10 Practical Tips for Learning Photography in One Year
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Invest in the right equipment
  2. Learn basic photography terms
  3. Practice shooting in different light conditions
  4. Study composition rules
  5. Explore different photography styles
  6. Understand post-processing
  7. Start a photography project
  8. Join a photography club or online community
  9. Attend photography workshops and seminars
  10. Always carry your camera with you

Ever wondered how to learn photography in a year? You're not alone. With the advancement of technology and the ubiquity of high-quality cameras, more and more people are exploring the world of photography. This blog post presents ten practical tips to help you master the basics, develop your unique style, and take your photography skills to a new level—all within a year. Let's get started!

Invest in the Right Equipment

The first step in your one-year photography journey is investing in the right equipment. Remember, the camera doesn't make the photographer—you do. But having the right tools can make your learning process much smoother:

  • A Quality DSLR or Mirrorless Camera: While point-and-shoot cameras or your smartphone can take great photos, a DSLR or mirrorless camera gives you more control over your settings. Examples include the Canon EOS Rebel T7i or the Sony Alpha a6000.
  • A Tripod: A tripod is a game-changer. It keeps your camera steady—essential for low light conditions or long exposure shots. Check out the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Travel Aluminum Tripod for a reliable and travel-friendly option.
  • Varied Lenses: Different lenses can dramatically change your images. For beginners, a 50mm prime lens, such as the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G, is an affordable and versatile choice.
  • A Camera Bag: Protect your gear with a sturdy camera bag. The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is a popular pick, offering ample space and customizable compartments.

Investing in the right equipment is one of the first steps in learning how to learn photography in a year. But remember, these are just tools. The real magic lies in your creativity and the knowledge you'll gain over the next year.

Learn Basic Photography Terms

If you want to understand how to learn photography in a year, you'll need to become familiar with the lingo. Here are some of the most fundamental terms you'll come across:

  • Aperture: This is the hole within your lens that lets light into your camera. It's similar to the iris of your eye. The wider the aperture (lower numbers), the more light gets in. This affects the depth of field and can help you create beautiful blurry backgrounds, known as bokeh.
  • Shutter Speed: This is the length of time your camera's shutter is open. Fast shutter speeds (higher numbers) freeze motion, while slow shutter speeds create a motion blur effect. Great for capturing anything from sports events to waterfalls.
  • ISO: This is your camera's sensitivity to light. Low ISO values (like 100) mean less sensitivity and thus less "noise" or grain. High ISO values come in handy in low-light situations but can result in grainier photos.
  • Exposure: This is how light or dark your photo is. It's determined by a combination of your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. An "overexposed" photo is too bright, while an "underexposed" photo is too dark.
  • Composition: This is how the elements in your photo are arranged. Good composition draws the viewer's eye to the main subject or point of interest. Think about things like leading lines, rule of thirds, and framing.

Understanding these terms gives you a solid foundation to build on as you learn photography. Imagine trying to cook without knowing what "bake" or "grill" means. The same applies to photography. The better you know the language, the easier it will be to follow tutorials, read camera manuals, and communicate with other photographers.

Practice Shooting in Different Light Conditions

One of the secrets of how to learn photography in a year is mastering the art of using light. Light can be your best friend or your worst enemy when taking photos. It's all about understanding and adapting to different lighting conditions.

  • Golden Hour: This is a brief period shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. During this time, the sunlight is softer, warmer, and more diffuse. It's a great time to capture stunning portraits and landscapes.
  • Blue Hour: This is the time just before sunrise and after sunset. The sky has a beautiful deep blue hue, making it perfect for cityscapes and twilight shots.
  • Harsh Midday Light: The light in the middle of the day is usually very harsh and creates strong shadows. It can be challenging to shoot in, but it's great for practicing skills like using shadows or shooting in black and white.
  • Overcast: Overcast conditions provide soft, diffused lighting with minimal shadows. It's ideal for portraits, as the soft light is very flattering to skin tones.

Don't be afraid to experiment with different lighting conditions. Each one offers unique opportunities to create stunning photos. The more you practice, the more you'll understand how light affects your photos and how you can use it to your advantage.

Study Composition Rules

Composition is the foundation of a good photograph. It's how you arrange elements within your frame to guide the viewer's eye and tell a story. Here are a few key rules that can help you improve your photography skills within a year.

  • The Rule of Thirds: Imagine dividing your frame into nine equal rectangles, three across and three down. The idea is to place the subject of your photo along these lines or at their intersections. It creates balance and makes the photo more interesting.
  • Leading Lines: Leading lines are lines within an image that leads the viewer's eye to another point in the image. These can be anything from roads and fences, to streams and trees.
  • Frame within a Frame: This is a technique where you use an object within the image to frame the main subject. This draws the viewer's eye directly to your subject.
  • Fill the Frame: If your subject is small and getting lost in the busy background, don’t be afraid to zoom in or move closer to fill your frame with the subject.

Remember, rules are made to be broken. Once you understand these composition rules, feel free to bend or break them to create unique and exciting photos. The goal is to convey a story or emotion, and sometimes that means straying from the traditional rules.

Explore Different Photography Styles

Photography, like any art form, is subject to personal interpretation. There are many different styles and genres to explore. The key to understanding which style best suits you is experimenting.

Portraiture: This is all about capturing the personality of your subject. It could be a close-up of a face, or a full body shot that shows the person in their environment. Remember, a good portrait tells a story about the person.

Landscape: This style captures spaces within the world, often vast and unending. But it's not just about wide-open spaces. A successful landscape photograph will usually include interesting features or dramatic lighting.

Macro: This is extreme close-up photography, usually of very small subjects. It's how to highlight details that can't be seen with the naked eye.

Street: This style of photography captures candid moments in public spaces. It's all about timing. You're looking for that decisive moment that tells a story in a single frame.

Documentary: These are photos that tell a story about a social or environmental topic. They're often raw and powerful images that evoke emotion.

Each style requires a different approach and different skills. So, don't be afraid to try them all. You never know, you might discover a passion for a style you'd never considered before. After all, figuring out how to learn photography in a year means being willing to step out of your comfort zone.

Understand Post-Processing

As you continue your journey on how to learn photography in a year, you'll soon realize that taking the photo is only half the battle. The magic often happens in the editing stage, also known as post-processing. This process allows you to fine-tune your images and enhance their quality.

There are two types of post-processing software that are very popular among photographers. The first is Adobe Lightroom, perfect for color correction, cropping, and exposure adjustments. The other is Adobe Photoshop, which offers more advanced editing tools for tasks such as removing unwanted objects or skin retouching.

Here are some things to focus on when you're just starting with post-processing:

Exposure: If your photo is too dark or too light, adjusting the exposure can make a world of difference.

White Balance: This adjusts the color balance in your photos. It can help make sure the colors in your photos look like they do in real life.

Cropping: Sometimes, you'll take a photo and realize that there's too much going on. Cropping allows you to focus on the subject of your photo and remove any unnecessary distractions.

Contrast & Saturation: These adjustments can make your photos pop and look more vibrant.

Remember, the goal of post-processing is not to make a bad photo good, but to make a good photo even better. So don't worry if your photos aren't perfect straight out of the camera. With a bit of practice and patience, you'll master the art of post-processing in no time.

Start a Photography Project

A great way to fast-track your journey on how to learn photography in a year is by starting a photography project. This will give you a clear direction and purpose, which can be incredibly helpful when you’re learning a new skill.

Starting a photography project can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be as simple as taking a photo of a different family member each week, or as adventurous as capturing the sunrise from a different location every morning. The key is to choose a project that excites you and aligns with your interests.

Here are a few photography project ideas to get you started:

365 Project: This is a popular project among photographers. The idea is to take one photo every day for a year. It’s a big commitment, but it's a great way to see your progress over time.

Themed Project: Choose a theme that interests you and take photos based on that theme. It could be anything from doors and windows to pets or food.

Location-based Project: Choose a location that you find interesting and document it over a period of time. This could be your local park, a city street, or even your own backyard.

Photography projects can be a fun and effective way to improve your skills. So grab your camera, choose a project, and start shooting! Remember, the most important part is to enjoy the process and celebrate your progress along the way.

Join a Photography Club or Online Community

When figuring out how to learn photography in a year, having a supportive community can be a game-changer. Joining a photography club or an online community can provide you with that support. These communities offer a space to share your work, get feedback, and learn from others. Plus, it's a fantastic way to meet like-minded people who share your passion for photography.

Photography clubs often organize photo walks, workshops, and contests that can serve as an excellent platform for both learning and showcasing your talent. Don't worry if you're just starting out; these communities are typically very welcoming to beginners.

Online communities, like photography forums or social media groups, are also valuable resources. These platforms provide a wealth of information and allow you to connect with photographers from around the globe. You can post your photos, ask questions, and gain insights from seasoned photographers who were once in your shoes.

Whether in-person or online, being part of a community can give you a sense of belonging and make your photography journey more enjoyable. So don't hesitate —join a photography club or online community. It'll be a step forward on your path to learning photography in a year!

Attend Photography Workshops and Seminars

Workshops and seminars are an excellent way to accelerate your understanding of photography. They provide hands-on experience and direct access to experts in the field. If you're pondering how to learn photography in a year, attending these events should definitely be on your list.

Workshops often focus on specific aspects of photography, like lighting, composition, or even a particular style. They usually involve a mix of theory and practical sessions. You not only get to learn new concepts but also apply them on the spot under the guidance of a professional. Imagine the confidence boost you'll feel after nailing that tricky shot you've been struggling with!

Seminars, on the other hand, are more lecture-based. They delve into the nuances of photography and provide a broader perspective. Renowned photographers often host these events, sharing their experiences, tips, and techniques. It's like getting a peek into the minds of the masters!

Make sure to take notes during these events—they're packed with valuable insights. And don't shy away from asking questions. Remember, the aim is to learn as much as you can on your journey to master photography in a year.

Consider these workshops and seminars as stepping stones on your path. Each one is a unique opportunity to learn, practice, and grow. So keep an eye out for such events in your area or online, and make the most of them.

Always Carry Your Camera With You

How to learn photography in a year? It's simple: practice, practice, practice. And the best way to do that is to always have your camera with you, ready to capture the world as it unfolds.

Having your camera on hand allows you to seize those unexpected moments that make for great photos. You know, like the way the sunlight filters through the leaves, or how a sudden rain shower makes the city streets gleam. These are the instances that can't be recreated in a studio, and are invaluable for enhancing your skills.

Carrying your camera also encourages you to see the world through a photographer's lens, literally and figuratively. It trains you to notice details others might overlook: the symmetry of a building, the texture of an old, weathered door, or the play of shadows and light. This heightened sense of perception is a key aspect of photography, and it's something that develops over time.

Don't worry about lugging around heavy gear, either. A simple point-and-shoot, or even your smartphone camera, will do for everyday practice. The important thing is to keep shooting, experimenting, and learning from your mistakes. And remember, the best camera is the one you have with you!

So, if you're serious about learning photography in a year, keep your camera close. Let it be your constant companion on this exciting journey. Because every shot you take brings you one step closer to becoming the photographer you aspire to be.

If you enjoyed our "10 Practical Tips for Learning Photography in One Year" blog post and want to take your photography skills even further, don't miss the workshop 'Establishing Yourself as a Photographer in 2023' by Cyn Lagos. This workshop will help you learn the essential skills and strategies to make a name for yourself in the photography world in the coming year. Start your journey to becoming a professional photographer today!