by Steven Kuss
I would say there are three parts to photography: learning about photography, photography tools, and actually taking (or perhaps making) photographs. There is, of course, no end to all of this. A Google search, even one limited to just YouTube, will yield more content than one could consume in a lifetime. If you were to expand that search to include text articles as well as videos from other sources, you would quickly move into a multiple lifetimes zone. So, I thought I would offer up some of the photography resources I use the most, which hopefully you’ll find more helpful than a blind Google search.
What about annoying newsletters? Always clogging up your mailbox, expecting you to just stop your life and read all the junk they think you just have to know about, right now, this instant? Sure, you can put them off, or move them into a “read later” folder, but then you end up with about 50 of them, unread, and still daring you to just try and not read them. Don’t you hate it? Well, here’s a couple more…! Let me assure you up front that these are safe. They’ll not sell your email address, or plug you into Google Analytics, profiling you and filling your inbox with all manner of nonsense. I’ve been with both of these for years.
Let’s start with DPS (Digital-Photography-School.com). I guess they have a nice website, and pretty active discussion forums, but I’ve been there exactly once-when I signed up for their newsletter. The email comes once a week, and is basically a digest of all the new content that hit the site that week. The titles are usually very clear, explaining what each article is about, making it easy to pick and choose which ones might be of interest. Some are very basic, like how to copy images from your memory card to your computer. Others are in the middle, like “Landscape mistakes most photographers make”, and some are advanced, like “Hyperfocal Focusing”-don’t worry about it, nobody really understands it. It’s a lightweight newsletter, free, easy to skim over, and low on graphics, so it downloads quickly.
The next one you won’t believe, but stay with me. Do a Google search for Red River Paper. Yup, it’s an inkjet paper company, dedicated to selling you fancy photographer’s paper for your home printer. They’re far cheaper, than say Epson papers, and very professional to deal with. But, go to their website, and in the absolute top left corner, above their logo, is the link to sign up for their free newsletter. Every week or so, they’ll sent you some very nice advertising and Sale stuff on their papers. Then (remember I said to stay with me?) scroll to the bottom of the one page newsletter, and there you’ll find links to the hottest tips, articles and tutorials to hit the web that week. I don’t know who does it, but someone at Red River gets paid to find some of the best photography information available. There’s always basic stuff (often from DPS) as well as advanced, and even articles for the professional photographers. Once in a while, there’ll be a pay site or course listed, but generally all the links are to free articles and tutorials. Be aware that if you start exploring each of the sites the articles come from, you can get lost in picture taking nirvana for days.
Let me throw you a couple of names that you should become familiar with as you get more advanced in your photography endeavors: Scott Kelby, and Matt Kloskowski. Google their names, followed by the word “blog”. Understand, these guys make their money by engaging in all facets of photography; actually taking (making) photos, and also writing and producing videos about it. Even though much of what they do is free, along the way, they’ll be trying to sell you their wares. You can be sure their products are worth the money, but until you’re ready, you can just freely enjoy what they put out there for general consumption. These guys know their stuff.
Finally, a note about the photos in this article. These are all somehow related to the Cookville Camera Club. They’re either ones I’ve entered into the semi-monthly club contests, displayed at the club shows, or included in the twice a year slide show presentations. Hopefully you can see that there is a place in the club for all types of photos, and rest assured, there’s always someone there who wants to talk about what pictures YOU want to make.