Wojciech J. Kalka

Wojtek's Photography Newbie Guide

Wojtek's Photography | Wojtek's Photographers Newbie Guide

#photography #guide #newbie #howto #geek #nerd #photos

Hi travelers, I am just an ethical hacker who shoots photos but here are some IMHO!! valuable tips for all photographers out there … work in progress btw ..

General Tips

  1. Stop listen to everyone else, think for yourself … :P cheers so you can stop reading here
  • Shoot RAW, photo or video it does not matter shot RAW, oh and know why you do it …
  • Photography is like everything else if you train to get better without a plan or a goal and a good teacher (e.g.books) etc you won't get better, just practice makes you produce the same bs more efficient.
  • The person behind the camera shoots the photo, you can have the most awesome gear and suck, some people shoot better photos with kit lenses (even I consider them trash) than others with 10k usd equipment… but a pro prefers pro equipment, still B.B.King plays a better blues on a 10$ guitar than most of us on a 10000$ one ..
  • THe problem sits most time in front of the computer, behind the camera
  • First improve yourself then improve your equipment to match it ..
  • If you would NOT hangthe photo on your or other peoples living/bed rooms wall in a big printout, it is probably not a good photo..
  • There is an exception to every rule
  • Use Adobe Lightroom, Darktable for Linux and others are still far away ..imo …
  • Read books, a lot of youtube material sucks. Everyone wants to be a wannabe pro these days 99% are not.
  • Care about your lenses. Cameras come and go every 2-3 years, lenses stay 10-30 years ..
  • 1/4 of your budget for Camera .. 3/4 for lenses rule of thumb
  • 35/50 or 85 mm Prime 1.8 or faster is a must have and should be one of your first lenses
  • Get an external flash!!! People say flash isn't good or they do not like it translates they can't use flashes, because they are too lazy to learn it. It will enhance your quality and experience a lot.
  • There is a HUGE difference between a photo and a SNAPSHOT …
  • Always care about the sun, your biggest friend and your worst enemy.
  • Get a Sony RX100 II, III, IV or V best 24-70 lens replacement. Imho all good 24-70 lenses are overpriced and not worth the money. The Sony does 90% of the jobs well, Except for real low light,.
  • Know all basic technical stuff like AF,Aperture,Modes,Time,ISO etc like the back of your hand
  • Understand F and T stop, if you shoot some video
  • Understand Sensor Size
  • Use PRIME lenses, zooms are overrated ..
  • Be a bokeh fanatic ;)
  • Don't always open the lense to the max .. damn thats me …
  • Do NOT over postprocess
  • Learn about LIGHT as much as possible.
  • Learn more about composition and story telling then about technical stuff.
  • Stop Photoshopping everything, a face has pores and wrinkles, but PS is a great tool to remove stuff or correct the perspective .. and stitch photos together …
  • Use a very wee little watermark!!! stop this egocentric behavior to add yourself .. ever seen a painter writing ITS ME in capital letters in the middle of his/hers paintings?
  • Avoid free cropping .. I personally dislike 1×1 crops and there are actually good photos on IG .. but one in a thousand ..
  • If you shoot strangers on the street, size does matter, get two fake bodies and big looking lenses on you, and maybe ask a cute girl to play assistant and people will beg you for shots .. try the same with yourself and pocket camera ..
  • THe blue hour is awesome!!!
  • STOP collecting photos, keep 10% of what you want to keep … forces you to decide and learn to distinguish good from bad
  • If they eyes are out of focus, 99.99% the photo is TRASH …
  • Later on you will lose most shots because the focus isn't perfect .. know when to use spot/wide/continuous etc modes ..
  • Do not be afraid to use ISO6400 or higher on modern cameras, go as low as possible and as high as needed ..
  • Try to match eye levels
  • Be creative
  • Read the f manuals …just really know your gear
  • Accept that most of your photos suck, just don't show them everyone and tell them how great you are. if you show them only one and the best, they may believe that lie.
  • While commenting on photos, never get personal, be blunt, be honest, be polite. it is about a subject not about the person doing it .. it shows your lack of understanding, your own insecurity and is just bad behaviour.
  • Always a good way of learning is to teach others .. just do not overteach others


Date Nov 2016 …

Upfront one of the best newbie gear atm a Canon 550D, flash it with Magic Lantern, buy a Canon 50mm 1.8 stm and a Yonguo flash with wireless trigger, you end up with less than 500$ and you can shoot amazing shots.

Another note upfront, if you do not have unlimited money, you have to decide which brand, because good glass cost good money and most do not like offbrand equipment. It is sad but that is the way it is ..

And I do think nearly all gear is not really good these days .. but better than years ago .. and nothing is without shortcuts. Short reminder .. they do not want you to have great gear, they want to earn money!!!! Most if not all big manufacturers only produce for profit .. not to make you happy. At least Peak Design made me smile and solved some issues .. :) …

Sony is the most innovative, Nikon makes the better Cameras, Canon better lenses .. so go for Canon ;). Leica if you do not care about money. Sony kind of rocks the house but their gear still have some downfalls. Panasonic makes great video/photo cameras like the GH4, and there is all the rest

Sony is the technology leader, their GM lenses are awesome .. just three available, their cameras and sensors and leading edge and they have the best ideas ..at the moment I would even say one or two years ahead of everyone else. Sensor stabilization damn Canon/Nikon .. etc ., I still use Canon but considering to switch or to add Sony eq to my inventory ..

One of the best available must have lenses out there is the 70-200 Canon IS USM 2.8 II. Get Yongnuo flashes and wireless receiver (must have) and I nearly have everything from Peak Design. (https://www.peakdesign.com/) .. Manfrotto makes great tripods.

I currently use a Canon 35 1.4 II, 24 1.4 II, 85 1.4II, 8-15L4, 100mm 2.8 Macro L, 16-45 4L IS, and my fav 70-200mm 2.8 IS USM II with Canon 5D3 and 5D4 bodies .. Four Yongnuo flashes + trigger but soon more, and I do not shoot videos at all.

The best portrait lens on the market atm is the Canon 200mm 2.0 and the Nikon 105 1.4. It does not mean you can not shoot great Portraits with your Olympus gear …

B&H is my favourite store on this planet. Fotofile in Thailand … I prefer people to online, I rather pay more for people who love their job then for online only shops. Great example in Germany is Audiophil in Aachen, great job online and in the real world.

Canon is 20%+ cheaper in Thailand than in Europe, if you buy from B&H go to NYC, find the stuff you want and oder it from NH you save the tax ..


  • http://500px.com - A good photography website (I used to like it a lot more two years ago, these days like everwhere else 80% of the members are useless but there are some awesome people there too.

Youtube Channels

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/VistaClues - Mr. and Mrs Northrup, a good chanel, but I send them like four really nice emails asking to hire them and for their rate, they never replied to anything. Maybe not their fault just ended up in some filter. Sometimes not my opinion, but they do know what they are doing. Their book is ok, recommended for newbies .. I bought it and read it but not much new stuff for me, well I read another 200+ books :) ..

Facebook Groups

Just a note … nearly every photography group sucks. These days humans like to self promote their crap, and dislike any critic because they all think no one can teach them anything. Just keep that as a reminder .. do not be one of them.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273777622776779/ - FroKnowsPhoto Member Group