Four Steps to a Great Foundation in Photography

Peggy Farren 2014-02-09

You Don't Need to Learn Everything Your Camera Does, You Need to Learn Photography!

It breaks my heart when I find out how so many people struggle for years trying to learn how to take nice photographs! I was certainly one of them for many years. The technical part of photography has never come easy for me.

It's a common misconception with beginners that they need to learn their camera. Well, yes of course you should know your camera, but you truly only need to know about 10-15 options on your camera in order to take outstanding pictures.v

Learning basic photography is what you need! Once you realize how to take a great photograph, you'll just look for each option on your specific camera.

I had a call a couple days ago from someone who has been taking online classes through a popular website. She signed up for a class specific to her model camera. She's frustrated because she's taking all these classes and her photography is not improving. I had her read the outline of the course to me: It was specific to her camera – teaching how to change the settings for shooting in the different scene modes, the different menu items and such. No wonder she is frustrated! Just knowing how to change these settings doesn't let you know how to take a great photograph!

What do you really need to learn to become a good photographer? Here is my opinion, based on years of experience as a full time, working photographer and also from teaching for the past 4.5 years:

  1. Learn to shoot in the manual setting and really understand exposure. Without a clear understanding of exposure, you'll be hit or miss with your photos forever.
  2. Composition. What I see as a judge in many photography and art competitions - composition mistakes are the main reasons photographs don't win.
  3. Lighting. The word photography literally means “Writing with Light”. Learn to control the lighting in any given situation, either by natural or artificial light (flash).
  4. Fine tune your camera for your type of photography. Drive modes, focus modes, white balance, etc.

Shameless plug: We offer an online course called the “Four Weeks to Proficiency in Photography”. Click here for a description of the course. Our format of weekly live interactive webinars, daily assignments and a support group really works much better than buying a video course with no accountability. We teach you the most important things you need to learn in a super simplistic manner and then give you specific assignments so that the lesson will really sink in. Check to see the date of when the next one begins. Off camera flash

Please read the reviews of the class while you are there! Here is an excerpt from one: “4 Weeks to Proficiency achieves what it claims! …. In four short weeks I feel that I have a solid foundation to shoot in manual mode and change the camera’s settings to take much better, and more creative photographs. I can now shoot special effects like freeze motion, silky water, and blurring out backgrounds to focus in on the important faces and things I want in my shots.“

Even if you don't join us in our class, please follow my four steps to a great foundation in photography. Once you have the basics down, everything else will come easy!

Peggy Farren is the founder of Understand Photography Training Center. She has been a full-time professional photographer for over 15 years through her company Avant-Garde Images, Inc.


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About Peggy

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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