When I was thinking of taking a career path in photography, I had a thirst for knowledge, I needed to learn the basics of photography and studio lighting and being more of a visual learner I decided to check out whether there was any way of learning online or finding educational videos on YouTube. And what did I find? Cute kittens? Babies biting their brother's fingers? Might Britain have talent? Well yes, but also there were a plethora of photographers ready and willing to divulge their photographic expertise. Suddenly the world of the homegrown educational video had opened itself up to me. Here are six photographers that educated and inspired me.
Way back in 2013, when I was just a child, or when I knew very little about photography, the photographic world of possibilities was opening up to me. Even before I purchased my first camera (the Panasonic GH2), I needed to learn the basics, the exposure triangle, camera modes, manual mode, metering modes and white balance, etc, etc, etc... As you all know, this was the very tip of the iceberg. And who was going to teach me these fundamentals of photography? It was Mark Wallace, at Adorama. An excellent teaching technique, bright, charming, Mark Wallace is a fountain of photographic knowledge. He taught me the fundamentals of photography via YouTube. If anybody is starting out and learning the knowledge, I advise you to watch his fantastic videos.
Desperate to dive into the world of Still Life photography, I needed to learn about lighting. I started out with continuous lighting as it was totally inexpensive and readily available. How do you light difficult, transparent subjects such as glass? And how about lighting a wine bottle? And what about metal and plastic object such as headphones? Well there is an endearing, experienced photographer named Phillip McCordall and through his videos he has taught me these complex to think about, but simple when practiced, methods. Fun, light hearted and totally professional. His videos are a great starting point for any budding Product and Still Life photographer.
Once I had most of the basics of photography branded onto my brain and I had read the Bible of studio lighting that is, 'Light, Science and Magic’ by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua, I needed a photographer who was going to reveal complex studio lighting setups for both easy and complex to light Products. Somebody who had expert knowledge, a huge array of softbox and stripboxes and would teach me that probably the most important tool for any Still Life photographer is homemade diffusion sheets. When placed in front of softboxes they create beautiful, soft highlights that softboxes alone do not achieve! That, someone, was Alex Koloskov over on his hub of learning 'Photigy’ and also on YouTube. Alex understands studio lighting. His methods are tried and tested techniques through hours of work. I bought a number of his courses and watched many of his YouTube videos. Without a doubt, it was money and time well spent. I would not have the imagery that exists in my galleries today if it wasn't for him.
I caught an introduction to a photography course on YouTube all about Tabletop Photography. This course was featured on the website that has tons of amazing Photography courses by renowned professional photographers. The course that I bought from Creative Live and gained a ton of skills from is hosted by an experienced, effortlessly likable professional photographer named Don Giannatti. It is called 'Tabletop Product Photography'
Don has been in the Still Life Photography game for many years and in the course, he uses speedlights, continuous lights, and white fill cards to light an array of products. The confusion that I had about how to light Still Life products was laid to rest by Don Giannatti. Once you have watched Don in action, your skills will be taken from Level 1 to Level 100. I have also bought a course by him over at Udemy on 'Using a Photographic Light Meter'.
Lightroom is relatively easy to learn and become proficient at. Photoshop initially was a minefield. Layers, adjustment layers, layer masking, making selections, frequency separation were like huge, unattainable leaps for me. Only the Incredible Hulk can make huge leaps. Not so! Superman was on YouTube; but not just any Superman. It was the Super Photoshop man that is Aaron Nace from Phlearn. I bought Photoshop 101 and Photoshop 201 from Phlearn and I continue to watch and learn from Mr. Nace, following step by step YouTube videos and I am now making those huge leaps into the deepening depths of Photoshop tools and tasks, thanks to the King of Photoshop, the effervescent and charismatic Mr. Aaron Nace.
Finally, last but not least, Jared Polin, ‘Fro knows Photo’. He certainly does. His excellent teaching style, lively personality, exciting, informative videos are regularly updated on YouTube. I caught him on there years back when he was showing beginner photographers the basics. He now does photographer's website critiques, photography news rants, and discussion, camera reviews, whilst still teaching photography! He currently has an excellent equipment management app and also has online courses to buy.
So there are my six, splendid educators who kicked me into the Photography stratosphere. I hope that you like and learn from them just as much as me.