Best way to learn.

Started Jul 13, 2015 | Discussions thread
soufiej Contributing Member • Posts: 635
Re: Best way to learn.

Learning anything is based on how you learn, not what courses are available or any set recipe.

You must first determine your personality type and then find a course which offers lesson plans in that style. Generally, people fall into either a visual, an auditory or a tactile experience profile.

If you favor visuals, you will learn photography largely by doing. You are a natural at composition and seeing patterns. Your difficulty is in correlating camera settings to what you see in your head. Observing what others have done and making an attempt at backward engineering the shot is generally helpful. Setting your camera to a semi-auto mode such as "P" will allow the camera to do most of your work. Take your shot and look at what the camera has done then put together the two; composition with settings to begin moving off "P".

If you are tactile, you will learn most rapidly by sitting with your camera and your owner's manual while changing settings and snapping shots. You need to concentrate your work on composition skills and seeing interesting images. Knowing how to use available light will be a challenge.

If you are leaning towards the auditory component, try a video course. Consider your other learning type and combine the two most prominent styles of learning.

That's your starting point and no one is 100% one type.

A key IMO is to stay with a course. Jumping around is counter productive as you tend to lack the foundations which build greater comprehension.

Otherwise, how to learn is one of the more common topics on any photography forum. Check the archives for more advice. Here's one I posted a while back that may be helpful;

One change I would make to those words regard the sentence, "Keep a small notepad of additional information such as your location or weather conditions which might be useful later."

Keeping track of what you do and how you do it is a key to learning. Just as a student musician should keep a practice journal to indicate they have a plan and they are following a plan, so too should a student photographer have a journal of sorts which keeps them on a plan.

Most digital cameras do though have a feature where you can record a few seconds of video before taking a still image shot. If it's easier to simply dictate into your camera what you would have placed in your notebook, do that. Whatever works is what you should use but keeping track of your intentions and the prevalent conditions of the shot are vital IMO.

Also, never assume you have the shot the first time.  You have a digital camera where bits are free.  Your camera has bracketing functions to use.  Use the tools at your disposal to learn more effectively and more rapidly.

Take lots of shots of the same thing and work at becoming better at seeing and putting together settings with each shot.  You can delete them all and not cost yourself a dime.  But never take just one shot and call it quits.

First, cover your bases with exposure and focus.  Automatic bracketing helps here.  Then determine just how many ways you can see the same scene.  A dozen shots of one thing are only useful if each is unique.  Afterwards, sitting and observing your progress is going to be your learning process.

Your camera has numerous functions you will never use.  Learn which are the controls you must learn and focus your attention on those first and foremost.  These are the basics of good photography and they are left off the "professional" cameras.  Don't get bogged down in the tall weeds of blink detection and face recognition if you never intend to need them.

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