2003-10-31 / Community

Digital Photography Corner By Jeff Berman

Getting Started In Digital Photography
Digital Photography Corner By Jeff Berman Getting Started In Digital Photography

Jeff Berman studied fine art and composition for 12 years at the Art Students League in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Museum Art School. He received numerous scholarships at the ASL. He is a showing member of Soho Photo in Tribeca and the West Side Artists coalition. Jeff in on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of Queens Artists and has won numerous awards with the National Art League on Douglaston Parkway. He is now a new member of the Rockaway Arts Alliance. Several newspapers have run articles about him and his work. This includes: The Queens Courier; The Bay News; The Brooklyn Skyline and The Queens Tribune, Mr. Berman has given lectures on computer art and digital photography for The Board of Education, The New York City Art Teachers Association, UFT, The Science Council of New York.

Jeff has been in numerous group and one man shows throughout New York, Long Island and New Jersey. Mr. Berman taught in the School system for 35 years and is now retired and devoting all his energies as a full time photographer and artist.

I feel happy to be the newest addition to The Wave staff.  As a professional digital artist and photographer I would like to introduce the newcomer to the digital world. Are you ready?

There are numerous digital cameras available in a wide price range. First we have to consider your budget. As this article is being written new models are coming out in the market. If you want to email images to friends and family, a modestly priced model under  $400.00 will do. If you want to print images on your home inkjet printer and make enlargements, a more costly model may be in order. A four to six mega pixel model could cost between $400 to 800 dollars. Some models have zoom telephoto lenses to do distance shots and attachments to really get those far away images. Most of these models have a built in flash and hot shoe to attach a more powerful flash unit.

The pros can spend $1500 to $4500 for a SLR digital camera with an interchangeable lens system. Improvements on the newest models are arriving fast and furious; Nikon, Canon, Fuji pix, HP, which one is right for me? This is a matter of personal taste. I use the Fuji Pix S2 pro digital camera with Nikon lenses. I originally used the Nikon 5000, but it did not allow me to do certain kinds of assignments. I noticed that other professionals like to use the Canon system because of all the wonderful lenses that you can buy to get that hard to get special shot.

Secondly, you have to consider your type of photography, close-up, portraiture or sports. Most of the intermediate priced models used in automatic mode can get you started. Some models are better for close up work. Before you buy, visit a reputable dealer and hold several models in your hands. Ask questions from the salesman and then go home and think about it. Some stores like Costco have a great return policy if you do not like a particular model but your choices are somewhat limited. They even let you return the camera if it is damaged without dealing with a repair center.

The intermediate priced cameras come with all kinds of ways to control the image and have a manual to do simple troubleshooting. Be prepared to spend several months learning how to use your new digital camera. There really is no easy way or shortcut. You must put in your time. You will not be sorry if you do it the right way.

Third of all, take a course at a local school or college and you will be off and running in no time at all. Don’t get discouraged. There are some basic books on the market that could help you but the quickest way to learn is to have a real person help you. If you are a photographer using a SLR, the transition to digital should be quite easy. Most of the professional newspaper photographers switched from traditional to digital. This system is faster for getting an image to press and allows for instant touchup. The professional can get an instant image and review for adjustments. You can delete those images that just do not fill the bill.

  I will be attending Photo Expo at the end of October and will be observing all the latest digital gadgets. I am sure there are some new surprises to tempt the curious photographer. Every part of the industry is represented here and you can make some wonderful contacts to buy all the extras needed to supplement your photographic arsenal. They even conduct workshops on site but they are rather costly. Last year I discovered that I could purchase used equipment at substantial savings and good warranties. I was even able to ask questions about certain problems I was having with my equipment.

 When you get going and start to produce some nice images you may want to join a photography or art club. Some clubs have high standards and others allow beginners to take part. There is nothing like seeing one of your images in an exhibition. You might even win an award and then there will be heaven. You never know. I still have all the awards that I have won and when I look at them I know this my calling. Every expert started from the beginning and then there is no limit to the heights to which one can rise. Could you imagine how you might feel if you sold your first print? I even have a column that you are reading! Whoever thought that I would go in this direction.

Good Luck!  

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