How to Become a Self-Taught Photographer?

You can look through a lot of web pages about photography, professional photographers sites, galleries and so on, but you will not find the exact information on how to become an excellent photographer at once.

It becomes clear: to seriously pursue a photography craft needs a lot of desire, patience, and knowledge. In short, you, need to work hard to achieve this goal – a goal of becoming a good photographer from scratch. A professional photographer is not necessarily a person with a god’s talent, but someone who has a vision, who has a creative mind and works hard to achieve self-perfection. If you say to yourself: “No, it’s not about me,” then do not even try to become a photographer. Otherwise, you will lose money and spend time badly. If you are not afraid of difficulties, even having no talent, do not lose your heart. The photographer is an occupation which is the same as many other creative professions. You can learn, and again, work hard.

However, there are some useful tips on “how to become a photographer,” which we’ve managed to find and organize. We hope it will help you in your endeavors a little, and may be the first step on the way to the photographer’s lifestyle.

How to become a professional photographer?

Of course, there’s an opportunity to get a higher education in photography. But to learn everything in photography fast is not possible. People say that to become a professional photographer takes at least from five to six years of steady and regular training and development. Market conditions are constantly changing; if a person is ill-versed in it, he has to wade through a lot of difficulties. The fact is that what there was five or six years ago may be no longer applicable today. This also applies to the practical work, and education. Paradoxically, today photographers are not prepared in any educational institution, they start from scratch with the camera and simply do photography depending on practice and taking some theory from I-net. A complete professional education involves the viability of the labor market, a good level of preparation of the photographer, both technical and artistic. So, relying on that, there are some ways of getting knowledge for the future photography career.


Higher education in photography is available in many institutes of higher education, schools, training, etc. But now, according to professional photographers, this formation does not meet modern requirements. More and more people step aside from the formal education for independent courses or even free I-net lectures.

The problem is not only in the time lack or some global market tendencies, but also in the fact that the individual faculties of photographers, can be a sufficient basis. Also, the overall high demand for entrance exams can become a serious obstacle for the novice photographers. Studying online or in private with the craftsman turns out to be cheaper, more effective, and easy-going.


Most private schools, although compared to the public ones having the better technical equipment, have a serious drawback: as a rule, they do not teach mechanic photography basics like chromatic, and chemistry, photo processes and photo composition, or lack separate lessons on photographic technique and lighting. Usually, it is a photographer with a lot of shooting experience, both analog and digital, who does not always practice some photography disciplines. Again, most currently known professional photographers did not receive education themselves. So, anyone who wants to become a professional photographer does so at their own risk. There’s no sure way to become a good photographer just like there’s no universal recipe for becoming an excellent product manager.

Main problem of a professional photographer

The main problem of a professional photographer is that money on taking a photo will always stand in the first place. It’s enough to have a look at a good photographic technique and materials price tag to make sure of it. There’s no work for free, even if you’re an artist. And to sell good, you should follow the market demands, but not your ambitions, want it or not.

Another problem is the need for an art education, which is the kinda paradox. Of course, every new client wants to know if you’re keen on what you do, and your glossy diploma usually serves as a solid proof, if not numerous honorable mentions of respected customers.

Another issue which are kinda bias and a perpetuated stereotype is the fact that the photographer can not be regarded as a professional simply because he earns his living by filming. Everyone can be such a “professional” and benefit from a mediocre level in photos. True, without having a good reputation, the photographer will not be able to succeed. Being professional means understanding what the customer needs, even the most insane and inadequate ones. After all, they’re just people who pay you.

All this is complicated and time was eating. Anyone who has education, a permanent job, and a family, will never agree to constant moving in pursue of career photography laurels because it’s simply incompatible. No worries. You can be a photographer in mind and have a small circle of friends. Or you can take casual photos as a well-paid hobby, and your little passion, without chasing Siberian Tigers or Lady Gaga for a sensational shoot for neither National Geographic nor Cosmopolitan, whatever.

The last problem is technological progress. There’s no way to escape it, sooner or later your camera model will grow old and your editing software – out of date. It seems that new technologies are pushing forward the human. Yes, they do, but it is very important to keep up with these technologies, keep abreast of the latest innovations. The need for continuous learning a new, tracking the development of the photographic industry will always stand in front of a professional in additional to the aforementioned issues.

For anyone who wants to become a photographer, we say: “Welcome to the world of photography.” You’ll always have to be confident, trying to find something amazing, in the right place and just in right time to make a brilliant shot.

Simple steps: how to become a self-taught photographer

The photographer is an artist. This is a creative person. There are thousand various ways of becoming great from various famous photographers like Helmut Newton or George Edward Hurrell. Here’re some tips which, however, will perfectly fit an ordinary modern person willing to become a good photographer.

1. Drink a bottle of champagne in the morning, after the breakfast – for courage, and to mark the beginning of a new life.

2. Take a TV cable and cut it off. You can throw your TV set through the window, as well. Now you’re ready.

3. Realize and accept your new hobby (or passion) as its is.

4. For the first time, completely exclude reading some non-photographic literature. Read it everywhere: in the kitchen, in the bathroom, bedroom, and other locations. Read literature about the photos and photo albums, successful photographers, online editing/proofing software, mobile photo processing tools, etc. After some time, you will have a grasp of photography theory as a result of reading. Any information hunger for books and periodicals will be good for you and make the learning process easy and fun.

5. Train your eye, dwell on imagination. Whatever you do, look for photographic subjects and angles. Do not be distracted by nonsense. Focus, watch at home, on the road, at work, at rest, having sex, walking the dog, always, in general. If your attention is scattered, and you forget about the photos, use reminders.

6. As soon as you see something worthy of capturing (object, still life, landscape, person, genre scene, interesting texture, and so forth.), take a camera and picture it.

7. After making shots always ask yourself: “Why?”. Your art should have reason and purpose, and the history. Close your eyes, open your mind and try to absorb the sacramental photography knowledge spilled everywhere in the environment. Urge for inspiration in ordinary things that surround you every day, even in routine.

Have more ideas? You’re welcome to share them! Good luck!

Jamie Nelson, Talented Photographer

I was able to grab an interview with Jamie Nelson the photographer published in popular magazines Zink, Linie De Luxe, Plaza, and Highlights. Her work is also shown in art galleries across the globe.

I was absolutely in love with her pictures the first time I glanced upon them.

She uses bold color and graphics that really pop out at the viewer. Vivid is a great word to describe her art, and yes it is much more art than fashion, it’s the kind of pictures you would hang up on a wall to enjoy daily.

Her work is very distinct as quoted by Anti-mag “Well, I dare say she is pushing the envelope in that genre of photography and she’s doing it very well.” Another great article at

I hope you enjoy the article as much as I do.

What are your inspirations?

Jamie: I have never been very inspired by other photographers. I have always drawn inspiration from life experiences and my deep urges to share my passion and vision with people.

I am mostly inspired on the day of the shoot when the entire creative team pulls together to create.

I am inspired by the chaos of shoot days and the beauty of the final result that is created by several artists.

When did you realize you wanted to do what you’re currently doing and when did you begin?

Jamie: I was in my senior year of high school, getting ready to apply to Stanford for the pre-med program.

Ha ha, thank god that didn’t happen!

I took an art class and fell in love with photography and completely changed my direction.

What are your favorite items to use in your art?

Jamie: I enjoy bold, colorful clothing that makes a graphic statement and transforms the model.

However, lately I have been obsessed with shooting beauty and cosmetics.

In the same sense, I am inspired by bold, colorful makeup that creates graphic statements on the model and transforms her.

Do you have any favorite products or equipment you use when creating your art?

Jamie: I really don’t like to stress importance on equipment.

It has never been about what type of equipment I use.

I was always the poor kid in school with the junkiest camera.

Everyone likes to ask this question, but really, there is no special magical equipment in my opinion.

Are you a part of any artist communities online or offline?

Jamie: My favorite online community lately has been

There are some really amazing talents on there.

Do you have a favorite piece that you have photographed?

Jamie: I enjoy shooting with taxidermy animals for some reason.

It was a phase I went through for awhile.

They have been frozen in time with their one last movement or action in life.

They are still, quiet, yet bold. They seem to be an overall metaphor for my imagery.

I would like my models & imagery to hold the same tranquility and timelessness.

What themes do you have in your art?

Jamie:The work tends to be bold- whether colorful or colorless, there is always an element of boldness.

Each image is glossy and perfected, even if the content is rough, raw, or grungy.

I carry a lot of vintage aesthetic into each image- a juxtaposition of several eras of time that inspire me.

Do you see yourself moving in any new directions?

Jamie: I see myself moving into the commercial field quickly.

After I gain success in advertising campaigns, and top magazines, I’d love to be able to settle down a bit and focus on going back in the fine art direction.

Where can people view and or buy your work?

Jamie:My work is usually featured in internationally distributed magazines carried at Barnes & Nobles and Border’s. Although some are obscure foreign magazines that may be difficult to find.

I also am doing more art shows locally and internationally. The most current will be one in Rome in May.

What experiences or training has helped you grow as an artist?

Jamie: There are so many elements that have assisted my growth over the years.

School was very important to develop the technical aspect of my photography.

Having a solid team of other creatives around me as really made the artistic vision and flow easier to perfect.

Shooting consistently and practicing always teaches me something new.

When shoots go horribly wrong, I love it and get excited- I always learn so much from those ones!

Did you attend School or take any classes to get started?

Jamie: Yes, I went to Brooks Institute of Photography in CA for 4 years.

I also took an art class in High School, which initially piqued my interest for photography.

What advice would you give to beginner photographers?

Jamie: Develop your own style. Stay true to it. Try to get your work out to as many people as possible.

Be persistent. Be willing to make sacrifices for what you want

Gifted American Photographer Documents Grandeur, Plight of Mali’s Fabled Timbuktu

Timbuktu is a city that has long gripped the Western imagination. It sits on the Niger River, that clearly marked dividing line between the sandy deserts of North Africa and the green, moist, fertile lands of tropical and sub-tropical Africa, the iconic jungles we associate with Congo and a blazing equatorial sun.

Timbuktu is also rooted deeply in the English language. Even young children speak of Timbuktu in the sense of “as far away from where I am now as it is possible to get.” And some of its charm, too, derives simply from the euphony of the word: “Timbuktu” slips off the tongue. We also speak definitively of “Sub-Saharan Africa” as though that were itself a name. Is that not an odd thing to do? Would we ever call the United States and Mexico “Sub-Canadian America”?

Timbuktu has an importance belied by its geographic isolation because it has served now for millennia as the doorway between the deserts and the jungles of Africa. It is the passage that one had to walk through, when camels and canoes were the principal vehicles of African travel, to get from North Africa to Sub-Saharan Africa — and back again. It maintained that role well into the 20th century, and it maintains it still today, at least symbolically.

Because of its critical position as the gateway to the south, Arab traders and evangelists from the seventh and eighth centuries onward made Timbuktu a way station of very special significance. Its two principal mosques are magnificent works of architecture, and Timbuktu’s Islamic libraries have been compared in stature to those of Baghdad and Cairo.

Though it has been no stranger to conflict over the centuries, Timbuktu today is in acute, grave danger, a sort of danger it has not faced before. Timbuktu may actually risk being destroyed because Islamic militias are battling over the surrounding territory and the very city itself.

These militias, with fanatical zeal, have already damaged ancient tombs which commemorate the final resting place of Sufi saints, now deemed to be “idolatrous” by Ansar Dine, an extremist group. A dozen sacred tombs have already been vandalized.

Worse, Timbuktu’s ancient libraries, housing priceless collections of ancient Islamic texts that the UNESCO World Heritage Center estimates may number 300,000, (including books on early Islamic studies of mathematics and science — the treasure trove is not limited to religious tracts), are now at risk of being burned or destroyed.

These priceless texts cannot be replaced. Some of them exist solely as one-time, unique calligraphy on scrolls. Destroy the single copy in Timbuktu and there are no sister copies in Cairo or Baghdad to preserve its intellectual content. Though some manuscripts have been moved to safer repositories, too many remain in Timbuktu, where imams have preserved them for centuries. But the imams have never faced the threat they face today.

And yet these books and scrolls could be saved both in actuality and as digital copies — if there was a will and a way expressed by the greater international community that made this a focus of global concern. Part of the problem is that the calamity facing Timbuktu is not widely known in Europe and America.

And now comes a brilliant young American photographer and writer, Alexandra Huddleston, who has given a substantial portion of the last eight years of her life documenting, in magnificent images and moving words, the dire threat that faces Timbuktu, both its living people and its living treasures. She has put all her work into a book, a volume that will hold you prisoner.

Her 96-page text is titled “333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” and it tells the story of a city under siege — there is no less blunt way to put it — by Islamic fanatics who think nothing of killing people and less of killing texts. Supported in part by her Fulbright, Alexandra Huddleston tells in photographs and words the story of Timbuktu’s long lineage of Islamic scholarship, and of how that scholarship is now imperilled as never before.

In a short piece she wrote for the development group Kickstarter, Huddleston says that her book “tells a story of discovery, a rich and beautiful African intellectual culture that remains largely unknown in the West. It is a book about men and women who love books — scholars of all ages who seek knowledge and wisdom through learning. It is about a city that has built its identity around a culture of scholarship.”

Alexandra Huddleston is a native of Africa, the daughter of Foreign Service parents then stationed in Sierra Leone. Though she spent time growing up in Washington, D.C., she has traveled extensively all over the world and she fell in love with Mali, that mysterious home to so many elegant peoples that is so deeply hidden in the southern Sahara, a nation that gently touches, too, in its southern precincts, Africa’s moist, green lushness.

Alexandra was introduced to Mali by her mother Vicki Huddleston, who had two tours of duty at the U.S. Embassy in Mali, first as a staffer in the political and economic section early in her career and later as ambassador. Vicki Huddleston began her overseas journeys as a young Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, so Alexandra’s affection for remote and difficult places appears to be deep in her DNA.

Alexandra Huddleston’s work 333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” must be approached by American and European readers with a sense of urgency, for there is a real risk of cultural extinction here, the permanent loss of treasures that help inform us of who we are. There are scientific treasures here, too, dating from that period when Islamic science eclipsed the backward European scholarship of the Middle Ages.

Many in this country were aghast when the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan a dozen years ago, using precisely the same “logic” (that they are idolatrous) now being directed against Timbuktu’s Sufi saints and Islamic libraries.

But what is happening in Timbuktu is arguably much worse, because manuscripts encode vastly more human thought, history, emotion, and knowledge than stone statues are capable of doing. Where is the sense of outrage that is now needed?

Anyone who loves Africa will cherish this book. And by focussing attention on the dire predicament in Timbuktu, perhaps a solution can be found that will preserve this human heritage for those who come later, who may treat these treasures more wisely.

Read more about Alexandra Huddleston and her “333 Saints: a Life of Scholarship in Timbuktu” at:

Buy the book at: