Have You Had Any Photographic Training? [DISCUSS]

Have You Had Any Photographic Training? [DISCUSS]


lomokev lecture tonight

This morning I spent time with two professional photographers with very different stories.

Both make a good living and have a good reputation in their fields but both got to where they are at through very different means.

Photographer #1: ‘Qualified’

One studied Photography in high school and then went on to study the topic at university. He worked as an assistant for numerous photographers, did internships at newspapers and has a large library of books on photography on his book shelf.

Even to this day he invests in learning more about photography and regularly attends courses as part of his professional development. He recently completed his Masters and has even lectured in photography at universities – to say he has qualifications would be to understate things.

Photographer #2: ‘Self Taught’

The other photographer is completely self taught. He was given a small film camera as a child and was encouraged by his parents to use it. His school never offered photography as a subject so he learned by using his camera. He saved for a DSLR as a teen and continued to take photos.

At college he studied commerce but began to grow his collection of gear and funded it through taking on work as a photographer wherever he could. He photographed friends weddings, set up a photo booth at his college campus to take shots of his peers, hired himself out to photograph kids birthday parties and took freelance shots for a local newspaper.

He has never taken a photography course or read a photography book. He’s completely self taught and learned his craft through years of practice and experimentation.

Which are You?

Both photographers are well respected and have successful photography businesses – in fact both are friends, respect each others work and have collaborated together on projects.

It strikes me that there are many paths to success in photography and I’d love to hear a little about your own ‘training’ as a photographer (whether you’re a pro or amateur).

Have you had ‘training’ in any formal sense? If so – what was it and would you recommend it for others?

If not – where have you learned your craft?

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • phil hibberd September 28, 2012 07:33 pm

    We teach photography privately and in schools - we often get people with photography degrees who know next to nothing about the practical shutter/aperture/iso stuff. We think photography is a craft skill, like cookery or carpentry - there's only so much you can learn without practical work. Giving people a task, letting them have a go and then reviewing and suggesting possible improvements seems to be the best way to go. That's how we run all our courses from beginners to advanced.

  • the baron August 6, 2012 04:23 pm

    i began in 1957,with an Agifold folding 35 mm,with sekonic meter,whch i have to this day.
    about six months later i bought, an Edixa mat s, slr with 1.9 quinon.
    i was self tought from day one,my passion was animals.
    i refused a free scholership at Manchester University in 1961.i chose not to take it on because i would have to do it, and i was afraid i would lose my vision. i gave for a while and returned to my first love. Photography. now of course digital.

  • Dustin Jackson July 26, 2012 08:11 pm

    #2, self taught.
    Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming a professional photographer for National Geographic Magazine. I've always fostered a deep love for cameras. At the age of 16, I purchased my first Point and Shoot camera. Since then, I've either possessed a Point and Shoot, SLR, or dSLR, with the determination to further develop my talent.

  • strongarms July 10, 2012 04:04 am

    Self taught. I'm actually very new to the "photography world". I have always loved taking pictures and wanted a professional camera but could never afford one being that I was a single mom of two. Then finally i got married 1 1/2 ago and my husband a children bought me a canon t3 for mother's day this year!! So I am so excited and so thankful for this website. I have only been snapingy children and trying to find an inexpensive software to edit my photos. But im still learning and again so happy I found this site. All the stories and tips really motivate me even more!! Thanks again!!

  • Christine July 9, 2012 10:01 pm


    I got a Kodak Disc camera as a teenager. My first SLR was a Konica 35mm with a standard and zoom lens. As long as the cross-hairs were lined up and the light meter was in the white, I was going to get something in focus. I fell into concert photography as a report because I would get the interview and happened to have a camera to shoot the show. I was using that fully manual Konica while those around me had high-end Nikon and Canon auto-advance monsters.

    I got my first DSLR, an Olympus eVolt 500, 6 years ago. I have actually learned quite a bit about the technical elements through this site and a 52 Weeks photo challenge group on Flickr. It has helped me, but I still care more about "seeing" the shot than where my f-stop is set.

  • dave mitchell July 9, 2012 03:29 am

    Self taught. Began shooting in `46 with a Kodak Brownie box camera. Shot with many manuals through the rest of the 40's, 50's and 60's in the military (Signal Corps) Went digital 15 years ago and teach basic photography in local schools, senior centers, etc. Owned cameras are Sony A55, Nikon D300, Mamiya 645 and several 35mm paperweights. Learned all I know through friendly photographers, Popular Photography, Outdoor Photographer lots of other reading and owe many of my class lesson plan materials to DPS and the fantastically creative photographers who frequent your web. Many thanks to all. This is the way photography should be taught. Cheers Darren - a dinner and cold beer await your arrival in Atlanta, GA.

  • Slowolf July 7, 2012 06:27 pm

    Copy great photos. Read Galen Rowell, Ansel, Steiglitz, Liebowitz, Lang, etc. Study bad ones. Learn from mistakes. Read film photo mags. Still shoot negs snd transparencies. Like DPS collected wisdom a lot.

  • David July 7, 2012 10:17 am

    Have been interested in photography since high school, but have always been self taught, until now. I've gone through phases of liking and not liking photography over the years. I think that is because t he results I've got have always left something to be desired. Last year I started an online photography course which I am almost finished. As a result, I can see a significant improvement in my photos. One of them being I now shoot in raw, because I understand the benefits and how to process them. I also now better understand how the camera works and how to get the best out of it. Everything I've learnt, I could probably have learnt from the internet without taking the course, but being guided through the information in a structured way has made a huge difference to results.

  • James July 7, 2012 08:31 am

    I am not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I have done a few shoots for family, but not much more than that. I would like to do this as my vocation. I love taking photos of my grandson because he is such a camera ham. And his mother loves the pictures.

  • Anthony July 7, 2012 03:21 am

    Up until now I have been self-taught, using books and internet and practice. I just started at NYIP (New York Institute of Photography) and hope to fill in some of the holes in my knowledge/experience etc.

  • Michael Minick July 7, 2012 12:14 am

    Self taught. I bought my first camera when I was 16 and just joined the army. In 1963 it was a Made in Japan stamped metal, not adjustable in any way, not even a rangefinder that cost $4.59. I later graduated to a $30.00 rangefinder 35mm then a Spotmatic (Hurray!!) I never took any courses but bought every photo magazine available and shot, shot, shot.

  • Adam Telford July 6, 2012 11:26 pm

    I took black&white film classes at a community college, but no photographic degree was offered. I learned by doing, by trying and failing with film. Until it started to make sense and I understood how to create images instead of snapping pictures. For seven years I took the black&white class, until the teacher retired. I bought my first dslr in 2006, and have poured over online tutorials and blogs to improve my abilities. Now I work at that same community college, maintaining the darkroom, and tutoring the current students in both darkroom and digital techniques. I also have my own portrait photography business, where I put my understanding of exposure, and lighting techniques to work. Check out my Portfolio on facebook.

  • david mayne July 6, 2012 10:02 am

    I originally used a point and shoot camera, however after purchasing a canon digital slr I did a course put on by the local council and had a professional photographer running it I thought the knowledge that I picked up was fantastic. I subscribe to several web sites and obtain a lot of additional information
    . I am hoping to be able to make some extra income when i retire from this. I expirement with takeing different types of photographsie macro, water droplets, and smoke.

  • Daniel Upton July 6, 2012 07:04 am

    I'm a part time commercial and wedding photographer (http://danieluptonphotography.com.au) (self taught) and really feel the need lately to get some formal traInIng. Practice and online tuts. can definitively work, but I think the right formal training can give a more solid foundation + more confidence in technique, connections with other photographers, job opportunities, and also forces you to do projects and develop concepts that develop your skills, possibly a bit more systematically than self-teaching can do. It also forces you to put time aside for learning which is hard when you're not studying.

  • Qing July 6, 2012 06:37 am

    I learned from friends, co-workers and menu from the cameras I bought. I would like any advice on how to get trained for my newly purchased Canon EOS Rebel T3i Digital Camera in local Philadelphia area. This camera is more complicated to manage than my other Olympus digital cameras. I am a realtor and need to take many pictures everyday for different properties, interior, exterior, etc. and sometimes I need to add a video tour. I also need to do indoor video recording for my children's music performance. I love taking pictures of nature scenes as well. Appreciate any info. Thanks.

  • Frank B July 6, 2012 06:31 am

    Self-taught through study and appreciation of the masters, and then 2 years at Ohio Institute of Photography.

  • Jen July 6, 2012 05:34 am

    I am just starting to teach myself more about photography. I have been told I have a good eye, and good composition. Now I am learning how to shoot fully manual, and working on getting the sharpness, color, and lighting to make a good picture GREAT! I have taken a couple classes, and have some books I am reading, but the biggest thing for me is to be hands on and PRACTICE! I learn best that way.

  • Alex July 6, 2012 04:24 am

    I'm neither. I have never taken classes or had formal training, but I have learned through experience and by snatching up every tutorial and magazine I could get my hands on since I was 13. I sold my dirtbike as a kid to purchase my DSLR, and have been attached ever since.

  • Roger Maxwell July 6, 2012 02:34 am

    #2 - More like #3. I took a photography class in 8th grade, learning about how to process B/W film and the basics of taking photos. My step-dad let me use his camera - I forgot what it was. All I remember was that it was in a leather casing and it was one you looked down from the top. During that class my parents took us on a cruise to the Caribbean and my teacher said that my assignment for that week was to take pictures then develop them after I came home. That resulted a cool photo of a rustic cobblestone alleyway; and I was so proud of it. That was my first assignment, and that class would be my only formal training.

    Shortly after that I saved up all my allowance for a Minolta that I saw at either at Kmart or Gemco. I took a few pictures but not many cause I couldn't afford getting them developed (my class had ended by then). In later years I bought a Nikon which I eventually sold - probably to pay rent (I don't remember).

    Years later I bought a Canon Powershot S30 and took a lot of pictures, always in Auto mode. But I decided to get serious about making pictures, so I bought a Canon Rebel XSi with the 2 kt lenses, and spent a couple of years learning on my own. After that camera took a dip in the pool I bought a (barely) used Canon 50D which is what I'm currently using, and taking lots of mostly bad to mediocre pictures, with a few gems thrown in there. Books and the internet and just taking a ton of photoraphs have been my mainstay. But I would like to eventually take some formal classes.

  • vernesia July 6, 2012 02:03 am

    I call it 'flash taught' by the company i work for. I was 'taught' for 5 weeks then thrown into the water to either sink or swim. I found my niche and I actually enjoy it alot. I am the one at work that can get the good running toddler pics that the parents are shocked i was able to get because their kid was bouncing all over the room.

    Looking to make it a side business, because the studio feels so limited now!

  • Frisinger July 6, 2012 01:55 am

    Don't you just love how when asked if you are trained folks start telling you about equipment: their Polaroids, and box cameras.

    The camera companies provides some excellent training that is not only technical on the operation of their equipment but in composition and lighting. Then now days the software wonks are doing the same. We hear about composition, depth of field and lighting as they are inseparable from the making good photos even with heavenly software.

    I am "self-trained' only in that I have taken the freeby stuff the suppliers offer, then read and read and read, whilst I am daily shooting and shooting and shooting.

  • Basavaraj Bijjur July 5, 2012 09:37 pm

    Type 2 Photographer:

    Never gone for any photography related classas.
    At my childhood until my studies completed i was good at drawing and painting gradually i stopped and worked in printing industries from last 10 years.

    I always liked art field and look a olyumpus 10mp 570uz camera in 2008 and never used manual mode.
    During these period i uses attend friends marriage and after the shoots would show the images to married couples they liked my images then the regular photographer.

    Sold olyumpus camera purchased Nikon D3000 and never used auto focus mode what ever images i shoot was in manual mode.

    As of now planning to purchase D700 and few goods lens to shoot regular weddings and planning to become a wedding photographer.

  • JasonTL July 5, 2012 01:58 pm

    I fall within the self taught catagory.

    I've been a graphic designer for the last 10 years. Never took a photography class in school. But, in the last 2 years or so I've gotten into product photography as well as on site photo shoots. Mostly residential, retail and some commercial offices.

    I basically started off with a Canon D7 and recently moved to a Nikon D800. I've learned a lot by trial and error. But, I've been fortunate enough to have a coworker who has 20+ years of experience. So he's been a lot of help with eguipment and techniques.

    While I've come a long way I know I have a lot more to learn.

  • DasBigfoot July 5, 2012 06:09 am

    Self taught. Back in the 80's I bought an old, strictly manual camera - no ttl metering even. Experimentation and inexpensive soft cover books gave me a working knowlege of how to use it. Later, hard cover books lead deeper to an understanding of lenses, magnification, circle of confusion and color theory. Finally, magazines, and most recently, the internet have lead to a wealth of information concerning techneques, concepts and equipment. I never worked at it professionally due to the demands and commitments required.

  • Anner July 5, 2012 02:52 am

    Self taught... researching in internet mostly. I had my first camera at 12 years old, but I used to take photos without any tecnique until digital photography arrived and I bought a new camera 3 years ago. Since then I started to go deeper in photography researching on the web and a lot of practice. I'm amateur and I want to still learning, maybe a would take a course or still learning by myself.

  • Yngve Thoresen July 4, 2012 08:42 pm

    Self taught. I learn by doing, and learn some more by reading and doing. I love trying new things and projects that teach me new techniques and ways of improving my skills with a camera.

  • Sariah Rose July 4, 2012 06:40 pm

    DPS is perfect for those of us who want to learn on our own terms-
    So thank you for creating a place where the "Self-taught" can explore and discover all the wonderful treasures photography has to offer.

  • TonyMc July 4, 2012 05:26 pm

    Definitely self taught, mainly by trial and error. Even resorted to reading the Canon manual on occassion. Started in auto modes: portrait, landscape & sports then slowly progressed to creative mode. Now mainly shoot in either apperture priority or shutter priority, occassionally switching to manual.

    I have a couple of photography books, but only ever get part way through them, use them for reference or when I want to look at a particular topic. Like to look at others photos on Flickr, which gives me ideas and can be quite inspiring.

    Joined a couple of challenge groups on Flickr to push me forward, rather than doing the same things over and over. Plus recently joined DPS for learning topics.

  • Guigphotography July 4, 2012 04:32 pm

    #2, barring a lesson with a photographer friend to get me going manual. The main thing has been not being afraid to make mistakes and making damn sure I learn from them.

  • Jaclyn July 4, 2012 12:04 pm

    I'm in high school and at this point I am mostly self-taught. I do some reading on various websites to get an idea of different things and then go out to play around with the information I have learned. The director of our school musical/tech person/music teacher that I go to for advice about stuff all the time also takes photos with a DSLR, which I discovered this year. He has taught me some things that he has learned and for the most part I think he is self taught/reads up on the topic/learns from friends. Actually we were both at school this morning for some video editing stuff, and while I was waiting for the movie to process I had out my computer and was looking through my photographs of fireworks from the other night. I was able able to teach him a little bit about bulb mode and some of the better settings for shooting fireworks.
    However, starting on Monday I will be taking a two week (M-F) 1pm to 5pm Introduction to Photography class for which I am able to get college credit for.

  • Ved July 4, 2012 09:06 am

    Self taught...started my learning right here and still my most favored place to learn

  • Scottc July 4, 2012 08:51 am

    I fall into a different category, perhaps called "self-taught late starter". I just got into this a few years ago and learned everything I know on my own (with a LOT of help from DPS!)


  • keith July 4, 2012 07:26 am

    I've done some of each, think many of us do. Graduate of Brooks Institute, portrait major/color minor - which did give me a wealth of knowledge, but did it make me a better photographer? Hmm. Think one of the best ways to learn is OJT also known as assisting - wow learned a ton that way and all practical & all of it useful stuff too.

    Also, keep this in mind, we never stop learning either. Another great way to learn is to teach, yep brings your level of expertise to another level.

  • Juan July 4, 2012 06:13 am

    I have not been formally trained. I've learned from websites like this, some books and practice.

  • EnergizedAV July 4, 2012 03:28 am

    Not quite formally trained. Much of how I learned was by being mentored by formally trained successful professionals. I'm also an obsessed researcher whenever something doesn't make sense, and willing to try something new, even if people think it's crazy.

  • Max Almonte July 4, 2012 03:07 am

    25% school as I took one semester in college, 75% Self taught.

  • Randy Bayne July 4, 2012 02:13 am

    Both. I started out just picking up a camera and shooting at around 18. When I went overseas in the Navy I became a bit more serious using an old Canon SLR. A big 'ol heavy thing from around 1965 (I should go did up some of those old photos) . I don't even remember where I got it.

    When I got home I decided to take some college photography classes and then continue with classes at a community college after I was discharged. My early jobs after the Navy were working in the camera department of a department store and later at a camera shop in La Jolla, CA. After leaving those jobs for a better paying job unrelated to photography I kept practicing and have been self-taught since while moving from film to digital.

  • Tony July 4, 2012 02:02 am

    I'm a little of both. My mom was an avid photographer when I was growing up, so I was always around someone who had a camera off the end of their arm. Since I always wanted to make movies when I grew up, I eventually went into film school in college.

    While my film school career didn't pay out, a great many of the skills I learned there - lighting, composition and so on - applied to still photography as well. But all the details like lenses and F-stops and film stock and stuff that's specific to photography I had to learn myself.

  • jasontl2411 July 4, 2012 01:19 am

    self taught,

    i have a background in graphic design (so i've done a lot of post production with photos), but i started taking photos within the last 2 years or so. Started off with a Canon D7, and recently moved on to a Nikon D800. Currently much of my work has been taking product photos and some on site photo shoots i.e. homes, businesses, and retail locations.

    i've learned a lot by trial and error, but i've been fortunate enough to have a coworker who's been taking photos for over 30 years. So i've learned a lot these past few years, but i know there is so much more i can learn.

  • Paul Saulnier July 4, 2012 01:07 am

    Group 2 for me....but was part of a photography group with over 400 members and we would teach each other little tips ..so its been going on 4 years for me and now have a studio ...so i guess im doing ok for an amateur .

  • Elliot July 4, 2012 12:52 am

    I own a photography workshop and class company and spend a great deal of time teaching & helping students reach their full potential. Somehow I think as a company we have been quite amazed at the incredible images our students are creating based on assignments that we give them.

    I do not believe that anyone of them have ever had a formal "degree" education and are self taught and attend workshops. We recommend mentors and act as mentors once they become students and help them throughout the process for years if necessary.

    I think that formal education and self taught have their good and bad sides. Most students who go into the process of getting a photographic degree and fine arts degree find that once they are done with school, getting a self supporting job in that field is pretty tough. Self taught or mentored photographers have an advantage of already being in the field working part time. Their work has been out there and may find they have feet in the door early.

    Either method is not going to guarantee success. A photographers abilities to apply what they know and decent marketing will make a big difference.

  • Steve M July 4, 2012 12:14 am

    Although I had fooled around with cameras and in the darkroom for years, my formal training came when I was twenty years old and enlisted in the Army. I went through an intensive, six month school where I was taught cinematography. I then spent the next several years applying what I had learned on the job as a still photographer.

  • Dave July 3, 2012 11:40 pm

    I am mostly self taught. Since I was old enough to hold a camera (a long time ago!) i was shooting pictures. I've got tubs full of those old photographs. I never got serious about it until I got my first DSLR in 2005, a Canon Rebel XT. That was a year I took off from work and travelled (actually laid off). When I got back everyone said I should sell my photos, so I started a small business in 2007, selling in galleries and art shows.

    My only real training has come from a few workshops. A weekend with Rocky Mountain school of photography, and all day session at a Photoshop Users convention (with Moose Peterson and Joe McNally), and from right here with DPS. My professional work started out mainly with floral, but I soon switched to specialize in shore birds and butterflies. Now I'm expanding into a little more scenic and some portrait work.

  • Cathy July 3, 2012 10:42 pm

    My father taught me about aperature, ISO and shutter speed and since I've gooten serious about photography as a career I've been spending lots of time watching creativeLIVE.com workshops. So I haven't taken photography at a brick and mortar learning centre but I can't say I'm self taught.

  • Zack Jones July 3, 2012 10:39 pm

    Self taught like most others here. Read books/blogs/magazines to learn more as needed.

  • Anne brown July 3, 2012 10:13 pm

    Self taught - learned from others, this website has helped Flickr, books, Bryan Peterson books.

    Facebook : anne Kuoppamaki brown

  • Dan Wireman July 3, 2012 10:12 pm

    I studies at the Art Institute of Atlanta. 35 photography courses in 2 full years. Graduated in 1981. Best two years I've ever spent doing anything.

  • Swapnil Sahamate July 3, 2012 09:36 pm

    Still a amateur photographer, but learned things from DPS and some photography magazines. Having point and shoot camera Sony H20 (learned a lot from the manual setting and experimenting with it) planning to upgrade with DSLR in coming years.

  • Lisa July 3, 2012 09:28 pm

    Self taught 100%

  • Thinkeye July 3, 2012 06:36 pm

    Self taught amateur. Started late - first (D)SLR at 40. Discovery and (re)invention is for me a vital part of the fun.

  • Luke Agius July 3, 2012 06:02 pm

    I started out on my own, I bought a 550D out of curiosity whilst being unsure i'd like the field. Things fell into place and I self-thought some of the stuff to my self. But I like to have a structured way of learning things so I took up a course and I'm learning stuff in a more constant rate! :). So i'd say I'm somewhere in the middle. I would just like to get some work to do, even for free at first! Just to practice :)

  • Fuzzypiggy July 3, 2012 05:04 pm

    Completely self-taught. I have no intention of shooting for money I'd be cut to pieces in seconds in the business side of the photographic game, ha ha! I give away copies of my images to anyone who asks, ( I retain the rights of course! ), I simply want to share what I do.

    My great-great grandfather was a respected portrait photographer in London in the 19th Century, my parents were both fanatical amatuer snappers and from the earliest time I can remember photography being a vital part of my upbringing, cameras and photos all over the house. My Nan gave me my first camera, a Kodak Box Brownie when I was 4 or 5 and I had great fun snapping away, my Dad did the developing and printing for me. We have photos in the family back to the 1840's, what did I choose to do for a living...IT database administrator, LOL!

    I have been using cameras for the last 35 years, on and off but only in the 3 years have I really taken it seriously, moving up to using professional quality equipment. I don't want to do it for a living I don't even want to make any money quite frankly! I just enjoy the thrill of chasing a landscape shot that may never be repeated. I read magazines, books and watch video based tutorials. The only course I want to go on is one hosted by my hero pro landscape shooter David Noton, and then only so I can meet him and talk about photography for a few days!

  • Massimo Belloni July 3, 2012 04:21 pm

    Started with a beautiful photography school during middle school, then self-taught. I still have to be grateful to that fantastic teacher...

  • Colby Abazs July 3, 2012 03:09 pm

    #2 Self Taught, mostly

    I have learned through books, blogs, experimentation... I have taken a few photography classes, internships and workshops but almost always I had already self taught myself what was in the workshop so they were mostly practice and networking. I am now moving more towards being taught since I am attending a photography program this fall and looking for more advanced workshops to take.

  • Mridula July 3, 2012 02:31 pm

    In between, whatever I know is by reading on the web, largely DPS but no formal training.


  • Rick July 3, 2012 02:20 pm

    #3: Absolutely no interest until I hit age 40! And my high school even had an award winning photography program and few students even received some national attention. My interest and self-training didn't start until I got a p/s about 5 years ago, then quickly moved up to a DSLR (Rebel) and just got a FF 6 months ago. I'm making up for lost time.

  • Pclarks July 3, 2012 12:41 pm

    Self-taught I guess. I was given a hand me down dSLR from my down and have upgraded since then. I didn't take any courses in high school or college and all of my learning has come from experimentation and online resources. Technically the courses I have taken is that I recently started online video tutorials on www.Lynda.com. They have a decent number of classes and you do monthly payments of like $25. The videos by Ben Long have been very interesting and I highly recommend them to any beginner or troubled photographer.

  • Justin Allen July 3, 2012 12:07 pm

    Self taught,

    I have read numerous PDF's on how to shoot photography and settings and gear to purchase to grow and have planned to grow small and one day be something of an efficent of a photographer.

    Currently my gear consists of a Nikon d40x 35mm f1.8g 50mm f1.8g Sb600 Alzo softbox 24/24 reflector/holder and 2 lightstands.

    I have shot over 12,000 photos since January 1st this year and over 2,000 over the last month and plan to shoot even more. This is something i love and am always trying to master my abilities. There is no reason to except failure only a reason to except a lesson, keep shooting, keep learning and one day we all may be able to be the next ansel adams

    Justin Allen

  • MsKirpi July 3, 2012 11:26 am

    I'm self-taught. My dad loved photography and gave me a camera when I was just a kid, and I'd tag along with him--both of us taking pictures of anything and everything! Back in the days of film (and expensive--for a kid--processing) I learned composition and focus from dad. He was self-taught, too. I read a lot of books on photography, visit a lot of websites (of which DPS is my favorite), talk to photographers whose work I admire (one of my good friends is a professional photographer and she gives me tips all the time), practice, practice, practice.

  • ccting July 3, 2012 11:24 am

    The last is, learn English enables me to understand DPS

  • ccting July 3, 2012 11:22 am

    First, understanding the requirement of clients and photo is vital, where i passed and get IREB certified Requirement Engineer, enabling me to take requirement in more systematic way

    Second, been a PhD candidate for 4 years, and in other research field for another 4 years, enabling me to think critically, making me to find principles & theories from other principles to aid understanding of the cause effect of photography. NEver limit yourself in photography sources and this is how most ppl doing their PhD..

    Third, computer system & programming is my major in my first degree, and I sold and service computer hardware, which enables me to understand more about a computer system. Camera is a computer system which specializes for optics.

    Forth, applying what you have learned in high school to photography. Understanding the principles learned in high school and associate it to photography, improve your understanding about technical control of camera, especially in light metering

    fifth, researching and teaching computer graphics (programming for gaming) in universities, enabling me to understanding a bit about photography and image processing.

    sixth, subscribing to international databases such as ACM, IEEE, etc allows me to look at the latest research about lighting, composition etc done by academia, (DRs , professors etc), in different terminology and ideas, which can be adapted for photography

    7th, previous hobbies such as wiring, woodwork, AI Gaming automation (that is programming a AI software to play game on behalf of human - cheating LOL) etc enables me to see pattern easily. Ability to see pattern enables you to spot photography mistakes easier.

    8th, Looking for photography masters. Find them in website, and also find who were their assistance, and may be there are secret techniques exposed by them.

    9th. Books. See books not only in term of photography, but other principles such as food styling. Food styling is important for food photography. How a surgeon operate the face for beauty, ... etc

    10th. Looking for composition from non-photography sources..

    In conclusion, I find photographers in two distinct group a) Art based photographers where they use their unconscious mind to describe their work. Their mind work so fast that they cannot explain the photos in words. Academia researchers, however, using scientific way to describe, explain the cause effect in very systematic way, which is much easier to understand and repeat. The former has to use experience... I try to adapt both..

    Last but not least, i am lost and need to "RETHINK" the learning process.. a bit confuse.. a bit lazy... a bit crazy.. LOL

  • Daniel Scott July 3, 2012 11:21 am

    Both, if you can say that. Most of my experience is Self taught, however, I just started the Professional Photography course at New York Institute of Photography, and not only am I really enjoying it so far, but I'm learning a lot.

  • Scott G July 3, 2012 11:13 am

    I took 2 semesters in college my senior year as part of my BA Fine Arts, and really wished I had discovered it sooner. Had a great professor and really learned a lot, including old-school hand developing and printing. Got out of photography for a long time afterwards, since I couldn't afford the equipment and supplies back then (early 90's). Digital finally made it affordable enough for me to get back into it again.

  • Sam Cox July 3, 2012 11:02 am

    #2 Self Taught

    No formal photography education (just a few online classes and several books) but I'd appreciate any and all advice about accelerating my learning with formal programs, one-off classes, tutors, apprenticeships, etc. I'm self taught but I could sure use a much better teacher.

  • JohnP July 3, 2012 10:22 am

    #2 Self taught although I have done a few art courses which helped with composition etc.

  • Jean-Pierre July 3, 2012 10:16 am


    Learn through books, blogs, websites such as this, looking at photos, and through practice.

  • Mei Teng July 3, 2012 10:15 am

    #2. A self taught. I learned my way up through books and online resources (like DPS and others).

  • Verena Fischer July 3, 2012 09:11 am

    So far I had no formal training at all. Although I had arts and visual media courses at university, photography or visual imagery was only something to have theories about, not something to engage in practically. I started with a simple automatic point and shoot film camera when I was a kid and moved on to digital cameras when I was a teenager, all mostly point and shoot. A couple of years back I finally got a DSLR and since last year I am doing a 365 project. Of all the photographic adventures over the years I found this to be the most rewarding learning experience and I have come a long way. I can only recommend it to anyone who really wants to learn about photography. Recently I bought a fully manual range finder film camera and it's another crazy journey. I'm planning to take a course on dark room techniques in a few months, which will be the first formal training I will get, mainly because messing with chemicals is still a whole other level from just turning dials and pushing buttons. Otherwise I would only take courses on very advanced topics like nude photography or large format cameras.

  • Paul E. July 3, 2012 08:39 am

    I'm in group #2. I grew up loving to learn, and was naturally curious about life around me. As I got older, I began exploring architecture, engineering, and culture. I had the great opportunity to go to North Africa for a summer and my parents bought me a 35mm SLR before I left. This was my first camera, and I slowly began to learn how to reach out and touch my surroundings through this lens and tell a story by the pictures that I produced.

    I've never had any formal training. Just lot's of practice, asking those that know more than I do, and reading blogs, dps.com, and others :)

  • Chris July 3, 2012 08:36 am

    The only way i have learnt is through dps i love all the tips and tricks. Thanks dps

  • Chris July 3, 2012 08:34 am

    I Inherited my canon d10 from my late farther about a year ago. I have never had any lessons the only way i have learnt is through DPS it has taught me a lot of my skills if u want to see check out my instagram chrismcq1984. Thanks DPS

  • Luis July 3, 2012 08:27 am

    Self taught. Only formal "schooling" was a home economics course in middle school that gave me the basics about how to handle a fully-manual 35mm film camera.

  • Corbin July 3, 2012 08:17 am

    Not really a bunch of formal training... Have learned a lot here on this site specifically .. One class in High School, but will not discuss how long ago that was :), Most is self taught, reading and studying others photos in an attempt to develop my own style. you can see some of my work (if Interested) on G+ Corbin Elliott

  • prober July 3, 2012 08:10 am

    Self taught.

    I did not attend any official trainings but spend time reading books and spend a lot of time studying other people's work for inspiration and techniques. Never thought of taking the next step and start a business.

    Planning to keep it as a hobby to enjoy it more!

  • peka July 3, 2012 08:03 am

    I'm both. I started out with disposables and moved onto older model film cameras that my dad has always had around. I found that I love shooting so much that I wanted to learn more about it and refine my skills and maybe eventually teach it in some aspect. So now, I am earning my Bachelor's in digital photography and hope to go on and get my Master's degree in it as well.

  • Alan Gurling July 3, 2012 07:52 am

    I'm neither. I was trained by the photographs themselves. Staring at photographs for minutes, hours even! Trying to dissect them, researching the methods used, and trying to recreate the image (minus the location, minus the equipment, adding on ones' personal touch) with your own interpretation. That's me. Although I would not call my self a photographer. Possible an amateur photographer.

  • C.E. Jones July 3, 2012 07:34 am

    I'm mostly self taught. I had one photography class when I was about 13 years old. My dad sold cameras in the only drug store in town. He had me selling the cameras when he had prescriptions to fill.

  • Ralph Hightower July 3, 2012 07:09 am

    #2: ‘Self Taught’

    My parents had a Polaroid camera with bellows. I was giiven another Polaroid camera. as a kid.

    After I entered the workforce and got married, I bought a Canon A-1. The A-1 still works and I added a wide angle lens to my arsenal this year.

    I've had Cokin filters shortly after buying the A-1 and this year, I am using B&W film exclusively.. 2012 is a year of experimentation, of growth for me.