How to Become a Photographer Without Going to School

By Donna Thacker ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Camera
  • Computer
  • Photographic software

If you have an interest in photography it is pretty simple to become a great photographer without going to school. The key is to practice and practice some more. Many great photographers have been self-taught and you can do the same. Just be aware that while photography is fun, it is also work. Read on to learn how to become a photographer without going to school.

Know Your Equipment:

Buy the highest end digital camera you can afford. Choose a good name brand with a high mega-pixel number. An eight or above is a good starting point. A higher mega-pixel will insure sharper, clearer photos.

Study the camera functions until you know where the basic buttons are without having to search. You should be able to turn it on, snap a picture and view it in the view finder. You should be able to delete that picture if necessary. Learn these functions in advance of starting to take pictures.

Keep the camera set on automatic for picture taking. In the beginning, it will know what speed or aperture setting is best, better than you will. You can change it to portrait, sports or landscape, if you feel comfortable with that. Also know how to turn the flash off and on. Refer to your camera manual with help on this.

Buy the best camera bag you can afford as well. It should have divided sections, and several easily accessible pockets. As your knowledge grows, so will your collection of camera equipment, such as different lenses, filters and memory cards. You want it large enough to accommodate the camera and leave extra room for adding things, but you don't want it to be so large you can't comfortably have it over your shoulder and still be able to work the camera.

Getting in Some Practice

Start taking pictures. Go for a walk and search out what ever you think might be a great picture. Center the focal point in the viewing screen. Most digital cameras let you know when the picture is focused and the camera is ready. Take a lot of different types pictures.

Load the pictures onto your computer, following the instructions that came with the camera or photographic soft ware. Study all of the pictures and make mental notes of how well you like them, or what you could have done differently. If you like the photos, save them in a folder marked "First Set."

When you are comfortable taking "stills," move on to live things. Practice with your children, your pets or other family members that are willing to help. The key is to practice, study, practice and study some more. Keep referring back to your first set, so that you actually see improvement.

Study photographic tips. You can buy books or magazines or you can find a lot of information on the Internet about how to take great pictures. Practice the tips you learn. Learn to look at everything as if you are looking through a viewfinder. If your mind thinks it is a great view, snap it with your camera.

Offer to take free pictures of your family's children or pets. Always take your camera to family gatherings or events. With digital cameras there is no expensive film to waste, so take all of the shots you want. If they are not to your liking, you can delete them and try again.

Tip

Thinking of yourself as a photographer helps to boost confidence. Go ahead and declare, "I am a Photographer!"

About the Author

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.