Beginner BEST WAY TO LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY ?

nandbytes

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#3
I have spent £15 on learning material which was on a book and that's the best £15 I have spent as far as photography is concerned. It gave me the introduction I needed and rest fell into place with practice.
 
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Tilly
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#5
I bought the dummies guide for my camera and found it really useful and I learned a lot from it. I'm currently doing courses online at Udemy which I find really good. I did The Photography Masterclass on Udemy which I thought was a great beginner course and I used it to refresh and build on what I've learned in the last few years since I got into photography. I'm currently doing a couple of Udemy courses on using Affinity Photo which have really improved my understand of the program and how the various aspects of it work
 
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Ian
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#6
I read all the photography books in the school library. Then read all the photography books in my local library. Then people bought me books. And then I joined 3 camera clubs and subscribed to 2 print magazines. I looked at mountains of pictures, and just soaked it all up.
 

StephenM

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#7
How did I pick up a bit about photography? I started in the 1960s and read every magazine I could find on photography, every article in them, and every word in every article. Even the parts and articles that didn't interest me. And I read such books as I could find and afford. And I made mistakes. Plus discussions on my photos with a very experienced photographer who lived next door to one of my aunts.

After all that, I came out with a fair idea of the easy part - the technical stuff. Picking up the important stuff came, for me, much later by reading about art and art history, and reading what great photographers had written (and looking at their photographs).
 
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#8
In the 70s, when I was learning the basics of photography unfortunately, all I had available was YouTube and copies of Razzle.

I’m mistaken. Razzle wasn’t available in the 1970s.
 
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TheBigYin

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#9
How did I pick up a bit about photography? I started in the 1960s and read every magazine I could find on photography, every article in them, and every word in every article. Even the parts and articles that didn't interest me. And I read such books as I could find and afford. And I made mistakes. Plus discussions on my photos with a very experienced photographer who lived next door to one of my aunts.
Much the same here, apart from my "mentor" was initially the Chemistry teacher who ran the schools photography club, then, later, a friend who'd actually gone to Film school to learn to make movies/TV and came back and ended up as a pro photographer.

After all that, I came out with a fair idea of the easy part - the technical stuff. Picking up the important stuff came, for me, much later by reading about art and art history, and reading what great photographers had written (and looking at their photographs).
Now THATS precisely where I actually started to learn about making good images... when I could effectively let the subconscious take care of the technical stuff and I could concentrate my meagre intellect on the artistic side of things.
 
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#10
I read all the photography books in the school library. Then read all the photography books in my local library. Then people bought me books. And then I joined 3 camera clubs and subscribed to 2 print magazines. I looked at mountains of pictures, and just soaked it all up.
And after all that did you take a photograph?

How did it turn out?:)
 
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#11
In the 70s, when I was learning the basics of photography unfortunately, all I had available was YouTube and copies of Razzle.

I’m mistaken. Razzle wasn’t available in the 1970s.
And YouTube and the internet were?

OMG I've missed so much!:LOL:
 
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#12
I started at school using a box brownie my family owned and 120 film.

When I left school I worked for 5 years and 1 week at Kodak in Harrow Weald so got a huge grounding in everything that could go wrong with films etc.

And a few things that coud go right!

Got a C&G first class in Industrial and Commercial photography and the IIP second class pass.

Neither of which I ever used because the money in those days was crap for most photographers.
 

Nod

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#14
Once I had a vague idea as to what made a good subject and could hold a camera straight (110 instamatic thing), Dad lent me a Pentax S1 and taught me the basics of shutter speed and aperture choice. Also made me pay for D&P so I learned fairly fast so I didn't go broke (too fast!!!) Learned faster when I had access to a darkroom so could shoot and do my own processing while I could still remember what settings I'd used. Much cheaper than colour D&P via the local chemist!

Pretty sure I've never looked at youtube for photography lessons, learning face to face lets you ask questions and get answers rather than rewinding and still not getting an answer.
 

TheBigYin

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#15
as the more astute amongst us may have noticed, the OP has seriously re-edited his first post on here - normally, I'd have closed the thread as the first few posts no longer really make too much sense, HOWEVER, as the thread seems to have turned a corner, and people are actually posting interesting stories of how they learned photography, I'm going to let it stay and see how things develop. Did you see what i did there ;)
 
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#16
As it’s getting on track I’ll add my journey to the thread!

I started photography at school when a lunchtime club started on photography. That was 41 years ago and I was hooked but had a lot to learn. Began using a Fuji ST605N. Made lots of mistakes and read a lot from books in local library. I then spent some time with two local studios and a lovely lady who took photographs for magazines such as Jackie and patches. I even got in a few as a participant!
I then lost interest due to a lack of time and career but started again this time access to the internet opened up all sorts of learning.
I’m always learning and when I retire next month plan on really developing my photography skills. I may even meet up with like minded individuals too.
 
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Lindsay
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#17
Jolly punny jape that, Mark

My dad interested me in photography, just by always having and using one when I was young. Of course, spending much of my childhood in Hong Kong encourage him and me, added to which in those days (60's/70's) you could get cameras cheaply in the Far East - the top german ones were cheap second hand, and the new Japanese ones were not taxed, hence why all the Yanks out of Vietnam were buying them there. That's how I ended up with a couple of Spotmatic type cameras at a very young age, with a few lenses. How I actually learned about photography though was by making mistakes with exposure, DoF, and composure, and having to pay for film processing and printing before I found out how good/bad my photos were. Teaches you to get it right-ish at the time of shutter release. At least that too was cheap in Honkers though.
 
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#18
My route was

Buy camera
Get crap photos
Buy books on 'How to'
Reshoot and learn to analyse
Reshoot...
That lasted abut 20 years on & off, then I discovered a camera club which changed everything as I then added
Views of others, and aid of others
Entered comps, lost badly
Learnt more, entered more comps, won a few
Found internet as a learning tool
Entered all the comps won most
That lasted a few years, then
Work went tits up - decided to become a Wedding tog - bought more books than ever before, spent more time on the internet (learning, as well as the obvious ;) )
Shoot & analyse & reshoot is ongoing as is buying books and learning from the net AND helping and learning form others is a huge part of improvement now

I'll never stop

Dave
 
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#19
For me it was a book and youtube and the meetings from here that I attended.
I've met some really nice people from here and they never got annoyed when I asked them questions.
Nothing beats experience in my opinion and the penny drops quite quickly when talking to someone who knows a lot more.
 
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#21
How I learnt (I wouldn’t recommend)
Got the bug at junior school when a teacher picked a handful of us to have a go with his camera and a play in the darkroom. But there wasn’t enough money for me to take it up when I was young.
FF to me earning my own money, I bought a cheap camera and burned through hundreds of rolls of film, read magazines and books and it started to make sense, shot the odd wedding, bought a medium format camera, did a night school course - started to join the dots better, started learning how to light.
I started learning much better when I discovered the internet 20 years after I discovered photography.

The joy of the internet is that there’s tons of info out there, the downside is that there’s tons of stuff out there thats utter s***e.
It’s easy when you already have a decent understanding to sort the wheat from the chaff, it’s difficult when you don’t have that baseline knowledge.
Who to listen to? Who knows
 
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#22
I started just after leaving school in the mid 70s.
Bought a Yashica FR1 and bought Practical Photography every month.

I can't say I made many mistakes at the time, but I never shot anything too difficult. That's when my love affair with Kodachrome 25 and 64 started.

FF to today and I'm learning more, from experienced togs, with more difficult subjects - the Beltane Fire festivals and pole dancing competitions; flash and long exposures for the former and high ISO/no flash for the latter.
I suspect I'll keep on learning each time I pick my cameras up.
 
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#25
I started with a fully manual film camera , my opinion is that's the way to learn photography
Probably after learning the basics to the extent that the person is getting consistently reasonable (or hopefully good!) results and understands why, a fully manual film camera may be a good way to improve, but I believe an entry or intermediate level DSLR would be the best tool for a beginner (with good quality second-hand cameras around there's no need to spend a fortune on a basic, but expandable, set-up either). This is because they can see their results immediately, not wait a few days to see them (and have to pay for the privilege!) as with film; by which time they may well have forgotten what settings they'd used, what the lighting was like, etc.

I also started (when I was about 14) with a fully manual film camera but had some basic tuition from my Dad to point me in the right direction; I also bought Amateur Photographer and Practical Photography magazine and learnt as much as I could from those. However, it was a much slower and more expensive process to learn in those days than it would have been with something like a modern DSLR and the Internet these days. As Phil has mentioned, there's a wealth of info on the internet, but it could be a bit of a challenge for a beginner to sort the wheat from the chaff out there.

Knowing what I know now, I'd probably start with a good and easily understandable photography book that clearly explains the basics of how, why and when to use different settings and methods. I'd also try to find some good You-Tube tutorials on how to use the basics of Lightroom or other such image processing software, but I'd warn myself to stick to the basics 'tweaks' with that, and to get my photos as right as possible 'in camera', rather than wasting time trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear... and to steer well clear of using any tacky 'special effects'!
 
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#26
I started with a fully manual film camera , my opinion is that's the way to learn photography
Weird that, because that’s how I learned...

I bought a cheap camera and burned through hundreds of rolls of film, read magazines and books and it started to make sense, shot the odd wedding, bought a medium format camera, did a night school course - started to join the dots better, started learning how to light.
I started learning much better when I discovered the internet 20 years after I discovered photography.
and what a waste of time and money compared to how quickly people can learn today. Fully manual cameras force you into concentrating on the mechanical process - isn’t it much more rewarding to concentrate on the creative process?
 
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#27
I use to always think to be a good photographer YOU had to shoot in Full Manual, after getting some great advice from this forum I now know what a load of rubbish I use to think. I now shoot in Aperture mode and really do enjoy using my cameras more now.
 
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#28
A mixture of Books / Youtube / Forums / Practice

Or you could pay for a course or workshop.
 
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#29
A mixture of Books / Youtube / Forums / Practice.
Or you could pay for a course or workshop.
Well that leaves the field pretty well open, then. But I'm all for being non-prescriptive. The best way to learn might be to just - follow your own path. A mentor or two wouldn't hurt along the way, but these days more than ever the info's out there.

Technique's one thing though and vision's another. Look at lots of photos and learn to self-crit. Review everything all the time. Unless you just want to take snaps - but neither is it necessary to get hung up on being conceptual. Think about feeling, if that's not an impossible oxymoron.
 
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#31
Weird that, because that’s how I learned...


and what a waste of time and money compared to how quickly people can learn today. Fully manual cameras force you into concentrating on the mechanical process - isn’t it much more rewarding to concentrate on the creative process?
Yes but somehow the understanding of basic stuff often needed to create an image seems to elude some newcommers. I was amazed how many in my photoclub was obsessed with the numbers in cases where they dont matter, then not paying attention when they did. Then I cant help being stubbon and "forget" my settings just to make the point they mostly dont matter, And when they do they are case specific.
 
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#32
Take pictures..

It really is that simple :)
Well if you dont have an interaction with someone comunication whats working and whats not simply taking pictures wont teach you much. Its the process of figuring out how to do better next time, what to change to make i work thatl teach you. you can do it on your own if you know what to aim for but mostly the tips, Ideas and knowlegde others give you make it easier and faster.
 
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#33
Well if you dont have an interaction with someone comunication whats working and whats not simply taking pictures wont teach you much. Its the process of figuring out how to do better next time, what to change to make i work thatl teach you. you can do it on your own if you know what to aim for but mostly the tips, Ideas and knowlegde others give you make it easier and faster.
I didn't say they shouldn't look at the pictures to see whats wrong.. make changes then retake.. I wasnt suggesting they just took pictures and did nothing if they are bad... I was merely simplyfying the best bit of advice i ever got..It's done well for me and many others...

So heres the extended version... By far the best way to learn photography is to take pictures.. then take more pictures.. then take more pictures.. and when your done? Take more pictures and more pictures.. Taking picturs and learnign from your mistakes will teach you more than any other method.....

For the picky and argumentative amongst you I will of course have to add ... "IMHO"

I think most people got it... but for @soeren and anyone else who didn't :)
 
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#34
I taught myself for the first 6 years, then in my teens the vast focal encyclopaedia of photography came out, and I bought that. Within a few months I knew it cover to cover. After that it was a question of keeping up with new developments. After three years army service I went tophotographic college, which gave me time to learn about graphic art, art and all those things that make photography come to life. I spent more time in galleries museums and theatres than in the studio. Perhaps the most important thing a photographer can do is learn to see. The tecnicalities are the easy bits.
 
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#35
I didn't say they shouldn't look at the pictures to see whats wrong.. make changes then retake.. I wasnt suggesting they just took pictures and did nothing if they are bad... I was merely simplyfying the best bit of advice i ever got..It's done well for me and many others...

So heres the extended version... By far the best way to learn photography is to take pictures.. then take more pictures.. then take more pictures.. and when your done? Take more pictures and more pictures.. Taking picturs and learnign from your mistakes will teach you more than any other method.....

For the picky and argumentative amongst you I will of course have to add ... "IMHO"

I think most people got it... but for @soeren and anyone else who didn't :)
Well yeah I am thickheaded. I spend a lot of my first years not learning and not understanding why my images was crap.
But being noone special Id figure there are a lot of people out there doing exactly that right now and sometimes you just have to have someone say what seems obvious.
 
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#36
Well that leaves the field pretty well open, then. But I'm all for being non-prescriptive. The best way to learn might be to just - follow your own path. A mentor or two wouldn't hurt along the way, but these days more than ever the info's out there.

Technique's one thing though and vision's another. Look at lots of photos and learn to self-crit. Review everything all the time. Unless you just want to take snaps - but neither is it necessary to get hung up on being conceptual. Think about feeling, if that's not an impossible oxymoron.
My first paragraph was the path I took, I'm self taught, I first joined a photography forum (not this one), I bought a book on the exposure triangle and composition, watched a few youtube videos on wildlife photography and lighting and then went out and practiced a lot. I have an art and animation background so I like to think I've picked it up pretty quickly.
 
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#37
I started off with a Brownie 127 way back in the late 1950's. then got a voigtlander VitoCL for my 21st birthday. So really had an interest from the start. Ok a few years in between until the bug bit again. As for learning as others have said you practice and don't make the same mistake again (hopefully). As for learning it the internet with youtube has some great material worth studying. There are several professionals on there as well to guide but in the end you develop your own style and what interests you the most. You can never stop learning something new,what with new products in some form or other coming on the market almost daily
 
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#38
How I learnt (I wouldn’t recommend)
Got the bug at junior school when a teacher picked a handful of us to have a go with his camera and a play in the darkroom. But there wasn’t enough money for me to take it up when I was young.
FF to me earning my own money, I bought a cheap camera and burned through hundreds of rolls of film, read magazines and books and it started to make sense, shot the odd wedding, bought a medium format camera, did a night school course - started to join the dots better, started learning how to light.
I started learning much better when I discovered the internet 20 years after I discovered photography.

The joy of the internet is that there’s tons of info out there, the downside is that there’s tons of stuff out there thats utter s***e.
It’s easy when you already have a decent understanding to sort the wheat from the chaff, it’s difficult when you don’t have that baseline knowledge.
Who to listen to? Who knows
Absolutely.
The web is both wonderful and full of woe.
Sorting the wheat from the tares is impossible for a new comer.
The problem is that the bad information pervades the web.
In the days of film there was almost a complete consensus about what was the best way of doing things.
Today the rubbish is in the majority.
 
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Jen
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#39
I did everything.... workshops, books, videos, exhibitions, one to one tuition, this forum, when I was learning I devoured information from as many sources as possible.... there’s a part of me that misses those days I think I need to start again! Photography is a way to creatively express yourself, we all know that here so I feel using whatever means you can to do that is absolutely fine. Shoot in whatever mode suits you and works for you.
 
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#40
First got interested when I was very small and got inspired by my uncle who was using big medium format cameras and who gave me a book on photography.

I found trying to learn with film cameras difficult, and slow as film and developing was expensive.

Roll on many years and I get first digital camera, take lots more pictures read more and start to make progress but still not happy with the results.

More years pass and daughter gets interested so buy her a dslr for 18th birthday and then decide to get some lessons.

Went to classes for a year - covering theory and practice for many genres, homework assignments, and projects. By far the best way to learn for me. Far faster progress than I was able to make under my own steam. By the end of course I was finally creating images I was happy with.
 
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