You’ve heard me say it plenty of times: Knowledge is key. In photography, knowledge is power. We must always keep learning, keep building our skills, keep pushing ahead, and we must always recognize the fact that the learning will never end. There will always be new things we can learn about photography, no matter how experienced we are.
Now couple those thoughts with our modern, busy lifestyles! You might find yourself asking the same question that so many of us do. Who has time to learn?
We all have careers that need attention, families who miss us when we hole up in our offices processing photos for too long, there are chores to be done, and so on. When we think about learning, our imaginations often unfold something like taking college courses, getting some sort of education centered around photography, escaping for a week to attend an extended workshop, or reading a new photography book each week.
That’s when the idea of learning starts to become frightening. Many of us struggle to find the time to read hefty books about photography, let alone take entire weeks for workshops or enroll ourselves in a couple of interesting courses. Learning can be a huge time investment.
But it doesn’t have to be. For those of us who don’t have several hours a week to devote to learning, what can we do to keep the knowledge coming in steadily? Well, this is where the age of the internet is truly a beautiful thing, I think. There is so much learning to be done online.
Start with your favorite photographers. Find where they hang out online and follow them so that when you’re having a coffee break, you can look at their photography and learn from it.
Another great place for knowledge is the publishers of your favorite software. Keep an eye on their blogs. You’ll often find that they post tutorials and other valuable bits of learning. These are things you can read in a few minutes, or bookmark for later when you want to follow along with your own images. By that token, look for reputable power users of your favorite software, or follow sites devoted to it. When you have a few minutes—taking the subway to work or standing in line somewhere—read a tutorial.
Make use of YouTube to the fullest extent. Follow photographers, artists and software gurus so that you’re aware when they’re publishing new videos that offer you valuable information. Create playlists of things you’d like to come back and watch later.
E-readers and e-books are other wonderful tools. Not many of us want to lug around a tome all day on the offside chance that we’ll have a bit of time to read it. But you can put a Kindle in your bag or load e-books on your phone. Then, when you find yourself waiting at the checkout line, sitting in the waiting room, or somewhere else where there is nothing to do but wait, you can bring up the book and get a little bit of learning in.
We’re all pressed for time, many of us to the point that huge investments in education simply aren’t possible. Learning doesn’t have to take a huge chunk of time, though. In the modern era, it’s easy to find ways to keep on building cumulative knowledge in bite-size pieces that keep us learning even when we don’t have hours to spare.
Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.