TQ. I bought a Kodak Tele Instamatic camera, but I'm not happy with the pictures. I would like to buy a 35-mm camera and an extra lens with it. What 35-mm camera would you suggest? I would also appreicate it if you could give me the name of a book that might be helpful for a beginner.

A. I've seen many good pictures taken with Instamatic cameras. Naturally, a larger-format camera like the 35-mm is better, but the problem still remains: how to take good pictures. Camera stores are loaded with books for the beginner. Look at a few and buy the one you think suits you best.

There are many film companies that furnish guide booklets to better photography. They are available free upon request. If you send a standard business-size, self-addressed envelope to: Public Relations Department, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York 10001, the company will mail without charge its booklet "Guide to Better Photography." After you have read your booklets I suggest you go to the camera shop and take a look at all the 35-mm cameras and choose the one that will fit your budget. Prices run $100 to $800.

Q. How do I prepare a portfolio of my photographic work?

A. A portfolio establishes the learning experience of a photographer and illustrates his or her versatility in handling picture situations. It should include action scenes, animals, sports, portraits, children, pictorials and some news events. Pictures should be candid, especially the people shots. The portfolio should contain at least 50 of your best shots, preferably 8" x 10" in a loose-leaf album with plastic inserts for easy handling. Remember that a portfolio will show your skill. One bad photo could ruin it. So be sure that every photograph is good, clean, sharp and technically perfect. Since a portfolio outlines a photographer's behavioral pattern and discipline, make sure it's done up neatly -- that shows you care.

Q. I would like your advice on what camera I should get. To begin with I had three cameras, a Kodak Instamatic, a Poloroid One-Step and a Colorburst.

A. Don't go overboard and buy an expensive camera now. I'd start off by getting a 35-mm SLR camera for about $200, depending on how much you can afford. I suggest you go to a camera shop and look closely at all the 35-mm cameras. Choosing the camera that's right for you is half the battle of becoming a successful photographer.

Q. I have an Asahi Pentax 135-mm f/35 lens that I use inside to shoot portraits. I also use a Canon shoe-mounted flash. For some reason my slides usually come out dull and underexposed. What do you advise for f/stop, shutter and flash settings for clear, sharp portrait shots indoors?

A. There could be several reasons your pictures are coming out underexposed. If you have an automatic flash unit, be sure to set your camera to the f-stop recommended on the flash unit. First you must set the dial at the proper ASA of the film. After that's done, it will indicate the f-stop you need for the proper exposures. If the flash unit is not automatic, then go by the distance and guide numbers listed on the flash unit.

Can you please tell me what the term "aperture preferred" means?

A. It means you can select the f/stop you prefer and the camera will automatically select the correct shutter speed.