Little Known Fact: I don’t have any formal photography education or training.
Yep, you read that right. What I have learned about photography, I have learned from experience and my own diligent research. Years of trial and error. Experimentation. Following known photographers and artists.
Although formal education can be beneficial, it is not always necessary to become skilled in your craft. If you are developing a budding interest in photography, here are my suggestions on how to further develop your skills and knowledge:
- Take your camera with you – everywhere
I grew a new limb in 2006. Or at least that what it feels like. Ever since I purchased my first camera, I made a habit of taking it with me everywhere I went. Even the most mundane moments can become magical, if you look for the art in the everyday. The reality is that good photography takes practice and consistency, which will only come from regularly using your camera. Learning how to operate your camera in different lighting, weather, and conditions is one of the most important skills to master and it comes from “doing.” From getting your camera out and trying to capture the best image possible. When something doesn’t work, you adjust (settings, lens, etc.) and you try again. Over time, you learn why and how things work. What others are potentially learning from textbooks or user manuals, you are learning from experience.
- Shoot for free
When I first started, I volunteered to take pictures everywhere I went. Church. Friend’s weddings. Family Gatherings. You name it, I was their free photographer. Why? Not only was I gaining experience, I was also building a portfolio. No one wants to hire the random guy who purchased a camera and has been photographing flowers in his spare time. But if that same guy spends the first couple of years building a modest portfolio of weddings, events, and portraits, he might just get his first paid gig.
- Join a group or club
There are many local community groups and Facebook/online groups designed to assist budding photographers. Some are simply hobbyists, who pursue photography for fun. Some are entrepreneurs, who have learned to turn their hobby into a successful business. Regardless, the members of these groups are an excellent resource for further education and growth. Not only do they have their own experiences and knowledge to bring to the table, but they often can also provide valuable feedback and constructive criticism for your own work. If they are local, they can also assist in pointing out other local resources and photogs.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to contact me! I’m always happy to hear from other photography lovers!