In response to the question "how long does it take to learn photography?" is a question that has been posed to me in various forms on numerous occasions over the past few years. It is typically posed by individuals who are feeling so discouraged because they have spent months learning everything they can but still do not believe that they have reached their objective.
The process of learning photography can be extremely challenging and discouraging, and there are times when we get the feeling that we either won't ever be able to get there or that we'd love to skip ahead on the learning part and get the photos we want RIGHT NOW.
How long does it take to become proficient in photography, or how long does it take to become proficient enough to take photographs that are at least passable?
I have lied to you; I simply do not know how long it will take you to complete it.
But I can give you an idea, based on my own experiences, the experiences of my students, and the experiences of people who have read and commented on this very blog over the course of the past five years. I'll start with my own experiences. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
The truth is that we are all unique in terms of how quickly we pick up things, whether we invest in learning or try to wing it ourselves, and even how much time we have to practise. Therefore, rather than giving you a specific timescale, I will provide you with a general guideline.
Here's the significant bit:
I've known some people who did it in two years, and others who took longer, more like four years, but the average is around three years for those who try to go it alone. A three-year mark is consistent with people who try to go it alone.
On the other hand, it took other people only about three to six months to reach that stage when they started out. Then, what differentiates them from me, and how did they manage to advance past the "beginner" stage before I did?
They didn't wait until they were at a point where they couldn't figure it out on their own before beginning to invest in their own education, which is something I didn't do.
This meant that rather than spending months trying to track down random information and even more months trying to piece it together, they were able to skip straight to the practise part, and as a result, they improved an incredible amount much more quickly.
Know you will always be learning.
One more thing I want to point out is that when it comes to photography, you probably won't ever feel like you've "arrived," and you'll probably feel like you're always learning! The reason for this is that the artistic and the technical come together in the process of taking good photographs.
After you have mastered the technical aspects, you will have more mental space to devote to being more creative, attempting new things, and taking risks. This will allow you to move forwards with your work. Because at this point we are free to explore our own creativity and, more importantly, know how to manipulate the technical side of things to achieve the desired effect, we will start to get more photos that "WOW."
We always want to try out something new:
- A new style of photography like macro
- Shooting in a new location, like underwater
- Trying out more advanced composition tools
That's what makes photography so fascinating - because you will always have something new to learn or try out! Your photographs will be your most treasured wedding keepsake. Not sure where to start when it comes to looking for your wedding photographer of choice?
Learning photography will take as long as it takes you.
Invest in your education by enrolling in a class and devoting a few hours per week to working on perfecting your craft. You are going to improve a great deal more quickly than someone who only picks up their camera for an hour or two on the weekend or who tries to piece everything together by using the internet.
Due to the fact that you and other people may have chosen very different courses of action, it is impossible to accurately compare your development to that of another person's. It's not fair, and it leads to comparisons that aren't helpful, as well as frustration. Keep your attention on the path you are travelling and the steps you must take to accomplish your objective.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Good Photographer?
According to the so-called "10,000-hour rule," in order to become proficient at something, you need to practise it for a total of 10,000 hours. But is it applicable to the field of photography? No, that cannot be done. When it comes to photography, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in lighting, another 10,000 hours to become an expert in composition, and the same is true for other significant aspects of photography.
In addition, there are ten thousand hours dedicated to learning the theory, as opposed to simply taking pictures. To put it another way, becoming an accomplished photographer requires many years and many thousands of hours of practise. But exactly how many are there?
If you practise photography between three and seven hours a day, nearly every day of the week, we estimate that it will take you approximately ten years to develop the skills necessary to become a competent photographer. You might be thinking right now, "but I'm doing so much better after six months!" Well… It is possible that you should read this.
It's possible that it will take you around ten years to become an expert photographer, but that doesn't mean you can't start making money from photography sooner rather than later. I don't know very many photographers who have spent ten years honing their craft before turning it into a full-time profession for themselves. This is more about progressing to an extremely advanced level in your work.
At this point, you should be aware of the things that you do not know. If you are still not completely satisfied with your work, you should be aware of exactly what it is that you need to study in order to make it better. Also, it would be helpful if you always thought about when the most recent time was that you did something new and picked up some new information. Learning new things and getting better should be our overarching goal, and this should be true at every stage of our development—not just after ten years has passed.
Have you arrived at a point where you are almost entirely satisfied with the work that you have produced? How long have you dedicated yourself to improving your photography skills?
How Long Does It Take To Learn Photography?
The question worth a million dollars, which is one that we are frequently posed with. In all honesty, there is no clear-cut answer to the question of how long it takes to become proficient in photography. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is being dishonest. Everyone knows things in their own unique way, and they all take in information at their own pace.
While it might only take one person a few months to become an accomplished photographer, it might take someone else years and years to achieve the same level of skill.
Ways Of Learning Photography
One more thing to think about is the fact that one can learn photography in a variety of different ways. This is an important consideration. Perhaps you have a knack for retaining information as a result of your enjoyment of reading. You might find it more helpful to watch instructional videos on YouTube instead. Do you think that taking a photography class online that offers a free certificate would be a better option for you?
No matter which path you decide to take, you must ensure that it is suitable for you and the way in which you learn best. It is not enough to simply take in the information; in order to acquire a true understanding of photography, you will need to put what you have learned into practise. Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
Experience Counts For A Lot
Your rate of learning will be accelerated if you get experience in a wide range of different situations. Take, for instance, the taking of photographs at weddings. You can't just pick up a book on wedding photography and expect to be a seasoned professional after shooting your first wedding.
Not only are the settings on the camera something to think about in order to get the right shots, but you also need to have an intuitive understanding of where to stand in order to get the best captures. In order to take quality photographs of weddings, you must also have strong communication skills and the ability to keep the happy and relaxed state of the couple throughout the event. The experience of actually photographing weddings will, over the course of time, teach you these skills, and eventually, they will become automatic. On the other hand, you must not believe that something like this can take place overnight.
The same can be said for many different types of photography; whether you want to take pictures of people or wildlife, it will take some time to build up your level of experience. Even after that, there will still be new information to take in.
Cameras Don't Take Pictures.
It is essential to keep in mind that the quality of a photographer's ability and skill will always take precedence over the quality of the camera being used. A simple point-and-shoot camera can produce quality images in the hands of even the most skilled of photographers. On the other hand, despite having access to the highest-quality equipment available, an amateur photographer will still produce subpar photographs.
It is a widely held misconception that in order to become a skilled photographer, all one needs is a high-quality camera, to which they must then direct their lens towards an appealing subject. If this were the case, then we would all be writing music in the style of John Lennon and purchasing the best guitars money can buy. It's not even close to being true.
If you believe that purchasing an expensive camera or lens will make the process go more quickly, then you are mistaken in thinking that way. Yes, certain camera features will enable you to shoot at higher ISOs. For instance, a lens may enable you to plug in lower light, and other camera features may enable you to shoot at higher shutter speeds.
The most effective method of education, however, will be to begin by making the most of the resources at your disposal. You will also become better at solving problems in photography, which is a skill that is essential to having if you want to be a well-rounded professional photographer. We have an exclusive range of wedding photography Mornington Peninsula services. Check them out here.
What You Know About Photography Is Equal To What You Don't
The unfortunate reality is that you will never "completely learn photography." The reason for this is that there is so much information to take in that acquiring all of it would be extremely difficult. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that you work as a sports photographer. You are completely aware of the optimal vantage point from which to take photographs with the appropriate shutter speed and aperture settings. You are a very skilled photographer, which is your profession, and you are very good at what you do.
Despite this, it does not follow that you are now qualified to work as a fashion photographer. You might be able to take photos with your camera from a technical standpoint, but are you familiar with how to organise a model for a photo shoot? Have you ever thought about how to pose the model? To use lighting from a studio? And to share your thoughts and opinions with them? Almost certainly not.
Learning To Be Creative Isn't The Same As Learning Photography.
Teaching someone how to be creative can be a challenging endeavour. The ability to make decisions in a split second that will have an effect on one's photographs is essential to producing high-quality photographs.
When viewed from this perspective, acquiring knowledge of the technical aspects of photography, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, becomes somewhat less complicated. However, it is difficult to advise someone on how to improve their future image without first having a full understanding of the circumstances. On the other hand, there is some encouraging news. It can be to your advantage to have a strong understanding of the more technical aspects of photography. You will be able to experiment more if you use your camera and consistently achieve the results you are looking for.
You can't help but become more creative as you play around with a variety of different scenarios, including lighting conditions, general compositions, and scene settings. The reason for this is that you will improve as a result of the mistakes that you make. When you are learning photography, this is one of the topics that you will hear a lot of discussion about. You need to encourage people to try new things and learn from their experiences, even if they fail.
The one and only thing that we stress is the importance of constantly critiquing and evaluating your own work. When you do this, you will start to see correlations between the things that work and the things that don't work. After some time has passed, you will eventually start to develop an instinct to solve problems in a creative manner when you are under pressure.
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It's Down To You
In the end, the rate at which you learn photography will be determined solely by you, the individual.
Consider who is going to pick up new information first. Who is that person who goes on a walk with their family once a month and pulls out their camera to take a picture? Or, how about the photographer who is constantly challenging themselves to improve their craft and become the best photographer they can be? Is it possible that a person who is consistently pleased with their photographs is not producing quality work?
Or, does the individual who is continually evaluating and refining their photography approach result in a much higher level of photographic ability? As a photographer, the course of your career is entirely up to you. Because photography is not something that can be picked up in a single sitting, there is no possible way to arrive at an accurate estimate of the amount of time necessary to become proficient.
There is no question that the rate at which you absorb new information will quicken provided that you continue to make efforts to improve your photography skills. Taking in the information and thinking, "yeah, I will put that into practise one day" is not nearly as effective as committing yourself to going out into the world and putting what you've learned into practise.
The Three Stages of Becoming a Prosperous Photographer
Stage One – Learning
Timeframe approximation: five years
Whether or not you've made it to where you want to be sooner than what I'm about to throw out there, I believe that this stage is arguably the one that is the least understood and the least accepted by people. Learning is going to be the focus of this first stage, in my opinion. During these five years, you will learn from your mistakes, your aesthetic will shift like the mood of a manic-depressive adolescent, and you will start to zero in on the subgenre or speciality that you will eventually call your own.
It is acceptable to have self-doubts during this time period. You really need to. It is not a weakness to acknowledge that others have greater skill and experience than you do. Because they are, it is fine to be the second shooter because you will learn more in this position than you would otherwise.
Putting your pride aside, coming to terms with the fact that you have a great deal to learn through observation, experimentation, and trial and error during the first five years of your journey will help you prepare for the stage that follows, which is the stage of building.
Stage Two – Building
Estimated time: Five years.
Assuming that you have spent the past approximately five years honing your craft and locating your place in the market, it is now time to begin stage two, which is the building stage. It's time to start building your proverbial castle and the wall around it that will protect all of your hard work, just like a king who has spent years cultivating a legion of loyal followers.
Expect to put in some effort during this second stage. A lot. The next five years will be spent marketing like crazy, working as much as possible, exchanging time spent with friends for time spent with clients, and putting all of that hard-earned knowledge and experience into practise. Since it is not easy to build a successful photography business, the next five years will be spent doing all of these things. The construction of a castle will go like this. In the end, the size of the aforementioned castle is determined by you.
Stage Three – Enjoyment
Estimated time: Remainder of your career.
Since you started out, you've been putting in a lot of effort to make a name for yourself in the photography industry. That is quite some time. You've invested a lot of time and effort into mastering your craft (which never really ends at stage one), developing a successful company that you're pleased with, and you haven't given up. Congratulations! Now is the time to take stock of your accomplishments and bask in the glory of your hard work; perhaps you should write a book, or buy yourself the keys to a brand-new studio, office, or even house.
To drive home the point, it is important to understand that it takes a significant amount of time and effort to reach a level of comfort in this field. The unfortunate truth is that the majority of people never make it to this last stage. I'm still putting in a lot of effort and going after it on my own.
You understood that correctly. I'm making the assumption that in order to reach the comfortable level of achievement that so many of us witness on a daily basis through the work of our favourite photographers, it takes the equivalent of ten years of blood, sweat, and tears in the field of photography, on average.
The art of photography is not extinct. It's going strong. The reality is that there are very few of those front-of-the-line passes available, no matter how much we'd all like to have one that would take us directly to the front of the line. The second reality is that a lot of other photographers have already finished stage one and stage two, and they are more deserving of stage three at this point than you are.
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You have an equal chance as anyone else to get to the point where you can finally relax and take it all in once you've put in the necessary amount of time, effort, and mental fortitude. Therefore, try not to lose hope. I have high hopes for what you can accomplish.