How Long Does It Take To Learn Photography

7 Building Blocks of Photography 2

How long does it take to learn photography? I’m asked that a lot and there isn’t a simple answer because it depends on one thing. And that one thing is a very complex thing.

There are many ways to learn photography. You can go to college, night school or university. You can watch videos, read books, buy (and complete) photography courses, go on workshops. You could read books and teach yourself, which is actually how I learnt photography.

So what kind of time frame are we talking here? There are 2 answers to this and neither is specific. Obviously you need someone to show you how to get started with a foot on the path. If you’ve been around my training you know I can do that for you, and so can many others. It’s up to you to choose who it will be.

Photography is a blend of creativity and technical disciplines. You have the creative idea and use the technical skills to bring them to life through the camera. So your personal aptitude for different skills is a factor.

Some of us can take on technical learning very quickly. With photography, these mostly involve juggling with basic physics. But you might struggle with lighting and composition.

Even the creative aspects of photography have elements of geometry embedded in them. For example the angle you shoot from. High, low, a bit to the left or right. All of these have an impact on composition, how you arrange the elements together in the viewfinder.

If you are naturally creative and instinctively know what light works for which subject, colours that work together and composition is – well, obvious! You might find it hard to grasp technical things like exposure for example.

The second part of the answer is- you never will learn photography because there is always more to learn. The most accomplished photographers know this and are always looking for ways to improve themselves.

Interestingly professional photographers are always going on workshops and courses. They invest in their education. Professional photographic organisations arrange hundreds of courses, Master Classes and Workshops every year for their members. 

Yet many amateur photographers will spend many hundreds of pounds on cameras and kit, but next to nothing on themselves. And it’s the photographer that’s the most important part of the creative process. Cameras don't take pictures - people take pictures.

How much time do you put aside each week to learn, to practise techniques and challenge yourself with new ways of doing things?

The more we practise and get it wrong the faster we learn and master. Effort in = results out, right?

The key to how long it will take to learn photography, is You!  How much dedication and commitment do you put into upgrading your knowledge? How often do you get into action and practise? Do you shoot loads and hope for a good one? Are you afraid of getting it 'wrong' so you never actually get around to trying in the first place?

Or do you take whatever time it takes and when something doesn’t work out as expected, do you stop to find out why before trying it again?

The answer to the question “How long does it take to learn photography?” is, How long do you want it to take? Because that very complex thing which governs the time frame - is You!

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