How to Learn Photography?

Do you want to study photography but don’t know where to start?

You’re not by yourself. Because, while there are a plethora of fantastic materials accessible to the novice, it can be tough to know where to begin.

I’ve included my top six ways to get started with photography, whether you want to do nature photography, product photography, portrait photography or something entirely else.

It is important to note that there is no one optimum approach to study photography. Because different strategies work for different people, my ideas take into account a variety of learning styles. I also provide various instructors’ ways, so you’ll know precisely what to do if you want to teach yourself photography.

Are you ready to learn how to be a great photographer? Let’s get this party started.

1. University/college degree

The conventional route of learning photography through university education is one that many people pursue. You’ll learn about a wide range of photographic techniques, get advice from experienced lecturers and industry professionals, and do it all in a controlled setting. You’ll also get access to cutting-edge studios outfitted with the most recent cameras, lighting equipment, accessories, and software.

Schools provide a group learning atmosphere that may be extremely beneficial to aspiring photographers. You and your classmates may learn together, practice skills, and have a great time. Furthermore, you can create networks that will be valuable in the future.

The main disadvantage of formal photographic instruction is the cost. While costs vary depending on region and school, a degree or diploma might cost tens of thousands of dollars or more.

There is also a large time commitment, which can be difficult for older students with families to support. And there’s no assurance you’ll obtain a decent job (or any job) right out of college.

Because many of the finest photography schools are in cities, you may need to factor in transport fees, relocation charges, and student housing costs.

If the notion of a university-based photography education appeals to you, extensively explore the institutions in your region. Find out who the professors are, who the previous students were, and what they went on to accomplish. Attend an open day if possible and ask existing students what they think of the curriculum. I’ve seen students who were unhappy and even failed classes because their personalities didn’t match the atmosphere of their institutions. They then prospered after changing to institutions that were better suited to their learning styles.

2. Internships and apprenticeships

Working as an apprentice (or intern, or assistant) may not seem glamorous, but it’s a common way to learn the ropes and get into the photography industry. In fact, it’s how I – and many of my friends – ascended the corporate ladder.

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After finishing art school, I began working as an unpaid intern for a celebrity and fashion photographer. Then, at the conclusion of my internship, I was given a full-time position. I couldn’t have gotten such a sought-after job based just on my portfolio and cold-calling photographers.

An internship or apprenticeship in photography may be an exceptional education; I learned more in my first month on the job than I did in four years of art school. And the 18 months I spent helping taught me a lot about lighting, directing, posing, and talking to models. It also taught me how to collaborate with makeup artists and stylists, as well as how to handle challenging customers.

Most importantly, I observed the ups and downs of running a business firsthand. I would never have recognized that everyone endures downturns in their career if I hadn’t initially assisted a photographer and that no one – no matter how wonderful or in demand – is exempt. That lesson was priceless, and it got me through many calm periods in my career.

Now, I completed my internship after art school, but if you find the appropriate person to work with, you may not need a formal photography background. Internships can be even more helpful than academic courses at times. However, the individual you pick must be generous with their expertise and an encouraging teacher.

Unfortunately, not all internships are created equal, and the incorrect sort of internship will have you confined in a tiny office answering phones, filing files, and other tedious non-photography tasks with little opportunity to learn anything. So, when you sign up for an internship, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into!

3. Blogs and other online resources

The internet is now brimming with in-depth photography blogs, and although some of them may not provide top-quality photography instruction, some do.

There are several advantages to learning through blogging. For one thing, you get to teach yourself photography instead of depending on an instructor to guide you. You may investigate things that interest you, set aside those that don’t and gain valuable abilities.

Furthermore, online learning is absolutely free, which means you may improve your abilities – frequently with guidance from world-class specialists – without paying a dime.

Of course, there are drawbacks to blog-based photography instruction. It’s not really organized, there’s little interaction, and it’s easy to lose out on important aspects of your photographic education because you didn’t know any better. Blogs are also quite theoretical, which means it’s up to you to create photographic tasks, practice your art on your own time, and build a portfolio.

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If learning through blogging appeals to you, you may enhance your knowledge with free YouTube videos and low-cost books/eBooks. Indeed, if you do decide to go that route, Digital Photography School has a wealth of free articles as well as high-quality ebooks (some of which I produced!).

4. Workshops

Workshops are intense, usually in-person classes that span a few hours to a few weeks and are a wonderful method to polish and advance your existing abilities. One of the major benefits of workshops is that you can choose the type of photography you want to learn, the methods you want to develop, and the photographers you want to learn from, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

Some workshops are local (they tend to be shorter) and entail going to a neighboring city for an afternoon of street photography, a nearby park for a day of landscape photography, and so on. Other sessions take place in unusual locales. These are ideal for tourists who want to photograph on location but aren’t comfortable working alone.

Unfortunately, foreign seminars tend to be prohibitively expensive, although you may occasionally locate reasonably priced local workshops (try checking out the websites of nearby photographers or asking around at the nearest college).

Once you’ve found a workshop that appears to be a good fit, do a lot of research. Examine the instructor’s testimonials to assess his or her degree of experience. Most critically, determine the class size. Larger classes are good for software workshops like Lightroom and Photoshop, but smaller groups are far better for learning the skill of photography. You’ll get more one-on-one time with the teacher (and more chances to bond with your classmates).

Also, inquire about the level of training. Is the workshop intended for newcomers? Students in their twenties? Semiprofessionals? Many classes will presume you know the fundamentals and are thus unsuitable for someone learning how to use a camera. Before you pay for a workshop, ask yourself, “Am I ready for this?” Is it above – or below – my skill level?

5. Online courses

If you want to learn photography in a systematic way without ever stepping foot in a classroom or workshop, consider online courses, which may be quite extensive and – with the proper instructor – really effectively taught.

Online courses have grown in popularity in recent years. Digital Photography School has a large selection of courses, as do CreativeLive, KelbyOne, and other high-quality organizations.

However, because there are so many possibilities available, you must exercise caution. Before you pay for a course, read the reviews and thoroughly assess the course content and organization. Check to see if the course teaches you exactly what you want to know – whether it’s Photoshop, landscape photography, strobe lighting, or anything else – and see if you like the teacher. (The more you love and connect with your teacher, the simpler it will be to learn.)

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I’d also recommend only purchasing courses with money-back guarantees. Most respectable course providers do this, turning pricey courses – and yes, they can be expensive! – into a risk-free investment.

6. Mentors

A mentor is the hardest to discover of all the techniques to study photography covered in this article – but if you find the proper mentor, you can learn so much.

It’s important to note that a mentor does not have to be an award-winning photographer; they may be anyone who is willing (and competent) to assist you in reaching your goals. This includes both individuals who can assist you in understanding the settings on your camera and pros with 5, 10, or 20 years of expertise. A mentor’s abilities vary, but anyone who has been further down the road than you has vital information that will save you time, money, and effort when pursuing your goals.

A good place to start looking for mentors is among your friends and on social media. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Find someone whose job and work style you appreciate and respect. Follow them on social media and search for opportunities to add value to the connection. Share their work, retweet their posts, comment on their images, suggest clients to them, and provide them referrals to amazing photographic locations.

Allow time for the friendship to grow before asking them to mentor you. It will improve the likelihood that they will say yes since they will have had the opportunity to get to know you. If you show initiative and are appreciative of their time, a mentor is significantly more likely to want to give up their important time to work with you.

In my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with multiple mentors, and their expertise and counsel have spared me years of needless effort. It has also opened numerous doors that I would not have been able to go through if I had just wandered along on my own.

Conclusion

There is a wealth of useful material and excellent teachers available, but it is ultimately up to you to take the first step.

So choose one (or many!) learning methods for photography. Make a commitment. And you’ll be on your way in no time!

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