I will admit I know there are a lot of areas that I can improve on in my photography. We are all human and therefore can not be perfect at everything. You leave yourself with no room to grow if you are not willing to constantly learn and improve your skills. As a photographer, there are many ways that we can improve and learn. There are classes, groups, online tutorials, and practice.
It never hurts to take classes and learn new techniques or help yourself quit bad techniques. This coming May I am going to take my first photography class lead by a local photographer. There are small group classes or even public classes you can sign up for at your local vocational schools or colleges. If you are not familiar with Camera Settings, composing your shot, or how the cameras function, these would be great classes to take. Even photographers that have self-taught themselves can find some type of class to help improve what they already know.
Join a photography group locally. I did not know these even existed until I was doing a Craft show in Buckhannon, WV. A photographer came up to me and invited me to join their Facebook Group. Now you might think what good does an online group do. Well to answer this question, this group not only supports each other online but they meet locally once a month, where they have photography competitions, speakers, and tutorials. This group also takes weekend trips around the wonderful state of West Virginia, and surround states. These outings can be very beneficial to photographers as you can get assistance with something you are struggling with. Sometimes having someone help show you what to do can be what it takes for you to overcome an obstacle you constantly struggle with. I have found another similar group in another town not too far from me also. These groups also help you make connections and friends. Sometimes having someone else who has the same hobby as yours helps make a day trip be that much more fun. So search Facebook or other social media for groups near you.
Then we have online tutorials and instructional books. These can come in different forms from written instruction in books, online instructions, or YouTube videos. You can learn a lot from these especially if you are just beginning. With these, you get to practice on your own. For some people, this may be what they are looking for as some people feel if they mess something up while others are around they feel like failures. Please know that most people do not see you this way. It is like the stigmatism of being overweight and going to the gym. Most of the people at the gym are going to be happy for you that you are trying something new, and they know from previous experiences there are failures along the way and will be there to help support you. They are not looking at you like why are you even here. I know I struggle with this myself. I am a perfectionist and if I can not do it right I am my worse critic. So, until you get familiar and comfortable with photography this may be the way for you to learn and grow in the art, but please know that 95% or higher of all photographers would be more than happy to help you if they can or point you in the right direction to get help.
Most of us if not all of us have heard the saying Practice makes Perfect. Well in photography this Is very true. Practicing what you have learned through classes, groups, or online tutorials and books is the only way to improve your skill. Just because you read it or are taught to do something doesn’t mean you can just sit by and not practice. If you don’t practice what you know you will soon forget or loose that edge you had. Even if you are practicing inside taking photos of household objects or you go out and explore the world around you. The more you practice the better you will be. The better you are the more you can help someone else who is struggling. Don’t keep the knowledge to yourself teach others. If we don’t teach others the skill will soon be lost. It is like those recipes your grandmother had in her head. If she didn’t take the time to write it down or teach you they are lost forever once she is gone. You never know the person you help today could go on to be someone famous and you would know that you helped them get there.
What other ways of learning photography do you feel are important to try?