- Guaranteed for 2 full months
- Pay by PayPal or Credit Card
- Instant Digital Download
“The times I’ve learned most about some aspect of photography have been those times where I’ve intentionally set out to learn something new and where I’ve forced myself into a situation that is foreign to me and made myself work out how to photograph it.”
Someone recently asked me about how I learned photography. I rewound back in my mind to try to find the answer but struggled at first.
Apart from a year 10 photography class (which lasted a term and majored on dark room techniques for film) I’ve not had any ‘formal’ training.
I used to subscribe to some photography magazines and buy some photography books and guess I learned some basics from them but it was theory and knowledge – that didn’t directly translate into improvement.
The reality is that it was by using my camera that I learned the most. However the times when my photography really improved with a burst were those times that I put time aside to actually discover how to shoot something – when I had an assignment (of sorts).
One main example comes to mind:
I remember the dreaded day that a good friend asked me to shoot his wedding as the ‘main photographer’. He had no money for a Pro and despite my insisting that I wasn’t up to it he talked me into it (rather he ‘guilted me into it’ by saying that if I didn’t do it that they’d have no photos at all). The next 6 months were an intense time of learning and practicing.
Knowing that I would be responsible for my friends wedding photos propelled me to learn as much as I could (reading, talking to Pros etc) and practicing (I must have done 10 practice shoots in the wedding locations with friends standing in).
The day itself actually went really well – so well that it led to 7 other wedding referrals and the start of a little part time business.
While I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to book yourself as a main photographer for friends (or strangers) weddings – I do think that the principle of setting yourself an assignment and focusing upon a particular event to photograph is something that can lead to big improvements in your photography.
Other examples (most of them less pressurised) come to mind:
The list could go on. The key is to set aside time to practice a particular type of photography. Again – it’s not about just having your camera with you in case something happens to use it – rather these are more intentional ‘assignments’ that you set yourself – with the intent of improving your photography.
I challenge you (its a double dare…. so you have to do it now) to set yourself a photographic assignment in the next week. Choose what you’ll do – lock it in right now! In the lead up to it do some research and preparation on the techniques that you might want to practice and then go do it.
When you’re done spend some time analysing your results and trying to work out how you’d improve! Once you’re done – please come back and tell us how you went!