Author Topic: Learn Photography?  (Read 6444 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Learn Photography?
« on: June 06, 2014, 05:10:38 PM »
My sister upgraded her DSLR and gave me her old one!!  Yippee!! Now to learn how to take decent pics.

Anyone know of an decent free to cheap online self-paced course?  I could also do community ed but not sure if I want to commit to anything right now.  How else have you learned photography skills?


  • Bristles
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 05:24:46 PM »
Read up on ISO, shutter, aperture and then go out and shoot and shoot and shoot.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2014, 05:33:06 PM »
I learned a bit from my boyfriend, and he in turn is self-taught and does pretty well for himself.

First, learn to use your camera. Read through the instructions booklet if you still have it. Ask your sister if she can show you a few things. (I'm presuming she should know her old camera quite well, but sometimes you can be surprised how many people only use a fraction of what their camera is capable of.)

Read lots and lots of stuff online. Depending on what your photography subjects are, the techniques/gear can be different. E.g. Landscape vs. Street vs. Wildlife.

Practise heaps.

Learn how to post-process. Most of the amazing images you see aren't "straight out of the camera". Don't go overboard with it though.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 06:26:25 PM »
Read up on ISO, shutter, aperture and then go out and shoot and shoot and shoot.

Yup. My buddy was a wedding photographer for a while, and his learning really took off when he flipped the camera to manual and learned to shoot that way.

 Also find photography you like and spend time thinking about what specifically you like about it. Try to recreate it, and look at how things turn out. Have fun!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 06:54:17 PM »
I was also given a camera by my brother (he said I shoot good photographs but was being let down by my camera). I have tried to use the camera, and shoot with it. I have loaded the manual from the web. I am used to poor manuals having been a computer person. But I can't get past go with this camera (my brother isn't around to ask). So I would also be really interested in a decent free to cheap online self-paced course.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2014, 05:49:49 AM »
Here's a link to a mini crash-course in camera terminology and how to manipulate the settings to create desired effects:

I doubt you need a whole class to learn how to take some decent photos- just get a handle on the basics and how to control your camera and then just go take a whole lot of pictures!  Like Henri Cartier-Bresson says, "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."


  • Bristles
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2014, 07:56:48 AM »
ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are a start, but there's a lot more to photography than that. You need a basic understanding of those three to have control of what your camera is doing, but I've seen plenty of great photos taken with point and shoot cameras that have no manual controls.

Look for (or create) interesting lighting.  Around sunrise and sunset is often the best time to shoot. Set your camera so your subject is properly exposed. Your subject could be a person or building or a landscape or something else. Exposure really clicked for me when I learned that the subject has to be properly exposed, but the overall exposure of the scene doesn't matter. The camera's meter can be dumb, so you have to override it sometimes.

Figure out what kinds of things you like to shoot. Portraits, street photos, landscapes, birds, wildlife, flowers, bugs, etc. Try everything and see what you like.

Creating an interesting composition is important. Exclude unnecessary distractions, and present the scene in a way that's visually interesting. Easier said than done!

Post photos in forums online (here or photography forums) to get feedback and advice.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2014, 06:46:45 PM »
Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone!  I will try some of them. 

Also, I found this free class on Udemy:  Thought deborah or others might be interested as well.  I like that it is mostly video, so when I'm nursing Mr. Precious Boy I can watch with ease.  :)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2014, 06:56:06 PM »
My best advice would to just get out there an start shooting. Many will say to read up on iso, f/stops, etc and while these are great things to learn eventually, they are normally pretty discouraging. Go out, use automatic, and just compose shots you like. Go home load 'em on your laptop, and critique your work whether it be composition, content, colors. You can read all you want in a book, but without a solid understanding of just taking pictures, it's meaningless. And fyi, I was a professional photographer shooting actions sports for magazines for 7 years until I got a job at one of the worlds largest camera manufacturers as an R&D engineer for cameras.

Take a look at these and just read through the links to get a grasp. I would also recommend joining a camera forum and just reading the Gen. Discussion posts and you will learn a lot.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2014, 08:06:11 PM »
If you like to learn by reading, the library is your friend.  They generally have lots of books on photography.  A second option is to check out the used book stores.  They also usually have many books on photography.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2014, 07:37:53 AM »
I love photography, it's a great hobby that will benefit you in so many ways over the years!

I took a photo class in college which was ok, but 99% of what I learned was outside of any class. I started by just playing around in HS and through college, back in the film days. When I got big into photography about 8 years ago I got a nice digital SLR in the entry range and just started learning. I found the internet has a wealth of info, the key is not finding it, but applying it to your own photography. was a great forum and I spent a lot of time learning from the professionals there.

Over the years I have shot a ton of landscape, nature, portrait, weddings, etc. You can't really go wrong practicing with digital, you can learn from every shot you take. I will go out and shoot 1800 pics in an afternoon, and then come back and delete all but 100. That is the biggest lesson I have learned in the digital age, shoot like crazy, and then be ruthless in cleaning out the dead wood to expose your great shots. If you show the 5 out of 500 that are amazing people will really enjoy your photography and those shots will mean a great deal to them. If you show 50 then their eyes will glaze over even though they enjoy them, and if you show 100 you will lose your friends... lol

Having said that, you won't do well by using "spray and pray", it will give you a few good shots, but you will also lose most of the great moments you are trying to catch. Learn what equipment you have and how to get the best from it. Practice seriously when you can, pushing yourself into trying new things, new angles, new setting, etc.

Hope you have a blast, and find some photography friends to practice with!

Forgot to mention, absolutely agree about Lightroom, so great to be able to have such wonderful control over your photo, it truly is a digital darkroom. Also shoot in RAW to save all the data possible if you are going to be processing your photos after shooting.

Also, don't get frustrated shooting with limited depth of field. At first you will find yourself missing all sorts of shots because people or things are out of focus. Just learn to deal with the limited depth of field, depth of field is one thing that will really produce results that look professional and can't be created with point and shoot cameras. (for the most part)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2014, 07:47:12 AM by James »

Iron Mike Sharpe

  • Bristles
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2014, 08:45:30 AM »
I want to get into photography eventually.  But I'm holding off on buying a camera until I have the time for it and am actually visiting places where I can use the skills for it.

However, the one thing I have found with just my camera phone is that the crop tool is extremely important.  If I see an interesting building/structure or something in nature, after I take the photo, I always edit out the stuff to the sides or top of the photo that distract from what I was trying to shoot.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Learn Photography?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2014, 09:50:24 AM »
+1 on Lightroom. I've been shooting for 30 years and it stuck out as one of the best photo tools I have.

Jeff Schewe's The Digital Negative is a really good guide for post processing.

People get better at things by forcing themselves out of their comfort zone. So, set yourself assignments (which can be really fun). Take nothing but abstracts for 100 frames. Do portraits of 20 people, but none can be in the same pose. Find 20 different ways to do a slow motion shots. These types of exercises force you to try new things and what works and what doesn't tends to be pretty apparent when you review your results. And, be honest with yourself about what is a pretty picture, what is a snapshot, and what is a photo that makes you take pause... especially the ones when you makes someone else take pause and linger for a while to enjoy, or engage with the image.