Thursday, January 3, 2013

Learning by Doing

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.
I firmly believe that photography is one of those skills that can't be acquired just by reading and researching articles on the net.  You have to get out there and take photos.  A common response is -- but there's nothing for me to take photos of!  If that sounds familiar then check out DigitalCamFan.  While many photography sites focus on gear reviews, DigitalCamFan offers suggested exercises and projects for you to work on.  In this post, I spoke to Amy, who runs DigitalCamFan. Hit the jump for more.

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.
- How did you first learn photography?
I was very fortunate, right after I purchased my first DSLR I came across a class being offered through our local park and rec, "intro to DSLR".  The amount I learned during that class was amazing, as were the teachers. Every night when I came home my head was swimming with shutter speed vs. f/stop. Trying to understand thoughts like opening up will let in more light and if you stop down you will let in less light. This class helped me understand how much creativity we can bring to our photographs.

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.

- How do you keep improving your photography skills?
I like trying different techniques with my camera. For instance, I was curious how to take star trails at night, so I tried. I think it’s all about experimenting and trying different techniques. Every time we pick up our camera and take a picture, we are improving our photography skills.

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.

- I like your learning by doing approach.  Can you give an example of something that you learned by doing?
Panning... Panning is when you move the camera parallel to and at the same time as your subject. You can read about the technique all day long, but you have to try it to understand how to do it.

I had the perfect opportunity to practice my panning at a carousel birthday party. Every time the carousel would come around I would take a picture. At first I was trying to remember exactly what I read in books.  Picture after picture I did this, but it wasn't until the very end that I felt the way I was shooting was changing. I stopped thinking so much about what I was doing and started feeling the moment. I could sense when she was going to come around, feel when I should hit the shutter and my body automatically moved with her. This was one of the last pictures I took that day. The trick is to get out there and practice, I am still practicing.

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.

- I'm sure many of our readers are interested in learning by doing.  Do you have suggested resources for that?
Let me say your site is an excellent resource! The amount of time you put into each and every article is amazing. You go into great depth explaining the different camera choices, flash, lenses used, it's great! A couple other websites I find extremely helpful when it comes to photography tips would be Improvephotography and Digital Photography School!

As for books currently I am reading "The Practice of Contemplative Photography" by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. It’s about how to see the world you’re photographing, not so much technique. The Two books I reach for when it comes to photography technique would be “Understanding Exposure" by Byran Peterson and "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby. I think both books explain how to photograph in a way that one can understand.

Copyright: DigitalCamFan.  All rights reserved.
- Thanks Amy.  Any parting advice for our readers?
There are four elements I love when I take a photography class. Assignments, appreciating other photographers work, the story people tell about their photograph and talking about gear. You can find all four of these elements at DigitalCamFan:
1. Learn by Doing Photography Assignments - It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or technical enough or have the top of the line gear. To pick up our camera and take pictures is the only way to move forward.
2. Appreciating other photographers work –Inspirational photos of some amazing photographers to inspire us and help us think outside the box.
3. Featured Photo Every Wednesday – One photographer telling their story about their favorite photo. It doesn't matter if the story is about gear; weather, why they stopped for that moment. I believe these stories are full of inspiration
4. DSLR Camera Deals. Researching gear; I am always looking for deals on camera gear to share.  It doesn't take long to realize the path of photography is an expensive one. So I am always on the lookout for a good camera deal!

DigitalCamFan links:


  1. I totally agree with "Learn by doing". I am getting back into photography after 9 years pause. I live in South FL and not many nice easy subjects to photograph. I got this one right at my front door on a dead bush:; my first attempt using extension tubes.
    Thanks for your posts. They are very encouraging.

  2. Life gets busy, things happen, but you picked up your camera again... That's what counts!

    And what a first photo using extension tubes! The reflection if amazing, nice job!


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