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How to Learn Photography

There are many ways to learn photography: online courses, workshops, school-based training, self-study, internships, or mentorship. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but regardless of the method chosen, investing in quality training will allow you to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to advance in photography.

Whether beginners, advanced, or professionals, photographers express themselves through a language that is unique to them: the language of light. Learning photography is learning a new form of expression, a new language with its own rules, grammar, and spelling. This learning of lighting techniques allows one to express one’s own photographic style, to unleash one’s imagination, and to create work that reflects one’s artistic vision.

Why Learn Photography?

One of the main reasons people turn to photography is to document family events, travel, celebrations, or simply everyday life. Photography freezes moments in time and creates lasting memories to share with loved ones. Photographs are a testament to our lives. They allow us to relive moments and share our stories with others. Knowing the basics of photography (composition rules, angle of view, exposure) provides the opportunity to enhance these precious life moments.

Learning photography not only freezes the moment but also develops one’s sense of observation, creativity, and perspective. By seeking out interesting subjects to photograph, photographers explore new places, meet new people, and experience new things. The practice of photography thus encourages us to look at the world around us with a fresh perspective. To seek and appreciate beauty in unexpected places, as well as in everyday details. It is this work of observation and exploration that builds and develops each photographer’s photographic eye, which they then express through their images.

Photography training can also open the door to many professional opportunities. Whether you want to become a freelance photographer, work in journalism, advertising, fashion, wedding photography, or any other field of photography, solid training is necessary to learn the craft of photography. Moreover, it is an important step in a photographer’s life. By learning techniques and developing their own photographic style, professional photographers are able to capture images that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also have the power to tell stories and capture the essence of their subjects.

Choosing the Right Equipment

© Zoe Wei Wyse – Spéos 2023

Choosing the right equipment is a crucial step in every photographer’s experience and progression. The first important decision getting started in photography is the choice of camera. In fact, there are many options on the market. For beginners, a compact camera may be sufficient to learn the basics. In addition to being easy to use, they offer great portability. As they progress, the photographer can decide to invest in a more advanced camera depending on the specific needs related to the field of photography in which they operate. Digital SLR and mirrorless cameras, for example, offer much higher image quality and advanced customization options for the more experienced photographer. In any case, before making a purchase, one should carefully consider the intended use of their camera, based on their level of experience and budget.

The choice of lenses is just as important as the choice of the camera itself. Lenses determine perspective, focus, and the quality of the final image. For beginners, a versatile lens with a focal range from wide-angle to telephoto is a good choice to cover a variety of shooting situations.

In addition to the camera and lenses, some accessories are essential to complete your photography gear. These may include items such as additional memory cards, extra batteries, a tripod for stability, a polarizing filter to reduce unwanted reflections and enhance landscape colors, and a carrying case to protect your equipment when traveling.

For more information on “how to choose your photographic equipment”, see our special guide.

Photography Basics

White balance, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, these are all technical and complex terms that can scare beginners away from their first approach to photography. In fact, before venturing into advanced courses or handling complex equipment, one must first understand the basics of photography.

Light is the most important element of photography. Understanding how light interacts with the camera is essential to the practice of photography. This is commonly referred to as exposure, which is the amount of light reaching the camera sensor. It is controlled by three elements: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity. Mastering these elements is the first step for beginning photographers, as they will affect the brightness of the image. Well-controlled exposure allows you to control the brightness and contrast of images, ensuring that all the details of the image are clear and defined.

Secondly, beginning photographers can also focus on composition techniques. Composition is the arrangement of elements in an image. It includes techniques such as the rule of thirds, symmetry, and leading lines, which can enhance the visual quality of photos. Once these basics are mastered, beginning photographers can explore more advanced techniques and refine their own photographic style.

© Eline Lepoutre – Spéos 2023

Possible Training Options

There are many ways to learn photography, each with its own benefits and learning opportunities. The important thing is to find an approach that suits your learning style, goals, and skill level. Whichever option one chooses, commitment and regular practice are the keys to progress and success in photography. Photography schools offer comprehensive photography programs for students interested in furthering their education. They are usually taught by experienced instructors or professional photographers who provide personalized instruction and hands-on demonstrations. These programs typically cover a variety of topics including mastering basic photography techniques, light management, post-processing, and much more through hands-on learning. These courses also provide an opportunity to meet other photography enthusiasts and share tips and experiences. The benefits of in-school photography include access to academic resources, state-of-the-art equipment, and networking opportunities with industry professionals.

Discover the Spéos training courses

Spéos offers various training courses ranging from a simple one-week photography course (initiation and improvement) to 5-month courses, 1-year programs, 2-year programs and 3-year courses. The long training courses to become a professional photographer not only allow you to master all the photographic technique and vocabulary (blur, hyperfocal, zone of sharpness, depth of field, backlight, focal length, shutter release, autofocus, wide-angle, rule of thirds, etc.), but also all the stages of shooting and image processing.

Coming to visit the school allows you to discover the premises, studios and equipment. In addition to open days, Spéos offers visits by appointment throughout the year to discover the school in the company of a member of the team.

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