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General photography questions and answers: Discuss How did you "learn" about photography.....And how long do you think it took you before you * REALLY * knew what you were doing? I'm ...
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:10   #1 (permalink)
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How did you "learn" about photography..

And how long do you think it took you before you *REALLY* knew what you were doing?

I'm loving my D80, but still pretty much suck.. I get some good pics (imo) but want to be able to know what settings to use when, etc.. I have 2 books now that were recommended here, D80 Digital Field Guide, Magic Lantern Guide to D80, and I just ordered 3 more books, The Digital Photography Book, The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2, & Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera ..

So I have a LOT of reading/practicing to do..
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:13   #2 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

well, i have been into photography for about 4 years or so............ taking it more seriously in the last couple of years......... and i think its up to other people to say if i "know" what im doing or not, lol i like to think have the basics down, BUT i also think that we are all still learning! I guess at the end of the day your photographs speak for themselves as to how much you know.

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Old 21-02-2008, 17:28   #3 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Well ive been into photography for 28 years and im still learning, after understanding the basics of exposure, dof, composition etc you are best to go out and take photographs. You will soon see what works and what doesn't but don't be too hard on yourself as you will soon find that your never quite satisfied with any image that you get and you constantly try to do better.
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Old 21-02-2008, 19:25   #4 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Books, websites, friends, practice.

Not necessarily in that order
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Old 21-02-2008, 19:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

I asked a lot of questions on here and got some helpful replies......I'm still making mistakes but hopefully learning from them
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Old 21-02-2008, 20:06   #6 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

I was the section clerk at the AFME Photographic Centre at RAF Khormaksar, Aden and learnt most of the theory etc there.
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Old 21-02-2008, 20:29   #7 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

you're never going to stop learning, but instead of ordering so many books all you need is the D80 Field Guide you already have and Practice, Practice, Practice.
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Old 21-02-2008, 23:32   #8 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

A very good mantra is .....Foreground ,middle ,distance..........try taking a snap then put something anything in the foreground ! & see the difference the other thing thats good fun is white balance try playing with that ...a bit at a time ....lets face it your not going to waste film and have to wait a week for the pictures to come back!!!(the good old days). you also have a note in the associated info with each shot so you don't need the note book and laborious note taking either (the good old days) , enjoy blasting away...
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Old 22-02-2008, 11:20   #9 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Practice, Magazines, Books, Web, Practice and still learning. Oh and failure is something I definitely learn from.
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Old 22-02-2008, 12:54   #10 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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I asked a lot of questions on here and got some helpful replies......I'm still making mistakes but hopefully learning from them
Some would argue that there are no 'mistakes' as other peoples opinions on photographs will be different to the authors. For example, if a shot was overexposed and someone points that out who is to say that they are right and the author wrong, it may heve been intended. Photographs are very subjective things, what works for one may not work for another and whilst there are 'rules' concerning the use of thirds, compositions, exposures, depth of field etc. they are there to be broken.

Oh, and to answer the original post.......practice, reading, practice.
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Old 22-02-2008, 16:13   #11 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

I have been into photography for 35 years and I am still learning. For the first 7 years I learnt the basics by books and experimentation so could fully understand the basics of an SLR camera, focussing, exposure, use of different lenses etc. I then joined a Camera club and rapidly realised that I knew little about pictures and what a good one looks like. I did learn fast by entering club competitions and talking to other photographers. Going out on photo shoots with other photographers can be very helpful.

More recently I organised a digital photography course at my current club and the presentations were shared between six of us. Generally all the presenters attended all the presentations (whether they were lecturing or not) and, although all presenters were very experienced, we learnt a lot from each other.

As others have said, keep learning and practicing.
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Old 22-02-2008, 16:51   #12 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

All of my knowledge was gleened from a Canon AE-1 Program, users manual.
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Old 22-02-2008, 17:59   #13 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

I've been taking pic's for 60yrs, I'm still learning and always will be...Kenny
 
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Old 22-02-2008, 18:29   #14 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

You never stop learning in photography.

One thing that no-one has mentioned is a course. In the UK there are some evening schools that have photographic courses that vary from basic stuff to City & Guilds that end up with a qualification. There are privately run courses available too (ask Les Meehan), some close to home and others as part of a holiday.

The trick is, of course, to select the right one. Angela tried one some time ago, but found it was not very good. If you get a good course and teacher, it can make progress a lot faster.
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Old 22-02-2008, 18:29   #15 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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All of my knowledge was gleened from a Canon AE-1 Program, users manual.
And a D70, and a D80, and a D200, and a 20D, and an Ixus 75, and.....

Well all mine came from an A-1 manual, so there. And I've never looked forward. Er...

Really, you can get some great ideas on composition etc just by looking at photos you like and working out why you like them. If you're into landscapes, books by Charlie Waite, Joe Cornish, etc are worth reading. On the techie side, there's plenty of info on the web and, of course, right here.

At least nowadays it's cheaper to make mistakes, but the downside is that cameras have become over-complicated. If you learn the basics of shutter speed, aperture, focusing and depth-of-field, you can then concentrate on framing a good photo.
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Old 22-02-2008, 20:14   #16 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Agree with everyone re continuing to learn, but a lot has to be said of learning the ropes with a manual SLR. I started out with an Olympus OM-1, which looking back at it now , was such a simple camera to use, but you "had" to get the basics right. Before digital & Photoshop etc, you were forced to get it right, otherwise you lost the shot ..... today Digital & Photoshop give you so much more room to make slip ups, or be lazy & still get away with it
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Old 22-02-2008, 20:26   #17 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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And a D70, and a D80, and a D200, and a 20D, and an Ixus 75, and.....

Well all mine came from an A-1 manual, so there. And I've never looked forward. Er...

Really, you can get some great ideas on composition etc just by looking at photos you like and working out why you like them. If you're into landscapes, books by Charlie Waite, Joe Cornish, etc are worth reading. On the techie side, there's plenty of info on the web and, of course, right here.

At least nowadays it's cheaper to make mistakes, but the downside is that cameras have become over-complicated. If you learn the basics of shutter speed, aperture, focusing and depth-of-field, you can then concentrate on framing a good photo.
All that from a man with a Bee fetish!
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Old 22-02-2008, 20:44   #18 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

I do hoverflies too. But not wasps. I have a thing about wasps.
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Old 23-02-2008, 00:48   #19 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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You never stop learning in photography.

One thing that no-one has mentioned is a course. In the UK there are some evening schools that have photographic courses that vary from basic stuff to City & Guilds that end up with a qualification. There are privately run courses available too (ask Les Meehan), some close to home and others as part of a holiday.

The trick is, of course, to select the right one. Angela tried one some time ago, but found it was not very good. If you get a good course and teacher, it can make progress a lot faster.
Thanks for the plug Graham! Personally, I would say that taking a course is probably the fastest way to learn. But as Graham states, it must be the right one with a good teacher (preferably with plenty of experience). I don't want to sound prissy but there are too many 'pseudo' experts doing courses (and not just privately, the colleges are full of low quality staff) and there must be so many disappointed people, like Angela, it makes me cry.

My own story is: was working as a computer programmer, doing photog as a hobby (usual club land stuff, RPS distinctions, comps, etc). Reached the point where I knew there must be more to it and managed to get a place at Blackpool Art College to do three years full-time for a PQE (professional Qualifying Exam issued by the then BIPP). The first thing they told me on day one was; forget everything you have learnt to-date and let us teach you how a pro thinks. It worked, totally different mentality! Then moved to London to be a pro, learned so much in a short time after college of how pro's work (worked as assistant to Terrence Donovan, John Swannell and John Bishop doing fashion, printed with two Ilford Printer of the Year guys, Gene Nocon and Mike Campbell, before branching out solo as a tog).
To answer the question I would say, with good tutelage, you can learn the basics in days, the advanced stuff in a few months. I can teach someone to darkroom print high quality in a week. I can teach you large format in a few days. Studio lighting another week. I know this from experience of doing it.

But if you just want a holiday go to someone else, I teach photography not holiday snapping like most private 'courses'.

Cheers
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Old 23-02-2008, 01:09   #20 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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Thanks for the plug Graham!
And didn't you make a meal (ticket) out of it

I've learned from: Books, magazines, internet, Les Meehan (am I forgiven now ), pixalo, trial + error.
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Old 23-02-2008, 01:16   #21 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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And didn't you make a meal (ticket) out of it

I've learned from: Books, magazines, internet, Les Meehan (am I forgiven now ), pixalo, trial + error.
C, I'm freelance living on meager rations and using every opportunity to get work! Can't blame me for that can you? And just before anyone says aught; no book writers aren't rich! That's novelists, not writers.

At least you have admitted learning from me, and it was FREE so don't get smart!
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Old 23-02-2008, 01:27   #22 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Les, I was joking with you. Let me know when you get your sense of humour back.
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Old 23-02-2008, 01:32   #23 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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Les, I was joking with you. Let me know when you get your sense of humour back.
C, I know that, my response was meant to be in the same spirit! You're the babe, dude!
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Old 23-02-2008, 02:14   #24 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

i seea lot of people are saying learning to use film etc is the best way, but remember not all of us were about in the "good ole days"
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Old 23-02-2008, 03:53   #25 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Thanks for sharing everyone... dug into a couple of my photography books today.. learned a few new things.. now to just retain everything i've read.. lol!
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Old 23-02-2008, 09:30   #26 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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i seea lot of people are saying learning to use film etc is the best way, but remember not all of us were about in the "good ole days"
I think the main emphasis is these days with Digital it's so easy to snap & shoot, quick chimp, delete, try again etc. With film you usually took more effort to get it right. Waiting a week to get shots back to find they are all rubbish is a good incentive to get it right 1st time
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Old 23-02-2008, 10:11   #27 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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I think the main emphasis is these days with Digital it's so easy to snap & shoot, quick chimp, delete, try again etc. With film you usually took more effort to get it right. Waiting a week to get shots back to find they are all rubbish is a good incentive to get it right 1st time
Although I wouldn't necessarily agree that it is better to learn on film (I do think people would have a lot of fun doing film and printing though), in the past it was advised to use transparency film since any mistakes were pretty clear, I do agree with Dave that since digital is so easy it seems to lead to a slap dash, "why bother to get it right when I can easily do it again" mentality that is tending to remove the discipline and application of good practice that were virtually essential to become a better photographer with film.

I don't care whether someone uses film or digital, its their choice, but I do care when people are just too lazy to use their brain even though they profess to wanting to be better. Just because the tools are more sophisticated (but not necessarily better!) doesn't mean you can be asleep most of the time.

There is also the issue of resistance to learning, some people want to do better but cannot handle the responsibility that goes with being good at something because then other people expect you to always be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat! That's very scary for many people (seems more so these days). I have experienced this with at least one person in almost every group I have taught. We see this happen on this forum, where someone gives sound advice but then the original questioner resists this advice.

When I was at college studying pro photog, I remember well an answer to the question "What is the difference between a 50 quid a day tog and a 1000 pound a day tog (we all wanted to be the latter of course)?" The answer was "The 50 pounder looks through the camera for one minute, the 1000 pounder will look through it for half an hour before releasing the shutter." I believe that everyone can be a good photographer, if only they would take more time to look at the image in the viewfinder before pressing the nipple and walking on.

Cheerio
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Old 23-02-2008, 12:09   #28 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

Digital is good because we can experiment for free, once we've bought all the kit, of course. You can also see the results straight away, and retake if necessary (or possible).

Digital is bad because it encourages quantity rather than quality. I hear about people coming back from a shoot with hundreds/thousands of pics, and I really wonder how much time they spend going through all those. Perhaps that's OK for sports or if you're a paparazzi, but otherwise it's better to take a tenth of the number and think about each one for ten times as long.
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Old 23-02-2008, 12:36   #29 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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...otherwise it's better to take a tenth of the number and think about each one for ten times as long.
Absolutely! That's the problem , most digi users are not paying enough attention to the original image pre-exposure, believing incorrectly that editing later will sort it out.

Bad pictures start with bad visualisation, visualisation needs time, thinking time, looking time, time well spent!
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Old 24-02-2008, 02:13   #30 (permalink)
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Re: How did you "learn" about photography..

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At least you have admitted learning from me, and it was FREE so don't get smart!
Actually it wasn't all free, I bought your book off ebay

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C, I know that, my response was meant to be in the same spirit! You're the babe, dude!
Then your sense of humour is even weirder than mine
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