Why do you want to take pictures? You may want to share with others how you see the world around you, you may want to document your life and that of the people you love, you may have a desire to create images that blow other people away. There are so many excellent reasons to get into photography and why you do so is up to you.
I've put this section first because when I learned photography - it was technique first and art second. That is a time honoured way of learning photography. But now that I've done it for 40 years I think it was a backwards way of learning photography.
Photography is an art and you are the artist. If you're thinking you could never be an artist I have good news for you - you already are. Even just taking the time to read this page you've shown you have the desire make images that give you pleasure and can affect others - that is art.
Now comes the fun part - think about why you want to take pictures. Write down a list of:
- Things you like about photography. Do you love the moment of seeing the images in prints or on your screen? Is it the challenge of making the photo? Is it the sharing the images with your friends? Is it the memories you get when you look at your photos later? Whatever it is you like about taking pictures, write it down.
- What you want to achieve with photography. Do you want to remember what your kids are like at each stage of growing up? Do you like flowers or architecture or mountains and want to document them? Do you want to show the human condition? Do you want to pursue a career in photography? Write down what you want your photography to do.
- What subjects you want to shoot. Flowers, dogs, kids, models, food, people's feet, whatever. Write down those things you find catch your eye or make you wish you had your camera when you see it.
- How you feel about those subjects. Do you love it, hate it, feel afraid of it, laugh at it, wish it was yours? This is actually the most important section of the lesson. When you understand what you feel towards something, you'll find your photography of it improves automatically.
Now grab your pen and start writing. Once you're done, put it on the wall, throw it into your camera bag or put it somewhere you can easily review it. Add or change it as you grow as a photographer. But once you have the list, you have a great tool to make your photography better.
You may have noticed the link in top right corner for the book "Drawing on the artist within" by Betty Edwards. I highly recommend this book for learning about bringing out your inner artist - it is a very, very good book which taught me a lot.