Learning the Art of Photography

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Scrolling through 500px or Facebook looking at other people’s photos can either be inspiring or depressing depending on where you are in your photography career.

If you’re starting out there’s no doubt you’re possibly in awe at the beautiful works from fellow photographers, but you may be wondering why is it that when you take a photo it never turns out like the ones you see?

Well to put it in plain english, you’re just not that experienced.

You see, photography is something that you will constantly learn. It’s not overnight that you’ll become the next Ansel Adams.

To learn photography you have to put the hard work in. You can either attend a photography workshop, course, watch a youtube video or even subscribe to an online learning platform that will encourage you in your photographic journey. All of these are great ways of learning, but personally I believe the best way to learn photography is to just grab your camera, head outside by yourself and start taking photos. This was the way I learned and I can tell you now – I learned a lot!

Film photography was were it started for me, it was a costly experience because I would go out to photograph and typically come back with two good shots in a roll of 24 or even 36. I would be constantly learning from my mistakes and over the years I was able to capture many more ‘keepers’ from a single roll of film. The bad news was film processing was expensive. There was some good news though, I was fortunate to spend all my learning years working in labs and managing photographic stores so the staff discounts were greatly appreciated! That’s why learning on digital is great for beginners these days as you’re able to see your results straight away and make any corrections right there and then.

If you find yourself learning photography and your interpretation of the medium, then I would encourage you to experiment. Photography is one of those hobbies or professions that will allow you to break the rules and go beyond the boundaries of the conformed square. Thinking outside of the square is greatly encouraged, and you’ll find there’s a tool that could possibly help you explore your imagination – it’s called Photoshop.

Now, I know you might be thinking Photoshop is a scary word if you’re starting out, but let me reassure you that it’s really easy to use once you know what each tool within the program does. Think of Photoshop this way – if you know anything about cooking there are many different ways to prepare food. For example, you might cut your vegetables one way or leave them whole, the look and colour of the vegetable is the same (or very similar), but if you throw in a cooktop versus an oven the end result will look completely different and it’s exactly like editing a photo. Picture this: Start of with a photo in Photoshop – cut some pixels like you would your food, add some flavour and then throw in some different layers (like a cooktop or oven) and you can surprise yourself when your humble photo simmers or rises into a piece of art.

It’s this art combined with experience that can really take a photo to the next level. So, the next time you see an amazing photo on 500px of Facebook think to yourself, just how many hours did the photographer spend learning and mastering the art of cooking?