There are many ways to learn photography. While there is no one “right way,” there are choices you can make in where you devote your energy while trying to learn. For example, if you have a DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, you’ll find it has so many options and features. Which modes should you use? Which should you avoid? What features matter most? These questions lead to important answers. When you are just starting out, you don’t really even know the questions to ask. All you know is you want to take better photographs!
As with anything in life, some lessons have to be learned the hard way. You’ll make mistakes, but those are learning opportunities. If you find a solution for a problem you’ve encountered, you have grown in the process. Still, I want to encourage you to consider some suggestions on paths you might choose in your process of learning photography.
Learn the Fundamentals
Get to know the basics of how a camera operates. Learn about the Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Exposure Modes, White Balance, etc. While you could just use your camera’s fully automatic mode, you’ll miss out on some great capabilities you might not even realize your camera can do. Starting with a firm foundation in the fundamentals of photography is always a good possibility for beginning your learning. I have a class called Photography 101 Fundamentals of Great Photography that would be a good starting point. Also check out my book on Amazon, “30 Practical Tips for Better Photographs.“
Expand Your Creativity and Inspiration
Just as important as the technical details are the artistic considerations. More than camera settings, this is about how you see the world, what excites you, what motivates you, and what inspires you. It is so important to explore this side of the art of photography as well. In fact this is also a good starting point. Or after you learn the basics, I’d recommend devoting some time to this other artistic side of photography. I highly recommend taking this course I teach “Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop.“
Gradually Advance Your Skills Further
Once you have been exposed to the basics of camera settings, etc. It is wise to remain always in that mode of seeking to learn more, and practice, practice, practice. I encourage you to keep striving to be more comfortable with adjusting camera settings for a variety of different scenarios, indoors, outdoors, actions shots, night sky shots, portraits, wildlife, nature, etc. I have a Photography 201 – Expand Your Photography Skills class you might consider. Also, sharpen your nature photography skills with this class: Nature Essentials Photography Class.
Be a Student of LIGHT
Pay attention to light, both in the good qualities of light and the not-so-good qualities of light. Learn to manage and manipulate light. Quite often a photograph can be improved dramatically by simply using better light. I occasionally offer a course on light and photography. As we move further past this pandemic, I am sure I will offer this class again! Either way, this is something you can study on your own, too. Pay attention to the qualities of light that you find attractive, and take more photographs with that type of light. The more you do this, the better your photographs will be! Also, if you are trying to figure out how to use electronic flashes (often called SpeedLights) I have a class for that: Flash / Speedlight Photography Workshop.
Learn the Software
A very important part of digital photography is the process you choose for managing and enhancing your photographs on the computer. I love Adobe Lightroom Classic. It’s a very powerful and full-featured program. I offer a class that will get you off to a great start: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Workshop. And then, when you are ready to really explore the full amazing photo editing capabilities of Photoshop, I offer this class: Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers Workshop.