View Full Version : What cannot be learnt from a book?

06-09-2011, 11:55am
Hi Guys,

A question for the long timers here and in a semi tangible way is related to the Stay at home mums thread.

There are a heap of forums, books and other literature teaching us all we apparently need to know, but I am interested in the opinions of the experienced in regards to what we simply cannot learn from a book/text/forum.

I am sure the french would refer to it as a je ne sais quoi ... but what is IT that only time and experience will give.


06-09-2011, 12:43pm
One : How to deail with people...

06-09-2011, 12:54pm
Two- how to 'see' a shot, including lighting and put that into the resultant photo.

JM Tran
06-09-2011, 1:55pm
1. Creativity - you either have it or you dont

2. Originality and style - this is developed over time and cannot be studied

3. Communications - self explanatory

06-09-2011, 2:24pm
Theoretically it can ALL be learnt from a book - it just cant be applied withoutr experience

06-09-2011, 2:53pm
Yep , It's like all the Engineers I met on construction sites , Really good on theory , But you have to put it all to work (EG ; Seeing the shot,People skills,etc) , Hands on experience is the way to go , "Practice" ,

06-09-2011, 2:56pm
All these things others mention here really take time, lots of it. What you are asking about is known as the "Theory/Practice gap". Getting out there and putting the theory into practice, experimenting, following the great lesson guides on here and posting them for others to help you with critique...and having a go at entering the comps. If you don't get anywhere with the comps post the pic for a critique to see where you can improve. :th3:

06-09-2011, 3:45pm
Theoretically it can ALL be learnt from a book - it just cant be applied without experienceDarren has hit the nail on the head. just about anything can be learned from a book... but then you only have the theory down-pat... its practice and experience that you gain not from a book but from actually using the camera

06-09-2011, 5:55pm
Monkey see, monkey do :o
Nothing can replace it :confused013

06-09-2011, 6:00pm
Ummm ... let's see; patience, persistence and practice.

IMHO all the really great 'togs are patient in seeking what they are after, persistent in getting it exactly "right" and practice to repeat what they've learned over and over in different contexts.:confused013

06-09-2011, 10:12pm
I think that one can learn to 'see' with the help and guidance of books and/or a forum(but obviously not via text only literature) as sample images help you define what it is you want to concentrate on as a particular subject. Whether it's macro, landscapes with a particular style, abstracts.... etc. each and every sample you absorb helps to define the style of photography you eventually end up concentrating (mostly?) on.

I think the one thing you definitely will never learn from any of the sources you listed, is instinct.
Waiting for a particular moment to happen, or even knowing that a particular moment is going to happen or unfold.
Not a very important aspect to successful in all genres of photography, but helpful nonetheless.

06-09-2011, 10:24pm
I am going to expose my feelings here and i don't want to sound like a W#$Ker but here goes.

Something we can never learn from books is "Passion" and how to convey that passion through an image.
Two examples of what I am saying are as follows:
Dylan (dtoh) obviously has a real "Passion" for landscapes, the textures, the colors, the light etc. and when I view his images I often feel that I am there and feeling and/or seeing what he is experiencing.
Kiwi obviously has a real "Passion" for sport, particularly football and when I view his images I can almost feel the "pain" in the faces of his subjects.
I believe these two gentlemen have crossed that line from Snap-shooter to Photographer and that transition can only come from practice and experience.

07-09-2011, 6:54am
Another thing is 'location'.If you are seeking a location for a shoot, a book cannot generally tell you where to find it. It is about scouting around, finding them for yourself. Yeah you can grab a landscape book of photos and wander off to the 'usual places', but if you want to get a unique landscape, you need to find the spots yourself.

Same can be said for outdoor portraiture. Wedding photographers will scout out locations before the big day, looking at light, shade, where the sun comes up, sets, etc.

Finding locations cannot really be learnt from a book. It can be copied, but to learn to find your own, and get a unique view/place, is something each of us has to do for ourselves. It comes with improving your photography, as you understand what compositions, light, etc make the best results, you can then start to find the best locations in your area.

07-09-2011, 7:23am
All great info guys and pretty much what I had anticipated, but good to see it written down :)

Darey, certainly not a w___ker, passion is essentially what motivates us all to get out there and do something they love and I hear you 100% To be able to successfully convey that passion through image is a wonderful talent.

Thanks kindly !

07-09-2011, 7:59am
Whats the first thing we do when we get a new camera. Play with the dials and buttons take a few pics. Then "read the book on how to use it".
The book is a guide to photography,its up to you how you use that knowledge becomes experience.


24-09-2011, 4:25pm
All Great answers. it does boil down to Practice, Knowing your equipment thoroughly, and having a Passion for what you are doing, Practice,Practice, Practice, The Art of seeing a photograph is learnt over time.
I have been involved in Photography since I was 18 and I'm now 64 and I'm still Learning you never stop , I shoot 4x5 and Digital, my passion though is 4x5 B/W Landscapes.:D

25-09-2011, 1:25pm
some great tips here - thanks!

26-09-2011, 9:46am
The thrill you get after a shoot and looking at the photos taken - it's that one, just one, that makes it all worthwhile.

Mark L
26-09-2011, 8:47pm
The thrill you get after a shoot and looking at the photos taken - it's that one, just one, that makes it all worthwhile.

and then sharing that one with others so they can learn how to do the same. :D