Two or three things I learnt in one year of photography
A new group for this: Ipernity Academy.
Last year I finally decided to by my first camera. Before that moment all the cameras I had were gifts and I never had the possibility to choose one by myself.
My first choice was for a Fujifilm FinePix A600, with a 1GB XD card. I thought it was the best compromise between cost and capabilites I can afford.
I wanted to have decent snapshots of my family life. Stop.
After some time, I opened a Flickr account, started gazing at the fascinating shots of my new pals (one of the first artists I met on Flickr was our beloved Christine Lebrasseur), started playing with my shots using Picasa, TheGIMP and, after viewing some HDR (Valpopando, Bratan, to make a few names), QtPfsGUI.
On Flickr you can choose to look at some representative shots made with a particular camera model; after looking at A 600 shots, I started studying how to stretch my camera capabilities to the limit.
First thing I learnt: don't trust too much the light meter (and the AUTO settings); they are calibrated for an average light setting, but you rarely find yourself in a setting like this. Use the manual settings and learn to use exposure compensation.
The second important thing I learnt: monitor is part of the viewing experience: if you don't calibrate your monitor, you can't know what other peoples will view and you can't really employ their experience and advice to learn photography. To calibrate your monitor there are plenty of resources online. Two examples:
My personal advice: take the time to calibrate your monitor (and take the time to test more than one printing lab).
Third thing I learnt: beware of your software viewer --> it can have automatic image smoothing, so what you see on your PC is different from what you see when uploaded. The standard Ubuntu Linux viewer has such functionality; to turn it off, preview an image, go to the Edit menu, Preferences (or Options or Settings: sorry, I have it in Italian), Image view tab, Image Enhancements group, and remove the tick from Image smoothing when enlarging.
I hope this can be interesting for amateur newbies as me and I need your help to understand what really interests you and to correct my amateurish English (I'm a self-learner not only for photography).