Portraits, are a good subject area to learn with your G9 the large LCD screen makes composition a snip, the Live view shows pretty much what you are going to get and hopefully you can have another go if your model is willing or the image is not quite what you wanted.
Portraits are also one of those subject areas news and documentary photographers need to master as looking in the national papers recently, there seems to be a very high percentage of images that are portraits which is strange, considering how much in the world is not getting shown in the way of wars, famine, joys, accidents, climate change… (and I could go on)
The magic of the portrait is the gaze back to the viewer and it has kept many fine art practitioners busy over the centuries, so you will be following in good shoes and for a twist you can also take a look at environmental portraits, macro, abstract, etc.
The grid view on the G9 can either be a hindrance or a blessing as an aid to your work, some people will find that to much information like the grid lines, histogram are in the way and distracting. while others will like the way the grid helps them frame the composition and keeps lines from converging in the background in environmental shots, so try different combinations to see what you prefer. You could even save the settings in the custom control C1 or C2 if you use them a lot (See G9 Resources for some help if you need it)
The thing is there are rules to composition that you can follow, but then you can also break them to make for interesting views, so it’s not a thing you can get wrong; but you will be the judge, if you like it then its good.
Did you know that in the old days of using film and a rangefinder, street photographers used to set the lens to a set distance (10 feet for example).
Then when there subject got in range i.e. 10 feet they would click the shutter. sharp and in focus (well almost)
So how do you do that on the G9…
Quite easy; pick a spot where the subject will be the same distance, half press the shutter button and let the auto focus ‘lock on’ Press the MF (manual focus) button while half pressing the shutter down, the focus is now locked to that distance.
Every time you press the shutter half way down you will see the distance scale with the focus set.
To undo: press the MF button again
(note: this dose not work in the full Auto setting
It’s been commented on several reviews that the G9 is a little noisy due to having so many pixels on a small sensor (less and bigger is better for cutting noise) but its is not as bad as every one makes out, a lot of reviews seem to want the ultimate perfect camera and now! They are getting frustrated at the slow speed of technology and overtly nit picking because the camera manufactures put in features that in some ways is a step backwards.
To reduce noise the exposure is an important aspect and is best moving the exposure to the right (on the histogram) and so it is not touching the Left hand edge. Noise is caused by light hitting the pixel but not being enough to measure a bit like putting a bucket out to catch rain, it may be wet inside from a light shower but can be hard to measure so deliberately adding more exposure is like adding a measured amount of rain so the bucket (pixel) has something to measure
For the G9 at ISO 800, Thomas Niemann (of PTLens fame) has suggested the following settings in ACR Details page: (ACR = Adobe Camera Raw as found in Photoshop CS/Elements and Lightroom)
radius = 0.8
detail = 30
masking = 0
luminance = 80
colour = 100
Source: Luminous Landscape forums
These settings can be saved as a preset in ACR and Adobe Lightroom
There is also Neat Image, Noise Ninja and Noisewear that are specific noise reduction programs and are worth checking out, the pro versions also work with RAW files and Noisewear do a limited but free community edition