How to Teach Beginners Basic Photography

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Photography is one art form everyone can do. It takes skill and talent to become good, but it can be done in its basic form by the novice. Painting, sculpture, music and other art forms all take years of practice and fine tuning. You can become a photographer today, with a little work.


How to Teach Beginners Basic Photography

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Photography is one art form everyone can do. It takes skill and talent to become good, but it can be done in its basic form by the novice. Painting, sculpture, music and other art forms all take years of practice and fine tuning. You can become a photographer today, with a little work.


Get a camera you believe a beginning photographer would be comfortable with, whether film or digital. It can be a basic point-and-shoot camera that has a fixed lens, a fixed shutter speed and no controls. This type of camera, film or digital, is a good starting point because it doesn't require fiddling with the controls to get a shot. If, however, you really want to teach a beginner real photography, get a single-lens reflex type camera, such as a Nikon, Pentax or Canon. These types of cameras have user controls such as shutter speeds, aperture settings, exposure control and the ability to tweak the photo session in the camera.


Take the beginner out to the field. This could be a rural setting, a shopping mall or a museum that allows photos to be taken. It could be a sidewalk in a downtown area. Virtually any place is a good setting to take photos. To start, select a setting of interest to the student. If, for example, the student likes history, choose an old cemetery. Getting the student's interest is half the battle because shooting something he likes will give him the chance to "see" the right shots.


Give the beginning photographer the freedom to explore. Don't stand over the student every second, but don't go too far away in case she has questions. Shoot the things of interest to you in the field setting while the student is photographing. This will give you the means to talk about the shots both of you got when you look at them later.


Go over the photos you and your student took. Which ones does the student like best? Which are the least favorite? Why? Go through the student's work--point out what is good and explain why. Find images that aren't exactly "there" and explain why.


Set assignments for your student. For example, send the student to a parade and ask for a wide variety of shots, including the unusual. Then, set a time to go over the work frame by frame with the student.


Show the student a variety of photos you consider brilliant by famous or not-so-famous photographers. Get the student thinking about everything from nature to glamour to news photography. No matter what the student wants to shoot, insight can be gained from many, many places.


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