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It occurred to me while reading the recent thread on composition that my photography skills are entirely 'self-taught' (I don't really like that phrase but what I mean is I learned them through lots of reading online and off, trial and error and simply experimenting with the various camera settings, etc). While that approach suits me well in general, I have found training really, really useful at times in other areas of my career and this sparked a thought on whether any folks on here have done any particularly memorable photography training. Academic or practical, beginner or expert - it doesn't matter - I just thought it'd be useful to hear what worked for you and helped you progress more quickly than you would have otherwise.
Any thoughts or recommendations?
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You can learn a lot from books and youtube videos - I got a few books on composition where they have things like plain spheres, cones, cylinders and cubes all being lit in different ways.. quite a dry read in the early stages to be honest, but once you get into it, things fall into place.
I think there were a few leaps forward though...
1 - when I got "creative camera control" and Understanding Exposure and finally sussed out spot metering and manual exposure
2 - learning that not all photos should be at 14000K and saturation at +100% - that was more from comments on here really
3 - getting the 5D and 17-40 - somehow that combo really made a difference, really really wide, but also seemed to coincide with a bit of a leap forward in around 2006. Maybe the new toys made me go out a lot and practice more.
4 - HDR coming along and the painful process of working out a technique... which is ongoing of course
5 - off camera flash - mainly learned by trial and error, strobist on youtube and taking shots of Tandberg (he had lots of ideas too)
most of it has been curiosity/experimental based learning - maybe that's why my stuff looks like it does, not really followed any traditional routes?
Thanks Ade - I think your experiences are broadly similar to mine - certainly in terms of learning from reading and youtube and the difference that a wide/full frame combo and mastering the manual settings seemed to make. The reason I started the thread was really to ask if that self-teach approach can be complimented by something more focussed and if people have found that effective. I feel happy enough that I've progressed at a reasonable pace to a reasonable level but certainly don't know everything (I'd probably get bored and stop if I ever felt that anyway) so I'm just interested if anyone feels particular training or courses were useful to them and why (I'm not necessarily going to dash out and do any imminently - just interested in thoughts and possibly something to make time for in the future).
I've been thinking about getting a bit of training for the more corporate side of things, then you get emails like this coming through....
Quote: XXX forwarded me the stuff you prepared for business team shots. We’ve kissed a lot of frogs when it comes to team shots. Most involve a series of press photographers asking me to sit in a chair like the Queen flamin’ Mother with my team sat around me on the floor. Ridiculous and a million miles away from what we’re looking for.
Saw these and thought they looked much more like it.
That's rather nice, proper business people wanting something that looks a bit different to the usual team shots - also with the business profile stuff I've been doing on the moors and in urban settings, it's making me think that there is a niche for something a bit different.
We're told that the market is saturated with photographers, its certainly feckin hard to find work, so carving a niche may be the way to go? Got to try these things, if they don't work, try something else
so yeah - I've not booked onto any courses just yet
I'd probably do something more aligned to business - maybe some NLP training, I've got a few CDs on that and it does sound quite useful for many things.
Or maybe something on advanced processing techniques - seeing Guy Gowan's talk made me realise I know chuff all about photoshop really. Anything to speed up and improve quality would be useful.
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