Photographer Education

Professional Photographers; we all start from somewhere.. Of course some were better off than others straight from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all have the opportunity to keep learning new things. Some have natural talent, others need to practice and study (even those with talent need to practice & study in order to improve).

For someone who loved photographer and started practicing and studying at a young age, I wish there had been more resources for the visual learner. After all, we photographers capture moments in an image and reading a book about mirrors, f-stops and exposure isn’t going to teach us how to create art; it simply educates us on how a camera works.

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Of course the number one priority in learning the art of photography is to know how your equipment works.  Just like an architect needs to know about more than just wood & metal in order to be able to safely and accurately build a house, a photographer needs to know more than just clicking the shutter. This being a large misconception from the outside world. Cue the plethora of motivational posters.. The shoppeSATIRE.com has some fantastic ones!

You need to know what every single button and dial on your camera does. Great, this dial changes the shutter speed. Now what? What is the shutter speed? What does changing it do? What does that silly fraction on the top of your camera mean anyways? Speed..that means slower and faster right? Yes, but what happens to your photograph when you speed up the shutter or slow it down? And what are you actually speeding up or slowing down? You’re still pressing the button the same way.. These are all very important questions you need to answer for yourself in order to move forward with the art of photography..for EVERY single button, dial and menu option in your camera. Learn this and you can use any other camera make or model with no problems (minus the slight differences between competing companies. ex: to zoom Nikon vs Canon lenses, you have to turn them the opposite way).

Once you’ve mastered, or at least completely understand all the mechanisms and reasons behind HOW and WHY our cameras work the way they do, then you can move onto other necessary knowledge for great photography. One of which is lighting. There is an extremely large amount of lighting tutorials and workshops available to the public in this day and age, and not one is better than the other. It all depends on what type of education you are looking for. Once you’ve gotten enough lighting knowledge and you’ve practiced in many scenarios and feel comfortable with your camera and choice of lighting (natural or artificial) you can turn to artistic experiments such as tilt-shift, “free-lensing” (I do not recommend this for camera safety reasons), funky-shaped bokeh, or [insert new photography trend name here].

I specialize in newborn photography, and rarely use artificial light (only for weddings and the occasional studio maternity session for some low-key silhouette portraits. Therefore to offer you all the best knowledge possible, my educational blog posts and tutorials will remain within my range of expertise: natural light portrait photography. I will cover topics like light modifiers, posing techniques, prop choices & DIY creations, newborn and baby setup examples, mandatory versus luxury equipment lists, skill-testing photography challenges, etc. Feel free to post a suggestion in the comments below.

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Disclaimer: Reading these educational posts and tutorials does not make you a professional photographer. To be a professional you must learn, study, practice, learn some more, and practice some more, in order to be able to recreate the same outcome no matter how many times you try,  in multiple different situations. These posts teach you tips, trick, and skills. Talent and consistency are required from a professional.  Only time and practice fill the gap between skill and talent.  Just because you own a bike, seen someone ride a bike, know the steps to ride a bike, and know the safety precautions to ride a bike, doesn’t mean you won’t fall on your butt the first few times you try. Nor will you be able to ride in a marathon until you’ve mastered the basic skills and practiced in multiple weather and terrain conditions.  Same thing with photography. So take this free knowledge and go pop a wheelie ;)