BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Heaven N. S.

Teen Beginner

My dream is to be a photographer when I get older. But I don't know how to get started. I have read up on a lot of books about photography, and I have a camera that zooms in and out. But I don't know if I am going about this the right way. I need someone who is a professional photographer to help me out on this. There are so many questions that I have. I travel a lot, such as I go to different countries. And I love to take pictures of landscapes and people, and the way that they live, their cultural backgrounds.
I also want to be able to take pictures of my friends, but I want them to be good pictures. I want to learn too much! Please anyone who can help with any of these questions, please do. If you have any tips that you can give, that would be great, I just don't know who or where to go locally to find this information, except in books.

Thanks so much,

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7/1/2002 7:57:46 PM

Donna R. Moratelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/23/2000
  Hi Heaven, what a pretty name... My tip is: I highly recommend that you start out by reading photography books. This is the way that we all got started. The first book that you should read was written by the owner of this site. It is for beginners and is very easy to read and understand. I wish that I had it when I was your age... It will answer all of your questions and give you many, many different kinds of secret tips. It is called The Absolute Beginner's Guide to TAKING GREAT PHOTOS. You can order it directly off this site.

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7/1/2002 10:26:13 PM

Jeff S. Kennedy   Beyond what Donna has stated, I strongly recommend shooting as much as you can and even taking notes as you shoot. Combine this with what you read and you will find you learn very quickly. Other than that, when you find specific questions, post them here and we will do all we can to help you.

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7/2/2002 12:04:02 AM

Debra Weisheit   What a beautiful name! Donna and Jeff are SO right . . . read everything you can get your hands on, and then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!!! That's how we all got started :-) Your school may have photography courses, which will be very helpful, and the online Photo Courses here at are very good also. Local camera shops have pros that will help you with questions, and can put you in touch with other photograhers and photographer associations in order to keep you moving forward. Heaven, read everything, practice, and ask LOTS of questions to everyone who will listen, then formulate your own opinion and PRACTICE some more and you'll improve rapidly!! Best of luck, and we'll look for your questions here in the future :-)

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7/2/2002 8:35:02 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
It is not so much what you have in your hands (the camera) but what you have in your mind (the vision). As you study and practice, remember there are two aspects to work on: the "art" and the "science" (or technique).

Begin thinking about *what* it is about the subject material you want to communicate to others and *who* those intended viewers are. This is the "art" and requires visualizing what the the photograph will be *before* puting the camera viewfinder to your eye. The "science" (or techniques) are the methods used to create on film and in a print what you have visualized.

A still photograph is a 2-dimensional representation of an instant of time from the 3-dimensional world around us. Its communication to others is purely visual. The viewer of a photograph cannot directly feel, taste, smell or hear anything in the photograph. These must be provided indirectly and triggered in the viewer's mind through what is seen in the photograph.

In addition to study and practice, also look at other photographs. If you find one that you like, examine it critically: What does it communicate to you; what do you feel when looking at it? What techniques of lighting and composition were used and how did the photographer use them to do it? Sometimes as important as what is there in the photograph can be what is not there. Look for that also.

-- John

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7/4/2002 1:16:44 PM

George E. Givens Jr   Dear Heaven,

I would suggest you check with the nearest Art Center. I live in Indianapolis Indian and we have an Art Center (Indianapolis Art Center) that offers photography classes for different age groups. The classes generally don't cost much and usually you can get a discount if you or your parents are a member. Let your parents know of your desires and aspirations and I'd be they will help you get there.
Good Luck too you and keep shooting.

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7/16/2002 8:40:56 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001

Excellent recommendation. In addition, particularly in rural areas, 4H sponsors a photography program. How active it is may depend on the particular locale. The ones around me are strong and the members produce some strong photographs.

Small world! I'm about 40 miles north of you in Kokomo. You may recognize where two of my gallery page photographs were made in Indianapolis.

-- John

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7/16/2002 11:18:28 PM

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