Learning Photography

This started as a comment on Joe’s blog post about one of the courses at the Cape Town School of Photography. I do not consider myself a good photographer by an stretch of the imagination, but I do have fun and right now I’m happy with that. One day when I live on a farm I’ll get past step 3.

I think the best way to learn is to:

  1. Learn the absolute basics of photography – Buy a book on photography… If the book pre-dates digital it’s a good thing!.
  2. Figure out how the basic photography concepts map to your camera.
  3. Take lots of pictures. Set yourself goals like “Today I’m going to take pictures of straight lines” etc.
  4. Repeat step number 3 for 6 months to a year.
  5. Consider going on an advanced course but it must be a *photography* course, not a DSLR course… Aspiring writers don’t go on MS Word courses, neither should you.
  6. Try and find people on websites like flickr whose stuff you really like and examine it in depth… figure out exactly what it is about a certain photograph that you like. Try remember that stuff next time you’re taking photographs.
  7. Start critiquing your photographs. A tiny bit of over exposure, slightly off composition etc. If you can, get other photographers to do the same for you… unfortunately you might not agree with what they have to say… everyone has their own style.
  8. Apply the critique and tighten up your technique.
  9. Ask yourself the question: Am I trying to be a photographer or take photographs that capture something, say something, do something?
  10. Do whatever it is that makes step 9 a reality.

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