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Become a better Amateur Photographer
Photography is a craft, the techniques and skills of which we must study and practice in order to become proficient.
Our craft has a new selection of tools which we should master in order to create beautiful, dramatic, informative images.
This course can be undertaken by users of both film or digital technologies.
What is different about this course?
There are 6 lessons in this course:
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
WHAT YOU NEED?
This course can be undertaken successfully without sophisticated camera equipment; however, you do need the use of a camera. An SLR camera is best, but any camera will do. Over the time you do the course, you need to submit photos (either digital images or processed film - in that case a minimum of 5 rolls of film would need to be shot and developed.
All photos you take, and written work you submit will be returned to you.
Extract from Course Notes:
CHOOSING A CAMERA
Choosing a camera primarily depends on four things; how much you want to spend, what sort of photography you will be doing, and how much work you want the camera to do for you and film or digital?
By now you should have some idea of the basic parts of a camera, the aperture and shutter speed, and how they work and adjust exposure, and why various formats are best suited to particular areas of work. This is a good grounding for using the camera but before buying a camera you need a few specifics about features on cameras. Firstly; it is assumed you will buy a 35 mm camera as this format is the most versatile. Considerations against other forms include:
1. the relative expense
2. cumbersome nature of 2¼ square and large format cameras
3. low image quality from smaller formats.
35mm gives you the widest choice of available film and camera, the simplest processing, and the lowest cost per shot for quality photography. A 35 mm can handle almost any photographic situation you will ever encounter. Given that 35 mm seems to be the logical choice for your first camera, the next question is the cost of the camera.
Camera cost is governed by three things.
a) Whether the camera is simple or sophisticated.
c) Overall camera quality.
c) Whether the camera is new or second hand.
Simple or Sophisticated?
There are two main types of 35 mm cameras: rangefinder and single lens reflex (SLR).
In a RANGEFINDER camera the viewing window in the top of the camera is used for focussing and framing, and is calculated to give almost the same view as the camera lens is seeing. These cameras sometimes have interchangeable lenses. Focusing is normally achieved by zone symbols in the viewfinder or by using a split image where the centre of the finder displays two images which converge as the focus ring is turned until they synchronise perfectly; when this happens, focus is achieved. Notable photographers in the field of photojournalism find this method of focus more accurate and faster than SLR focusing. Few cameras of this type are completely manual (i.e. with just a shutter speed dial, aperture dial and coupled meter, the needle of which is centred by adjustment of aperture and speed to achieve correct exposure.) Most new rangefinder cameras have either partially or fully automatic exposure. The finest, however, have manual override, and for a serious photographer they offer the best option.
SINGLE LENS REFLEX cameras used to be the domain of the professional providing interchangeable lens capability and a very versatile range of accessories. Many amateurs, however, now find that the extra cost of the SLR insignificant compared to the benefits an SLR can provide. In a single lens reflex, viewing is performed through the lens via a complex prism and mirror system; as such you are seeing the exactsame image which will project onto the film/sensor.
SLR' cameras can take a range of lenses from wide-angle to telephoto. Simple manual exposure SLRs can be bought for relatively small cost and various models provide different levels of automation up to multifunction models that have auto flash or auto aperture or auto shutter speed or auto shutter speed and aperture and sometimes full manual override.
The quality of a camera can usually be related to price. Traditionally the Nikon has always been seen as a little better than Pentax, Canon or Minolta but old concepts of one manufacturer producing better products than another has been dispelled in recent years. All major camera makers produce basic cameras as well as extremely sophisticated, very expensive ones and the digital era has brought about a revolution with Kodak stepping into the field of professional camera manufacture for the first time in decades, to stimulate and excite the digital marketplace and provoke development & research by competitors, and once its objective had been achieved, it announced its withdrawal from the marketplace to concentrate on sensor production other areas, leaving the traditional camera producers and some high technology electronic companies, by tradition outside photography; who feel they have a role to play in digital imaging, to carry on, at an amazing pace, the advancement of camera technology.
The ultimate test of a camera is how it feels ... if the weight suits you, if you find the control layout suitable and the view finder layout logical ... then it may be suitable for you. Try lots of cameras before buying. Pick them up, compare them, and tell the salesman what sort of things you intend to photograph. Don't be talked into something you don't want or aren't sure of. Talk to everyone you know with a camera, and see what they feel about their camera equipment and what they would buy if given a free choice.
New or Second-hand?
This is mainly financially motivated. There are lots of good second hand cameras available. Always check the following when assessing a second-hand camera:
1. The general appearance ... is the body excessively worn or scratched?
How old is the camera? Has it been much used? Has it been serviced?
2. Inside the camera
Are the film guide rails worn or scratched? Or, is the sensor unmarked and fault-free?
3. Shake the camera.
If anything is loose which you can't see a good reason for, then don't buy this camera.
4. Is the lens clean and free from scratches or mould patches?
5. Do all dials seen tight fitting and smooth in operation?
Does the shutter seem to fire smoothly?
Does the aperture open and close correctly?
Do the shutter speeds seem to vary correctly?
6. If possible borrow a flash gun.
Connect it to the camera, set the speed at 1/30th second and fire the shutter with the back open. If the flash and shutter are correctly synchronised, you should see the flash through the film gate.
We live in a society where the pressures of daily living are high with financial expenses, personal and work commitments, and mortgage and rental obligations. Then there are the unexpected life challenges that also get thrown our way. With this in mind the thought of taking on study can be daunting for most people. Here at Learning Cloud we understand that life doesn’t run in a straight line it has many ups and downs.
As an enrolled student at Learning Cloud, you are entitled to access a variety of non-academic support services from the Student Services Unit. These supports are designed to walk beside you throughout your studies they will assist you in life’s ups and downs to provide you the best opportunity to successfully complete your chosen course.
STUDENT SERVICES PROGRAMS INCLUDE:
Want more information about financial and student support? Fill out the enquiry form to the right and a study consultant will contact you with the details you need.
How will this course advance my career?
Learning Cloud programs have been developed in response to industry demand and are specifically designed to equip graduates with work-ready skills. Each participant will be trained and assessed in theory and in practical tasks and Real-world exercises are used throughout the program.
Studies prove, time and again, that college-educated workers earn more than those with only a high school qualification. College graduates often enjoy additional benefits, including greater job opportunities and promotions. Though the proof for greater earning potential exists, some might wonder whether the cost of the education warrants the overall expense in the long run.
College Graduate vs. Non-Graduate Earnings
The National Centre for Education Statistics (NCES) analyses employee earnings data biennially, according to education level. Findings indicate that workers with a qualification earn significantly more than those without. Since the mid-1980s, education has played a large part in potential wages, with bachelor's degree holders taking home an average of 66% more than those with only a high school diploma do. While college-educated workers' wages have increased over the past two decades, those with only a high school education have seen decreases in annual salaries in the same time period (nces.ed.gov).
How else will I benefit from studying with Learning Cloud?