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Need help from beginners!
Folks, I'm going to be teaching a beginner class on digital photography at a local library. I'm wondering what topics would be good to cover. The class is 90 minutes, so I have to focus on what beginners most want to know. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!.

Thank you in advance for suggestions!..

Comments (10)

Um, how about..

Basics of holding the camera for a steady shot..

Resolution, what it means and how big can I print ? .

Compression, what it means and why you should always use the least..

Dpi/Ppi, why not to panic when your software reports only 72/96/180 and all the experts say you need to print at 300..

Digital zoom vs optical zoom, should I turn digital zoom off ? .

ISO and low light shooting, why are my pics so grainy and/or blurry?.

Image stabilisation vs shutter speed, limitations on getting sharp pics at low speeds/night.

Limits of flash (especially on compacts), why it's pointless using it for shots where the subject is 20meters away..

Composing a picture, rule of thirds etc..

Shooting a subject against a bright light, how to..

Basic retouching, using free software (picasa, etc).

Printing, why did my pictures come back from the shop with the top cut off?.

I see the answer burn in your eyes, across the wasteland,Death into Life..

Comment #1

I imagine your students will have various levels of experience. They'll have different make/models of cameras. And ... you've only got 90 minutes!.

I'm not a beginner, but I've helped some beginners learn how to do things on their camera. Here's what I would suggest:.

1. Encourage people to read the camera manual. If they have lost the manual, point out that they can usually find it free online from the manufacturer..

2. A quick overview of how to get the pictures out of the camera and on to the computer. Almost anyone can press the shutter button. What they do after that confuses some people..

3. Most cameras have an Auto/simple mode and various other modes on some type of dial. Auto mode is their friend, but I would briefly discuss the other modes (macro, sports, etc.) and when to use them..

4. Most people don't know about fill flash and get terrible pictures in bright sunlight. They need to know the different flash modes auto/on/off and when to use them. Most people have no idea how to switch between these modes. They need to know that flash range is very limited..

5. If you think you have time and the students have the ability/interest. You can get into the basics of focus, exposure, shutter, aperture, etc..

Good luck ... you'll need it ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #2

Maybe some links to how-to sites on the internet as well as to some good books...

Comment #3

Sintares nailed this on the head... he has your 90 minutes and then some..

Basics of holding the camera for a steady shot..

Resolution, what it means and how big can I print ? .

Compression, what it means and why you should always use the least..

Dpi/Ppi, why not to panic when your software reports only 72/96/180and all the experts say you need to print at 300..

Digital zoom vs optical zoom, should I turn digital zoom off ? .

ISO and low light shooting, why are my pics so grainy and/or blurry?.

Image stabilisation vs shutter speed, limitations on getting sharppics at low speeds/night.

Limits of flash (especially on compacts), why it's pointless using itfor shots where the subject is 20meters away..

Composing a picture, rule of thirds etc..

Shooting a subject against a bright light, how to..

Basic retouching, using free software (picasa, etc).

Printing, why did my pictures come back from the shop with the topcut off?.

I see the answer burn in your eyes, across the wasteland,Death into Life..

Comment #4

Also: Why to take care not to press ON button while camera is still inside case/bag ......

Comment #5

Also maybe print out a "cheat sheet" for them to keep..

Eg, common lens markings and what they mean..

Basic meanings eg aperture..

Common acroynms, VR/IS, SD/SDHC, PP etc.

Links to forums (dpreview) and local/state camera suppliers..

Links to free software, picasa, irfanview, the various utilities at http://www.faststone.org/ etc.

Maybe a list of basic books on exposure, or composition etc for further reading..

I see the answer burn in your eyes, across the wasteland,Death into Life..

Comment #6

I think you had some very good suggestions, but I think that spending some time on the correlation between ISO, Shutter speed and aperture would be time well spent. I am not saying you need to go into tons of detail, but everything was easier for me to understand once I got the relationship under my belt..

Good luck...

Comment #7

Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO may presume you have a DSLR. A lot of folks have P&S or Super-zoom cameras that never leave the Green/Full auto mode. I might be tempted to touch on the these three things but only to describe what it is... not necessarily how to apply it. That might be better kept for a second class...

Comment #8

True, but a lot of common posts to forums are when the auto mode gets it wrong,eg boosting ISO to 1600 on a compact and thus complaints of grainy/watercolor shots or using such a low iso and shutter speed that passing snails are blurred..

A quick explaination of these common problems and what the funny little figures (f2.8/1/10s/ISO400 etc) on the screen mean when viewing a shot, might cut down on panic and perhaps encourage those with bridge or low end dslrs to take it out of automode, and experiment..

Even those with fully auto compacts might just consider something better, even if only to fool around with..

Lots of people these days are also going straight to low end dslrs, and while they never leave auto mode, they are not going to learn..

A few pointers might just peak their interest, perhaps to either experiement or read further..

I see the answer burn in your eyes, across the wasteland,Death into Life..

Comment #9

I am not sure if it assumes that you have a DSLR. I would have been much better off the past 4 years with my point and shoot if I knew why I had to shot in sports mode in order not to get blurry pictures in low light. I agree that a lot of detail is overkill, but boy some understanding of that would have been great if I knew any better back then...

Comment #10

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