As a child, I wanted to grow up to be an elephant. That was a realistic dream at the time and still something I’m trying to figure out how to do. Until I figure out that dream, I wanted to become an artist, a fashion designer, an interior designer and so on. As you can see (aside from the elephant) a creative career path was one I had always dreamed of.
Fast forward to graduating college desperate a for any job and falling into graphic design I started working for a small livestock newspaper. It was a great first job with amazing people and experiences that helped me grow up, but it was boring. I didn’t have enough to do, I didn’t have an interest in livestock and I dreamed of the day that I would discover something that resembled a dream job. It was also at this time that I rediscovered my camera and the passion it brought back to my life. After a personal project with a friend to be photographing the things around me every day and then we would critique each other’s works I realized that this is what I should be doing.
From that day when I picked up my camera and fell back in love with an art form I had forgotten to today where I get to work with amazing brands, sharing their stories and helping them grow their businesses, a lot had to happen. This wasn't my first time as a professional photographer but I still only had basic knowledge of artificial light, camera settings, and all the gear. There was a lot to learn to get to where I wanted to be. Like I do all things I started Googling and researching photography. I rented books from the library I signed up for free classes, I even paid for a couple of classes (I’m pretty cheap, so this was a rare occasion) and then I got to the hard part of putting it to action and learning through failure, the best teacher there is.
Whether you are a new business looking to save money and wanting to take on your photography, or someone who just loves photography and wants to dive deeper, these three sources will be your new home for learning all about your camera, the principles of design and even how to edit your photos. Everything you could want to know about photography you will be able to learn from these amazing teachers. Keep in the mind, trial and error through practicing will still be your best teacher yet!
CreativeLive, a company by adventure photographer Chase Jarvis (check out my conversation with him here), is a fantastic website filled with knowledge about every aspect of creativity. The section on photography covers everything from weddings to portraits to products and will teach you the steps you need to take amazing photos. The whole premise of the site is to provide education in free or inexpensive ways. When the tutorial is live, it’s free otherwise for a one-time fee you can purchase and download the tutorial to watch again and again. I happen to love the photography section of this site, but there are plenty more topics they cover teaching you almost anything you could want to know.
From blog posts to purchased tutorials SLR Lounge has you covered. Their topics include gear education and the technical aspects of photography. SLR Lounge started as a wedding photography site but has morphed into a resource for all photographers. I love their insight on using an off-camera flash and utilizing artificial light in brand new ways. They also cover the basics of editing in Lightroom and keep you up with the latest news in the photography world.
The silliest name for a website with some pretty silly hosts but these guys know their stuff! Their youtube channel has taught me so much about photoshop it’s ridiculous. From beginner edits to taking out blemishes and brightening an image to remastering an image into something new Phlearn will teach you to take your pictures to a whole new level. Their tutorials don’t cover how to use your camera or the art of making the images but teach you all about the post editing process and file handling; Both critical things when taking your photos.
When it comes to learning photography, it’s not as hard as it is time-consuming. Just like in all things in life we have to choose the things we give our time to. The brands I work with would instead focus on their strengths of running a business and being with their customers and therefore hire me to take on the photography, a task that they don’t want to use their time to learn. Outsourcing is 100% okay and will be necessary for your work. When you’re starting out it’s easy to want to do it all and save where you can, but investing in photography is something you will never regret and the time you keep will be something your business will never regret.