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Old Sep 27, 2009, 3:43 PM   #1
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Default How to learn?

I have toyed around with photography for eons, but have never gotten really serious with it. What is the best way to really learn? I live in the Memphis, TN area and I don't know of any local photography classes, but I will admit I haven't really looked extensively.
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 4:37 PM   #2
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The best way to learn is to buy a camera and get started. There are lots of on-line tutorials and reference materials that can help guide you onyour way.

What would you like to take photos of?
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 4:37 PM   #3
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In my area our Community Colleges offer digital camera courses that are quite good. You might check out that option.

Have a great day.

Sarah joyce
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 5:23 PM   #4
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Read books! The National Geographic Photography Field Guide series are great books with lots of info and amazing photos. Check them out on Amazon.com. Then, when you know the basics, go to a photo site and explore as many pictures as you can and pay special attention to the ones that catch your eyes. Try to figure out, with the theory you learned, why they stand out from the rest. And ofcourse you have to take lots and lots and lots of photos and try to figure out the ones you like the most and why some are better then others.
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 5:43 PM   #5
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Your camera is a box which has a hole in the front which allows light in. How big that hole is determines how much light gets in. Your shutter determines how long that hole is open. What used to be film is now a sensor plate which gathers the light in the box. Basically thats it. If you can grasp the idea of that then thats about it. There are other things which you can pick up as you go along but with today's lcd screens on digital cameras you can see what you are shooting and you can see what you have shot. If you dont like it you can do it again until you get it right. After the basics there is composition, depth of field, balance. All the things that make the picture pleasing to look at. Its a fun road to travel. Good luck.
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 11:09 PM   #6
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I concur with Sarah that CC classes are probably the best way to start. After that, it is practice, practice, practice. As with any art or craft, experience is the best teacher. Make lots of mistakes, because they teach you more.

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Old Sep 28, 2009, 7:11 AM   #7
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Classes are a wonderful way to go. My suggestion though is to look for a class on photography vs. a class on digital cameras. There's a difference. Using a camera is easy, you want to learn the WHY. Think of a camera as a paintbrush. To be sure you can get something out of a class on digital cameras but you'll get much more out of a class on photography.

Books, as mentioned are a fantastic way because you can take them out into the field and practice as you learn more easily than you can online.

I would suggest at least some sort of book to get started so you get a background knowledgebase on aperture, shutter speed, ISO, metering, exposure compensation, depth-of-field, composition, etc. Armed with a knowledge of those basic concepts, the internet is full of sites like this and others and resources & tutorials that will help you learn more.

And communities like here and elsewhere have people who can answer specific questions and give you help on your specific problems/issues. But it's tough to learn everything through questions you need to either attend a class on photography or read a book or two on it and learn the basics so you'll have an understanding of the basics then the on-line world can help you advance.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 9:37 AM   #8
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Do you have a camera right now? If you don't then in my opinion go out and buy an inexpensive point and shoot camera. It does not matter what brand at this point. Start taking pictures and learn how to put them on your computer to view them. Go out and shoot anything and everything everyday. Compare the photos on your computer screen and see what you like and don't like about each one. Post some of the photos here in the forum and have others critique them for you. The more photos you take the more you will learn the camera you bought. After a bit you will start to get a general idea of what kind of photos you like to take (Your children, landscapes, wildlife etc.). At this point it will be time to take a larger step in deciding what specific brand or type of camera you want to buy based on the decisions you have learned on what kind of photography interests you the most. For some people the superzoom P&S is the ticket for others nothing less than a DSLR will work. Just don't jump in and pay the big bucks until you know which way your new hobby is headed. This can be an expensive hobby and many of us have bought what we thought we wanted rather than saved and bought what we needed. This is called double purchasing. Ask questions as some of the others have suggested here. Don't put to much faith on TV commercials but base your opinions on actual experience from the members in the different brand forums here. Just keep in mind a Cannon is no better than a Nikon which is no better than an Olympus which is no better than a Fugi etc. etc. They all are good brands and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Nothing beats learning the basics which can be learned online if you can't find any classes, reading, asking questions here and just plain old practice. My opinion only and you asked ;^}.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 9:39 AM   #9
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If you can find a camera club that can help a lot.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 11:29 AM   #10
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Community Colleges, camera clubs and on-line clubs that have group outings with members. Are all great ways to learn photography the fun and fast way but don't forget to post pictures and asks questions at Steve's.

Last edited by Calicajun; Sep 28, 2009 at 11:31 AM.
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