Where To Begin?


TPF Noob!
Apr 12, 2009
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I want to further develop my photography skills and become a freelance photographer. I'm not sure where to begin though. I asked two friends who have both taken photography classes and each one gave me different advice. One said I should buy a beginner's SLR, start practicing with it and take some digital classes. The other recommended I should take a beginning photography class that teaches all the basics and fundamentals of a camera, about lighting and composition, and how to develop film in a dark room. I prefer the advice of the first friend because I have no interest in the film aspect of photography but my second friend thinks it would make me a better overall photographer. I need to learn about all the camera lingo, settings (ISO, aperture, etc….) and the composition of a photo, however, I would like to learn all of that without having to work with film. Are there digital photography classes that teach all the same stuff without having to work with film? What do you each recommend?
For the most part, I would agree with the second recommendation. Look in your local adult-ed brochure and see what's available. Learning the basics is critical, and ideally look for a course where either the equipment is supplied, or not required. Even entry-level SLRs are expensive, and there's nothing worse than going out and dropping a thousand dollars on gear only to find out that you would, after a bit of exerience, preferred another brand/model/system. Working with film won't make you a better photographer per se, but it will give you a better understanding of some of the fundamentals of exposure and processing. It's nice, but by no means essential, and I suspect that you'd be hard-pressed to find a course like that outside of very large cities now.

Also consider joining a local camera club; you will be exposed to a huge variety of equipment and technique, and learn far more than you ever would snapping away on your own.

Good luck.
So would I be able to basically learn the same stuff that I would in a film class in a digital photography class? I just wouldn't work with the film. Could I also learn all I would learn in a class by just reading books and asking other people?
With digital you will get instant results of what you did. You can try as many times as you want, memory is free.
I meant to reuse.
With a couple of minor exceptions (such as the ability to change WB and ISO at will) everything that applies to film will apply to digital work. Photographic theory is photographic theory, regardless of the medium upon which hte image is being recorded.

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