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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Better Photography Is A Journey, Not A Destination


A compendium of resources to inspire and teach, and get you on the path of making better pictures

Labels: How-ToColumnTech Tips
Learn From The Competition
One of the best ways to hone your photographic skills is to keep up with (and compete with) other photographers. You can do this on a regular basis by joining a local camera club, most of which have periodic, thematic contests and judges who provide critiques. Clubs affiliated with the Photographic Society of America (www.psa-photo.org) are part of a highly structured organization of regional and national competitions using a standardized point system.

Seek out opportunities to enter, and to view the winning images, of high-quality competitions outside of the club structure, as well. NANPA has an annual contest, as do Canon, Nikon and some government agencies. OP often has themed competitions. Before entering a competition, be sure to review the usage rights you may have to grant to the sponsoring organization; some require that you essentially yield use of your entries to them forever. Those mentioned here don't have that caveat.

There are two prestigious international competitions you should know about.

Nature's Best
—A magazine that publishes portfolios and the results of a variety of competitions. The top winners are part of an annual exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. www.naturesbestphotography.com

Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (formerly known as the BBC competition)— Now managed under the auspices of the British Natural History Museum, the competition is held once a year with substantial cash prizes and honors for the winners. www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto.com

Strengthen Your Knowledge And Technique
Continuing education is key for those who want to excel in a technical and fast-advancing field. If you're serious about digital photography, from capture to print, you can benefit from professional instruction in the field and/or classroom.

Lynda.com—An online monthly/annual subscription service offering more than 1,000 courses in photography and design, including popular software such as Adobe's Photoshop CS and Apple's Final Cut Pro. www.lynda.com

Kelbytraining.com—The instructional arm of NAPP offers online and in-person seminars, and DVDs and books on photography and Photoshop/Lightroom. Access classes by monthly or annual subscription. www.kelbytraining.com

BetterPhoto.com—Gives you access to online photography classes with well-known professional photographers who will give lessons, assignments and then personally critique your work.

You can choose the instructor who best covers the type of photography you're interested in. www.betterphoto.com

Canon Live Learning—Offers short field courses and intensive studio instruction at events scheduled around the country led by Canon experts and Explorers of Light (including me). www.learn.usa.canon.com

Canon Explorers of Light Program—Sponsors seminars for educational institutions, camera clubs and stores. Your group may qualify. www.learn.usa.canon.com/dlc/event/calendarMonthView.spr.com

Nikon School—Gives seminars in locations around the U.S. The offerings for 2011 include Introduction to Digital SLR Photography and Next Steps: Color, Light, Technology. They even have a Nikon School of Underwater Photography. www.nikonschool.com

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