aug 24, 2010 07:14 as a reply to  @ taxsux's post |  #21

...for me there were a couple of moments:

The first one was I was taking some photos at the beach, at the exposure the camera was telling me was correct, when I decided to play with the settings to see what would happen. This was the result:


I was astounded because I couldn't see the orangery-golden colour with my eyes: so I under-exposed it further and got a deeper red. I then over-exposed the image and the landscape came into view, but the sky blew out. It was a wow moment: I learnt that my camera does what it does really well but it can't read my mind. The camera is simply a tool: what it produces is really up to me.

The second big moment was when I took this photo here:


I had just bought a new (cheap) tripod and was testing it out with some long exposures around town. I had just finished taking some great shots of the railway station, I was packing down the tripod when I noticed the fantastic tiles, colour and light on the ground as it was shown on my (still on) live view. So I quickly set the camera back up again, snapped a quick shot, then went home.

Upon review: I cropped out a lot of the picture to the right, then found my eyes drawn to the people standing outside the station. I hadn't noticed them when I took the photo but after cropping they just jumped out to me. Who were these people? What were they waiting for? What were their stories?

For me there were several breakthroughs here. I've been sitting here for a while to try and explain what those breakthrough's were but I'm struggling to come up with the words.

Lets just say that this photo redefined for me what photography is and what a photograph can be. It can tell stories. It can freeze time. It can result from an accident. It can happen any moment that you have a camera. Neither of these photos are technically perfect or "great" photos, but they mean a lot to me. link

1,828 posts
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Joined May 2008
Location: Based in California and Slovenia
Aug 24, 2010 07:31 as a reply to  @ banquetbear's post |  #22

Learning to recognize good light and then learning how to create it for myself with off-camera flash. I've had lots of little breakthroughs, but those involving light have done the most to push me forward.

Photography by Erin Babnik (external link) | Newsletter (external link) | Photo Cascadia Team Member (external link) | Facebook (external link)

Cream of the Crop
7,458 posts
Gallery: 178 photos
Best ofs: 1
Likes: 2464
Joined Oct 2008
Location: Where ever I lay my hat is my home
Aug 24, 2010 08:28 |  #23

Breakthroughs for me came when I learned to:

- shoot a lot with different settings but only show the good stuff.

- shoot in the Raw mode.

- shoot more and more in manual mode.

- obtain a correct exposure by using the light falling on the subject without a incident meter (oh but I love my incident meter though)

- shoot towards the light in manual mode and still get a good exposure - no silhouettes.
- quickly adjust exposure when the camera’s light meter is being fooled by the existing light and how to quickly adjust for whites, blacks etc. (i.e. I learned when the meter is being fooled by the light by looking at the shutter speed of the exposure as compared to the existing light)

- how to better use spot metering

- to use the back button focus and it's benefits (still go back and forth though).

- to use what I've learned above to shoot better Bird in Flight shots hand held - especially shooting in manual mode

- to better use on camera and off camera flash and that flash is a friend and not a foe and the benefits of diffused flash lighting

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"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic"

2,242 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Nov 2008
Location: Netherlands
Aug 24, 2010 08:30 |  #24

The moment I started learning the strobist ways. OCF has done much more for me than any lens or body selection... If possible, it's done even more for my macro shots ;)

Some of my lenses focus beyond infinity...!
Gear | Flickr (external link)
"My featured shots" (external link)

Senior Member
518 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Feb 2010
Location: Finland
Aug 25, 2010 13:08 |  #25

Macro. It forces you to learn manual focus, the effect of aperture on DoF and shutter speed. You also learn patience and holding the camera steady.

Things I've learned the most from: Macro -> MF primes -> Full frame -> OCL lighting

Gear: Canon 5D Mk II | Olympus 21/3.5 | Zeiss Distagon 35/2 | Sigma 50/1.4 ASPH | Samyang 85/1.4 ASPH | Canon 100/2.8 L Macro
My modest Flickr (external link)

Cream of the Crop
5,981 posts
Likes: 39
Joined Aug 2007
Location: London, UK
Aug 25, 2010 16:52 |  #26
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Biggest? Getting to know what f/shutter speed/ISO stops principles right, now am begining to know a bit about flash photography

the ­ pokemon ­ kid
Senior Member
258 posts
Joined Oct 2009
Location: Surrey, England
Aug 25, 2010 16:56 |  #27

it was when i looked at a picture that i had taken and a similar picture that someone else took in the exact same place. it made me think of exposure, depth of field, angle, rule of thirds and everything else more. it made me realise that my images were boring and that they needed to be more interesting and the only way of doing this was to make sure i had checked everything off a mental list ( the small list i said) before taking the picture.

Canon 7D, 17-40mm L, Tokina 10-17mm Fish-eye F/3.5-4.5, Canon 50mm f/1.4, 580ex flash, 430ex x2
flickr (external link)

172 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Dec 21, 2010 03:22 as a reply to  @ post 10769219 |  #28

Light is everything. Off-camera flash. Bounce (card) techniques. Master / Slave(s) flash. Light kit. Wireless shutter. Manual mode. RAW. Prime lenses. Back button focus.

EOS 7D | EOS 40D | EF 85mm 1.8 | Canon 10-22 | Canon 50mm 1.8 | Canon 28-135mm | Tamron 17-35mm | Tamron 28-200mm LD | Tamron 70-300mm | 580 EX II | 430 EX II

Cream of the Crop
7,084 posts
Likes: 8
Joined Nov 2008
Location: Wadsworth, Ohio
Dec 21, 2010 09:25 |  #29

I came here a little more than 2 years ago to ask all the ignorant noob-ish questions. One comment that stuck was this: "Put your camera in "M" and learn how everything works together." From the point at which my first camera arrived, (a used 30D) shooting in "M" is all I've ever done. Also bought a couple of books to read while I learned the basics.

The gear upgrades have provided a LOT of quality improvement as well. I've seen incredible work from people here who choose to shoot with a Rebel body and kit lens. This tells me it's the guy driving more than the gear.

Still a long way to go for me to get where I want to be.


Canon 5D2 > 35L-85L-135L

Cream of the Crop
6,678 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Mar 2010
Location: Canada.
Dec 21, 2010 09:36 |  #30

Mine? Finding this forum. I have learned everything from it.

Hi, I'm David.

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Breakthrough Improvement in Your Photography
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