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The 4 Best Resources For Learning The Basics of Photography
What makes a good photography guide or course? For me, one of the key criteria is that it should provide practical tips that can be used immediately! Photography is fun, satisfying and you can start doing it straight away. So I've suggested some resources below that get straight to the point with practical tips that will have an immediate impact on your shots.
1. The 2 First Guides From Digital Photography School
If you've spent much time learning about photography through the web, you'll have no doubt encountered Digital Photography School. It's a huge site, full of tutorials and advice from a broad range of photographers. I've spent many hours at DPS and have picked up masses of tips. So, although I guess I'm now in competition with it through my own site, I'm very happy to pass on this recommendation! It's an awesome resource that you shouldn't miss out on.
Amongst DPS's offerings of tutorials, reviews, forums and competitions are some rather cool ebooks. In particular, the original 2 are excellent for beginners. They are very slickly presented, as you can see from the pictures above.
The content is top-notch. You know the kinds of tips that make you think - of course, why didn't I think of that? get me my camera now! - that's what you get from these 2 books. Photo Nuts and Bolts will lay the foundations for your entire journey with photography, establishing all the key facts and principles. Whilst The Essential Guide To Portrait Photography will make it difficult for you to ever take boring people pictures again! Posing, environment, perspective, action, emotion, light etc, are all covered. I devoured them both and still refer to them! Take a closer look at these books now.
3. The Digital Photo Book, Volumes 1, 2 and 3, by Scott Kelby.
Scot Kelby is probably the most famous name in photography/Photoshop education. For amateur photographers the world over, these three books are where the journey begins. They offer a truly comprehensive guide to photography written in plain English, with a down-to-earth style. I own Volume 1, which covers the basics of digital photography in 10 sections:
- Taking sharp photos
- Shooting flowers
- Avoiding common problems
- Using digital equipment properly
- Taking travel and city shots
- Printing your pictures.
Each of these topics is covered in sub-sections which are given 1 page each. So you get 1 tip per page! I love this format because it means you can dip into the book any time and learn something new in 2 minutes, without having to read pages and pages.
Kelby's objective is to provide you with information on every page that will be of practical use. But his style is very friendly and informal - the ultimate in easy reading. He's actually really funny too - although it took a while for his jokes to grow on me!
I still return to The Digital Photography Book to brush up on certain techniques. So although it's a beginner photography guide, it will serve you well as a reference when you become more experienced. Using Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Book Volumes 1, 2 & 3 is a fantastic way to boost your photographic skills - fast!
3. Proud Photography Online Course
The majority of beginner photographers don't have the time to do a course at a local college. But sometimes just learning from a book isn't enough. I personally much prefer to have a tutor. It makes it possible to ask questions, get regular feeback and generally grow in confidence more quickly. Before the internet there wasn't much that could be done about this dilemma. Either get on a course or read a book!
But it's possible to have the best of both. Proud Photography has put together a wonderful beginner photography guide in the shape of an interactive online course. Students work through the 13 sections in their own time. At the end of each section there is 'homework' to do - or fun ways to try out the new stuff you've learnt.
You then submit your work to a personal tutor who will be assigned you at the start of the course. They provide thoughtful, constructive feedback. It's exactly what's missing from a beginner photography guide in book format.
You can pitch any questions you may have to your tutor as you work through the course. There are no time constraints at all. No deadlines whatsoever. Fit your learning around your own schedule. It really is the best of both worlds.
The 13 sections of the course are packed with basic photography tips as well as some rather nifty expert advice! You will be left very confident in the basics of digital photography and confident in your ability to take stunning photos. The 13 sections:
- Introduction to photography
- Digital photographs
- Exposure - shutter speed
- Exposure - aperture
- Black and White
- Travel Photography I
- Travel Photography II
- People and candid shots
- Insider tricks and techniques
- Common pitfalls - how to avoid them
I enjoyed this course hugely and actually learnt more from it than a year's offline course I did on digital photography. The tutors were quick to respond to questions and interesting with their feedback to my work.Find out if this is the beginner photography guide for you by visiting the Proud Photography website
4. The Tutorials On PAC
Ok, enough of recommending other sites! I've written hundreds of tutorials and tips specifically aimed at making photography easy to learn and fun for beginners. There are also quite a few pieces from talented photographers I know who've been willing to share their expertise. So take advantage of this site through the following sections:
- The Digital Photography Basics section introduces you to the fundamentals: aperture, shutter speed, white balance and all that. It's a full guide to the basics of digital photography aimed at complete beginners.
- Meanwhile the Taking Better Pictures section offers loads of tips on how to raise the standard of your shots. There's advice on composition, setting up a shot, landscape photography, black and white photography and so on.
- Plus the Photography Equipment section walks you through the key facts about cameras, lenses, tripods and more. This will help you understand the kit you'll need to take the kind of photos you want.