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Learning Photography

My thoughts mirror Khoi's. I don't want to know how to manipulate pictures, and I already know how to download pictures: what I want is a class that teaches me how to take good pictures to begin with.

I should check into local colleges. Not that there are too many great ones nearby, but it could be worthwhile.

9 Responses to "Learning Photography"

  1. I'm bias BUT.....

    The Nikon School is quite good.

  2. the erie art museum has a darkroom class you can sign up for. even though it's for film cameras, you can still apply the basics of photography to digital. plus you'll gain a lot more information on exposures and things like that.

  3. How much do you need or want your training to be technical, and how much aesthetic? There are some aspects that differ in regards to digital versus film (perhaps why so many classes that mention digital at all focus on POSTproduction, the advantages of digitalm beyond film cost that is.) But a great deal is the same as well. You could benefit from a photo class whether it was geared towards digital or film.

    Do you want to know what is truly the most difficult thing about photography? Being in the right place at the right time. And much of that is desire, attitude, and a bit of preparation.

    An eye for composition is something you will find a few people have the inverse of a knack for, but you are not really lacking in that regard- you already take wonderful snaps, better than the average bear. Also, consider one of the dirty secrets of great photographers, is the amount of utter crap they throw away, only showing you the cream.

    Any class will also open you up to the critique and inspiration of others, and if you want hints on how to acheive a certain type of photo, or habits to avoid, you will more than likely find tips and answers amongst such a group.

  4. The local community college near here has occasionally had some phenomenal classes in photography and drawing.

    The reason is fairly convoluted. Instructors for the university of california extension can take other extension classes very cheaply - free or cost of materials rather than quite some hundreds of dollars. Further, UCI and UCSD extension do not like hiring people without previous teaching experience. Being able to present a working curriculum also dramatically improves your chances of getting a class approved by the extension program.

    Occasionally, prize winners from the OC fair will want to get a certificate in something, and that costs some thousands, unless they are teaching something else for UC extension. In order to get the teaching time, they will teach at one of the junior colleges before trying to start an extension course.

    The junior colleges seem not to mind, as they are usually willing to put more hours in for an instructor, albeit at a lower rate than the UC extension.


  5. Check out a photo exhibit at a local art museum. Find photos you like and try to do the same with your own. If you can find a guided tour where some sandal-wearing art student yammers on and on about why particular photos are extraordinary, all the better.

  6. Search for a good community size such as this one, look at some good pictures others have taken and join some discussions. Get two or three really good lenses for your DSLR, switch to RAW workflow only if you've not already done this, learn how to select the proper parameters regarding exposure, ISO, etc. for the picture you want to take, get a decent tripod if you don't have one and take your time. Don't expect a snapshot to become a good picture. If you don't know the proper parameters for certain situations, read a book and play around with the camera until the result corresponds with what you want. Also, take your time to adjust the color balance to the light situation. That's crucial. And always be aware of the fact that RAW requires some post-processing with every picture you take.

  7. BTW: if you're looking for some reading material, take a look at this book. There are also other books by National Geographic on photography with more specific topics like portraits & people, landscape, etc.

  8. Ralph, no offense, but I know all of the above… I have lenses, I use RAW, and I know the basics. Did you read Khoi's post? I'd rather not play around aimlessly, I'd like to know what I'm doing.

  9. Erik, maybe you know all of the above, but the only missing bit IMHO is knowing how and when to apply it. I don't know what kind of "learner" you are, but in my experience, practicing is the only thing that yields in the desired results (beyond knowing the basics, which you probably do). So IMHO, playing around is not really "aimless" because you learn from the results if you try to shoot the same picture with different ISOs, exposure etc. So practicing is the only thing that helps beyond some reading and knowing the basic settings for standard situations. Especially with digital photography where you don't have to pay for the film, you'll probably be best off with experimenting and learning from your own more or less desirable results, that's about all there is to it.