When I was a kid, everyone always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up, and I believed them. The world was full of possibilities, and it was a beautiful feeling. Then in high school during the time of my life when I felt like my mind was always changing on a day to day basis about what I wanted to do when with the rest of my life everyone around me was urging me to make a decision and follow that path.
If I’m being honest, this discouraged me. I started to feel overwhelmed and I couldn’t decide where I wanted my life to go. I ended up choosing a path and now five years after graduating high school I am on a completely different path than I had planned and it feels amazing.
I’m here to tell you to forget about the people that tell you to decide on one thing and then stick to it. It’s never too late to learn something brand new like photography. I’m here to tell you that your life should have some direction, but you should never let that be the only path you follow. It’s your life after all, and at the end of the day, you are the one that has to be happy living it. So keep your childhood courage and ambition to be that astronaut, chef, dentist, veterinarian and don’t be afraid to try something new.
Pushing yourself to do it
The hardest part is taking that first step. Forget about the doubt and insecurity and what other people will think. If we all had more courage to try new things I believe we would all be a little bit happier.
There are three key reasons why you should always learn something new throughout your life. Learning stimulates your thoughts. Learning something new can help new ideas and inspiration flow which will help you build your self-esteem and self-confidence. This will lead to you meeting new people and help you grow as an individual.
Below are a few free resources for photographers to help get you started. Remember, no one starts as an expert it takes hard work and determination. Everyone learns differently, but we wanted you to have a few options to get yourself started.
This comprehensive, mostly-text tutorial by Lifehacker starts with three sections that explain how a digital camera works, its automatic settings, and its more advanced manual settings. The last two sections provide helpful information on compositional techniques and how to edit your photos during post-processing.
The course also offers additional resources for extended learning on each topic. And with a couple of videos included, it’s an easy way to gain a much better understanding of cameras and imaging before finally venturing into the world of digital photography.
This free Udemy course aims to make photography “simple” with 10 lectures and a total of 31 minutes of instructional videos. Celebrity photographer and cinematographer Corey Reese provides in-depth information about shooting in natural light and understanding manual camera settings (like aperture and shutter speed) for a wide range of photography applications. Remember to have your camera at the ready.
CreativeLife mostly sells online courses, but they also have a wide range of free on-air classes (at least one per day) that cover topics such as video, art and design, music and audio, crafts, and others—including photography, of course. The site allows viewers to RSVP to different classes, which can easily be viewed by more than 50 thousand students from around the world. Make sure to take note of the date and time of the on-air class you want to take as there are many different courses each day.
Besides taking free classes available online, we also think that it is helpful to watch YouTube tutorials whenever you can. This helps beginners feel less alone with their technical questions, and I know watching examples always made me less anxious before going into a shoot. Here are a few YouTube channels that are great for photographers to subscribe to.
Online Photography Classes
Founded in 2010, Fstoppers is a vibrant online community of photographers with a focus on education for not just photographers, but also cinematographers and other creative professionals. Like their website, the Fstoppers YouTube channel offers a lot of great takeaways for the creative person, with content ranging from gear reviews to business tips and industry reviews.
As you might expect from a YouTube channel run by the largest photography store in the United States, the B and H channel features a wealth of knowledge about photography. This includes daily videos with tips and tricks, created by some of the biggest names in the business—as well as equipment reviews and live talks featuring images from professional photographers.
Mastering the digital darkroom is a key for anyone who wants to take his or her photography to the next level. With over 1.6 million subscribers, PHLEARN provides some of the best Adobe Photoshop tutorials you will find on the web—from the very basics to more advanced techniques.
There’s so much out there for you to begin learning photography. It’s amazing, and you will always find heaping amounts of support. No matter what type of learner you are it’s important to research before you begin and it’s also equally as important to join photo communities like H which will open your life up to new connections, friends, and a support system to help you grow your passion. As always, don’t ever be too afraid to begin because that’s the hardest part. Everything else will fall into place.