Whether you want to become the next Chris Ozer or you just want to take killer product photos for your business, building your photography skillset is the way to do it.
Thankfully, while you’ll need some grit and determination to become a great photographer, you don’t need a college degree to capture beautiful images.
Here are a few of the best ways to learn photography without going to art school.
Learn Your Camera Inside and Out
Whether you’re shooting digital or film, taking time to get to know your camera is one of the best ways to jumpstart your learning. Yes, that means breaking out the manual and going through each setting and feature to find out what they do.
But even though it’s boring, this step is worth it. If you have an intimate understanding of your camera’s capabilities and limitations, you’ll be able to use it well no matter what environment you shoot in. This is also a great time to look up the definitions of any photography terms you may be unfamiliar with, like aperture, f-stop, and white balance.
Use the Internet
Self-taught photographers today have a major advantage over ones in the past: the internet. The web is stuffed to the gills with tutorials, videos, and other resources to provide you with informal instruction. Whether you want to get inspiration from editorial photo shoots, learn how to shoot in adverse conditions, or just want someone to walk you through the settings on your camera, a quick online search will give you what you need.
If you’d rather keep your learning offline, check out your local library for books on building your photography skills.
Make Use of Workshops
Being a self-taught photographer doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Check out group classes like the Cole/Marr Photography Workshops for a chance to collaborate with other artists of varying skill levels. Or, if you can’t attend an on-site workshop, sign up for an online photography class that lets you interact with other students.
Learning alongside others is one of the best ways to push yourself to improve. It can also provide you with helpful, constructive feedback on your work and inspire you to step out of your comfort zone. Don’t forget to make connections with the other students and build your network while you’re there!
This tip may seem self-explanatory, but it’s still important enough to include on the list. In art school, students must complete large assignments with deadlines for 2-4 years straight. But a self-taught photographer needs the discipline to hold themselves accountable for practicing.
Set aside time every day to work on your photography. Whether it’s two hours or ten minutes, every little bit counts. Challenge yourself to shoot in a range of diverse conditions—indoors, outdoors, still life, and action—and take notes on the areas that you excel in and those that need improvement.
Learn Photography on Your Own
Self-taught photography is a misleading term because even if you don’t go to art school, it’s still a collaborative process. The best way to learn photography is to study the resources provided by other artists and then go out and practice your technique.
Small Business Brief is your stop for the best daily small business content. Want more tips on learning photography for your business? Check out our post on how to light product photos to increase online sales.