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How To Get Into Photography and The Best Photography Books

I have been asked how I got started in Photography and if there are any books I could recommend. Thanks for asking and of course, I would love to help and share how I got started. So here goes...

Machu Picchu, Peru ©MDHarding

How To Get Into Photography and

The Best Photography Books

Today there are a number of ways to get into photography from online learning to picking up a book and being self-taught. Everyone is different, with a variety of skills, interests and experience. At the end of the day, photography is an art form and what one person likes another may not. Just go for it!

The Early Beginnings

Some of you may know I've had a camera since I was very young, It was one of the old Kodak cameras with a square flashbulb. I loved it and got a fright every time it blew out. It was given to me just before departing on my first school trip to Edinburgh Zoo. I was hooked from that moment on.

I am amazed at how young the competition entrants are these days. It's incredible, not to mention the equipment they use! If you have a young child get them a camera and build on it, they will love it. Not sure where to start or which camera to buy? Have a look at Which camera. Some of the digital phones have great specs including high resolution and filters. You can even download a number of great photography apps such as lightroom. Please remember a phone cannot compare to the results of an SLR camera.

Middle Years

When I reached high school I was excited to discover there was a lunchtime photography club. The physics teacher that ran it, was brilliant. One lunchtime I was out taking black & white shots, the next in the darkroom processing the negatives and the following lunchtime printing the photographs. It was like magic seeing the images appear slowly on the paper.

Later I joined a local photography club, attending meetings, entering into competitions and going to roadshows.

I knew for years that I wanted to be a photographer and got some advice along the way. Some great and of course other opinions not so great. I still remember my high school career advisor insisting photography was a man's job. If you really want to do something, don't let anyone's bad advice stand between you and your dreams.

"If you can dream it you can do it" - Walt Disney.

After high school, I was excited to be offered a place at the Glasgow technical college where photography was a specialised subject. Although I had learnt the basic skills such as composition, shutter speed and aperture settings these were taken to the next level.

You can learn more about these and how to get the best from your camera on manual settings with Michael Langfords Basic Photography Book. This is also the recommended photography coursebook.

After years of studying, travel beckoned me. I considered joining the RAF, it wasn't to be. Then an opportunity came up to travel to Australia for a year, which I grabbed with both hands. Not long after returning, I spotted a cruise ship photographer position advert. Perfect!

Later years

Almost eight years ago now, since I started my own travel photography freelancing business. It has opened up doors to other opportunities. It's amazing how the years have flown and through the challenging times it has been very rewarding. I've discovered there is never the right time, you can always make excuses. If there is something you have thought about doing, maybe do it as a sideline first. Carpe Diem (seize the day).

Keep learning, enhancing your skills and homing in on your style. Join photography clubs, organisations, Facebook groups and watch incredible films, classes etc on youtube. Highly recommend National Geographic photography books. The images are inspiring, creative and from the worlds greatest photographers.

Would I change anything? No. You only have one life, live it!

Hope you have enjoyed reading and it has answered your questions. If there is something I've missed please do get in touch. You can reach me via email:

Until next time, happy snapping.

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