Let’s face it - photography can be an expensive hobby. Between your camera and lens and essential accessories like a tripod and filters, you can easily spend a couple of thousand dollars. With all those expenses, actually learning how to use all that gear to take eye-catching photos usually means you need something that’s free or inexpensive.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to learn photography on the cheap. Have a look at our favorite ways to develop new skills and build on existing ones - all for free!
Learn How to Use Your Gear
It’s kind of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people take their camera out of the box and just start taking images. If you really want to learn how to be a better photographer, become intimately familiar with your gear. Read the owner’s manuals. Watch a YouTube video. Read a few photography blogs. The point is that no one - not even an expert - is going to know every single feature and function right out of the box. The more you know how to use your gear, the better the photos you will be able to take.
Get Involved in a Photography Forum
A photography forum is an ideal learning space for photographers of all ability levels. Think about it - a forum is a place where you can meet others with similar interests, pick the brains of photographers regarding creative or technical issues, chat about obstacles or triumphs, and get feedback on your images, just to name a few. You might even find that there are forum participants in your area that you can meet up with to go out and shoot!
Read - A Lot
There is a wealth of excellent photography blogs, photography tutorials, and in-depth photography guides online, many of which are completely free. Most tutorials are short enough that you can read them in a matter of minutes and then head out to practice the skills you learned. Many photography blogs post new content on a weekly, if not a daily basis, meaning you have a virtually endless supply of educational materials at your disposal. Simply selecting one tutorial a day will help you learn new skills in no time!
A lot of us learn by interacting with others, so why not solicit feedback from people who can point out your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer? The beauty of getting feedback is that you can get it from virtually anywhere. Perhaps it’s someone you meet in a photography forum or a local photographer or photography teacher. Maybe you just post your work online and get critiques from your followers on social media. The point is that the more you strive to get constructive criticism, the better understanding you will have of the areas in which you need to improve.
Join a Photography Club
Many cities and towns have photography groups that meet on a regular basis, and there are few better places to learn photography. Much like a photography forum, these groups give you a chance to interact with other photographers of all skills levels, opening up all sorts of possibilities for learning. What’s more, photography clubs usually have periodic photo walks and other activities to get you out shooting. That kind of consistent practice in the company of other photographers will really get you on the path to learning how to be a better photographer.