Photography can be a very expensive hobby - the gear alone can run pretty steep, and once you add on things like editing software and so on, there sometimes isn't a lot left over to use on learning how to use the darn things! However, at all ages and stages of your photography journey, you will want to keep learning. The good news is, there are lots of ways to learn photography that don't cost the earth, or even better, are free!
Here are six low cost ways to learn photography:
1) BLOGS / $0
My oh my but there are a lot of blogs to choose from! Three well-known (and long established) blogs are Digital Photography School, Click It Up a Notch and Clickin Moms. You will pick up so much information from blogs, and I suggest you subscribe to a few to get new tricks or ideas. However, blogs tend to address several subjects are are geared to photographers of varying abilities, which means they don't follow a guided learning path. This is one reason it can be best to use blogs alongside other forms of learning, so although you could learn photography by piecing together different blog posts, it will take a bit longer to try to do it this way.
2) LIBRARY BOOKS / $0
As I prefer to be able to hold onto a book after I've read it, I tend to purchase my photography books instead of taking them out of the library, but if you want to keep it as low cost as possible, you can borrow a great many fantastic titles from libraries. You can take a look at his post on photography books for some ideas of titles to look for. The good news, if they are no good, you can just put it back and take out a different one!
3) PHOTOGRAPHY GROUPS / $0 - $60
You can usually find local ones in your area, just go a searching for camera clubs and photography groups - these are usually free, or have a small charge just to cover costs. You can find free ones online too - Flickr has loads of groups dedicated to different things, you can join one of those and start posting! I am part of a great little photography group - we have a closed Facebook group where we share tips, suggestions, or just links to things we think others might like. We are all scattered about from different locations, so we will probably all never meet to practice together in person (although that would be so fun!) but we all post images for critique, or ask for help with something - despite not being in the same location, it''s very supportive. If you can find a group or create one with your friends, it can be a wonderful way to help grow your photography for absolutely nothing.
If you want to join a larger group, where you can also find tutorials for learning, there are several "for women" forums around. Clickin Moms is a big one - and the one I am with - but others include The Bloom Forum and The Photographer Within - all have little sub forums you can join in with, or general forums where you get to know people, as well as areas with tutorials and other learning resources.
4) PRINT BOOKS / $2 - $50
Don't even get me started on the number of photography books I have! However, if I can, I like to pick these up from Amazon as second hand items, and I've bought several books this way. Of course, you aren't going to get the latest books second hand, but for many I'm happy to get them when they are a few years old. Here's a couple that you can get right now second hand on Amazon that are less than half price:
5) E-LEARNING $10 - $250
There are three main types of e-learning: ebooks, workshops and courses. A Workshop is the most expensive, and this usually means that you can submit images for feedback, but you are on strict timetable - the course lasts for around four weeks and that's the only time you will get feedback or help if you get stuck, They are good , if a little pricey, but less flexible.
Ebooks and ecourses are much more flexible - you learn at a time to suit you. In my own ecourse Auto to Awesome, I have two options - self study only, and self study with email support.
Make sure you choose one that has a really solid step by step learning path so that you get the most out of it.
6) CREATIVE LIVE / $0
Creative Live is a site with loads of photography courses that you can pay for, but they also stream videos of their new photography courses for free, provided you watch it live. Find out which courses are coming up live (and therefore free) here - I think you need to sign up to watch, but there are no charges involved.
That should be enough to get you started! If you want a totally free, seven day course geared for beginners that will get you taking better photos in just one week - click on the button below and you'll get a lesson delivered straight to your inbox every day for seven days.