What Have You Learned about Digital Photography in 2007?

What Have You Learned about Digital Photography in 2007?


Everyone loves a good before and after shot. So today when i stumbled upon this thread over in our forums where forum member kunaldaswani posted a shot from before he found DPS and one from after being involved here for 9 months.

Before And After

A great improvement in technique.

Which got me to thinking – I wonder what others learnt in 2007?

It might not be from this site – but what have you been learning? How did you learn it?

Feel free to post links to examples of your work if you’ve got them posted somewhere online.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Robert F February 5, 2008 04:47 am

    I learned that having a warranty on a DSLR is well worth the cost! Thankfully, I had convinced my SO of that at the time of purchase. It made a world of difference when it came time to send my Nikon D80 off for repairs that were beyond the scope of repairs that could be handled by the local camera shop.

    Otherwise, 08' would have been ruined from the start.

  • Huy January 10, 2008 02:07 am

    I learnt about bokeh and how much it can add to a photograph... oh and i finally 100% understood DOF (i knew the basics of it but never really got my head around the concept for awhile, it was quite confusing!).

  • Matt Brown January 2, 2008 01:13 pm

    Simply the most important lesson I learned this year was planning. There is no point having the best equipment in the world if you are not ready to photograph the subject. This of course applies to events more than landscape or still photos.

    There were a number of times this year that I missed shots cos I was changing a lens over, or ran out of batteries in the flash and had to change at a critical time, or forgot to do a 'pre-flight' check and left a lens in MF for a while before I noticed.

    Check all your gear for;
    * Full Batteries
    * MF or AF switches (also focus distance on some lenses)
    * Camera settings, especially ISO if it is hidden.
    * Clean UV filters/Lenses
    * The bag is organised as you expect to need things. Leave
    the common lens on the body and have any others you think
    you may need easily accessible.

    Also for the event know;
    * What the key moments are
    * Don't rush, check backgrounds and the weather
    (partially cloudy with the sun coming in and out or
    variable wind conditions.)
    * Review photos on a larger screen or zoom in using review
    features on the camera.
    * Have a friend help if need be. They can have equipment
    ready for you to make change overs quicker and also to
    help spot opportunities as well as potential

    Of course the biggest time saver is going to be knowing how to use your camera and get the best from it.

  • Bill January 2, 2008 06:25 am

    Each type of photography requires different approaches. For the portrait stuff shown here, controlling light is rule number one. Let light do its magic and create the dimension that you want to give your subjects.

    Don't get duped by 'equipment-itis' -- it's a disease. Collecting equipment offers nothing if you don't use it properly. The kit lens or even the old 50mm Chinese lens is not a bad option -- if used properly. Light is free at daytime, the sun comes up everyday -- modify it and use it. Lens sharpness and distortion are minor factors in portraits if your subjects are well lit.

    I've noticed my photos have improved just by controlling light -- by diffusing flash (at night), by diffusing window light (in daytime), reflecting, bouncing and putting light where its needed. Experimentation will offer rewards.

  • Jazbagz January 2, 2008 12:51 am

    I haven't been on this forum for very long, but over the year I've learnt a lot.
    Especially since starting my photography course in October.
    There's still so much more to learn though, so I'll keep chugging on.

    For the person who said the kit lens sucks, I agree that it's not exactly £600 lens as such. But my favourite shot in all of my gallery atm was taken by it easy: http://jazbagz.deviantart.com/art/In-the-Wind-59871800
    And a lot of others seem to like it too...

    Though I would like a tasty sigma lens to leech onto right now.

    Happy New Year from England!

  • Pete Langlois January 1, 2008 02:23 am

    I've learned so much this year. After relearning how to use a SLR camera after about 15 years of not shooting. I'm using a dSLR now and have been seeking out things to shoot that I like. I don't want to shoot everything just what pleases me. The camera gear canon or nikon doesn't matter as much as the person pushing the shutter button.

    Hopefully I get some extra cash this year to get an extra wide lens (Sigma 10-20mm).

  • Juan January 1, 2008 12:28 am

    I Learnt not to use Learnt, just kidding, I've learned that this is a great website and a valuable tool.

  • Luis Cruz December 31, 2007 02:16 pm

    DAVE ID Says: Never, ever buy the kit lenses that come with your DSLR cam, they suck . Eloquently said? Hell no. Truth? Hell yeah! I think that’s the most important truth I learned this year.

    I beg to differ. I shot several images that ended up on my portfolio with the kit lens - it may not be the best lens around, but if you know how to use it, it will definitely get the job done.

    Anyway, I've learned a few techniques for shooting specific subjects. The posts on shooting fireworks, babies, and children's parties have been especially cool.

  • Lizzy December 31, 2007 12:07 pm

    I have learned just how what seemed an amazing picture one month can seem just ok the next and no great the month after as you learn more and more about how things work with your camera and that even a point and shoot (as annoying as the lack of control is) can get good images when its in the hands of someone who knows what there doing. Learning makes a huge impact on work!

  • Theresa December 31, 2007 03:09 am

    I've learned...I still have a lot to learn.

  • Aristian December 30, 2007 11:38 pm

    i've learnt a lot of basic photography such as composition (including when to break them)...
    i've learnt a lot about photoshop (burn n dodge)...
    i've learnt to accept critiques from others...
    i've also learnt to concern about color management in my post processing workflow...
    i've also learnt to examine the scene before i take pictures...
    i learnt a lot from DPS...

    Happy New Year folks!

  • Hitesh December 30, 2007 08:58 pm

    I've learnt a lot about composition, the thought process that goes into every shot to give it the edge over my previous point and shoot (read hit and hope) mentality.
    With regards to kit lenses I would disagree that they are a bad choice. They offer a discounted way to get a good lens. I got a 17-85mm USM IS lens with my camera (40D), which would have cost me upwards for £400 otherwise!
    I've learnt to experiment a lot more. Taking ideas from places such as DPS and then trying something new.

  • Dayle December 30, 2007 06:36 pm

    2007 is been a great year on the photography front...
    got my first p&s and then even upgraded to a dslr a few months later...
    and i have learnt ton of things for dps... so thanks every1 !!

  • PTomashewski December 30, 2007 03:03 pm

    I've learned the truth in the old saw "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I belong to a camera club where, once a month, we submit photos for judgement in a variety of categories. Also, I surf the net to view images in a number of web galleries. There must standards somewhere as to what constitutes excellent, good, bad images. I have yet to find these standards. Critiques abound but there is very little consistency in the judgements.

  • Romeo S. Ruiz December 30, 2007 02:42 pm

    I have learned a lot since owning my Nikon D50 DSLR, somehow a great camera. I have learned a lot from processing RAW files, manual photography, shooting fireworks and many more. More power to DPS. Happy New Year!

  • Sharon December 30, 2007 06:21 am

    I learned how to use my camera in Manual and a little about processing RAW files. But mostly I learned that I have a lot to learn :)

  • jimmy brown December 30, 2007 06:14 am

    I have learned that I really don't know as much as I thought I knew about photography! I have also come to realize that it isn't the camera, but rather the photographer that creates a great capture. Happy New Year all - jimmy

  • SheyMouse December 30, 2007 05:27 am

    What I've learnt...

    Through blogs, sites, etc. I am not alone in wanting to take more photos and enjoy people looking at them and commenting on them.

    I've always loved taking photos. Now get that camera out and take some!

    Take photos. You won't learn unless you actually take photos and examin what was good/wrong with them.

  • Pat December 30, 2007 05:00 am

    I have learned that you actually have to go out and take pictures, lots of them. You can't just read books, articles or blogs and expect to put the info to use. I know, I tried. If I had spent half the time taking pictures that I spent reading how to, I might have a few good shots

  • Photothusiast December 30, 2007 04:08 am

    Having started photography only a few months ago, I feel your site has helped me take those first tentative steps from being someone who takes pictures to being a photographer. You guys always have the best information, tips and explain things so that beginners can understand. Thank you so much and keep up the great work!

  • paaper4u December 30, 2007 04:08 am

    I've learned a lot from DPS. This website has challenged me with different assignments; got me to stretch myself outside my comfort zone; experiment with manual settings on the camera; and enjoy the art of photography that everyone else shares in their creative shots. Thank you DPS

  • Don Giovanni December 30, 2007 04:02 am

    How to compose my images better.. and that Image Stabilization is a must!
    You need to be fit for this kinda work.. 4-7 hrs of standing.. "capturing the moment" isnt cut out for everyone

  • Lori December 30, 2007 03:45 am

    I've learned that there is always so much to learn. And I love photography and I love reading this site. I'm going to turn my sisters on to it. Thank You DPS! Happy New Year! May I please take some great photos this year!

  • Puplet December 30, 2007 01:45 am

    Technique: Off-camera flash with an "eBay trigger" - a whole new world of possibilities!

    Gear acquisition: The market has clearly demonstrated that the price of a dSLR halves every twelve months, more if it's perceived to be a flawed design (Panasonic L1, Sigma SD-14). Lesson learnt? Sit on your hands, make do, and then spend next Christmas on holiday abroad with your new camera!

    Photographic philosophy: There is nothing pedestrian about wanting to take pictures of your cat.

    Gear maintenance: If the dirt in your viewfinder needs anything more than a quick blower, ignore it. Ditto for your focusing screen. No, really.

  • Digidave December 30, 2007 01:34 am

    I've learned that, You can always find a new addiction. Oh, but what a high, when get THAT shot!!

  • picman December 30, 2007 12:17 am

    i'v always wanted to take pictures that were worth looking at for years. After finding this sight, and much reading and advice from the people here i purchased a canon xti and i haven't looked back, this sight and the moderators along with everyone elsehere has been so helpful to me and i appreciate that so much. what i have learned is: there is much to learn, and that the more i learn about photogrephy , it leads to another area of the hobby that you have to learn, what lens, what iso, what whitebalence, its neverending but i must admit that i love it, and one last thing thanks SARALONDE for all your help!!!!!!!

  • ER December 29, 2007 11:19 pm

    i've learned that by accepting critques, good or bad, from fellow photographers, you're allowing yourself to learn MORE. More from the books or workshops one can read or attend. people who gave me advice on how to improve my photos, priceless! thanks to them!

    most of all,

    66. It’s who’s behind the camera, not the camera
    - From 100 Things I've Learned About Photography.

  • sime December 29, 2007 08:44 pm

    ....i've also learned that you can't link images on the DPS blog... heh ;-)

  • Eddie December 29, 2007 06:13 pm

    I've learned that the best pictures often come from lying down in the most uncomfortable position in the most uncomfortable spot and shooting from there.

    Look behind you, above you, below you, and anywhere else you can. Try different positions to frame the same subject. That's where the best shots are, away from what the normal person expects to see.

  • Stacy December 29, 2007 04:59 pm

    I have learned that your equipment shouldn't limit you if you know what you are doing (this incudes the kit lens which can produce in the right conditions).

    I have learned that when you reach your equipment's limits, it is time to learn new things (natural light - check, speedlight - need to learn a lot!)

    I have learned that Photoshop can't fix everything - get it right in camera.

    Thanks for the valuable information on this site!

  • sime December 29, 2007 02:51 pm

    What haven't I learned...

    I've learned that if you drop a camera in water it most likely will not work again.

    But seriously, so much.. Framing, WB, The right amount of contrast [I still buck at this]

    Most importantly, I hated being in photos and threesixtyfive has helped me overcome it, and learn some good stuff about lighting and composition along the way... love photography... consumes me pretty much...

    From this...

    To This...

    Not everyones cup of tea, but, thanks DPS!...Happy new year

  • Aten December 29, 2007 02:23 pm

    Iv learned that the photographer is the problem to bad pictures

  • mike December 29, 2007 12:33 pm

    I have learned so much from DPS, lighting, composition, and general knowledge no photographer should be without, I decided to put my knowledge at work with all the stuff I've seen around here, and shot a Macro iPod nano shoot, using the light tent and a fairly simple light setup. Ill post it in the forums :)

  • Don December 29, 2007 12:23 pm

    I am learning to "see" the picture again. I am seeing the picture within a picture. I hope I can explain.

    Since the sixties I shot mostly slide film. I bought my first digital in either 99 or 2000 when I bought a Polaroid digital, then a Fuji S5100 4MP, and then a Nikon D50 and D40.

    For some reason my pictures were awful.

    So I started thinking, when I shoot digital I have about 284 pics on a card and it is shoot, shoot, shoot. When I had a 35mm I carried maybe two roles of 36, so I was more disciplined in my shooting, I "looked" for the picture and now I am doing that with digital. I want the right shot so now I take my time and look I don't care if I have 200 or 300 to play with.

    I hope this makes sense to you.

  • Dr. Mickey December 29, 2007 09:45 am

    I learned that I needed to throw out the textbook "10 Steps to Non-Linear Thinking".
    Seriously, I learned to re-think pretty much all aspects of my photography, especially the instinct to "just shoot it" without considering other positions and angles, framing, and camera settings. I haven't paid a penny for your advice, but you are my most valuable tutor!

  • Haltz December 29, 2007 08:22 am

    I have learned that the camera is the least important thing in photography.
    Unfortunately I learned this after I bought a DSLR.

  • Klaidas December 29, 2007 08:04 am

    Well, this year I decided to move to DSLRs after reading all the tutorials on DPS and some other resources.
    Did that, and the P&S is now somewhere far behind. 400D's Manual mode \o/
    Aaand I've ordered Canon's 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens today.

    So, in conclusion - that DPS is a great resource for starting out, and that Canon rules :]

  • tracy December 29, 2007 06:49 am

    I learned that a good photograph, especially the type I like to shoot (street photography) takes PATIENCE.

    Be Great in '08 DPSer's.

  • David Morais December 29, 2007 06:39 am

    I can say this year I learnt digital photography from scratch. I had never tried it before and DPS was my major source of information. Indeed, I start reading from the first until the actual page. I can say it payed off. Although I am still a beginner my pictures have improved a lot.


  • Brandon December 29, 2007 02:59 am

    Maybe it was due to my involvement in concert photography, but I grew heavily anti-flash because I had some purist ideas about natural lighting which permeated every sort of photographic situation I found myself in. It was only after a little frustrated even after buying very fast lenses that I came to experiment with flash a little more and realized if I'm able to control it better, natural lighting doesn't suffer, it is enhanced.

  • Duluoz December 29, 2007 02:33 am

    I've learned everything I know about photography this year after my first D-SLR purchase.

    I have learned to experiment and apply good fundamental techniques (such as the ones on this site and other blogs,etc.), mastery of your cameras settings, and the complete memorization of your user manual leaves you with nothing to desire but where and what to shoot next.

    My background as a graphic designer has given me the ability to see through the bad information and ill advised post-processing "fixes" as compensation for a bad photo and a bad photographer with poor technique.

    I've learned that no matter how BAD your lens is - it ultimately boils down to the photographers abilities to use whats available.

    I've learned to apply the universal wisdom of constantly asking questions and asking others to share their knowledge on everything I think I know about photography.

    I've learned that I'll never be satisfied with the technology of today, but to accept it and put the focus back on the shot instead of the equipment. At the end of the day I want a good shot, not a bad memory of fighting with technology limitations.

    Happy New Year!

  • maya December 29, 2007 02:04 am

    i have learned that i want to be a children's/family photographer. and i have learned that there's so much i need to learn that i can't even keep count!


  • Tim December 29, 2007 02:00 am

    I've learned that the desire to buy accessoriey for my camera knows no bounds. It's insatiable. You can never have too many lens, flashes, filters, and gadgets.

    Damn the camera store and camera suppliers.

  • Mel December 29, 2007 01:53 am

    I've learned a lot about ISO, F-stops and gotten a bit more creative with my angles.
    I've also learned that I have even more to learn than I realized!

  • his4ever December 29, 2007 01:45 am

    What have I learned?

    Dodging and Burning... I find now my pictures have more depth now and the contrast is much better!

    A little on composition (but I really need to still work on that!)

    A lot on the importance of making layers. Too much fun.

    While I have posted once or twice on the forum... I have been reading this blog daily and have learned and grown so much!

    Thanks :D

  • Joe from Germany December 29, 2007 01:29 am

    Good question!

    I learned that taking good pics you don't need one of the latest digicams with the super-duper feature set. Apart from basic composition rules you'll need to understand the magic triangle of aperture, time, and ISO.
    Having this in mind, go and take your old 3MP cam to have fun with it.

    Pretty sure, this comment will be valid end of 2008 as well :-)

  • Wulf December 29, 2007 01:08 am

    For my first few months of owning a D40, I only had the kit lens to play with. I've since added several more to my collection but I still regard the kit lens as a viable choice in many situations; maybe it partly depends which DSLR and, therefore, which kit lens in particular you are talking about.

    The main thing I have learnt is that I love the control having a DSLR gives me. I got the camera at Christmas last year and although I stuck mainly with aperture and shutter priority modes for the first few months, I have largely remained in full manual ever since. Learning how to use that control has been what has been delighting me over the year.

  • DKCN December 29, 2007 12:52 am

    @DAVE ID

    I don't think so, i find kit lenses useful for beginners and if you can do well on a kit lense, i'm sure you'll do much better on a bteer quality lense. It's like learning to drive manual and automatic.. if you learned automatic from the start, you will have difficulty if there is no other choice than the manual....

    or maybe i used the wrong illustration hehehe

  • DAVE ID December 29, 2007 12:22 am

    Never, ever buy the kit lenses that come with your DSLR cam, they suck . Eloquently said? Hell no. Truth? Hell yeah! I think that's the most important truth I learned this year.