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  • Question - what is the best way to learn photography in your opinion

    I am curious to hear peoples's responses to what they think is the best way to learn photography in your opinion. What way is best for YOU?

    ie
    reading how to books
    on line courses
    internet forums
    DPS forums
    attending a photography class or school
    intense weekend courses
    camera clubs
    just practice?

    What ways have you found the best for you and why?

    I look forward to hearing from you and reading your responses. Thanks!
    Last edited by Jill H; 11-16-2010, 02:47 PM.
    Stepping into the light - www.lifeimagesbyjill.blogspot.com/ - and - http://picasaweb.google.com/lifeimagesbyjill

    Canon G11, Power Shot Pro1 (L series 28-300), Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) (18-55 & 55-250), Canon EOS 330X (film) (28-90 & 90-300)

  • #2
    1. Read the manual for your camera.
    2. All of the above.

    The more you understand your camera and the more you shoot, the better you will be. If you want to top it up with classes, that is up to you.

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    • #3
      I don't really like learning anything in a class/school setting, as the pace of learning is controlled by someone else, whether that be the teacher or other students advancing faster or slower than me. I prefer reading and studying on my own, at my own pace, whether that pace happens to mean staying up all night immersing myself in everything on the internet that can be found on a particular topic, or taking a long break from doing anything if I feel like it.

      For photography, my style of learning has generally been to go out and take pictures and learn as the need arises, i.e when I run into a problem or a limitation, then that will be the next issue I tackle (usually by way of google).

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      • #4
        IMO:

        - Read the manuals
        - Practice
        - Look at works of others and examine them
        - Analyse the photos you take and try to figure out what could be done better
        - Take your time when shooting, and don't expect to come home with jaw-dropping stuff every time!
        - Learn to PP
        Nikon D60 + Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 DX + Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX + Tamron AdaptAll 80-210mm f/3.8 Macro

        Flickr
        Picasa
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        • #5
          Read the manual. Read it again and again.

          Practice, practice, practice.

          I hate going to classes! They seem to always be geared to the lowest common denominator.

          Workshops are better, depending on who is teaching.


          However, these are expensive no matter if the person teaching is good or not. I know a local ďproĒ who doesnít take very good shots, canít use Photoshop well, hasnít got a clue about other software available, canít make up his mind about getting a new computer, printer and installing his now outdated copy of Lightroom, yetó is planning a workshop in a foreign country for people who have more money than brains.


          Books are always best for me as well as internet sites and videos.

          Look at the works of others whom I consider great and not so great. Draw lessons from those.

          Try to make every exposure the best possible.

          Practice, practice, practice some more until the end of your days, when everything should be automatic and perfect every time.

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          • #6
            Now days for learning a new photography skill.
            (1) A good technical book that covers the subject and will hopefully cover the aesthetics as well.
            (2) The internet - forums/flickr and sites like DPS
            (3) Practice - review - practice - loop.

            In the past - in chronological order: (late 1950's to 1970)
            (1) Reading dad's photography magazines and him teaching me the very basics of exposure, lighting & composition. Shooting 6x9cm (120) B&W film on a fully adjustable camera (without a light meter & rangefinder)

            (2) Camera clubs & magazines & a fair amount of practice. Shooting 35mm slides with a fully adjustable camera with an external light meter but no range finder..

            (3) Camera clubs & books, especially the Kodak "Here's How" series.
            Shooting slides with SLRs and a whole pile of lenses. Doing a lot of shooting (for film)

            I then discovered motor cycles, girls and sailing so no serious photography (only family/vacation) stuff for the next 30+ years.
            Last edited by RichardTaylor; 11-16-2010, 12:57 PM.
            Flickr stream.
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/34094515@N00/

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            • #7
              For me, it's:

              Shoot a lot of photos
              Read the manual
              Watch videos
              Read forums, blog posts, online articles, etc.

              Years ago, when I first got involved in photography, I had a job at a camera store selling photographic equipment and supplies and later developing the negatives and film in the one-hour photo lab. I had a great boss who was quite insistent about "here, take this camera, this roll of film, and go shoot a bunch of pictures in the mall so you can see for yourself what difference the various settings make". And did this on the company's dime. The whole lot of of us learned a *lot* that way. And, because we had the lab on premises, we got to see our photos fairly quickly, like an hour after we shot them. Then we'd analyze the heck out of them, both our pictures and the film that customers brought in.

              Cuz, you know, when pictures don't quite turn out, back in the film days, people would ask the staff who developed their pics what went wrong. And our manager, in his wisdom, insisted that we be able to answer their questions intelligently.

              The analysis part made a huge difference, I think. Really helped solidify a bunch of things. Not that I'm done learning or anything, of course. I've still got a long way to go...
              Laurie
              Instagram * Twitter * Walking the World * Google+

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              • #8
                Well, for basic operations and functions of my personal equipement, I read the manual (s). I also bought a book specific to my camera which is a little more detailed than the manual. That helped alot.
                For less complex techniques, problems, etc, I search the internet, forums, you tube, blogs, etc.
                For more complex things, like learning to use my new speedlite, I turned to a book written specifically for the flash. I love that with a book, all of the information is in one spot. With the internet, I might find one piece of information here and one piece of information there, but it overwelms me to keep track of each piece of information, specifically when dealing with something complex.
                Of course, I practice a lot. I keep a journal of "things I have tried". I keep notes of what worked well and why. What did not work well and why, etc.
                Then more practice.
                Flickr Web Facebook Blog

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                • #9
                  thanks everyone for your replys. Have you ever been a member of a camera club and did this help you? Or do you find doing a course with other people helpful? Is being with like minded people motivating / inspiring?
                  Stepping into the light - www.lifeimagesbyjill.blogspot.com/ - and - http://picasaweb.google.com/lifeimagesbyjill

                  Canon G11, Power Shot Pro1 (L series 28-300), Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) (18-55 & 55-250), Canon EOS 330X (film) (28-90 & 90-300)

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                  • #10
                    I have considered joining a camera club, but I have read mixed things about them on this site. I guess I should just go out and give one a try for myself.

                    Reading the manuals and reviewing your own work is important, but I find getting (honest) feedback from others helps a lot too. That's why I read the critique forums a lot. It's vital to hear what others think so I can expand my thinking and stay inspired. So, DPS is kind of like my online camera club. It's so convenient because it's accessible 24/7.

                    So, sharing ideas with like-minded people is motivating, whether they are in Australia or Alaska.
                    GREG - Canon 60D with 10-22, 18-55 & 55-250.
                    flickr
                    flickriver
                    My 500px
                    "You can't be young forever, but you can always be immature." - Larry Andersen.

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                    • #11
                      I am really not a club or organization person. I find that these are all too often self serving and the membership often have political agendas. Have only joined one organization in my adult life and regretted it.

                      A camera club might be worthwhile, depending on the membership. However, I like to do things on my own schedule. So, meeting dates and such standing commitments often do not work for me because my work-schedule is unpredictable. I donít even get season concerts tickets for those reasons.

                      I continue to prefer the net for feedback and inspiration. I also like to take courses on my time, which is often in the middle of the night. I prefer to go out on my own or with my husband to shoot.

                      I am a very sociable person. However, for photography and art, solitude or a soul mate work best for me.

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                      • #12
                        I've never read any manuals and I'm doing okay.

                        I've also never read any books as most of that information is available free on the internet.

                        A) Take lots of pictures of everything and find your strengths
                        B) Research and look at many other people's work
                        www.nickbedford.com | Fill The Key (blog)

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                        • #13
                          I've done pretty much all of the above except workshops and actually will be attending one this Sunday for the first time. I've always shot family and landscape style shots. The workshop is using models so it will be my first experience working with someone I really don't know. Should be interesting since I've never shot in a studio or used studio lighting, which is the main reason I wanted to do the workshop to get that experience.

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                          • #14
                            In a perfect world (you didn't place conditions ) you'd do a little bit of all of them as you learn something different from all those avenues of approach.

                            What worked for me was
                            Practice practice practice
                            Photography club where I was butchered in my early attempts (this could be replaced by a stricter forum, but you miss out on the socializing aspect which I like read: met chicks, drank beer!)
                            lots of mass circulation photog magazines (when getting started, now they don't give me anything new)
                            studying other artists you like and trying to dissect the elements so you can duplicate (and hopefully evolve from!).

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                            • #15
                              Learning Photography

                              Originally posted by Jill H View Post
                              I am curious to hear peoples's responses to what they think is the best way to learn photography in your opinion. What way is best for YOU?

                              ie
                              reading how to books
                              on line courses
                              internet forums
                              DPS forums
                              attending a photography class or school
                              intense weekend courses
                              camera clubs
                              just practice?

                              What ways have you found the best for you and why?

                              I look forward to hearing from you and reading your responses. Thanks!
                              I have to agree with the others on reading your manuals and practicing, also reading books pertaining to your camera that give more details than the manual. I also noticed you are a great fan of landscapes, I do them also but have found my best in family portraits and old buildings of times past in my area. I watch for new building designs also. I got started with photography with Sony DSLR on vacations then decided I wanted a Nikon D90 which has so many different settings on it that I am still learning what they do also invested in the new Nikon D7000 which is a step up of the D90. All my lenses work on both cameras allowing me to use two cameras and two different lenses for different purposes. Also all my lenses are fast F-2.8 lenses that allow me to shoot lowlight very well. No matter the zoom of the lense they will stay at that F-stop throughout the zoom range, Since I am also new at photography, I took a hint from others about setting the lowest ISO on the camera, shooting at various F-stops in aperature mode to see what the results are. The same can be done with shutter priority. I surprised myself in using this method and have won a few contests in the past year. When shooting architecture and people I take them from different angles, left, right, straight on, high and low angles giving me great choices of photos.
                              [http://community.webshots.com/user/FranksPhotography

                              http://www.amazon.com/Crime-Photogra.../dp/0123757282

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