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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Courses or Books?...I know there is no substitute for actually getting out there and taking pikkies when it comes to learning, but ...
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:59   #1 (permalink)
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Courses or Books?

I know there is no substitute for actually getting out there and taking pikkies when it comes to learning, but at the moment I feel I need a bit more direction and guidance. I could enrol on a course but there are so many photography courses out there that I don't know which are worth it or not.

I would love to get into photography more seriously so I'm thinking do I need official qualifications to get myself into employment with it.

I want to beable to work in a graphic design/photography sort of environment and at the moment apart from the absolute basics and dabbling a bit have no qualifications or experience what so ever that would attract employers. Infact as far as graphic design goes its zilch lol

I want to be able to incorporate my love for photography into a job somehow but have no idea what jobs are available, or what qualifications you need.

Also in the mean time I really need to build on the basics that I already have in order to start taking some decent pikkies. Most of the time I don't know where to start especially when it comes to lighting and creating the right mood for the effect I'm looking for. Even if I don't pursue the 'job' side of it I really want to have it as a serious hobby. That especially is my first aim

Do I get books or do I go on courses?
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:34   #2 (permalink)
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Like everything in life, you'll grasp what you need to know quickest and best by it being demonstrated by someone who knows what they're talking about, which at once points you towards a course as being the best option. Sadly though a lot of them are just pathetic. A friend of mine did one at the local tech and on his 3rd visit he was running the darkroom classes while the pro who was getting paid lambed off doing his thing elsewhere. He completed the whole two or three years of the course, but he's far from a proficient photographer by his own admission, and to date hasn't the confidence to tackle a wedding or any other paid assignment. Get the course if you can find a good one but be careful where you go, like all things in life the best will probably cost.

Some employers may want to see a qualification - others wont be interested in the least in qualifications. It's a bit like grades at music - if you apply for a job with an orchestra or a band, no-one gives a damn what grades you have - they just want to know if you can play what they chuck at you. You never hear pro musicians talking about grades, in fact they'll laugh at you if you do.

I'd certainly recommend enrolling in your local library and reading everything they've got that you can get your hands on anyway.

How old are you Boo? You could grasp the bullet and seek employment with a photographer as an assistant. The pay wont be too attractive but you'll learn a great deal. If you're really keen enough, you could approach a local photographer and just offer to be general dogsbody and kit carrier on his weekend assignments. Many pros couldn't afford to pay you anyway, but they'd be only too happy to have someone help out on big days in return for passing on their experience.

Good luck!
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Old 07-03-2006, 12:35   #3 (permalink)
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It depends on how you learn best.
Some people can easily learn from books, others feel more comfortable being shown.

I'm a book person and hate the classroom environment.
I'm self taught on about every skill I have.

If you want to go down the book route, I started on a generic DSLR book which taught me the basics of photography and DSLR's.
That of course presumes you have a DSLR!

I supplemented the basic books with more specialised books on lighting, portraiture, landscapes etc and learned a host of information in various internet forums including this one.

Finding an experienced buddy to go out shooting with would be cool and thats where a club may help.
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Old 07-03-2006, 14:24   #4 (permalink)
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I would definitely champion the idea of finding a Camera Club (read:Photographic Society) my photography came on leaps and bounds after joining my local one.

As Bach's says, going out on a shoot with an experienced buddy(s) is a great way to learn.
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Old 07-03-2006, 16:43   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr THX
As Bach's says, going out on a shoot with an experienced buddy(s) is a great way to learn.
You could also go on one of this forums' meets if you have a strong stomach for alcohol and don't mind waking up in jail
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:30   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr THX
I would definitely champion the idea of finding a Camera Club (read:Photographic Society)
No idea what they are like but the Leamington Spa PS meet in the Oddfellows Hall in Warwick Street on Tuesday evenings from 7.30 to 10.00pm.
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:07   #7 (permalink)
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cheers guys for helping me decide what to do

Quote:
How old are you Boo? You could grasp the bullet and seek employment with a photographer as an assistant. The pay wont be too attractive but you'll learn a great deal. If you're really keen enough, you could approach a local photographer and just offer to be general dogsbody and kit carrier on his weekend assignments. Many pros couldn't afford to pay you anyway, but they'd be only too happy to have someone help out on big days in return for passing on their experience.
This is a good idea. Thing is I'm 33 (boy I'm sure I was only 21 just yesterday ) and being only 5ft, my 6ft hubby (Snapster) lugs all the stuff around. I don't know why I didn't think of him actually He's not a professional photographer but he's definately got an aptitude for it so I'm just gonna have to drag him out at the weekends and get him to teach me.


Quote:
It depends on how you learn best.
Some people can easily learn from books, others feel more comfortable being shown.
Now this is the thing... I'm a bit of both. I've just bought Scott Kelby's book for teaching me PS Elements 4. I've never owned PS but through this book I'm having a ball! I have to keep referring to it everytime I do something but what I like is the way that he doesn't just tell you he shows you by examples and you can follow and do at the same time. I'm also a hands on sort of person so I do pick things up just as well if not more sometimes by 'doing'.

All this waffle bit much for 6 am. Anyway what I'm trying to say is that I've decided to go the book route with help from hubby but what I need is some suggestions on books that give you tasks, projects to do that sort of thing. Any ideas?

Thanks again and sorry for the essay lol
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:38   #8 (permalink)
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You will probably need to get a book on each subject you want to learn, ie flash photography, landscape, portraiture etc.

The best bet i think is to go to your local library and get a couple of books out, find which one you like the best and then buy it from amazon / ebay.

That is what i am doing at the moment.

A lot cheaper than buying a book and finding out its not what i really wanted.
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