Learning Photography: Free Stuff

By Roger (24 August 2015)

I'm back from Photoshop World, in Las Vegas, and a week, with the family, in Newport. Let's finish off this series of blogs.

The Jamestown Bridge, Newport, Rhode Island

In today's world, learning photography doesn't have to cost you lots of money. There are so many free, or almost free, resources available for your benefit. You can find them all, while you're vegging out on your computer or tablet.

Of course, you know I think blogs can be very useful or we wouldn't have been doing this for more than six years. We have answered every request for information that has come our way. Just leave a comment here or on our Facebook page.

I check my favorite blogs every day. It takes just a few minutes and keeps me up to date on things in the photography world. I go to Joe McNally's blog (link); he's funny and tells good stories about his photo adventures. Oh, and some of us think he's an amazing photographer. Zack Arias' blog (link) is full of honest, no-holds-barred advice. Julieanne Kost has non-stop information about Lightroom and Photoshop in her blog (link). She gets into small details that can make your post-processing much easier. And I have many more that are on my favorites' list. Your opinion on who to read may be quite different than mine, so, for a large and varied list of blogs, you can go to Alltop Photography (link). There are dozens of blogs listed there for you to peruse.

When I want to look for inspiration, I look at the work of other photographers, both present and past. You would never want to copy their work, but their approach to a subject may help you see something you are missing. For current photographers, one of my favorite places is 500PX (link). You will find some really good stuff there. For the photographers of the past, I'll look them up on Google. There is also a new site I've learned about, The Red List (link), that has examples of the work of many artists, including photographers. Again, there are many other sites you can find.

Another source for learning about the world of photography may seem counter-intuitive to some: podcasts. I have a daily commute and move between a couple of company offices, now and then. While I'm in the car, I'm listening to my long list of podcasts. There is something here for everyone. I follow about 40 podcasts, and more than half of them are about photography. Since the police frown on watching video while driving, I only listen to the audio podcasts. And though photography is a visual art, you can still learn from just an audio podcast. My favorites range from artsy-fartsy photo talk to just fun stuff. These podcasts keep me abreast of the latest technologies; photographers in the news; equipment due dates and rumors; and just keep me thinking about photography. You can get these podcasts downloaded to your phone, Ipod, tablet, or just navigate to them on your computer.

Suggestions? Sure, here are a few:

This Week in Photo (link) has nine podcasts. I listen to all of them, but I am partial to the parent podcast, TWIP, and The Candid Frame. For a decidedly opinionated take on photography subjects, I like On Taking Pictures (link). I'm a fan of The Digital Story (link) and its host Derrick Story. I got to spend about 30 minutes talking to him, at Photoshop World. Thanks for the time, Derrick. And, speaking of PSW, the folks behind the PhotoFocus podcast and website (link) invited many of us – including Mark and me – to breakfast to discuss their site and ask for suggestions. They even picked up the tab.

So, if you don't want to go to conferences and workshops or your library is overflowing, like mine, let the internet help you learn photography, at no cost. Then, go out and practice what you learned.

To help you practice while learning, let me suggest one final opportunity, also free: you can join Mark and I on this year's Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. We are leading a walk, at 9 a.m., Saturday, 3 October, in Culpeper, Va. The walk is free, but you must register here. This is our fifth year leading one of the walks. It is a nice, easy course, with a train station, farmer's market, and lots of history. It's been six years since we did our last Culpeper photowalk, so we thought it was time to return. We hope you'll join us.

Culpeper, Virginia