P-eer group, join a group having a similar interest bonded by the same passion for photography. Join a group who shares the same interest in photography as you, even having a photography buddy will help. Not only can you learn from each other but you can also encourage and push each other to learn and improve. Safety in numbers also works when shooting in an unfamiliar environment.
Joining a group can also help you build a network, photography groups or clubs are usually informal and very diverse no matter your background. One huge benefit of joining a group would be access to free information and knowledge sharing. Look for a photography group or club close to you or go online and join different photography forums.
Sign-up or join a photography forum, read through the other topics and you can choose to be active as well.
R-ead the manual, it would be surprising how much you can learn by just reading your camera's user's manual. I know it can be cumbersome but the manufacturer spent huge amount of dollars just to write the content, type set and print that booklet that comes with a brand new camera. Want to find out the different exposure settings available to you? Read the manual. What settings to use on action shots, portraits or landscape? Read the manual. Want to know how to make the background blurry and have a nice bokeh? Read the manual. Some people would like to say this as RTFP or read the fine print.
For any additional gadget, gear or equipment you buy.Read the manual
A-sk, when you don't understand something, all you need to do is ask. Find a photography mentor or approach any photographer you admire and ask away. Yes, you might get a rejection from an ego maniac who will make you attend 5 of his workshops to get an answer to a simple question but almost all good and established photographers out there would be more than willing to answer your question, trust me I have done so in the past and not only did I get useful tips but most of them have now become more than mentors, they are now my buddies..
C-ontrol. Be in control of your camera, your camera is the tool and you are the photographer. If your camera has a manual mode, shoot in manual mode. While your camera features can be handy, the fastest way to learn is to manually control your exposure settings. Control you shutter speed, aperture (f-stop), ISO and even the white balance, experiment and be creative with it. Try not to always shoot in bursts and hope to get lucky, take your time, anticipate and compose your shot.
T-echnique, learn the basic techniques and try new ones. Learn the proper posture when taking photos: legs apart, shoulders square, left elbow tucked in to support the lens (right elbow if you're right handed) and establish a good base. Learn and try different techniques such as: lighting, posing, long exposures, night photography, bracketing, panning, time lapses, monochromes, duotones, tri-tones, high key, low key, low light, infrared, using filters, composition, framing, action shots, 360?, double exposures, image stacking, image stitching, panoramas and the list just goes on.
I-nternet, having trouble understanding the techniques stated above? Search the internet. The internet is making learning, both fun and easy. Just do a search on monochromatic images and not only will you get good written content but a video tutorial too. With digital cameras, gone are the days of keeping a notebook inside your camera bag (although I still have mine, I started when I was 14) to write down different settings you've done in the past, you can now just do a search and see images on the internet posted with camera settings to help you achieve the same result. Want to learn basic photoshop? Search the internet. The only thing you need is the willingness to learn and the desire to develop new skills.
C-ommit, commit to learn, shoot and try new things. Commit to continue learning, photography is easy to learn and hard to master (yes, like playing drums). Rest assured even the most experienced photographers are still cramming on books and searching the web for new things, to enhance their craft and set themselves apart. The barrier of entry into photography is easy, what will set you apart from the others is to be exceptional at it, so never stop learning.
E-xperiment, never be afraid to try new things, learn new styles and develop your own. Key to improving your photography is executing a concept (more on this on my next post). With digital cameras you no longer have to count how many shots you have left in a film roll, or learn how to manually reload a spool and cut negatives, so take your camera with you all the time, look around, slow things down, compose, apply what you have learned and shoot. Always bring your camera with you and keep shooting.
Want to learn or improve your photography? Remember, P.R.A.C.T.I.C.E.
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To see a collection of Nino Estrada, a Sydney based photographer with his own unique artistic and creative style visit www.ninoestrada.com
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