Learning Photography Online

Dec 20,2016

I am self-taught photographer and like many others, the internet was (and still is) the main medium I rely on to learn new techniques, from YouTube videos, online course, etc. and of course I had my share of good and bad contents. Here are few tips that might help you chose the right material for you and save time and money

• Choose your Mentor Wisely!

It is so popular now a days that there are thousands of photographers out there offering online courses, perhaps this is a result of a slump in photography business or online courses is just a good way directing traffic to their website, who knows! Having said that, a lot of the courses are actually informative and useful. A good way to decide if a course is for you, would be to visit the Photographers website and have a look at their portfolio. If you don’t like what you see or you are not interested in their genre of photography, then it’s not the one for you! So don’t waste your time there even if it’s free. Life is too short for that!

• It is a creative Process! Remember that.

When I started, many photographers used to dictate the 'best' camera settings. Things like ‘X f/stop will give you the sharpest result’, `you shouldn't use a shutter speed slower than Y to avoid shaky images’, or `ISO should be low get 'clean' images’, so on and so forth. Of course they are not wrong. However one must understand that camera settings is part of a creative process. It is completely subjective and varies significantly from one situation to another. For example, in fashion photography sharpness and color accuracy are key elements, therefore camera settings should reflect those attributes. Wedding photography, on the other hand, is all about a dreamy soft look and therefore camera setting are completely different. To summarize, rather than assuming these are rules written in stone you should be asking, “Why did he/she use those settings?”

• Learn from the masters!

I found that the best way to develop my skills was to look at the work of the past masters, people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugene Smith, Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams and many others. They have left an incredible body of work behind, a legacy that paved the road for many generations to come. Yes technical knowledge is important, but it can only get you so far. There are much more to a great photograph, things like the story behind the image, the photographer’s interpretation of this story, composition and what was included or (more importantly) excluded from the image. If studied carefully, all these aspects will give you a glimpse into the thought process behind the image. While admittedly social media can be a good source of inspiration, more often than not, it is loaded with trendy well-polished images that that I find them technically ‘perfect’ but mildly interesting.

Currently residing in Abu Dhabi, Tariq Nazal is a film and digital photographer specializing in people photography. A banker by profession, he discovered his passion for photography while looking for a new hobby. What started out as curiosity soon became a means to channel his creativity into storytelling through pictures. For further info visit tariqnazalphoto.com