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Old Jan 11, 2008, 7:02 AM   #1
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:|I recently purchased a Nikon D40, I would LOVE any tips or tricks anyone has to offer. I'am trying to learn as much as I can. Also, is there any accesories that would be beneficial? Any feedback would be AMAZING. <3
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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What kind(s) of photography interest you?

Portraits? Weddings? Family? Travel? Landscapes/Cityscapes? Sports/Action? Candid? Celebrities? Wildlife? Micro? Macro? Astro?
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 3:28 PM   #3
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portraits.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 3:40 PM   #4
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Whatever kind of photography you are interested in, there are three basic steps (in no particular order):
* Shoot
* Think
* Read
Repeat those steps many times.

IMHO, the most important reading you can do is your camera's manual. You should familiar enough with your camera to be able to change the settings without thinking a lot about it. Beyond that, the web and your local library are the best sources. Don't worry about getting a book about your specific camera, or about digital.

Thinking about your shots will be a lot easier if you know what the camera was doing when you made the shot. So get an EXIF reader - likely one came with the camera and the folks in the forum for your specific camera are the best ones to recomend one.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 5:16 PM   #5
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CalamityJane wrote:
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portraits.
Lenses in the range of 85mm to 105mm have always been regarded as "Portrait" lenses, but that's on a 35mm film camera. On the D40, that would be about 55mm to 70mm. That's a medium telephoto, but you can use longer lenses for candid portraits, for instance. Wider lenses won't generally be very flattering to the subject.

Portrait lenses also should have a large aperture for shallow depth of field.

If all you've got is the kit lens, you may not be able to do much. The kit lens isn't long enough or fast enough to do portraits very well.

As BillDrew suggests, take lots of photos, look at them critically, look at other peoples photos, and do it all again.

If you're serious about doing portraits, there's the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG and the Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD-IF, both of which are quite good and cost about $350-$400.

Just keep shooting, and post some here in the Critiques and Techniquesand the People Photosforums.
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Old Jan 11, 2008, 5:33 PM   #6
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Flash The built in flash might be OK for fill flash while doing an outdorr portrait but you will want an off cammera flash for indoor shots.

A tripod is alway a good idea

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Old Jan 11, 2008, 6:24 PM   #7
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A tripod is a good idea for most kinds of photography. Beyond stability, a major advantage of a tripod is that it will slow you down. Slow enough that you will have to think about what you are doing. Get a good tripod: a good one will outlast several cameras while a flimsy one will become clutter at the back of your closet.

If you want to shoot portaits get a manakin to study lighting. A manikin has infinite patiences while practicing with a real person is likely lead to bad relations with your husband/wife/son/mother/... as they get real tired of waiting for you to figure out the lighting. A footbal with a wig and a silly putty nose would be a start.
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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An external flash unit and a tripod are good suggestions, but not so much for candid portraits or environmental portraits.

One technique that a lot of people are using and appreciate the benefits of isa shotgun approach to photography. This technique was expensive for film, but for digital photography it doesn't matter. You just take a lot of photos in rapid succession, knowing in advance that most will be wasted, but you're likely to get a few really good shots that you would have missed otherwise. Flash and a tripod don't work for that.

But for candid portraits or environmental portraits you'll need a longer lens, which also rules out a flash.
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 9:38 PM   #9
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TCav wrote:
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One technique that a lot of people are using and appreciate the benefits of isa shotgun approach to photography.
Otherwise known as "spray and pray" :G Not a big fan of the "take 100 shots and hope one turns out" approach. In the end, there are going to be times when you can't take this approach. If you haven't learned what you're doing you'll never get those types of shots. I would recommend learning what you're doing and practicing. Then it becomes second nature. So you won't need to take 100 shots for that one keeper you can just take 2 or 3. And, best of all you'll know WHY the shot came out good so you can repeat your success.
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 10:11 PM   #10
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JohnG wrote:
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TCav wrote:
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One technique that a lot of people are using and appreciate the benefits of isa shotgun approach to photography.
Otherwise known as "spray and pray" :G Not a big fan of the "take 100 shots and hope one turns out" approach. In the end, there are going to be times when you can't take this approach. If you haven't learned what you're doing you'll never get those types of shots. I would recommend learning what you're doing and practicing. Then it becomes second nature. So you won't need to take 100 shots for that one keeper you can just take 2 or 3. And, best of all you'll know WHY the shot came out good so you can repeat your success.
I was talking about candid and environmental portraits, where the subject and the environs are dynamic. The subject is acting and reacting and you can't control the facial expression, the posture or mannerisms, so capturing as many images as you can means that you might get a few that are flattering.

If the subject is posed, this technique is, or course,not necessary.
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