How you can Learn Photography: The six Best Ways

How to Find out Photography: The 6 Ideal Ways

the best ways to learn photography

This article was updated on March 21st, 2022.

Do you want to learn photography, but you’re just not sure how?

You are not alone. Because while there are many amazing resources available to the beginner, it’s often difficult to know where to start.

Below, I reveal my favorite six ways to jumpstart your photography education, whether you want to do nature photography , product photography , portrait photography , or something completely different.

Note that there is no one best way to learn digital photography. Different methods work for different people, which is why my recommendations take into consideration various learning styles. I also include several instructorless methods, so if you’re looking to teach yourself photography, you’ll understand exactly what to do.

Ready to become a great photographer? Let’s get started.

1 . University/college degree

the best way to learn photography books on a table

Learning pictures through university studies will be the traditional road, and it’s a path that many individuals take. You’ll discover a wide variety of photographic styles, you’ll be offered insights by experienced teachers and industry experts, plus you’ll do it all inside a structured environment. You’ll also provide access to state-of-the-art studios with the latest cameras, lighting tools, accessories, and software.

Schools offer a group learning environment, which can be massively useful for budding photographers. You and your fellow classmates can research together, practice skills, and have lots of fun. Plus, you can develop networks that’ll be useful in the future.

The big downside to formal photography education? The expense. While the price does vary from location in order to location and from school to school, a degree or diploma can cost tens of thousands of dollars or even more.

There is also a significant time investment decision, which can be difficult to manage regarding older students who have households to support. And there’s zero guarantee that you’ll get a good job (or any job) right out of school.

books and a camera on a table

Note that most of the best photography schools are located in cities, so you might need to consider travel expenses, relocation expenses, or student housing costs.

If you love the idea of an university-based pictures education, thoroughly research the particular schools in your area. Find out who have the teachers are, exactly who the past students have been, and exactly what they’ve gone on to achieve. If you can, attend an open time and ask current students what they think of the program. I’ve known students who have felt disillusioned and have even failed courses because their personalities didn’t match their schools’ culture. Then, after transferring to schools better suited to their own learning styles, they thrived.

2 . Apprenticeships and internships

old twin-lens reflex camera

Working as an beginner (or intern, or assistant) may not sound glamorous, but it’s an often-overlooked approach to learning the ropes and breaking into photography. In fact , it’s how I – and many of my peers – worked well our way up the step ladder.

After away from art school, I began as an unpaid intern to get a celebrity and fashion professional photographer. Then, at the end of my internship, I was offered a full-time work. I couldn’t have landed such a sought-after position depending on my portfolio and by cold-calling photographers alone.

The photography education and learning you can get during an internship or an apprenticeship can be incredible ; I learned more inside my first month on the job within four years at art school. And the 18 months We spent assisting taught me personally tons of lessons about how to light , direct, cause , and talk to designs. It also taught me ways to work with makeup artists plus stylists, and how to deal with hard clients.

But most importantly, I observed firsthand the ups and downs of running a business. Had I minted out on my own without first assisting a photographer, I actually never would’ve realized that everybody experiences downturns in their company, and that nobody – no matter how amazing or in demand – is immune. That training was gold and saw me through many quiet times in my career.

Now, I did the interning after going to art school, but if you can find the suitable person to work with, you may not need a formal photography education. Sometimes, interning can be much more valuable than an university program. The person you choose needs to be good with their knowledge and a good encouraging teacher, though.

Unfortunately, to truly aren’t all great, and the wrong kind of internship can get you stuck in a tiny office, answering phones, submitting papers, and performing menial non-photography jobs without the opportunity to ever learn anything. Thus before you commit to an internship, make sure you know what you’re signing up for!

people photographing at a workshop

a few. Blogs and other online resources

These days, the internet is full of in-depth photography weblogs, and while some of them don’t provide top-quality photography education, a few of them do.

Learning through blogs offers plenty of advantages. For one, you get to show yourself photography, rather than counting on an instructor to set your path. You can research the topics that will interest you, put aside the ones that don’t, and develop sought-after skills.

Plus, online learning is totally free, which means that you can gain levels your skills – often with instruction from world class professionals – and you will not pay a cent.

Of course , blog-based picture taking education has its disadvantages. It’s not especially structured, it lacks interaction, and it is easy to miss out on huge parts of your photography education since you didn’t know any better. Blogs are also pretty theory focused, which means that it’s up to you to develop photography exercises, exercise your craft on your own time, and develop a portfolio.

If learning simply by reading blogs appeals to you, you choose to do have the option to supplement your own education with free Youtube . com videos and low-cost books/eBooks. In fact , if you do decide to use that direction, Digital Photography Classes offers plenty of free articles as well as high-quality ebooks (some of which I wrote! ).

4. Training courses

Training courses are rigorous, generally in-person courses that last a few hours to a little while, and they’re a great way to refine and advance your existing skills. One of the big advantages of workshops is that you can pick the style of photography, the techniques you want to improve, and the photographers you want to learn from so you understand exactly what you’re getting.

Some workshops are local (these tend to be on the shorter side), plus involve exploring a close by city for an afternoon associated with street capturing , a nearby park for a day of landscape photography , and so on. Other workshops are held in exotic locations. These are great for travelers who want to shoot on location but don’t feel comfortable working on their very own.

Unfortunately, spectacular workshops tend to cost a lot of money, but you can occasionally find inexpensive local workshops (try looking at the websites of nearby photographers or asking around in the nearest college).

Once you find a workshop that will seems suitable, do plenty of research. Read testimonials and determine the instructor’s amount of experience. Most importantly, find out the particular class size. Larger is fine for software workshops such as Lightroom and Photoshop, but when it comes to learning the particular craft of photography, smaller sized groups are much better. You’ll get more one-on-one time with all the teacher (and you’ll have more opportunity to bond with your fellow students).

Furthermore, be sure to ask about the level of teaching. Is the workshop designed for newbies? Intermediate students? Semiprofessionals? Several workshops will assume you know the basics and are therefore not ideal for someone learning how to work a camera. Before spending money on a workshop, ask yourself honestly: Am I ready for this particular? Or is it above – or below – my level?

models posing at a workshop

5. Online courses

If you want to learn digital photography in a structured manner without ever setting foot inside a classroom or workshop environment, then consider online training, which can be highly comprehensive plus – with the right instructor – very well taught.

Over the past few years, on the internet courses have exploded within popularity. Digital Photography School provides plenty of programs , and there are also choices from CreativeLive, KelbyOne, along with other high-quality companies.

But because there are so many choices out there, you need to be careful. Read reviews of each course before paying, and carefully analyze the course topic plus structure. Make sure the course shows you exactly what you want to know – be it Photoshop, landscape photography , strobe lighting, or something else – and try to determine whether you like the particular instructor. (The more you like and relate to your teacher, the easier it’ll be that you should learn. )

I’d also advise only purchasing courses that offer money-back guarantees. Most reputable course companies offer this, that makes expensive courses – and yes, they often are expensive! – into a zero-risk investment.

computer with course playing

6. Advisors

Out of all the ways to learn photography listed in this informative article, a mentor is the most difficult to get – but if you can find the particular right mentor, you can learn so much.

Note that a mentor doesn’t have to be a good award-winning photographer; they can be anybody who’s willing (and able) to help you achieve your objectives. This includes friends who can help you understand your camera’s configurations and professionals with 5, 10, or 20 years associated with experience. The skills of an advisor can vary, but anyone who is farther down the path than you has valuable info that will save time, money and effort when pursuing your goals.

A great place to start looking for advisors is in your friendship plus social media circles. It is not as daunting as it seems. Look for someone whose work and working style a person admire and respect. Adhere to them on social media to check out ways you can add value to the relationship. Retweet their posts, comment on their photos, share their work, refer clients to them, and send them links to great pictures locations.

Provide the relationship time to develop before you ask them to mentor you. It’ll increase the chances that they state yes because they will have had a chance to get to know you. A mentor is far more prone to want to give up their valuable time to work with you if you show initiative and are respectful of their time.

I’ve already been lucky enough to work with several advisors in my career, and their particular knowledge and guidance has saved me years more work. It’s also opened up many doors I may never have walked through had I just stumbled along on my own.

studio setup with shoes under the lights

How to understand photography: final words

There is plenty of excellent information out there and lots of amazing teachers, but in the end it is up to a person to take the initial step.

So pick one (or more! ) technique of learning photography. Commit yourself. And pretty soon, you’ll end up being on your way!

Right now over to you:

How do you plan to understand photography? What methods have you ever tried in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

open journal on a table how to learn photography

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Gina Milicia

Gina Milicia

has been a professional photographer for more than 25 years. She gets photographed some of the world’s many high-profile people including royalty, billionaires and A-list stars. Often travelling the world, Gina also runs photography workshops and private mentoring sessions. You can sign up for her free ebook on “Portrait and Post Production Essentials” and find out more of her work here . Check out her podcast “So you want to be the photographer” on iTunes.

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