Observing and communicating with serious amateur and professional photographers, especially those predisposed to offering their time and expertise, is absolutely the best tactic for making headway if you are a beginner.
The Web certainly fosters this approach. Forums allow you to ask questions or quickly review what issues are most pressing. If you don't believe that digital technology has blown this genre wide open, just visit the Forums listed below to see some of the incredible work that beginner and serious amateur photographers are producing today. We would recommend the following as the best and most progressive for either viewing others work, posting your own, airing your concerns or quickly adding to your general knowledge:
If you are not comfortable with online interactive participation, then accessing equipment and other reviews can provide useful information, albeit in a more technical and sterile format. We would recommend the following as a good starting point:
If you are looking for a good overview of digital photography, try this link to AdMedia courtesy of Kristina from the Jefferson District Library who recommended it to us as part of her research for their annual photography competition. A great site for kids to learn the basics can be found at dealnews. This suggestion came to us from Carrie who was completing a photography resource project in Ms. Wards class.
Absolutely the best genre for gaining an immediate grasp of good photography is to simply visit the websites of serious amateurs and professionals who offer their output for sale. Many have a specific focus such as avian subjects, offer education classes and field trips or have associations with individuals who are particularly adept at teaching in-depth specialist subjects such as Photoshop or Lightroom post-processing techniques. This is also a great venue to gain insights into composition and what works. Unfortunately, the number of websites is virtually limitless. Below are some that we particularly enjoy. They are a good cross-section of the truly awesome photographers that are dedicated to capturing bird and wildlife images.
- Alan Murphy Photography
- Jim Zipp Nature Photography
- Deb Henson And Jan A. Alinder - Lucid Images Wildlife Photography
- E.J. Peiker - Nature Photographer
- Mark Graf Photography
- Dave And Carol Clarke - Wild World Photography
- Brian Small - Bird And Nature Photography
- Gustav W. Verderber and Robert Servranckx - Sojourns In Nature
- John Blumenkamp - Teton Trail Photography
- Phillip Colla "Ocean Light" Photography
- Dennis K. Olivero - Northern Light Nature Photography
- Jeff Nadler Nature Photography
- Cheryl A. Ertelt - Photos And Phrases
You can actually "Google" yourself to death here. For a simple starting point, visit the "Portfolio's" section of Naturescapes and look at the output of Forum Contributor's. There may also be excellent photographers in your immediate area. We have many in British Columbia but one we particularly enjoy is Welcome To KC Choo Photography. Kwan's website houses images that exhibit a compelling combination of good technique and composition. As he also shares locations, it's well worth the visit as his extensive travels have produced an incredible inventory.
There are undoubtedly many local programs in your area designed to teach various aspects of digital photography, from beginner to advanced classes. However, you may find online classes more to your liking, especially those targeting photography skills that you are particularly interested in and offer a certificate of achievement. Here the world is your oyster.
- Open Colleges
- Freelance Photography
- The History of Photography and the Camera: From Pinhole to Smartphones
The former two links came from a freelance photography instructor in Australia. The later link came from Matt and Adam, two students taking the After School Care Programs video and photography course. It's a great link for those interested in the evolution of photography. If you find a resource that is particularly helpful, please send it along and we'll add it to the above.
Perhaps the greatest enjoyment you will encounter as your image composition and post-processing skills improve is to move beyond web graphics, prints and card stock to create more exciting items such as a calendar or book. Online self publishing tools are now easier than ever to use and available at no charge. Their embedded options provide an endless source of creativity and the results can be spectacular if you have a well developed eye for publishing in printed media. We recently created a hard cover coffee table book using selected images from our trips to Alaska and were shocked at the high quality of the finished product. Some sites you may wish to try are:
Blurb and Snapfish are North American publishers while Bob Books may be of more interest to viewers in Europe.