photography lessons

This is me a lot lately.  I’m loving my new Canon Rebel T1i.  In the month since I bought my new camera, I have only let a few days pass by without photographing something.  I’m devouring articles at Digital Photography School and re-watching the lessons from John Greengo’s Fundamentals of Digital Photography class.  I even bought a couple of magazines — Popular Photography and Digital Photo — even though I will not subscribe because I’ve given up the subscription dead tree habit.

Last Saturday, before I went to the grocery store, I went to Borders and looked at every photography book they have.  There are a lot of helpful articles and places to learn photography online, but there are times when it’s better to have a book rather than my laptop.  I didn’t want a huge expensive textbook, but something thorough.  After much browsing — I spent more time at Borders than at Wegman’s — I finally chose Product Details
Canon Rebel T1i/500D: From Snapshots to Great Shots
– Paperback (Oct. 19, 2009) by Jeff Revell.  I decided a book about my camera specifically would most help me develop my skills.

One of my favorite features of this book is that it has several two page spread annotated photographs.  He explains what settings he used, why he used them, and why he composed the shot the way he did.  I also like the assignments at the end of each chapter.  I’ve decided to do them one by one, checking them off with the date as I complete them.  I’ve finished the first chapter today.  Later chapters will take longer, as they’ll require much more effort and practice.  Chapter 1 is just the author’s top ten things to know to be productive “right out of the box.” The list begins with fully charging the battery, introduces basic settings, and has us dabble in manual focusing.  I’m nearly done with the assignments for  Chapter 2 — First Things First — too.  It covers some more basics, such as formatting the memory card and defining exposure. I was so eager to gain control over my photos with my new camera that I  actually mostly ignored the automatic settings until I read Chapter 3 — The Basic Zone — last night.  Now I will go back and play in all those settings a bit.  I’m sure I’ll learn from those exercises too.

Upcoming chapters will go into each setting on the dial in depth and the book ends with advice about composition and some advanced techniques.   I’m eager to learn it all, and I’m reading whenever I can, like at 1 a.m. last night.    I have already taken over a thousand photos with my new camera.  The record day would be the 4th of July, when I took 353.  Admittedly, many of those pictures  have been deleted.  I haven’t shared them so far because I’m taking a lot of boring photos.  For instance, I put three toys at various distances to practice focusing.  Toys are much easier to photograph than my wiggly kids, but not as interesting to publish in my blog!  Do you want to see the 6 photos I took of myself in the bathroom while trying out every white balance setting to see how it changed the photo in tungsten light?  Okay, well, the photo above was taken in the bathroom, manually focused by me, though it was on auto white balance.  I’ll share some of my photos here as my photography improves, so stay tuned.



  1. Thanks Stephanie. Several people have recommended Peterson’s book and I will read it someday. I chose this one first because its specifically about my camera, while still explaining exposure as well as all the other hows and whys of photography.


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