How did I become a Self-Taught Photographer?

How to learn photgraphy at hoome

About 70% of lensmen are self-taught photographers, learning photography from beginner to advance is one of the first tasks for a newbie with a new camera whether SLR or Smartphone. He googles for “How to learn photography?” or “How to take photos like a pro” or “how to become a photographer at home”. Even I practised and witnessed the same to make me familiar with photography and related environment which is one of the most realistic and challenging tasks, I have ever come across in my life. A decade ago capturing a photo considered one of the toughest jobs. Whereas nowadays, Budget smartphones with high aperture lenses made clicking easier for everyone. Let me travel you through my journey of photography from a noob to a pro.

Table Of Contents

Read Camera Manual

Manual or Booklet, one of the most valuable but neglected stuff came up with almost every gadget. we, usually, don’t care about that shiny black and white booklet which is thrown away, soon after and/or keep with care in the box, like fragile. Luckily, all the camera comes up with a Booklet, known as CAMERA MANUAL. Unluckily, only a few read and follow the Manual. The sole purpose of the handbook is to provide a detailed description and comprehensive configuration of hardware operations. People who do not read the manual always looking for someone else or Google as to the simplest functionality e.g How to power on the camera etc. What is a Big dial with MASP (Manual, Auto, Shutter, Program) letters on my camera model?” Photography: How I learned Photography as a Beginner?

In essence, to avoid fundamental issues, upon unpacking the DSLR camera, read and follow the instructions carefully. Because no one can be perfect without knowing the gadget. Hence I recommend reading the manual to all the self-taught photographers.

  • Read the camera manual carefully
  • Follow the instruction accordingly
  • Practice the basic camera settings 
  • Refer to manual if required

Start Capturing

Being familiar with the camera, shoot, click, capture again and again as much you can. Start clicking from different perspective and angles. Find a subject for shooting and capture it from a different perspective. Chimp (though chimping is not recommended by pros) to check the camera’s basic settings for a particular photo. Initially, I captured about 5000+ photos in a month of various subjects without leaving my room.

  • Take same Photos in different modes (Aperture, Shutter, Auto) 
  • Chimp the photo, note down the settings for understanding
  • Apply noted settings on Manual mode 
  • Iterate process until better photos

Learn the Photography Basics

We learn gradually with the passage of time. The more we dig deeper into the subject we get valuable knowledge about it. After knowing my camera operations, I approached to discover the photography basics from trusted sources.

Being a bibliophile, I started from very basic by googling the term “Tips for self taught photographers” and “Fundamentals of Photography”. Google accumulated a huge amount of knowledge, far beyond my expectations like videos, books, presentations and white papers from the world’s renowned photographers. I followed my brand only particularly, NIKON, CANON, SONY and Panasonic, because, they know their brand more than anyone else. Attending meetups, photo walks and photography relevant events polished my photography knowledge.

  • Google for Photography Basics 
  • Read, Watch and listen as much possible 
  • Focus on brand specific material
  • Apply acquired knowledge on the camera
  • Attend photography events like Photo-walk 

When you become familiar with your camera and its basic settings, move out of the cave and start hunting in the real world.

Start using Mix (Auto and Manual) Modes

Next, familiarity with the camera and basic photography setting opened the doors for Manual Mode. I started capturing people, places, billboards, trees, cars, towers, rivers, bridges and everything which fascinated meme. Even captured weddings, birthdays and other events that were complimentary to make me better in photography. Manual photography is a hectic and tricky task, which requires know-how about the camera and fundamentals of photography. Since I was practising, So I keep on shooting overexposed, underexposed, blurry and shaky photos, which made me deep dive into the camera; however, patience is key to success.

Using both modes is a good habit, even the best use of gadgets and time. Occasionally, I used both (auto and manual) modes not to miss the memorable shots. I use Auto mode on National Event and Manual mode in a low light event. I have never thought of the manual or auto modes, in fact, I have priority for both.

  • Use both modes when required 
  • Capture using manual settings
  • Never stop learning
  • Perform free photography for practice 

Kill the fear and Move Forward

Fear is the greatest enemy of creativity, success, and dreams. At first, that big Berlin Wall blocked a bunch of my shutterbug ideas. Due to fear, once I decided to leave the camera and relax at home, this happens with almost every photographer. At first instance, I realized that to be a good photographer with a burden of fear, is only a dream. Next, I beheaded the nightmare by approaching and interacting with the subject. Suppose my subject is a stranger, I asked him for photography, if he says no, my reply will be thanked with a smile.

  • Approach to the subject
  • Interact as much you can 
  • Get permission before capturing
  • Reply with positive response even No

Approach the Experts

Approaching the subject-matter expert is one of the best ways to take better photos. Professional Photographers, critically evaluate the photo and give a worth suggestion. Initially, They love to hear from beginners. Initially, felt shy to discuss my work with anyone else. Later, I shared and discussed my photo with many photographers around the globe. This took my work to the next level.

  • Find nearby Pro photographer or over the Internet 
  • Ask him is available to critically evaluate my work 
  • Don’t ask him for commenting on your profile
  • Apply the expert’s ideas in the practice
  • Keep in touch with him /her

Learn Post Production

Darkrooms (old post-production method) are replaced with systematic tools like Lightroom, photoshop. Learning Photo editing tools helps to fix the clicking especially colour, noise, exposure and composition. A photo took one second to capture, but it takes a lot of time to make it appealing. Photo Editing put life in the photos.

As a technologist, it did not take much time for me to learn photo editing software basics. I watched a bunch of tutorials and attends online workshops to make myself master in post-production.

Final Thought

Thanks for being here. As a self-taught photographer, I have expressed almost everything. Do you have any other suggestion feel free to comment so others can get benefit from it.

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