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Useful Photography Tip #41: Keep Learning

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My earliest knowledge of photography comes from books and magazines. I am a self taught photographer. This was not by choice, it was more of an economical issue. I would have enjoyed taking classes, possibly majoring in photography in college. I was at my PC, working on some photos with a photography podcast playing in the background. They mentioned getting training with their company. The cost was $24 USD a month, or $300 USD a year. While the company offered nice classes, the only thought I had was, “I can buy a prime lens with that money or take a trip”. The one thing I’ve learned in photography is with the internet, photography education is easy. There are many resources out there to help you learn, or give you a new perspective on things.

 

Dignity of Labor

One of the easiest and most important ways to learn photography is through experience. There are great ways to improve your photography without spending money. If you make photography a part of your life style, you will learn. You will make mistakes, but it’s okay to fail. You’ll want to throw out a lot of what you take, but your skills will improve. Through this method, without outside interference, you can create a unique style. The old photographers, some of us may look up to, like Ansel Adams or Alfred Stiglitz did not have people like Scott Kelby. Note there is nothing wrong with the services that Scott Kelby’s organizations provide, but there are just other ways to learn. The old photographers studied artists who came before them, and they labored to refine their craft.

Research

Websites like ours offer great tips on how to improve your photography. No matter what your style is, you can find a post that will help you in one way or another. We do a lot of work improving our photography and we like to share. If you have a particular question, you can also find books or magazines that suit you. If you are willing to spend a little time, go to your local library to find some of these books. Unlike the major book chains, there are less distractions.

Online Videos

If you are not susceptible to cats, puppies, or other questionable content, you can find a wealth of video tutorials. People do feel a need to share their skills. In fact, a lot of it can be useless. On the other hand many online videos are very useful. Don’t get stuck on YouTube either, there are many photography videos on sites like Vimeo also. Through them you can see how photographers work, and practice as you see fit. You can inspire yourself to try something different, or just see photography styles in a new way. One of my new favorite video series is Film on the FramedNetwork. This show features film photographers sharing their craft in a unique way.

Art & Elements of Design

Using textures, lines, and patterns will help your images make more since and differentiate them from just snapshots. Learning elements of design will help your composition. You can find books and reading materials on elements of design in libraries, or online if your just do a search. If you are into, say, portrait photography, old portraits photographers used to grab their inspiration from those who actually painted portraits. It’s how we got things like Rembrandt lighting.

 Learning from others Photographers

Here we offer Useful Photography tips. My co writers here on the site have a lot to teach me. Other photographers can be your best way to increase your knowledge. Photography is a shared culture. There is a huge amount of educational resources available. If you have a question, you can go find an answer. You can learn by looking at others people’s work, dissecting how a particular look was achieved. You can also reach out and ask a photographer with social media or sites like Flickr and 500px. It is easy to look at images, politely contact its creator and ask them how it was done. Getting off the net, go on a photo walk with a group of photography friends. There are photography clubs like SmugMug user groups in your area to go and trade info. Through others, you can further your own goals. You can also get feedback. Having others comment on your work is a great way to learn if your images are coming out well.

In the End

The most important thing I have learned about photography is that you will never stop learning. Do your best to keep you photography knowledge current or at least practice what you know. Knowledge will help you maintain your confidence and increase the quality of your work.

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