Want to learn how to use your new camera? Looking for some photography tips, books to read, or photography classes in Portland? There are plenty of opportunities available to suit all learning styles and budgets.
While the Portland Photographic Society offers many instructional and learning opportunities, the majority are “learn by doing” in the form of field trips, and given the multitude of photographic topics, we don’t cover everything during the year.
Please note that we provide this list as purely a resource for further research – we do not necessarily endorse any particular organization, company, or website. Always beware that links could be out of date, and always exercise caution in giving out any personal information online.
Free Websites to Learn Photography
Online resources for photography are plentiful – there are videos, articles, and all sorts of instructional materials available for free. If you are a self-directed learner, it is a great time to be a photographer. Here are a few links to get you started.
Camera-Specific Help and Tutorials
For most camera models, there are numerous instructional articles and videos available on youtube.com or from your camera’s manufacturer. If you can’t find information from your manufacturer, searching YouTube is easy – just head to the main site (youtube.com) and in the search bar at the top, type in your camera’s model name, followed by tutorial. For example, typing in “Nikon D800 tutorial” provides numerous helpful videos. The same can be done simply in any search engine (such as Google), such as typing “Olympus E-PM1 guide” or “Canon Rebel T4i tutorial” or “Photoshop Elements Tutorial”.
If you don’t like watching videos, and prefer the written word, your camera’s manual can be very helpful, depending on the manufacturer. If you don’t have the one that came with your camera, you can find a copy online at your camera manufacturer’s website, or by searching the web (for example, “Nikon D800 manual” typed into Google). There are also books available for most cameras from third parties, some of which may even be available at your local library.
Manufacturer Websites and learning portals (many of which are applicable to all types of cameras):
- Nikon’s Learn & Explore Page
- Canon Digital Learning Center
- Sony E-Support
- Olympus Learning Center
- Panasonic UK Learning Center
- Samsung’s Official Photography Blog
- Leica’s Official Blog
- Fujifilm Home Page
- Pentax Home Page
- Cambridge in Colour provides a long list of photography tutorials, from the very basic to more advanced subjects
- Geoff Lawrence’s website provides another long list of tutorials
- SLRLounge’s “School” section provides a bevy of tutorials on photography and software
- Photography Life has a long list of articles, from beginner to advanced
- Digital Camera World has a long list of photography tutorials covering specific topics and tasks
- Digital Photography School has amassed a long list of guides over the years
Specific Styles of Photography
These websites go deeper into specific styles and types of photography:
- Eric Kim’s guide to Street Photography provides a wealth of information on the subject.
- David Hobby’s “Strobist” website provides information on lighting and off-camera flash
- Zack Arias Photography Q&A Archive provides answers to many common and not-so-common questions about being a professional photographer
A variety of books are likely available for your specific camera. For examples, head to Amazon.com and type in your camera’s model name – for example, “Canon 7D guide” – and find a guide book for your camera with good reviews.
- Photography books, and camera guide books, may be available for free from your local library, or available on inter-library loan.
- Used copies of camera guide books, especially for older cameras, are often much less expensive than new versions. It may be worth a trip to a large bookstore, or browsing the “used” listings for the book you want on Amazon.
- In many cases, “e-book” versions (online books, downloadable to your computer or portable device) are available that may be less expensive than the hardcover versions.
There are many excellent books on photography, but here are a few suggestions to get started:
- Photographing Oregon by Greg Vaughn
- The Photographer’s Guide to the Oregon Coast by David Middleton
- Photographing Oregon with Professional Results by Bryan Peterson
- Scenic Routes & Byways of Oregon by Tom Barr
- Backroads & Byways of Oregon by Crystal Wood
- Backroads of Oregon by George & Rhonda Ostertag
- Photographing Washington by Greg Vaughn
- The Photographer’s Guide to Puget Sound by Ron Barbee
- Backroads of Washington by Diana Fairbanks
- Exploring Washington’s Backroads by John Deviny
- Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
- How to Create Stunning Digital Photography by Tony Northrup
Composition & Creativity
- The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman
- The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum
Portraits and People
- 50 Portraits by Gregory Heisler
- Road to Seeing by Dan Winters
Landscape and Nature
- Mountain Light by Galen Rowell
- Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel Adams
- Treasured Lands by Q.T. Luong
- The Camera, the Negative, and the Print book series by Ansel Adams
- The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum
Online Photography Classes
If you enjoy learning from videos, there are many ways to learn online. From free youtube videos to by-the-month video sites, there are many options.
- There are many photography videos on youtube, covering almost any subject matter. As the content is always changing, your best bet is to go to the main youtube.com site and search for the subject you’re interested in. For example, “portrait lighting tutorial” or “photography guide to barcelona”.
- This website provides an arsenal of photography and software instruction (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.) from experienced professionals. They charge a monthly fee, but you can watch as many videos as you want. If you love to watch and learn from videos, and have a lot of time to watch them, Lynda.com can be a very cost-effective option.
Kelby Training (kelbyone.com)
- Similar to Lynda.com, this website also provides unlimited access (for a monthly fee) to a variety of training videos, mostly centered around photography and software. If you learn best from videos, this can be a very cost-effective option.
Local Photography Classes
Portland has a number of photography classes available if you get tired of online guides, or feel like learning from the experts. Classes are arguably the most expensive way to learn, but they also provide high-quality instruction and hands-on, person-to-person training. If this suits your learning style, then read on:
Portland Community College (pcc.edu)
- PCC offers classes year-round in a number of photographic topics, including basics, composition, lighting, and digital software. The classes range in price (typically $100 to $200) – and length (one day to several weeks).
Pro Photo Supply (prophotosupply.com)
- Pro Photo Supply offers classes, workshops, and guest speakers throughout the year. Prices range from free to several hundred dollars, depending on the topic.