How to teach a friend Photography...

Dec 10, 2011
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4
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If she is interested (and this is valid for every craft or hobby) I would offer her to take a look at her results.
She then shoots, what she likes and you can offer her some hints how to make it different, better, or what gear would help.
To learn about basics like aperture or shutterspeed: same. She can choose a book or a class.
I would do it laissez-fair.
If someone is interested in something, he will talk about it.
So for you.
Have fun!
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
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Thanks Alex! Yeah, I'll see how it goes.

I guess at some point I should learn something about photography myself and stop faking it like I've been doing for the past few years. Know what I mean, LOL?! I mean, should I teach her how to get it right in camera or just teach how to fix it in post??? ;D After some shoots, I look at my pictures and I wonder if I know anything at all!! Thank God for the occasional picture that I'm actually proud of!!
 

jdramirez

EOS R6
May 31, 2011
2,950
0
44
RustyTheGeek said:
Thanks Alex! Yeah, I'll see how it goes.

I guess at some point I should learn something about photography myself and stop faking it like I've been doing for the past few years. Know what I mean, LOL?! I mean, should I teach her how to get it right in camera or just teach how to fix it in post??? ;D After some shoots, I look at my pictures and I wonder if I know anything at all!! Thank God for the occasional picture that I'm actually proud of!!

photography is like love making, the bigger the lens, the less you have to do.

ok, it's nothing like that... I just wanted to be crass.
 

Jay Khaos

EOS RP
Nov 5, 2012
200
0
Roswell, GA
eml58 said:
docholliday said:
I'd say to send her to a local store offering classes (free or otherwise). I lecture a lot and do teach advanced studio photography, but I don't teach beginners. It'll keep your neighborly friendship, your own headaches down, and she'll be amongst her "peers" at the same level of knowledge so that they can bounce ideas off each other freely with the guidance of a structured method to learn.

As she gets more "advanced" and familiar with the craft, then you could always step in and give advice, critiques, etc. Once she has the basics down, then if you were to take her out on a shoot to work on something specific, i.e fill flash, composition, etc. it would be much easier.

Excellent advice, take it.

Remember always, "No good turn goes unpunished", you have a good relationship with your neighbour, getting in boots and all has the disadvantage of changing that relationship, that may not be what you want in the long run.

If you decide to go Boots and all, do it without charging, money will almost surely soar the relationship, almost always does.


I want to dislike this advice, because I dont like to think that it's true.... but I have to agree, because it always proves to be (in my experience). The thing about letting flickr/family/friend compliments get to their head is the most discouraging thing... In my experience it hasn't been worth it and it always becomes hostile, or just ends with no results at best.

My theory is that, if someone is motivated to actually learn to take great photos, they can and will do it on their own (internet, books, etc). More often the case however: they see the notoriety you are gaining amongst mutual friends or family, doing something that is seemingly all fun and games, and of course that's appealing—not necessarily motivated by the artistic aspect of it. Definitely not accusing your neighbor of being in that category, but in my experience, the latter description fits the type of person that approaches me for help. They want the internet popularity and compliments, not a respectable final product or the path that it takes to get there.

I mean, if I were to have my brain wiped of all photography knowledge and made to start again, I would RATHER be left on my own to research and learn at least at first... even if I had access to a world-class teacher. If I didn't even have the motivation and patience for that, what good would I be in the hands of a pro anyway?
 

jdramirez

EOS R6
May 31, 2011
2,950
0
44
Jay Khaos said:
I want to dislike this advice, because I dont like to think that it's true.... but I have to agree, because it always proves to be (in my experience). The thing about letting flickr/family/friend compliments get to their head is the most discouraging thing... In my experience it hasn't been worth it and it always becomes hostile, or just ends with no results at best.

My theory is that, if someone is motivated to actually learn to take great photos, they can and will do it on their own (internet, books, etc). More often the case however: they see the notoriety you are gaining amongst mutual friends or family, doing something that is seemingly all fun and games, and of course that's appealing—not necessarily motivated by the artistic aspect of it. Definitely not accusing your neighbor of being in that category, but in my experience, the latter description fits the type of person that approaches me for help. They want the internet popularity and compliments, not a respectable final product or the path that it takes to get there.

I mean, if I were to have my brain wiped of all photography knowledge and made to start again, I would RATHER be left on my own to research and learn at least at first... even if I had access to a world-class teacher. If I didn't even have the motivation and patience for that, what good would I be in the hands of a pro anyway?

I know my mind is always in the gutter, but I think of knocking boots... which is what I'm guessing isn't what you are sagging. though that to can ruin a relationship... but out of all the ways to ruin a friendship, it's my favorite.

as for doing it all over again... wow... I was just so green and naive and I still did a reasonable job with what I had... from changing angles to focusing and timing... ugh. it would be so awful.
 

mkabi

EOS RP
Mar 21, 2013
509
2
41
I dont' know if someone has already mentioned this... but tell her to learn it through YouTube.
I'm not advocating by it, but I have learned a lot from YouTube myself, never had to consult a professional photographer or videographer (well, not often) and its a good reference.

First, tell her to find out how to use the various buttons and knobs through YouTube. There are so many videos and they are based on the individual bodies.

Then to figure out different techniques through YouTube. And, if there is something that is confusing that YouTube can't answer, you step in.

Sometimes... not everyone is meant to be a teacher... you may lose patience with the learner. You may be going too fast... or too slow...you can always play, stop and rewind a YouTube video.
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
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Thanks again for all of the input. I'm aware that things could become awkward or affect our neighborly relationship. I will not only be up front with how I want to keep things cordial but also what I expect for her to gain or not. As for knocking boots, well LOL!! (I honestly thought about that too. It's just a fact of life.) That's extremely unlikely unless there is a side of her I know nothing about! She's not really my type unless again, there is a side I know nothing about.

Anyway, keep the advice coming. I appreciate it!
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
1,631
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jdramirez said:
RustyTheGeek said:
Thanks Alex! Yeah, I'll see how it goes.

I guess at some point I should learn something about photography myself and stop faking it like I've been doing for the past few years. Know what I mean, LOL?! I mean, should I teach her how to get it right in camera or just teach how to fix it in post??? ;D After some shoots, I look at my pictures and I wonder if I know anything at all!! Thank God for the occasional picture that I'm actually proud of!!

photography is like love making, the bigger the lens, the less you have to do.

ok, it's nothing like that... I just wanted to be crass.

That's OK, I sometimes think my mind pretty much lives in the gutter. Probably like most men. (And some women!) It's pretty hard to offend me, esp when it comes to innuendo related to women.

Big, high performance lenses are in big demand but elusive to get to hold and use. So of course they are what every photographer, male or female, prefers when given a choice. It's just the way things are, right?
 

drolo61

EOS 90D
CR Pro
Aug 31, 2012
111
1
Hamburg - Germany
Especially the scarpbook suggestion is great.
No much to ad, but one thing that helped me get into it back in the film days.

I would start her on the 5Dc with, if you can spare it, a relatively fast normal range prime (say 50, 1,4).
Explain in simple terms the way to manipulate the amount of light in manual (f-stop, speed, iso).
Put the camera in all manual and off she goes.

It may be a little bit rough, but it will help her to discover the basics quickly (as she can always go for direct feedback and look at what she did after each shot). Zooming you can do using your feet, the fast prime allows her to discover and explore DOF.

Sharing progress in choosen intervals will help, and if you can afford a couple of hours, try to agree on a "project topic" that both of you cover usinf equivalent equipment. Not to show of, but to share different views to the same general idea.

Has become more than a bit, but here you go.

Mind to share the outcome of your project (if it stars)?
Have a great day
Olaf
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
1,631
4
55
DFW
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drolo61 said:
Especially the scarpbook suggestion is great.
No much to ad, but one thing that helped me get into it back in the film days.

I would start her on the 5Dc with, if you can spare it, a relatively fast normal range prime (say 50, 1,4).
Explain in simple terms the way to manipulate the amount of light in manual (f-stop, speed, iso).
Put the camera in all manual and off she goes.

It may be a little bit rough, but it will help her to discover the basics quickly (as she can always go for direct feedback and look at what she did after each shot). Zooming you can do using your feet, the fast prime allows her to discover and explore DOF.

Sharing progress in choosen intervals will help, and if you can afford a couple of hours, try to agree on a "project topic" that both of you cover usinf equivalent equipment. Not to show of, but to share different views to the same general idea.

Has become more than a bit, but here you go.

Mind to share the outcome of your project (if it stars)?
Have a great day
Olaf

Yeah, this is similar to what I was thinking. Perhaps let her get used to the camera in P mode and then quickly push for her to experiment with M and do some exercises with varying shutter, aperture and ISO so she understands the exposure triangle and how changing each aspect affects the picture Blur, DOF and Noise.

I think starting with a prime is good so it forces her to think more and then later she will appreciate what the zoom does for her. I also prefer the 5Dc with either a 50mm or a 28mm. IMO, the 28 is a bit more forgiving.

As for books, I'll likely give her one or two from Kelby or Peterson to start off. There's also an easy read from Joel Sartore about photographing family that I think is a good start. I will also encourage her to start looking at as many photographs as possible online or otherwise to see what she likes about them and start considering how they were made.

Using YouTube, etc are great ideas as long as she understands what she is learning and is comfortable with using the Internet a lot. I'm not sure about that. It also depends on how much time she has to dedicate to this venture. I honestly hope I can sell her a few things to start out with like I started out myself with my 'mentor' friend. Sort of a win/win.
 

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
931
19
Wales
DON'T DO IT!
I got involved in teaching a lady to use DSLR cameras, now she is a better photographer than me and keeps borrowing my lenses!

We got her started with borrowed gear then she bought some of our older gear (at very low prices) and within a year started to leave us behind!

You can really go off people!
 
Dec 10, 2011
468
4
56
Austria
www.flickr.com
Dear Rusty!

Yes, teaching someone is strange. You yourself as a teacher will learn a lot.
(And sometimes this process leads to a nice collaboration.)
As I told you: if youre not getting paid for this, let the pupil come to you at free will.

Again: have fun!
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
1,631
4
55
DFW
rustythegeek.zenfolio.com
johnf3f said:
DON'T DO IT!
I got involved in teaching a lady to use DSLR cameras, now she is a better photographer than me and keeps borrowing my lenses!

We got her started with borrowed gear then she bought some of our older gear (at very low prices) and within a year started to leave us behind!

You can really go off people!

LOL! Yeah, that would be ironic, eh? In this case, I'm not a pro and wouldn't lose a penny. In fact, it would be great if she became as good or hopefully better than me because that would not only make me a great teacher but I might actually end up in a few pictures for a change in our scout troop. You know the drill - as the photographer you're never present at any of the events... at least not by looking at the photos! :)
 

RustyTheGeek

EOS 5D Mark IV
Apr 27, 2011
1,631
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55
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alexanderferdinand said:
Dear Rusty!

Yes, teaching someone is strange. You yourself as a teacher will learn a lot.
(And sometimes this process leads to a nice collaboration.)
As I told you: if youre not getting paid for this, let the pupil come to you at free will.

Again: have fun!

Ahh! You got me. Busted! :) This is the selfish part of me knowing that the more I teach things, the more I benefit from knowing the material better. So I totally agree with you. It's a great side benefit aside from the whole ego boost and all. Thanks for the feedback!
 
Nov 14, 2013
1
0
RustyTheGeek said:
I think this will be a fun thread. I thought I would throw this out there and see what everyone thinks...

- Neighbor wants to learn photography and wonders if I will teach her.
- I'm an experienced technical instructor, just need to decide what will work for her.
- Neighbor is a mom of foreign origin whose son is also in our scout troop.
- She eventually wants to buy some good equipment and learn to take good images.

I have plenty of equipment similar to most of the CR gang. My plan was to loan her a basic DSLR, (like a Rebel or a 30D) with a basic kit lens and flash along with a few good books and let her get her feet wet. Then loan another camera (like a 5Dc or something different), different lens, maybe a prime and let her experiment some more. Demonstrate the fact that she can get good pictures with any camera if she develops good technique, etc. Along the way answering questions and then teach more later after she is more familiar with what to ask.

Cart before the horse or the chicken and the egg: I think that many folks go out and buy a ton of gear, mess with it for a while and then get discouraged because it isn't what they expect. It isn't that fulfilling. My goal is to first see if she truly enjoys taking pictures before she invests in gear or gets turned off by trying to formally "learn" photography. Actually taking pictures is the most important part and often that is the part people learn they don't really prefer after all. Or, by actually taking pictures one tends to be motivated to learn on their own why or why not a picture worked and get the spark, the itch to keep going. One also starts to discover what kind of pictures they like to take and how they like to go about it. How many of us have said that if they could have known some period of time earlier what they knew later, how they would change their initial purchases, etc. By loaning her a camera for while, I hope to give her the ability to make a better purchase later that suits the style she develops.

So, what are the thoughts of CR members that have some experience with this scenario or teaching in general? Keep in mind that I'm not new to teaching but since this isn't an official classroom type thing, I figure I would try another approach. It's more of a private tutor kind of thing I guess. The more good ideas I get here, the better! Thanks.

Maybe you should hold a preliminary discussion on what she wants to get out of the lesson. Then you can decide if you are able to instruct her on a regular basis. You can find out what works best for her in the process of teaching. You need to take her feedback into consideration. It is important that both of you enjoy it. You should first establish that she is serious about photography, otherwise it is a waste of time and money.
 

Actionpix

EOS M6 Mark II
Feb 19, 2012
51
0
I agree very much with the borrowing part. Did it myself couple of times. A lot of people come to me for advice on what to buy. First go find out if you are really into photography before throwing away money. And if someone has kids, make sure the kids are there, kids learn fast and can help when you are not there.
 
Nov 23, 2013
2
0
Tell them to check out www.canonoutsideofauto.ca. It is an online app that will really help them to understand how settings on the camera will affect the photograph.
 
Dec 5, 2013
1
0
I started my photography experience 10-12 years ago. Here's my advice to beginners and intermediate photographers.

If you are starting out in photography as a hobby, my recommendation would be to just get any DSLR and not worry about which specific one to get. Just get something, anything, to get your started.

Work your way up as time progresses. I’m guessing that when you first got the desire to pursue photography,
your first question probably was “Okay, what camera should I get? Which one takes good pictures?”.

Let me make a bold statement here... I’ll even type it in bold: All DSLRs take good pictures. Asking “What camera should I get?” seems like the question to ask at first ... heck, I was asking the same exact thing when I started. However, I’ve learned that the camera is not as important as the knowledge used to operate it.
All experienced photographers realize this. The first camera you have just isn’t important.

What is important is just to get one, become very familiar with the fundamentals of photography, then discover
what you need in your next camera and upgrade to that when you are ready to progress.

Another thing you should know is that, in a big-picture context, all the different camera brands are basically
selling the same thing: cameras. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, whatever. No brand has any magical powers when compared to another brand. The brand is unimportant and irrelevant in a big picture context. The photos that you capture are what matters, not what brand was used to capture them.

Once you actually start using a DSLR, you will start learning about photography concepts -- things like exposure, light, and composition -- and will naturally become more familiar with photography as a whole.

After you become more familiar with photography by using a particular camera, you will sooner or later become aware of its limitations and will then realize what camera has the specs and features you want to upgrade to next.

Disregarding camera specs, All DSLRs, no matter how inexpensive or expensive they may be, give you the
option to manually adjust the Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance, and Focus; your first priority should be to learn how to appropriately adjust these essential variables so you will know how to take a good picture no matter what camera you are using, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Nothing else matters before mastering how to manipulate these variables. Knowing how to manipulate
composition, light, and subject matter is also very important, but those aren’t necessarily dependent on the camera technology you are using.

Technology is not really much of an issue any more. Basic entry level DSLRS of today are better and even less expensive when compared to the flagship models that were made 10 years prior. Everyone now has access to usable equipment. The barrier to take good photos has never been as low as it is today. The main limiting factor is knowledge and experience, not “the best equipment”

When I started out in photography I came across this information that helped me save a lot of time and money. I learned the secrets to creating amazing photos from this site, I hope this will help you if you are serious about taking stunning photos.

David Barns
Christchurch
http://PhotographyMadeEasy.net
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
1,935
Canada
RustyTheGeek said:
johnf3f said:
DON'T DO IT!
I got involved in teaching a lady to use DSLR cameras, now she is a better photographer than me and keeps borrowing my lenses!

We got her started with borrowed gear then she bought some of our older gear (at very low prices) and within a year started to leave us behind!

You can really go off people!
LOL! Yeah, that would be ironic, eh? In this case, I'm not a pro and wouldn't lose a penny. In fact, it would be great if she became as good or hopefully better than me because that would not only make me a great teacher but I might actually end up in a few pictures for a change in our scout troop. You know the drill - as the photographer you're never present at any of the events... at least not by looking at the photos! :)
The true mark of a good teacher is that they can teach someone to be better than themselves...
 
Oct 29, 2013
2
0
As a teacher I find that one of the beauties of teaching is when the student has learned all they want to learn from you and moves on. Perhaps you know more than they do, but their path will eventually leave yours as they search for whatever else they need to know and wherever else they need to go.
 
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