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Best Resources To Improve Your Photography Skills

Updated on July 11, 2014
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Are you interested in bettering your photography skills? The good news is that in this day and age, there are so many different resources readily available. With options ranging from books to videos to online forums, there is something for everyone. Free resources are great, but don't discount the possibility of paid resources as well. They can be well worth the money. Happy learning!

Where can you go to find great photography information?

 
Just a Few Ideas
 
Books
Blog Posts and Articles
Videos
Photo Challenges
Classes
Podcasts
Reviews and Forums
Photo Hosting Websites
 
One of the most overwhelming aspects of improving my photography has been learning new software. Books have been a huge help with this learning process.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of improving my photography has been learning new software. Books have been a huge help with this learning process. | Source

Books

With literally thousands of free articles and blog posts available online, many people don't even think about seeking out books anymore. If you have a local library with a great nonfiction section, take advantage of it. You will most likely find a wealth of materials there. Don't be afraid to purchase a few carefully selected titles, too. Books come with the guarantee of research, experience, and editing that you're going to find in very few places online. It can be a refreshing change of pace and can save you a lot of time.

This is not the only Lightroom 5 Manual, but it is certainly one of the most popular and with good reason.

Blog Posts and Articles

With that being said, you should not discount the great range of blog posts and articles online. When it comes to blogs, seek out successful sites, whether or not they're specifically about photography because one of the biggest keys to success in the world of blogging is taking great pictures. I have linked a couple great non-photography examples on the right. I've learned so much about photography from these ladies. I've also linked some of my favorite photography websites below.

5 Reasons Why You Need a 50mm lens...Just One Video From a Great Photography Channel With a Wealth of Videos

Videos

The best piece of advice that I can offer for finding great photography videos is to find solid channels with lots of videos and stick with them for the majority of your viewing. It can be frustrating to start a brand new search every time you're looking for photography tutorials, and you often waste a lot of time doing so. There are occasions where you need a tutorial for a specific topic that simply isn't available in any of your regular sources, and you have to resort to a regular search, which is fine. It's worth branching out once in a while because you never know when you'll stumble on a new channel that you love. I've linked a couple of my favorite YouTube channels below.

An example of a photo challenge shot for the prompt "A Favorite Place," taken May 2012.

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Photo Challenges

Photo challenges can be a great way to push yourself to try new techniques and shoot new subjects while learning from fellow photographers. Many challenge hosts urge their participants to view the work of the other participants and leave feedback on it. If you expect to get feedback, it's really important that you give feedback. Checking out these posts also gives you the opportunity to view potentially great work. There are a wealth of challenges online these days with new ones popping up every month. Check out the link on the right for just a few ideas to get you started.

Classes

There are any number of different photography classes that you can take from community college courses to art school courses to free online courses. There are quite a few free classes online as well as for pay classes, many of which have very affordable prices. The good news is that there is something for everyone. If you get overwhelmed by the notion of teaching yourself how to do something, a class can be a great option.

One popular photography podcast host also posts them on YouTube.

Podcasts

Personally I haven't listed to any photography podcasts (yet...), so I can't get you my personal recommendations, but there are tons of podcasts available. You can search directly through iTunes or can look through lists of recommended podcasts. I've included a couple lists below to get you started. When you do find a podcast that you like, don't forget to subscribe so you can keep up with all of the latest installments.

As of August 2013, there are over 2,900 reviews for this lens on Amazon alone.

Reviews and Forums

One of the best parts about the photography community is that there are a lot of really generous individuals who are happy to share their expertise and insight for free. I have done extensive research before I've purchased any type of SLR gear from camera bodies to lenses to software, and it has really paid off. This is largely thanks to all of the photographers who were willing to post so extensively on photography forums and retail (i.e. Best Buy) or online shopping (i.e. Amazon) websites. No matter what stage you're at with your photography, you can benefit from these resources.

Photo Hosting Sites

You can learn a lot from studying the great photos that people post on photo hosting websites, such as Flickr, deviantART, and 500px. Many of these sites have additional resources as well such as groups, forums, and newsletters. For example, I don't post on 500px, but I do get their newsletter, which has links to helpful new articles and blog posts. Take the time to seek out groups that are relevant to you, such as location-specific groups or groups geared around specific interests (i.e. black and white photography, landscape shots).

Don't ever stop learning!

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© 2013 Rose Clearfield

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    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      David, I'm the same way with photography. I'm glad that this resource is helpful for you!

    • David Warren profile image

      David Warren 

      4 years ago from Nevada and Puerto Vallarta

      I can never read enough about photography, my passion for artistic photography is as strong as my passion to write. Thank you for such a well written hub and informative resource.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Kelly, I had only watched a couple Lightroom tutorials when I bought the software last summer. The book was a huge help for me when I was getting started. I still refer back to it from time to time when I have questions. I hope that it's helpful for you!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thanks Rose! I have been looking at the Lightroom 5 book, trying to decide if I'm buying too many photography books:) lol. I have checked it out online and in B&N...you've given me confidence it's a good buy so I'm gonna go for it!

      I've got many books...never thought about a challenge before...sounds great!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Hady Chahine! It's great to hear that. I really need to start checking out photography podcasts.

    • Hady Chahine profile image

      Hady Chahine 

      4 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      Informative hub! Personally, I favor Podcasts found in iTunes. It is convenient to access and the audible allows me to work through tutorials with my camera in hand. - Voted up.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Okay, good to know!

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      5 years ago from Pune, India

      Great Hub. Here is one more resource:

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.equipment

      This Photography Equipment page helps to know about new products related to photography.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. It's awful to see photography devalued the way it is today. Having a new iPhone doesn't mean that you know anything about producing high quality journalism photos. You're absolutely right about the strain that it puts on reporters, too. which does only further cheapen the entire product.

      I don't work in the newspaper business so I don't have any personal perspective on it, but that's too bad to hear that management is at the heart of the issue for many places. I believe that even in the instant digital age, there is still a place for high quality journalism.

      Patty, I'm glad that this article is helpful for you. That's awful to hear about the proofreader lay off. How is there going to be any credibility left in journalism with those kind of decisions?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      My photos sometimes come out pretty weird looking, so I need to practice more and this Hub helps a lot.

      Crystal Tatum - I'm sorry to hear that the photographers were laid off. At our largest newspaper in Central Ohio, the management laid off all the proofreaders.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      It's terrible, I agree. Photos are so important. Photography is being devalued as a skill and it's a real shame. Anyone can point and shoot, but not just anyone can take a good photo that tells a story, that is well composed and captures the emotion of the moment. And these cuts mean more and more is required of reporters, who now have less time to produce quality and well-researched work, further cheapening the product. It's a rough time for the news business, and I fear the demise of the newspaper is not related to the internet so much as to poor management.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Crystal, there are so many people in that position these days. It's a real shame that the journalism business is cheapening their photography in this manner. Best of luck to you!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      I've recently had to take on photography as part of my job at a newspaper, since a corporate decision was made to lay off photographers. It's been quite a challenge and I need to improve my skills for sure. Very helpful article. Thanks and voted up.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Suzie, you're right that all of the readily available photography resources make it more doable than ever! As always, your feedback means a lot to me.

      Glimmer Twin Fan, I hope that you get the chance to take a photography class!

      Natasha, I hear you. I know that years later, I'll still be discovering new features on the Rebel. I'm with you on the resources, too. Online resources and books have made all the difference with learning any number of different photo techniques from camera settings to Lightroom.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      I always feel so foolish when I discover something my camera can do that I never knew about before! Great list of resources - I wouldn't know what to do with my camera if it weren't for helpful books and blogs!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      I really need to take a photography class. I do ok with certain things, but basically I just play with the settings on my camera until I like a photo. Really useful hub. Voted, shared and pinned.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 

      5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Rose,

      What a great one stop place for all the different ways to improve our snapping skills! I love taking and admiring beautiful photographs and with all these resources on our fingertips, it makes it so doable. Your competition photo and beach shot are stunning Rose, could look at them all day! Well done on another well researched and time consuming hub which I for one greatly appreciate!

      Up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared and pinned!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, RTalloni! All the best with your endeavors. :)

      FlourishAnyway, I'm glad that these resources are helpful for you!

      You're welcome, agusfanani. :) I hope that it's helpful.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 

      5 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for the information.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thank you for providing these resources and advice. I'm very interested in becoming a better amateur photographer so that my hubs and personal scrapbooks are as attractive as possible. Voted up and more!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      5 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for these photography resources. I keep thinking I'm going to set aside some concentrated time for improving my photography. This is inspiring!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's great, Deb! Best of luck to you. If you ever have any questions, let me know. I'm certainly not an expert on this topic, but I'm happy to help in any way I can.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      5 years ago from Iowa

      This is a great resource. I'd like to improve my photography skills and have been thinking about taking a class. I will check out some of the other options you mentioned. Thanks.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm so glad to hear that, boutiqueshops! I haven't read Dareen's blog, but Digital Photography School is a great resource.

    • boutiqueshops profile image

      Sylvia 

      5 years ago from Corpus Christi, Texas

      What a wonderful resource for learning about photography, which I want to do so badly. Saved to my Evernote for future reference. What do you think of Darren Rowse's Digital Photography School blog?

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, sallybea! I just purchased Lightroom this summer and haven't looked back. I edit all my raw files in Lightroom and then sometimes I add final finishing touches in Elements or Picasa. I highly recommend it.

      You're right that it's amazing how many photographs share so much of their knowledge so willing. It's a huge asset to the community!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      5 years ago from Norfolk

      Very useful resource. I have been considering using Lightroom for a while, instead of Photoshop Elements so will definitely bookmark this and come back to it later. I do use Flickr and ePhotozine. It it amazing how useful it is to have so many photographers willing to share their knowledge and their images on these sites. Voted up, thanks for sharing.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I'm so glad to hear that, Vicki!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      You're a great resource as always, Rose, for photography. Pinning this one for reference!

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