Besides photography books, get a good art book on composition and design..
Use online forums.
Find people who's work you like and study it. Consider the light, angles, composition, use of color. Depending on the style you wish to shoot, your sources may be online portfolios, books, magazines or a combination...
As an extreme amature myself, I find there's two things that need to be done to learn..
1) Read. Google is extremly useful - Google "photography tips", "Photography tutorials", "photoshop tutorials", "Photo retouching" etc, etc.. Google whatever takes your fancy at the time you're infront of the computer. There's loads of stuff. Some will be too complicated, some will contradict other bits you find, but take as much on board as you can, find out about Depth of field, apertures, exposure settings, yada, yada, yada... Whatever you can find...
2) Just take photos! As you're googling, pull out the camera, take shots, fiddle settings based on what you're reading, take more shots! It's digital, you've made the initial outlay for the camera, from here on in, the only expense is time! Snap, snap, snap. If something works, keep doing it, tweak it until it works better, just read and snap, read and snap until you slowly start to learn what's going on....
Oh, apart from google, head to your local library too, why buy books when you can borrow them for free ..
In addition to the other good leads, I like to advise folks to go to the book store. Once you locate the subject (exposure? composition? post processing?), thumb through several of a particular subject to see which one "speaks to you"..
The approches different authors take, and how they 'speak' - one will say things in a way that suits your personality more than the others. It's useful to have a particular quesion in mind and just try to find how that is expressed (rather than generally thumbing through the offerings)..
Of course, returning to this site with some examples and questions also goes a loooooong way. But reference books you obtain and keep within reach can be helpful for when you're not sure what you want to know (that's not uncommon early in the process, in any genre of pursuit)..
You'll have to ignore the gallery's collection of bad compositions, improper exposures, and amateurish post processing. .
Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..
In addition to the excerllent suggestions already given, try this: http://www.shortcourses.com/store/canon-s2is.html.
I can vouch that the S3 version is well worth the money. I just bought the pdf version, but you can also buy a hard copy, or both..
WillWill PrattBarrick Museum, UNLV..
I found this web site helpful. Scroll down and you'll see 10 lessons and assignments you can do on this page. The short courses link you were given is also very helpful. There's alot of stuff on the web thats free. I'd start there before I'd buy books. If you are looking for a hard cover some of the names I see get mentioned alot are: Kelby, Peterson, Hedgecoe, Frost, Freeman. Definitely check out all the art photography books and web sites such as photo.net (besides these forums)...
Here's the web site. Sorry, I got interrupted while responding..
Here are a few quick tips to get you started:.
Most of the images you see posted on these forums and other sites like this one are post processed. Cropping and running automated adjustments to correct exposure and color takes very little time to learn regardless of the software you use, and even those most basic adjustments can make a huge difference in image quality, particularly when the original shot isn't perfect..
Pay attention to the light and the background when taking the shot. The camera sees the scene differently than a person normally sees it. Get close to the subject and simplify the image as much as possible. However, don't put the subject directly in the center of the frame (typically). Try to communicate something. Make the viewer laugh, cry, etc..
Play with the different modes on your camera and see what gives you the best results. Don't be afraid to post specific questions about your camera and processing images. Search for photography sites on the internet and try to inherit some of the styles you like. If you can't figure out how an image was created, post a question about it..
Hope this helps,jbf.
I am an extreme amateur and am looking for advise on how I can "selfteach". I am a stay at home mom. I have loved taking pictures formany years and love to take pictures of my children. I have a CanonS2 1S and a tripod and that's all. Are there any good books thatwould help me get started? Anything else I should do first?.
Thank you for your help!..
I don't think there's anything to "learn" on the side of composition. Yes, there's taking out distracting backgrounds, focusing, DOF tricks, but I mainly think of those techniques as making an image's intent or purpose more out in the open. If you look through history, what's considered standard or well composed changes over years..
On the technical side, http://www.canon.co.jp/imaging/enjoydslr/index.html is an amazing site to learn from, and although it's concerned with DSLRs, many of the rules still apply, although some you should ignore given your S2 IS (high ISO, switching lens, focus points (you can acheive a very similar system through flexizone though), RAW)...