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Get An Photography Education First !

Updated: May 13, 2019

When I got my first camera, the instructions I got were " this knob moves the stick you see in the viewfinder, and this other knob controls the other stick with a circle on the end. You just adjust them until the straight stick overlays the stick with the circle, focus with this ring, then push the shutter." That is all the education I had for many years, and when I look back at my old photos, it is obvious.

If you are to enjoy your photography endeavors, you must take some time, concentrate on your education right up front. Since your camera is the tool you will be using, take the time to study the instruction manual for your camera.

When I was teaching in a local camera club, I would download the camera manual in pdf version ( found by a simple Google search ) then had it printed out on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper with the holes for a 3 ring binder punched into it. ( Done at Staples, Office Max, etc.) I found the 3 ring binder with the larger printing was easier for most people to use, and easier to teach from.

You should get to the point that you understand your camera inside and out, all the menus, modes , controls etc. You should take your camera in hand, become familiar with the controls and what they adjust. You can take practice photos while you are doing this, get used to evaluating your photos in the live screen. I can't tell you how many photos I took of my living room while I learned my newest camera. Luckily, they were easily erased.

There is a plethora of educational materials available on the internet. They range from online courses thru educational facilities, videos, ebooks, kindle books from Amazon, even old style printed books ! One of the BEST sources I have found on the internet is the website. I go there frequently when I have a question, and usually find several useful articles. You can sign up to get their weekly emails with 5-6 articles on a variety of photography topics. And there are a number of great bloggers/teachers out there, my favorite is Anne Mckinnell; I have about 8 of her e books , plus a 22 video course on " Introduction to Lightroom " and all are excellent.

You can also check the internet for local camera clubs. These often have classes on photography topics, commonly given by the members. They frequently have monthly competitions, often with critiquing, ( hopefully positive and constructive ) to help you see your photos' weak points and how to improve them. I have belonged to 4 camera clubs and there was considerable difference between them. If one doesn't feel like a good fit for you, there may be others in your community, or again, online.

And while you are learning all of this information, continue to take lots of pictures and practice what you are learning. As time goes by, you should be able to look back at your earlier pictures, compare them to what you are shooting now, and see the progression.

This picture was a lesson in itself. I had to figure out exposure, including ISO, where to focus, when to push the shutter, etc. It took 2 evenings, and 7 trains. Finally figured out to use the burst shutter mode and this was the best of 5 shots all taken within 1-2 seconds.