New To Photography:Learning Plan Details

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This page is a chapter in the book Learning Plan Overview.


This guide has assumed that you are using a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera or at least a
Compact Camera a.k.a. Point & Shoot (P&S) that has a manual capability (i.e. You can set the ISO sensitivity, aperture and shutter speed).

Please refer to the AP site dictionary
if you have trouble with terminology like DSLR, P&S etc. and this Appendix A - Explanations of Shutter, Aperture, ISO etc for information on basic terminology.

This thread assumes you know nothing about photography and we will lay out a simple practical study plan
to enable you to progress from simple point and shoot automatic mode photography to producing some images
that you will be confident to enter into the site competitions.

The plan does not tell you how, only what to study, and will reference other parts of this forum and the site.
The how part is achieved by the NTP challenges and posting images for critique on the site.

If you have not purchased a camera please read Equipment and Software first.


This thread has four main posts. We expect you will work items 1,2 and 3 in parallel (in fact you will need to).
The primary learning plan is outlined in post 1 'Learning to take photographs'.
  1. Learning to take photographs
  2. Learning to process photographs
  3. Learning to print or web publish photographs
  4. Continuing the learning process (other topics)

The learning plan is designed to help members acquire the fundamentals of photography in a sensibly structured manner, one key element at a time.
This approach avoids information overload.

The learning plan is also very practical in that it asks those participating to post images and get feedback
(constructive critique a.k.a CC) whereby they can quickly improve their skills.
  1. We start with the camera in full auto (with fixed ISO sensitivity of 400, and JPEG mode) while learning to hold the camera and compose shots
  2. We then progress to Aperture Priority (with fixed ISO) while learning Depth of Field (DoF)
  3. We add Shutter Priority to the skills (with fixed ISO) while learning movement control
  4. Once the above are understood we process to changing ISO (100 through 1600) using mainly Aperture Priority while learning about sensitivity and noise
  5. The participant is now ready to use full manual control of the Exposure Triangle (ISO sensitivity, Aperture, Shutter speed)
  6. We advance to better control of white balance and dynamic rage using raw mode instead of JPEG
  7. Finally we add other aspects such as flash, stabilisation (tripod) and other creative options

The above sequence provides a sound base to further explore the joy of photography.
All AusPhotography members can feel free to assist with the NTP process by commenting to NTP posts and providing CC to NTP participants.


In the days of film photography (which some of us still do) there was a defined process (called workflow) for obtaining an image.
  1. Take the photograph using a camera record to film (this is the same with digital except the image is stored on a memory card)
  2. Develop the negative (or slide) (the equivalent is known as Post Processing (PP) and uses software like Photoshop, Lightroom, The GIMP, or Picasa)
  3. Enlarge and print the image (we can still print, but we also publish on the web)

[top]How does the plan work?

Its very simple. We outline a self study guide and you then
  1. read up on each topic (this site is a great start)
  2. go and do it with your camera (take some photos)
  3. post the results here for Constructive Critique (CC)
    How to post and link your photos into forum threads

And thus by doing with honest, safe and positive feedback you learn.

You can also try the concepts using Practice your settings on this online camera demo
but it does not beat doing it yourself with your camera!

The NTP Learning centre is an initiative of Ricktas and the AP moderators team.
Various members have contributed to this work. The content is updated from time to time.

Above all else - enjoy yourself and have fun!
Previous: New To Photography:NTP Introduction Learning Plan Overview Next: New To Photography:Learning to take photographs

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