Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Best way to learn Photography

I am often asked what the best way is to learn photography. Since it is such a broad topic I figured that I would touch on how I learned photography and cover some of the people or things that I have learned from.

For today I want to cover just a few examples of some of the videos, books and courses that I am glad that I watched, read, or attended over the years. I am not selling anything, I just feel that it is better for you to learn from what I learned, than to have me regurgitate what someone else said. I might end up being a lot less eloquent. I will try to mention only the ones that had the greatest impact on me or that I found provided particularly good coverage of a certain topic.

First, for portrait lighting I really got a lot from the Best of Dean Collins. It is a great video set where Dean explains how to do lighting. It may look a bit dated, but it is an excellent set of videos to learn from. Many other videos just copy what Dean did back in the 80's. Dean's videos are now available for free on Youtube. Click here:  Best of Dean Collins

I have to say that I would not have benefited as much from the videos or in general if it were not for Marty Kaplan (  Marty teaches a great set of courses with Smithsonian.
Smithsonian Resident Associate - Photography is the link to all of the Smithsonian photo classes. This January Marty is teaching The Joy of Photography which is a basic course and Introduction to Studio Portraiture which covers studio lighting. I learned a lot from Marty's courses. You get a lot of experience over the course of 1 night a week for 8 weeks. The price is also the best I've seen. If you are in DC take advantage of it!

For Photoshop, in my opinion, you can't beat Deke McClelland. His set of Photoshop training from Basic to Mastery is excellent. It is available from here. I've watched many a Photoshop tutorial. I just wish that I had seen Deke's stuff sooner.

I also got some good tips from a quick skim of Scott Kelby's "The Digital Photography Book." There are three volumes full of tips. I must admit that I just skimmed them in Borders (read them several times really).  The tips were great, I was just too cheap to buy them at the time.

There are also "Hands on Guide to Creative Lighting" with Bob Krist and Joe McNally is also very good if you use the Nikon system.

That's all for now.

Update: I have to add Taz Tally's tutorial on Photoshop for Printing. This tutorial is also very informative. Sections 14,17,18 on using the grey target for color balance in Photoshop are the best that I have seen. Also Chris Orwig did a great job with his latest Adobe Camera Raw set of tutorials.

Update: Due to a request I decided to quickly write up the Best way to learn Wedding Photography with some quick info on some of the books and videos that I learned from.


  1. Thank you so much for your comments on the best way to learn Photoshop. Last night, after reading your blog post, I went on and signed up in order to get Deke McClelland's Photoshop training. I was up until 3 in the morning watching his tutorials...I couldn't put my computer down!! Thank you for sharing this invaluable information.


  2. You are welcome. I am glad that you found the post useful.

    I hope to post information that people can find useful, without the advertisements and without feeling the need to pump out content. There is a lot of information out there. My objective is to try to condense that down into something useful. I will continue to try to stick to the nuggets that I find useful and pass them on.

  3. Exelent info!
    Thank's, Jim.

  4. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  5. Nice techniques and skills! It was my passion from years that I want to capture every moment of my life and photography is a best available option for this purpose. So excellent panoramic can only be achieved through fabulous Photography techniques. A photographer is like a cod, which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.