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Master Any Camera in 3 Easy Steps – A Photography Tutorial

A Photography Tutorial text overlaid on a photograph of a digital camera on a tripod within a lush, green, wooded area.We’ve all been there before. You’re new. Green. A novice. And you haven’t the slightest clue how to get your damn camera to take the style pictures you want.

The sales rep at the camera store probably told you this is the one that’ll make the magic happen and after having read the manual cover-to-cover five times, you’ve had it. Now, it’s sitting on your cable box collecting dust.

Relax. Go make yourself a cup of tea and prepare to be enlightened because I’m going to show you how you can confidently shake off that dust and master your camera in 3 easy steps with this introductory photography tutorial!

This guide is more of a roadmap; I’ve compiled some of the best resources out there and organized each step by delivery method because you may favor one learning style over another.

If you’re only interested in mastering your camera’s settings, step 1 is all you need to follow. However, if you want to truly become artistic with your camera, then you should also work through steps 2 and 3.

Table of Contents:

  1. Take a Basic Camera Class
  2. Learn to See
  3. Understand the Light

1. Take a Basic Camera Class

The best way to acquire a new skill is with the help of others that have already mastered the subject you’re interested in learning; classes, whether online or in an actual classroom are a guaranteed way to transfer that technical knowledge quickly.

Just remember, while a few of the courses listed here are targeted to DSLR cameras, the same principles will apply to any camera you use.

Attend a Local Camera Class

Some of the better camera shops hold classes for a nominal fee. These courses will teach you how to use your camera in about two hours. If you live on the east coast, Unique Photo is a great resource that offers introductory courses year-round.

The following classes will cover the basics:

Not on the East Coast near Unique Photo? I have you covered.

Watch Online Video Courses

I love online courses because you can learn at your own pace and pause the video whenever you feel like it. If you’re looking for some of the best online video photography tutorials, is a great choice. It’s not free, but for the level of training you receive, it’s worth the yearly subscription price. What’s more, you’ll have access to their entire 100,000+ video tutorial library.

You’ll want to start with these courses:

Looking for a free alternative?

Search the Internet

The Internet is loaded with online training; some good. some not so good. You should check out Digital Photography School for their daily updates, fantastic training articles, and niche e-books.

Once you’ve mastered how to use your camera’s dials and features, move onto step two.

2. Learn to See

By now, you should understand how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO/ASA relate to creating a proper exposure. That’s only part of the picture, though. You still need to understand how elements like the lines, shapes, highlights, and shadows of a scene can impact how you and others view a photograph.

In this next step, you’re going to learn to see through your camera’s viewfinder and methodically break down a complex scene into simple elements.

This is the art of photography, and with a little practice, you’ll be able to interpret the world the way you see it while adding your own personal style to each photograph you take.

Attend a Local Camera Class

East Coasters, Unique Photo University has two excellent courses that’ll teach you how to see in a whole new way. You will learn about color, contrast, and perspective to name a few. These concepts will stimulate your imagination and help you create more interesting photographic compositions.

They are:


Watch an Online Video Course

Again, delivers some great content for learning to see like a photographer. Some of my favorites that you should watch include:


Pick Up a Great Book or Two

I’m a fan of Michael Freeman’s books because of his easy reading style, great organization, and reinforcement by example.

All of his books are large format, in full color, and will teach you how to look at the same scene in different ways to maximize your intent.

Two of my favorites include:

Almost there… this last step is crucial and will transform your photographs from ordinary to extraordinary.

3. Understand the Light

The term photography is derived from the Greek words photos, which means light and graphos, which means drawing.1 This translates to the literal meaning light drawing so it makes perfect sense that this is the last and most crucial step because capturing the light is what photography is all about.

Learning to understand light and how it behaves is an essential skill that you’ll need to master if you want your photographs to shine.

Luckily, you’re in good company because I’m going to expose the most popular and easiest photography tutorials that’ll get you shooting professional level photographs in no time.

Read a Book

I’m jumping around by putting this book first, and for a good reason. If you plan on following only one suggestion here on how to master light, you must read this book!.

You can certainly watch online videos, take courses, and follow along with third-party website tutorials later, but you have to get this book first.

I’m talking about the best lighting book out there and it’s called
Light – Science & Magic – An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunger, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua.

You can thank me later.

Work Through Lighting 101 and Lighting 102 on

If you’re the kind of person that wants to create studio quality lighting setups just about anywhere without the need to spend a small fortune on equipment, then enter the Strobist® movement.

David Hobby is the photographer behind Strobist; he’s a long time news journalist that decided to give back to the photography community by creating the® Lighting Blog.

With the first lighting tutorial running since 2008, Lighting 101 still currently drums up comments from people like you as they share their experience and ask lighting questions to others following along with the course material.

I love options. And I’m head over heels with the Strobist® photography tutorials because you can capture David’s lighting guides by either reading his free lighting blog, or by watching the DVD series, Lighting in Layers. These videos are also on, so if you already subscribed, watch them there!

Here’s the list you care about:

Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed this photography tutorial You also taught yourself about artistic approach and how to capture the light!

You should now have a solid understanding of the techniques needed to take the style pictures you love!

Only one action left…

3.* Practice, Practice, Practice!

Patience grasshopper, you’ll need to practice what you learned to really master the art of photography.

You should also continually refine your camera skills by taking more classes and experimenting with new ideas. Practicing only 15 minutes per day will hone your technical mastery and open doors to your true artistic potential.

References: 1 – Photography on Wikipedia

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