And thanks to those who stayed to help us break down the set-ups and load them back in our cars.
These hands-on type meetings are quite a bit of work to put on. If you want more of this type meeting please volunteer to do some of the work.
The same kinds of interactions can happen at meet ups if we get enough people involved.
Those who may still be struggling with camera settings can get some one-on-one help when Archie (and others) offers Camera Basics workshops in the Spring.
Observations and tips:
1. I am guilty of this as much as anyone. I tend to use my zoom out to its fullest focal length. If you look at the lens test data for virtually any zoom lens you will see that image quality drops sharply at maximum focal length. It's something to keep in mind. If you can, get closer to the subject rather than zoom to full length.
2. If you paid attention to the set ups you saw that most were put together from non-professional equipment like clamp-on work lights and sheets or tablecloths or poster board backgrounds, cardboard stands for school presentations, a tripod as a light support and even a music stand for a light support. So you can put together these type of set-ups at home. Consider doing your own set up this winter when it's just too cold to get out and shoot. Also, window light is wonderful to use instead of artificial. You might need to soften it with a sheer curtain. Don't forget to try some type of reflector; foil covered cardboard, a shiny pot lid, a pie pan, white poster board or a purchased reflector (small ones are about $10 I think).
3. When working with black backgrounds you would be wise to set up your scene with the background as far as possible from your subject and at an angle where the light doesn't shine on it. You'll get far better deep blacks.
4. Likewise, when working with a white background, besides light on your subject, you should try to have a strong light hitting the background to blow it out. And the further away the background is, the less likely you'll see any wrinkles or textures if you use only a small enough aperture to keep the subject sharp throughout.
5. Besides using your manual and the help of fellow members, there are books devoted to all the different camera models. They generally go into much more depth on all the functions and features and settings available on your model. If your camera manual leaves you still puzzled, consider getting one of these.