Can Photography be Learned from a Book?

If you want to learn photography, but don’t want to go to school for it, there are plenty of options available. You can find tons of information on the internet, in books, and even in magazines. You can also find online courses that will teach the basics of photography. In fact, I teach digital photography online in Zoom classes. It’s a very popular option.

But can you really learn photography from a book? The answer, like with most things in life, is that it depends. It depends on your learning style, your goals, and your willingness to put in the work. If you’re the type of person who likes to learn by doing, then a book probably isn’t the best option for you. However, if you’re the type of person who likes to learn by reading and studying, then a book can be a great way to learn photography.

Some people may say that photography can only be learned through experience. And while it is true that experience is the best teacher, there is also a lot to be said for learning from books. Photography books can provide a solid foundation for anyone interested in pursuing this creative art form.

Photography books can teach you the basics of composition, lighting, and exposure. They can also give you an introduction to different genres of photography, such as portrait, landscape, and still life. And if you’re stuck on a particular photography project, a book can serve as a great reference. So while experience is still the best teacher, don’t discount the importance of learning from books. If you’re interested in photography, be sure to check out some of the Influencers that I’ve listed below.

Different people have different learning styles. I believe that utilizing a few different methods of learning helps the information to stick a little better. I realize that not everyone has the sticky issues that I have, but having the same information taught to me in different ways has been nothing but helpful. I’ve found that learning from another human, I get more context, real-life examples and more often than not, a great story. Photography can get very technical and “mathy”. My brain struggles with math. It makes my head hurt. But, if you know basic fractions, you’re almost there. Like any new thing, the terminology is everything. Once you learn and get used to the jargon that photographers use, you’ll begin to feel more comfortable. The trick is not trying to take it all in at once. Learn each concept and then move to the next.

The basics of Photography are typically divided into these categories: Lighting, Composition (posing), Exposure and Camera Operation. It’s important to take these and study each one in-depth. After you get a firm grasp on all of the different pieces at play, you can then figure out your style of shooting. It helps me to have my camera set up in advance (at least with as much info as I know), then in the moment, I can find my more specific settings faster. It may help to have a mental checklist of things to remember. Practice is the key.

I do think that books are great to learn from, but I primarily use them as a reference. For example, if I’m questioning something and need to look it up. I rarely read them cover to cover. Everybody had different learning styles. Youtube is a great source for photography information and training.

Good luck. Call me if you have any questions. I love to teach. Here’s the list of influencers. I would list their books, but there are just too many. If you follow any of these people, you’ll find the info you need.


Favorite Photography Educators:

Scott Kelby
Jasmine Star
Peter McKinnon
Vanessa Joy
Sal Cincota
Peter Hurley

Photographers whose work inspires me:

Annie Leibovitz
Ansel Adams
David Baily
Kevin Kubota
Joe McNally
Jay Maisel
Pete Souza

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