Three exercises to learn more about photography

Three exercises to learn more about photography

Learning more about photography can be a daunting task. There are many options available, from YouTube videos, to conferences and workshops, to personal mentoring options. It can be a little overwhelming in some cases. Where to start? 

Here are some ideas to help you learn more about photography. A little at a time.

What do you want to learn?

If you’re like me, you make lists. Do you have a list of what you want to learn? Great. Choose one item from that list to focus on for this exercise.

Now, create an image of what it is you want to work on or learn through photography.

Maybe it’s a technique, using a new piece of equipment or a different approach to post-processing. It can be anything you want to learn, get better at and work on at the moment.

Will your image be great? Possibly not. But, it will serve as a marker and starting place. It will be a reminder of this one thing that you want to learn to improve your photography. At some point, you’ll be able to go back to this image (or set of images) and see how much you’ve learned.

For example, I want to learn more about my camera’s ability to create in-camera multiple-exposure images. At a recent car show, I practiced this technique throughout the day. It was fun to see the results.

In-camera multiple-exposure of a 1958 Chevy Bel Air

Learn from what you already do

Take a photo on Monday. Think about this image all week. Go back and look at it. Break down what works in it and what you feel doesn’t work. Is it composed properly? Does it tell a story? What is that story? 

On Friday, retake the image and improve on the initial image you created. Take into consideration what you thought about all week. What changes occurred to you that might make it a better image?

This particular example is something that I still don’t seem to have learned: using my tripod! Seriously, it’s one very simple thing you can do to improve your photography.

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Take notes from a master

This challenge will have you looking a bit deeper into the history of fine art photography. Edward Weston was one of the pioneers of presenting photography as fine art. 

He has been called “one of the most innovative and influential American photographers” and “one of the masters of 20th-century photography.”

You can find more about him and his photography here.

Take a dive into his portfolio. Make notes about his thought process and what images speak to you. Then create an Edward Weston-like image.

Edward Weston: Nude 1935 and Shell 1927

One more example

With so many post-processing options at our disposal, learning a new one can take time. If you’re used to doing things one way you may be hesitant to even try or use a new editing app. So, do it slowly. One slider, one preset, one layer at a time.

My personal learning style is playing and asking what happens if. That’s what I did with the Luminar Neo Magic LightTM Extention. I just started moving the sliders around to see what happened.

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Share what you learned

For each of these exercises, tell us what you did. What was your thought process? How did you improve by doing these exercises?

We’d love to see your results and learn from each other by sharing in the Photofocus Community. Let’s have a conversation about each of these exercises.