Did you get a new camera this Christmas? Or a new Phone? Or have you decided to get that camera you already have, down off the shelf and have another go with it? How exciting! Again a brand new year is a great time to start learning photography with your camera.

Are you wondering where to start? What to do first? What you might need? Then keep reading, you’ve come to the right place for learning photography.

The Problem with New Things.

Of course it is exciting to get new toys to play with and a camera more so – I have to say that right? I’m a photographer after all.

But once you’ve gotten over the thrill, it’s a case of working out how to get to grips with it, suddenly you’ve this complex beast that you know nothing about, it feels like a mystery and there’s just no time at all.

If you don’t want to just give in an use it on Auto, if you really would like to get the most from it then what you need is a plan!

Why you need a plan.

Without a plan, you’ve no beginning, route or end in sight, and with the cost of fuel these days, you’d not set off on a day out without a plan for it, so don’t do that with your time and desire for new skills.

If you are serious about it, then please do form a plan. It’s so easy to pick something up, decide it’s going to be your thing this year, then stumble and fall along the way and give up. It happens all the time, just look at gyms at the beginning of January and go back nearer the end, you’ll not see half the people you did at the outset. The reason being, they’ve gone all out without a plan that is viable.

Having a viable plan is key. By that I don’t mean deciding that you’ll be a pro photographer by the end of the year, maybe you will, but that’s a tall order, especially if you have a day job and maybe family and friends wanting some of your time too.

By viable, I mean having an achievable end goal – that is achievable for you. We are all different and don’t forget that. Don’t compare yourself and your progress to anyone else, they aren’t carrying all your responsibilities. Returning to the gym analogy, if you’ve not got a gym habit it can be hard to implement. I know I won’t do it, so I’ve finally learnt it’s not wise to have that as a goal. Instead this year I have some gentle exercise to do from my physio and I’m taking care to do those daily. I know I can do them, though it’s a bit painful, and I know that if I do them, then I’m paving the way towards more exercise of a different type that won’t knock me backwards again. It’s small and often, but doing them may ease some of the pain I’ve had and make life easier, so I’ve got a good strong reason for wanting to do it. Finding the ‘Why’ behind your goal really helps you build momentum in getting there.

I think that’s wise what ever the goal is. Yes you can make crazy stretch goals and for some people it works. For others, indeed for most of us, it just doesn’t. If you happen to be neuro-diverse I reckon there’s even less chance of that happening. But that may just be my viewpoint.

Creating your perfect plan for learning photography

So here’s how to go about it.

Make a note of where your camera/photography knowledge is right now, and if that happens to be negligible then so be it.

Better still, take a photograph now, preferably of something you’d like to be able to do really well, and keep it with your notes.

This is your starting point, and as the days, weeks and months progress you’ll have something to look back at and compare with so that you can see and be motivated by your progress.

An in depth lighting course when you don’t know what your camera actually is capable of, or you’ve no idea about composition is going to leave you floundering before you have a chance to get started.

Can you teach yourself Photography, what camera, what to learn? Picture of an old camera, an old iphone, a diary and a notebook with a pink peony rose.

Can you teach yourself Photography, what camera, what to learn?

Start at the beginning and move forwards.

We love to feel we are achieving and we hate struggling to learn new stuff. We don’t remember the struggle of learning to walk, the times we fell and got up again. Because we’re now in an established position where mostly what we do comes easily then feeling ill at ease, feeling like a beginner again can be really off putting. That’s why it’s important to keep notes on your progress, as that can buoy you up over the weeks and months ahead.

What do you want to learn?

Next decide what it is you want to do with your camera. Write a list!! Keep it close, but be sure to break things down into tiny do-able chunks. Better still before you do that pick one area only and break that down. If you break them all down it can be way to scary and overwhelm can stop you from even starting.

You might want to take family photos, or landscape or product images for your business or perhaps food (my speciality). Having something specific to learn about can really help but it’s okay to just generally want to take better images too.

Remember though to start small, master your camera, how it works, composition, natural light and so on before you go on to specialist things like studio lighting and more. Don’t take on too much too soon. You want to be able to really build foundations and be able to see your progress to keep you going.

Then how do you want to learn?

There are so many options

– Learning online
– Doing a course or workshop in person
– One to One tuition
– Following a book
– Learning from videos
– Joining a membership group

Or you might combine a few methods? But think about what will work for you, we don’t all learn the same way, and sometimes a mixture is the best option.

The other thing to consider is how well suited is the trainer to you? If the trainer goes into way more technical detail than you can cope with, then you’ll switch off and a lot will be lost. You need to be sure that they are on your wavelength and also that they’ll be teaching the very things you need to know.

Consider how much time you’ll need.

Making time for learning photography! Lovely old fashioned clock face close up.

Making time for learning photography!

How much time do you have free to devote to this? This again is often overlooked. It’s easy to think that there is no time. But actually if you take stock of your day and are honest with yourself, how much time do you spend watching TV or scrolling social media? Even a fraction of this time taken back can make a huge difference.

Something else that often happens, especially in the workplace is that you do the training but then find no opportunity to use the training until you’ve forgotten a good chunk of it. That doesn’t help you at all, in fact this makes the whole situation far harder than it needs to be. The minute you’ve ‘done’ the training is the very moment you need to start ‘using’ the training if you are going to get the most out of it.

Finally

I think photography is the most wonderful thing in the world, and of course I’m biased. I rarely go out without my camera and I look for opportunities everywhere. It can give you a whole different way to look at the world and you’ll see so much more than you ever saw before.

Looking for help getting started with Learning Photography? Let me help.

I’ve got two brand new workshops running on Getting off Auto  and Food and Drink Photography.  You can find out more here and there’s a fantastic discount if you book for both.  You get to spend a whole day in my Studio on these workshops and numbers are limited so that I can give you the attention you need.

Want to get to know me?  Come on over and connect with me on LinkedIn