Learning photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by beingme, May 3, 2007.

  1. beingme macrumors member

    Nov 21, 2006
    What is the best way to learn photography? How did you learn to take pictures? Personal experience (trial and error) or a class?
  2. DVNIEL macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2003
    I'm new to the photography scene myself. But I think the best way to learn is to take up some classes at your local community college or digital photography club.

    Another new idea that has just brought about is Apple's new (well not technically new) One2One program. It says that they can teach you about photography, how to take better pictures and use iPhoto or Aperture to enhance them.

    Good luck with your new hobby
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Start with this . It's really an excellent resource, and if you're the type of person that can pick something up like that, it would be a great start. Classes help, but to me, having someone explain to you how to be creative and capture what you see seems silly. It should come from within. The actual techniques are fairly simple. Good luck.
  4. Macanadian macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2006
    Learning photography

    I'm a self taught photographer. But back in high school, they did a job practicum placement (during spring break). and I wanted to go in a photography field and was placed in a photography studio. What the guy taught me I've still retained and follow.

    I noticed quite a bit of difference in talking to some people whom spent two years at a photography school and myself. I know the process of taking the photo, but not the technical terms. A person whom taken all the courses seems to know more details then myself.

    If you want to learn it as a hobby, try a photography club. They have lots of speakers (depending on how active the club), field trips, critiques, etc, etc. or night school.

    If you want to learn to be a full time profession. Go to school full time, this way you'll learn from somone that already done the trial and error.
  5. Evangelion macrumors 68040

    Jan 10, 2005
    I have taken a class on photography, and it was a great help. But besides that, a great way to learn is to experiment. I often just try out different settings and ways to take a picture, just so see how it turns out. What would it look like with longer exposure? In B&W? How about different aperture? What about trying to take the picture from a different location. As you go on, you will get the hang of how the picture would look with with certain settings and locations.

    That said, I'm still a mediocre photographer. But I'm hoping that I will get better.
  6. jlcharles macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2006
    Wenonah, NJ
    The book recommendation is good. I own it. Also, the Ansel Adams series of books are incredible and will teach you a lot of the technical stuff. You could also start with this: http://photo.net/learn/
  7. brookied macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2007
    i have been a photographer for 15 years on and off, Only really took it seriously in the last 4 years. As for learning, take more shots, evaluate, and take more again,
    There is a billion books on the technical aspects of the camera, but only you can teach yourself to have a good eye.

    I have looked at a lot of styles and settled on my street series going forward. from this i have refined a process that works for me.

    remember bring your camera everywhere.
  8. Erendiox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    I would recommend the oldest camera that you can get your hands on. I learned photography with a 25 year old full manual film camera, and I still use it today. It was the best way to learn the nitty gritties of aperature, shutter speed, focus, etc. Also, developing by hand is such fun. It really helps you to appreciate how easy it is nowadays. If you can find a photography class where you'll be developing your film and prints by hand, I would totally recommend it. Also, I would completely recommend AGAINST getting any kind of point and shoot camera. Those are for consumers, not photographers.

    Cheers :)
  9. brookied macrumors member

    Jan 22, 2007
    Agreed on the above, STAY AWAY from a point an shoot. these will destroy your soul;)
  10. sthpark7791 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2006
    betterphoto.com has online classes you can take. I'm considering take one this summer..
  11. almightyshoe macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2006
    B-Town, India
    I would also spend a lot of time studying photographs; I've spent countless hours on flickr seeing what people have to offer. If I see something I really like, or have any questions on how to compose a certain shot, you have thousands of photographers to ask and all of them are really nice.

    Except that one dude who was a total prick and thought I was trying to steal his pictures.
  12. juze macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2007
    Practice, mutha, practice.

    Seriously, learn how shutter speed, aperture, ISO and focal length influence the shot. The basic theory should take you a few hours, at the most. You don't need to know WHY a longer focal length will result in shallow depth of field, just know that it will.

    Then take a few hours to learn the basics of image manipulation - all you need to know is how to mess around with contrast, convert to B&W using channels and how to apply sharpening. Again, this should take you a few hours at the most.

    Then go here http://prime-junta.net/pont/Photography_lessons/a_about/_Teaching_composition.html
    This should teach you a bit about compostition. Don't read too much or you'll just get confused.

    When you go through all this, just go out and take shots. They'll be awful. Take more. They'll still be awful. Repeat until they get good. Don't be afraid to get crazy, don't be afraid of making mistakes, don't be afraid of postprocessing.

    And a final bit of advice - I never, ever, learned anything from anyone who told me my picture was nice or beautiful. I learned a lot (including a fair bit of how to control my ego) from people who pointed out to me why my pictures were mediocre at best.
  13. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    I don't necessarily agree with you. A P&S camera can be good to teach the basics. A Crawl - Walk - Run equation. The controlled environment of a P&S camera can help develop good composition skills and general camera control.

    I do stress CAN.
  14. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    From what I hear, a lot of pros carry a point-and-shoot around when they are not "working".
  15. M@lew macrumors 68000


    Nov 18, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Haven't you seen the new Spider-man? =D When Spider-man destroys the guys camera, he pulls out a point and shoot and starts snapping away. :D
  16. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    Also, look at other photos (has been mentioned), but ask yourself what makes them appealing to you. If you can pinpoint what you like, you can get a better idea of what you want to achieve in your images. This way, your photos will be imbibed with your own passion - an intangible quality required for your photos to speak to others.
  17. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    enroll in a good evening class, but beware there are lots of crap ones. :mad:

  18. b0tt094 macrumors 6502


    Sep 2, 2006
    I totally agree with the "crawl - walk - run equation" I started out with a 2.1 mp Olympus, Got my "eye" down by that I mean my eye for detail, seeing a picture in every scene of every second of everyday (yes I actually do this I critique everything I see:p I drive my friends crazy:cool: )

    Next thing I did was get a cannon S2 IS P&S, off of this I got out of P mode and Auto, I played with ISO Aperture (F/ what ever u call it) and Shutter speed, all the technical aspects

    Finally I moved up to a Nikon D50 DSLR and got myself Socialy ready, every photographer knows what that means... Walking around town or at a game some one has to come up to u and say "Nice camera, Are u professional" or "Damn, nice camera, How many Mega pixels is it" And the most annoying one is the dirty looks and the snickering, (I hate obnoxious rich parents who's spoiled high school student is losing against my team:cool:), I dont hate all rich people just to get that straight, just the stuck up ones:p

    On a final note in case u are very new Mega Pixels ,a good camera does not make :p

    I just relized I have gone through a diffrent brand for every step :p
  19. failsafe1 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2003
    There are several ways to go and no one way it best for any one person. I am a self taught shooter who has 27 years of working experience. I think the best ways are shoot millions of photos and study the photos of photographers you admire. Get people to give you feedback on your work. Look for pros or advanced amateurs to help you. But the most important part is shoot and shoot. You can read and listen to lectures but until you develop your style is it all for naught. Getting familiar with your gear is important but don't get hung up on the equipment part. A good photo is capable with all types of equipment. There are millions of books and web sites that help also.
  20. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    - Buy Michael Langford's book Step-by-Step Guide to Photography or Basic Photography. Read it twice.
    - Buy a Nikon F80 second hand on adorama or BH with a cheap lens (you can sell them later). They're a bargain now.
    - Practice without film (seeing how light affects exposure time, diaphragm...). It'll be your tool, so you'd better get used to it.
    - Buy some rolls of slide film (I'd suggest at least one roll of Velvia, that you'll save for when you start being confortable with the light).
    - Then, practice with slides (no negatives, slides). Concentrate on lightning (sunsets, candles, public lighting, nightscapes...) rather than on depth of field and such.
    - Sell everything you had bought if you need the money, otherwise keep it, but be aware that once you have got a digital slr, you'll barely ever shoot film again unless required.
    - Buy a Nikon D40 or a Canon digital rebel, or whatever (SLR!). If you can afford it, the Nikon 18-200 alone is a powerful reason to go Nikon.
    - Now "you're digital" you can concentrate on things like endless tests about depth of field, exposure times, etc...
    - Read Ken Rockwell's articles (not those about gear, the ones about actual photography!)
    - Keep shooting. Then, realize that anything digital is still behind Velvia.

    If you want to learn, I'd advice against anything point and shoot or bridge. Yeah, you can learn some things out of them, but you don't really know what's happening in the camera. you just press buttons, and see the results. That's not how you learn photography, that's how you learn to use a Point and Shoot. Yes, I know it's possible to get good pictures out of a PS, but it's a pain in the ass.
  21. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    If you have some art background, it's easier to apply some of the classical composition rules to your photographs, though you'll likely still want to hunt out more specific things like leading lines, negative space and "near, middle, far"-type "rules." The best way differs for different people. I shot for a lot of years taking good photographs- but it wasn't until I moved away from 35mm that I really slowed down enough to go to the next level. First with a 6x6 TLR, then with a 645 and finally with 4x5 and 5x7 view cameras. Some people learn best by doing, others in a collaborative environment, others by reading and others by seeing.

    For a darned good "it's all there" system, http://www.sureshotsystem.com/store.html?Iit=6&Ict=1 is something I recommend. For books, even though there's a lot of concentration on film cameras and developing, I still think the Ansel Adams series of books "The Camera," and "The Negative" are valuable tools. Community colleges often have photography programs that'll get you out shooting with a few other folks, as will joining local camera clubs.

    Personally, I think other than lighting, what separates a good photographer from a great photographer is the pictures they don't take. Knowing when a shot won't work, isn't compelling or doesn't have it is a difficult point to get to, especially with 35mm and digital where you can take hundreds (or even thousands) of frames a day and just toss the ones that didn't work. That might get you more good pictures, but it won't make you a better photographer.
  22. Erendiox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    I suppose I can agree with that. I learned differently, but that doesn't seem like a bad idea either. I just don't like the idea of cameras making all the decisions for you. At what point is the camera taking the picture and not you? That's just not photography! :)

    But yea, a P&S wouldn't hurt for learning composition skills. I still recommend a full manual though. ;)
  23. Billy101 macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2007
    I agree totally. Books are great and finding and reading them will help you but nothing is going to teach you faster than one on one in a classroom.

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