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How did you learn and start out?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by corns5, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. corns5


    Mar 21, 2008

    Years ago I shot film with my old Nikkormat,(20s and 30 something) and now you can see my equipment, barebones, but hey, it's what I can afford as a mom who is at home and things are tight in my budget.

    How did you all learn and get to 'pro', or 'serious amateur' and get to do what you love?? I am a school teacher, and can go back into that in the next few years, but I'd love to do something different down the line. I am in my 50s now,
    and can't go to photography school full time (those years are done, although I can take a class here and there)....

    Am I just dreamin, or did you all start out that way? I look at the expensive glass, and do desire to get a mix between what I know and what I need to learn.... any suggestions? You can take a look at my photography at my zenfolio site. (Our injured horse's hind leg to the vet may not be interesting... lol, but what do you say????)
  2. I am self taught. I read quite a bit. Maybe 30+ texts on photography. I participate and learn from forums like this one. Most importantly I take what I read and go practice. I have had (and still have) great mentors along the way. I guess I am a "pro" as this currently pays the bills and I am full time for the moment. I will return to my teaching position in September and the photography will become a secondary profession again. There are better "amateurs" (several on this forum) than I, and "pros" that I am more competent than. So the title is somewhat meaningless. The main thing is to continually grow. I have been doing this for a long time but I know that when I look back a work from even a year ago, I am amazed at how far I have come since then.
  3. I picked up my camera and just started shooting - and learned from that

    never taken a photography class or picked up a book (of course I'm sure my shots show that too - HAHAHAHA)

    I'm just some dude with a camera doing this for fun
  4. TheKO


    May 3, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    I have been shooting for many years. I have read many books but mostly I read the mainstream photography magazines cover to cover.

    In digital, I delete a lot of pics. I am critical of my work.
    I have recently started to use Photo forums such as this one to learn and post questions.

    I also do photo shooting binges where I go out for several days and shoot. A great place where this can be done is the annual Merritt Island shoots hosted by Harry.

    When I had the time and money I did take the New Youk Institute of Photography course amd I think this helped me the most.
  5. I think I am like some others here on the forum. I started out with a film camera (N65) to document a hurricane as it passed by my home in VA. When I develpoed the film, I was seriously disappointed with the prints and wanted to know how to correct it. I began to read a lot of books and on the weekends I would practice the techniques in the books as well as developing my eye for shooting. So in essense, I am self taught but I felt that I reached a point where I could not read anymore to get better. I decided to enroll at the Academy of Art University and I am currently pursuing a degree in photography. Since taking the classes, they have truely opened my eyes to the art and how I interpret the scenes I see as well as my photo taking thinking process. I'd like to be a pro some day but I consider myself a 'serious amateur' and I am content with that.

    God Bless,
  6. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Just started a couple of years ago...I'll let you know how it's going in a couple more years. Hahaha.
  7. GBRandy


    Feb 28, 2006
    Green Bay, WI
    I have been at it since I was 10. My Grandmother bought me camera and I never put it down.

    For me it has been trial & error and learning from mistakes. It almost became my career in College as I ran the photo staff and taught two courses while a student there. then I found out how much starving photogs make and the wicked competition....I finished with a business degree instead.

    Reading and studying are good.... Taking lots of images and objectively looking at them to improve is even better. Trail & error is cheap these days...it cost a lot more money & time when you played with film & fixer back in the day..... ;) 
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2008
  8. I started out at the age of 12 or 13 with a Brownie Hawkeye camera. I was studying for my photography merit badge which also included developing my own film and making contact prints of the image. That was before most of you were born. :biggrin:
  9. Definately not a pro here, just a wanabe amature.:tongue: I began this just over a year back after a vacation that cost me over $200 do develop all the film, and I thought that digital would save me $$ in the long run not having to pay for the processing. I picked up a used D70 and 18-55 kit lens and started shooting. My pics were not bad, basically nice snap shots. Then I came on here (thanks Gretchen!:rolleyes: ) and started to see all the amazing photos and picked up "understanding exposure" on a recomendation here. Lots to learn and much of it was confusing having zero photography background.
    My big eye opener was when I picked up a 50mm f/1.8 lens and saw what a fast shutter was all about, then I was hooked on learing more about how this all works. I just finished a photo class at my community college which was a HUGE help for me and I highly recommend it. It was the best $150 I could have spent to improve what I am doing by far, more than a new body or lens could have ever tought me (best part is that it took only 10 weeks!).
    There is a lot to learn about all of this when you are starting out with zero experience. I am feeling more confident about what I can and can't do now, and would think that this learing curve will continue for quite a while.
  10. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    Self taught and I'm almost in my 3rd year but hey look at the result :tongue:
  11. I was ten when my parents bought a Minolta SLR with external flash. We went to Hawaii for vacation and I was "forced" to take all the family photos. When we got back there was about 10 rolls of film processed and my parents loved them. That was the good thing. The bad thing was I had to take photos of every family outing. My parents still have the albums of family photos.

    Since then I have been a P&S guy until this year making the big leap. Now it's July and I have read every photography book in the library and a few more. This forum helps a great deal. I'm always learning and open to new perspectives.
  12. Cleo68


    Jul 7, 2008
    Bedford, MA
    Nikon FG in the 80s with a bunch of cheap lenses and a few classes at NESOP. Always had the bug since my Stepfather and his Father made us sit through a gazillion slide shows of their trips to various countries with their Nikons. Guess it finally just sank in. I enjoy it now more. After I had my kids in 2003 and 2005, it gave me more inspiration to become better. As the kids are growing up, I'm hoping to branch out a bit more. I like taking portraits, but I think landscape would be a huge challenge as well. You never stop learning. As long as you're having fun, it's great. When you're not, it's time to take a break and re-approach it again later, or shoot something else for inspiration.
  13. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006
    My father started me with an Agfa Solinette and a small B&W darkroom in 1970.
  14. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    Besides all the things above, I think the absolute best thing you can do is look at pictures that have received popular acclaim for being 'good' and try, first to understand, and then to duplicate what makes them 'good.'
  15. mike367


    Mar 22, 2008
    6 mths for me. Im 41yrs old and was forced to retire due to an on the job car accident. Dr. told me I would need something to occupy my time and keep me busy. Have been reading and learning a ton on this forum and then trying to apply it in the field. Next year I will travel around and attend some seminars. Also wanna take the ny photo institute course on line. Mike
  16. I bought my first film camera (Canon A1) when I was 14. I loved taking pictures, but always shot in P mode. When I got back to SLR's (after digital came about), I had the D70, and still shot with mainly the program modes, never really understanding much about aperture, only knowing the effects of shutter speed.

    Through reading on this forum, and asking a lot of questions, I pulled it together pretty quickly. There are so many here who will graciously share.

    I would also suggest when you look at a photo that YOU really like (don't worry about what critics say), see what it is in that draws you. Keep a log, and start to see the pattern. Then try to fit it into your own style. :smile:
  17. Whitedog

    Whitedog Guest

    I've been doing it off and on for too many years to discuss but never really seriously. These days, being retired I have more time so I take lots of pictures and play with them in Elements but I'll probably always be a semi-serious amateur. I do find myself craving a d300. Gotta quit hanging out here!!
  18. Started when I was about 10 with a Brownie pinhole, first 35mm at 15, first SLR several years later. I haven't done photography all the time in between, but there have been several years-long very active stretches and long inactive ones, too. I've had my D200 for almost two years and have been very active.

    Mostly self-taught with some reading and a lot of looking at photos. Right now I have an unofficial mentor who has almost 50 years of pro experience, including having studios in Paris, New York, and LA. He has taught me a lot about how to see.

    Ah.... then there's the Cafe.... Thanks, all!
  19. I am lucky I could retire early and spend just about as much time as I want outdoors taking pictures. I think I've read cover to cover a total of 2 good books on photography, 1 on using Photoshop and lots of reading online. The rest has been taking pictures. I was almost 50 when I started.
  20. Started out as a boy with a Kodak Brownie 127 and when I started work bought a Canonet 25 35mm which was a great little camera that I kept for a great number of years. Photography then became one of my low priorities until about 2004 when I bought an Olympus 750 Ultra Zoom digital camera that produced some stunning shots, stunning at least for me!

    Decided I wanted get more serious a couple of years back and bought a Nikon D50. Gem of a camera but sold that earlier this year and bought a D80 which is a terrific bit of kit.

    Now teaching myself the nuances of digital photography and, needless to say, post processing!

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