Learn Digital Photography - Where Do I Start Learning Photography?

You have three options when you decide to learn digital photography. The first is to find a formal, college or training institution and pay a lot of money. The second is to find a mentor or tutor and pay reasonable amounts for one on one, and the last is create your own self-study programme.

The decision here is to be able to make the decision as to what kind of study you will do. What is your financial budget and how does it constrain you and how disciplined are you with self-study? Two important questions you need to answer before you can do anything in order to learn digital photography. I would suggest a simple approach that is far more cost effective.

1. Investigate self-study and see if it works for you

With the internet there is just so much you can find in order to learn digital photography through self-study. The only problem you'd have here is finding a way to filter what you discover in order to choose a route that will work for you. Of course your knowledge of photography is going to limit you when trying to ascertain what is good and what isn't. I have accumulated a large amount of internet sourced material. There is lots of it and of great quality. I would suggest two ways to get around the problem of deciding what is good. The first, become a member on photography forums and ask a lot of questions and secondly, search for photography blogs that provide information to beginners. One I would suggest is called Digital Photography School. Do a Google search and it comes out on the first page. Great material! Don't forget paper. Books and magazines are great resources but they are a bit pricey. Libraries are a great source of photography books and magazines so check them out first before buying.

2. Find a mentor

This is one of the most effective ways you can find to learn digital photography. It's number two on my list because it is a step up from self-study. If you can find someone who is a friend all the better for you. You will either get the info for free or you'll be able to get it a low price. What is important here is that you'll be able to ask questions about issues that aren't clear in books and articles. Sometimes a few words of clarification can save hours of working through something alone. With a mentor you can set up a structured learning process that will allow you to work through key principles and practical exercises. Many photographers who teach photography teach one on one, so ask around.

3. Formal photography courses

This is divided into two methods, online and offline. Off line is more expensive due to the logistics and usually is made up of several people to a class meeting at specific times. You get a manual, have regular classes and get to do assignments and go on field trips. The different types are too many to discuss here. Online courses have taken the world of photography by storm and can be really profitable as well as exciting. With this type of learning you are sent your notes and are given assignments which are then critiqued by your lecturer or teacher. What's interesting about this type of online course is that you are able to work at your own pace and there is no pressure. There are usually deadlines for assignments but all classes are given through online material and course notes. Some courses have classes where all students participate through private class forums and you are able to interact with each other. Two sites I would recommend are Better Photo and Perfect Picture School of Photography.

If you are serious and really want to learn digital photography then start with something that you can try out before spending a lot of money. Check whether you are suited to your own self-study and if not, try a mentor before doing anything formal. If budgets are not an issue and you like a class situation try either an online or offline course. Whatever you do, make sure that as you learn digital photography you do so in a structured way so as to maximise you photographic journey. Happy shooting!

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