I’m afraid that this course has come to an end. We have covered everything that I would consider important for a newcomer in the field of photography to know. This is not to say that there is nothing left to learn, quite the opposite in fact. The question is: what now?
Assuming you have read, understood and practiced all the lessons, including the assignments when they exist, I see three possible paths:
- You can consolidate your newly-acquired knowledge. Stop learning new stuff for a while and focus on mastering what you already know until it becomes second nature.
- You can dive deeper into the topics we covered. In many cases, for instance post-processing, we only scratched the surface of what is possible. Exceptions to the rules, subtleties and other tricky cases were often omitted for the sake of brevity and clarity. You can choose to study any of these points in more details until you become an expert.
- Finally, you can choose to expand your learning in new domains. There is a lot we haven’t covered, for instance panorama, HDR, night photography, camera movements, black and white, infrared, fisheye, underwater, etc. Follow your interests or try something completely new, experiment, it’s a vast world.
The good thing, of course, is that these options are not mutually exclusive. Whatever you end up choosing, I would urge you to spend time consolidating. At least 6 months, possibly more: it’s all fine and well to read about stuff in a book or on reddit, and even to try it out a few times, but until you have shot thousands of frames, it won’t really be part of you.
Which leaves the question of how. Listed in rough order of efficiency, here are some suggestions:
- Shoot! Nothing can replace this. If you want to be good at taking pictures, you need to practice. A lot. All the time. Some people like self-assigned projects, others just shoot things as they come. Whatever works for you, be sure to close the books, leave your keyboard and go shooting.
- Consider taking a workshop or a course. When they are well run, they are the fastest way to learn and can often give you an inspiration jolt. If you take one from a famous photographer, try to find online reviews from past participants first, as being a good photographer does not necessarily equate being a good teacher.
- Interact with other photographers, either in real life or via online communities. Share your work, get feedback and exercise your critical eye by giving feedback to others. Just make sure you don’t end up chasing the warm feeling of having people tell you you are great instead of striving to create better images. Also try not to be sucked in the endless gear discussions vortex that is sadly so common on many internet boards. People who spend their time there are usually the ones who don’t shoot very much.
Some good places to start are flickr, 1x, naturescapes and photo.net but there are many, many, many others. Just find a friendly, not too gear obsessed place.
Oh, and did I mention you should go out shooting?
I hope you enjoyed this course and learned a few things along the way. I really hope I managed to convince you that photography can be both simple and fun.
Finally, though my motivation for doing this course was simply to give back to the community, if it was useful to you, a great way to thank me is to use my affiliate code when you go shopping at B&H (which has pretty much everything photo-related you’ll ever need, and ships worldwide). All you have to do is click this link when you head there (or just bookmark it), and whenever you order something, I will get a small commission and it’s totally free and transparent for you. Thanks!
Alternatively, you can also help spread the word about my mountain photography and my books.
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