Learn, then learn more.

As a photographer, I am always learning. Always: the moment I give up, I might as well retire. Won’t happen for many decades, I assure you!

Here’s a few ways we can learn; a few different methods for learning:

Learning from others. I read widely, as should you. Do be careful, though: up to 80% of what you read is ill-informed and simply wrong. Watch forums for that. That said: the other 20% is very useful. My advice: Find someone who knows their stuff and who shoots well – the proof of the pudding is in the eating – and then follow them and listen to them (like you are listening to me!)

Learning from myself – I am very analytical, as you might want to be.  So I constantly ask myself : “what am I doing in this situation to be successful”. And I then analyze and boil it down to the success factors. I also shoot new situations all the time, and shake up the equipment, the locations, and so on: taking me out of my “comfort zone” creates learning, too.

Learning from my subjects. I always try to learn from every subject I shoot. Whether it is a two year old, a family, Santa, or an experienced model. Here’s a new “non-nude nude” pose that the model came up with:


Either way, I always learn. Interact. Ask.

I teach. Teaching is a good way to learn. I teach at college, privately, and in international tours. Teaching forces you to get your thoughts straight: so try to teach your son, your daughter, your wide, your father, your husband: when you teach someone you’ll have to be very clear on what it is you are saying.

So my advice is:

  • Write down what you do and what you learn.
  • Check your images’ EXIF data.
  • Explain what you do to others.
  • Read magazines.
  • Join clubs.
  • And above all: shoot, shoot, and shoot; and analyze your results, and ask “how could I have done better?”, and “what could I have done differently and how would that have worked?”.

Do all these things and you will learn quickly.

Your assignment for the week: shoot all week with a prime lens. Like I shot the Santa month all with a prime lens also. And I am about to put a 35mm f/1.4 prime lens on my Canon 1Dx now for the next week. Remember, take yourself out of your comfort zone.




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