Photography is a fun hobby that can accurately be described as “Easy to learn, tough to master”. Even the most experienced photographers in the world would be hesitant to claim that they knew everything about the art, and in fact many professional photographers seem like fish out of water when tasked to shoot something out of their normal niche. One of the best ways to improve your images is to learn as much as possible about the art and science of photography. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to educate yourself about the finer details of photography.
Visit Art Shows
If you’re new to photography try to go to as many photography exihibits as possible. Viewing the work of celebrated and talented photographers will help you to learn about the stylistic differences found in the many sub-genres of photography (fashion, art, nature, etc) and may also serve to inspire you to take photographs you had never considered. The more you look at other’s photographer’s work, the more you’ll build your own skills in identifying what’s good and bad in an image so you can improve your own shots.
Join an Online Community
One of the good and bad things about the internet is you can find information on just about anything. For new photographers, the internet can offer information, job opportunities and even inspiration.Sites like Photography.com have forums where members can gather to share their work for critique and ask more experienced photographers questions about lighting, film, composition, and anything else that may come up. Communities like this are for the most part welcoming, so don’t feel shy about being the “new person in town” – everyone was new at some point in time.
Learn From an Instructor
If your schedule and budget allows, you should consider taking a photography class at your local adults school or community college. Not only will you be instructed on the more “textbook” elements of photography, your instructor will likely have a list of great assignments that will help you grow as an artist. The best way to capture the full power of photography is to understand all of its different elements and photography classes can usually give you the road map and extra support you need to be successful.
Practice Shooting Every Day
This may be obvious, but the best way to learn photography is to practice taking pictures every day. Always try new things with your camera, shoot in different weather conditions and be willing to get creative with your images. The more situations you put yourself in with a camera, the more comfortable you will be with getting that perfect shot when the time is right. You should concentrate on learning one photography element at a time – like spending one day learning about contrast and another day working with depth of field. This will keep your shooting fresh and help you to get out of your “safe” zone.
Learning photography isn’t something you can do overnight, so if you’re truly interested in becoming a photo “master” be ready to invest some serious time in building your skill-set. Have as much fun as possible and always set out with a camera in-hand and a goal in mind and you’ll find that the learning part is often secondary to the experience of shooting. Don’t forget to stock up on memory cards (or film) and keep fresh batteries on hand!