Please help a beginner out

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Posted 11/21/2012 by meagan82one in General Photography


PeaNut 553,135
May 2012
Posts: 350
Layouts: 4

Posted: 11/21/2012 1:30:31 PM
I am an absolute beginner/hobbyist photographer. I mainly use my camera on my two young children. I own a Nikon D5100, and am wanting to learn more, as I have had my camera for over a year and have never even attempted taking it off manual mode. I am wondering if anyone has recommendations of resources, whether they be product, books, classes...anything at all. Also, what is the best way to organize and do simple edits of images? I have PSE and it doesn't have very much storage so am looking at other options.
Thanks so much to anyone that can help!


PeaNut 173,756
October 2004
Posts: 2,047
Layouts: 18
Loc: Maine

Posted: 11/21/2012 2:26:29 PM
Hi Meagan!

The 12 week class here on Two Peas is a great starting point to learn more about your camera! It is very straightforward and easy to follow along with and is free!

having a way to back up your photos such as an external hard drive is a good idea both for safety of your photos and to keep your computer from slowing down too much!

It has been a while since I have played in PSE, but when you bring a folder into PSE there is an organizer there that is a great way to see what you have and bring them over to do some edits to them. I have heard many peas recommend checking out youtube for how to videos that might help you there!
Have fun with your camera!!


PeaNut 510,965
June 2011
Posts: 158
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Loc: MI

Posted: 11/21/2012 2:33:11 PM
What has helped me is to read this forum as there are lots of very talented ladies and evenutally the topics/guidance will make sense!

There is also a 12 weeks to better photography class from Two Peas - link should be on this forum.

And for books, buy the one that is for your camera. It should help you run through all the settings.

Then practice, practice, practice!

As for organizing the photos, think of how you would look them up in the future. I do all mine by year, then month. If the month had a bigger event, I'd make another folder in the month folder.

If you have space issues for files, buy an external hard drive and store them on there. And be sure to have a second hard drive for archive incase the first hard drive fails.

As for editing, Picasa is a free program that is fairly easy to use. PSE can also do edits, but takes some time to learn. Depending on your version of PSE, there are online classes - Renee Pearson or Jessica Sprague run classes based on the more current versions.

Just keep at it, and things will eventually click!


PeaNut 405,632
January 2009
Posts: 6,773
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Loc: West Virginia

Posted: 11/22/2012 9:15:32 AM
Meagan - in addition to the 12 Weeks program at the top of the board, there is also the 'Classroom' thread with lists of individual courses. I can not recommend these enough. I also strongly encourage practice, practice, practice. My son showed an interest in photography a year or so ago and I got him started on the 12 Week program. It wasn't until he started taking pictures on a daily / regular basis that it started clicking. Now he (Junior in high school) is taking regular sessions and blows me away with his talent and creativity.


Nikon stuff!

The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know!

Blogging at ---> bended road photos


PeaNut 251,766
March 2006
Posts: 1,735
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Loc: minnesota-brrrrrr

Posted: 11/23/2012 10:18:33 PM
The twelve weeks program will help you sooo much, jsut go at it a little at a time. Also, I have a part-time photography business, just an average computer with windows 7 loaded and PSE9, I have tons of storage, maybe I'm not understanding you here, but storage/PSE should not be a problem, I currently have 8,000 photos in my organizer. I have extra brushes and actions loaded also. I love PSE.


PeaNut 252,645
March 2006
Posts: 12
Layouts: 4

Posted: 11/25/2012 12:56:59 PM
I'm new here so I didn't know there was a 12 week class, I can't wait to tell friends about that!
I always recommend the book Understanding Exposure.


PeaNut 18,334
July 2001
Posts: 38,143
Layouts: 15
Loc: State of cultural confusion. Yeehaw and Aloha have collided!

Posted: 11/25/2012 1:52:08 PM
As a newbie look for either of the books "Field Guide to ____ (insert your camera model" OR the Magic Lantern for your camera model. They are like a vastly expanded and simplified owner's manual for your specific camera with great glossaries that explain photography lingo you will run across in other books.

PSE was never ment to be used for storage. It is an editing program. Your images are stored on your hard drive, disks or external hard drives. Just put them in a folder your recognize and have PSE open that folder to browse the photos and choose which one you want to open.

What Your Kit Lens Can Do For You

Canon 60d, Canon 24-70mm 2.8L, Canon 70-200mm 2.8L, 50mm 1.8, 28-80, 75-300mm and Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro
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