- Dan Medley
Self-Education Is Very Important...
The world is our oyster. There is an endless amount of things we can all learn and attempt to try with many avenues to do so. While it is very easy to spend your time relaxing on the couch binge watching Netflix, it's just as easy to binge watch some tutorial videos to help expand your photography knowledge. Sure, it may not be as relaxing and mindless as watching Bob's Burgers. But I guarantee your future self will be very happy looking back at how you're spending your time.
Self Education is super important in an ever evolving field such as photography. While a lot of the basics stay the same in photography, there is an endless supply of tips, tricks, and inspiration out there to help you grow in directions you may never have gone. I've compiled a small list of ways to self educate yourself and help continue your path in the photography world.
1 - Trial and Error
It's about as simple as it sounds. We all get into our own little world with the way we accomplish things and this can cause your photography expertise to stagnate and this can lead to feeling uninspired. Why not try something you have been putting off? Macro photography? Try it, fail a few times, and try again. Learn from your mistakes and learn from those images. Pet photography? Fire away! You get to learn a new avenue of photography AND spend time with animals. It's win win.
This can also work with editing. Try some new software. Watch some tutorials and attemp to recreate things. You'll get frustrated for sure, but everything worth anything takes time. Or you can just dig into the editing software you use. I guarantee there are some tools that you rarely, if ever, use. Try them out. You may find things to help speed up your process.
2 - Blogs
Look! You're already reading a blog. A+. While I have a handful of posts that hopefully have some useful content to you, there is a million other ones just like mine. You can find articles on techniques, gear reviews, philosophy of photography, tutorials, and opinions on just about any and all things.
While a lot of blogs have a ton of fluff and ads and they aim to hit a certain number of words, there are an equal amount of well written blogs that get you straight to the points. Dig in, search, click links to other posts, repeat. There is so much to learn and see.
3 - Paid Courses
If you are serious about your photography and have some expendable funds, there are a ton of paid courses on photography. This can cause a lot of scammy type people preying on amateurs with hopes of taking their hard earned buckaroos. However, with some easy research, you can usually see past their smoke and mirrors.
The two main paid tutorial creators that I have utilized over the years are as Follows.
- PRO EDU -
I've purchased a handful of their courses in the past and have learned a ton of techniques I use at every photo shoot. They have since started a streaming service that simplifies the learning process!
- FStoppers -
Fstoppers has a ton of useful information on their website. Their tutorials are even more jam packed with useful learning that warrant the larger price tag compared to PRO EDU. They usually have sales every year on their courses. Try and time it right!
4 - YouTube
Who has not heard of YouTube in this day and age. Anyone can create tutorials and upload them for the world to see. While this is a great thing, it's equally not a great thing. Sometimes you have to 'check your sources' when you are learning on YouTube because a lot of creators are more interested in you watching and hitting their 10 min video advertisement length. I've highlighted a few of my favorite YouTube photography teachers in my inspirational series blog posts.
5 - Podcasts
Audio only content about a visual medium?! Who'da'thunk'it. Well it is out there and there is a ton of useful information to be had. We all love podcasts and how easy they are to consume while you drive, exercise, cook, etc. Why not double-time and learn some new techniques or listen to stories from other photographers?
One of my favorite to listen to is B&H's podcast. I've learned a lot and listened to a ton of amazing stories.
While this is only a short list, I hope you can find something useful and get inspired to learn! There's always something to learn. Where do you find useful information to help grow as a photographer?