Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: "Foundations of Photography: Exposure (& Lenses)" by Ben Long

On, I just finished Ben Long's two online instructional videos: "Foundations of Photography: Exposure " and "Foundations of Photography: Lenses." Combined, the series provide a comprehensive look at how to use and care for a camera and lens, how to handle particular shooting situations, and what to take into consideration when purchasing equipment and accessories. The courses covered nearly everything I learned in my first photography class, so I didn't really learn much (I actually had the videos playing in the background while I was doing something else because it served as a review/refresher for me). Nonetheless, it was entertaining and informative.

If learning via instructional videos works for you, I recommend this series. If you access the videos through, it'll only cost you $25, if you can do the entire series within a month (versus buying each of the DVD series for ~$100 each or paying for a real class). You can do the course at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home or on a smartphone, and you can rewind parts if you miss or forget something. Both courses combined totaled 6 hours in length (versus weeks during a full semester/quarter at a college).

The biggest downside of taking an introduction to photography course using these videos is that you don't get the interaction between you and the teacher and other students. Particularly, you don't receive feedback on your photos and on how well you are progressing. In my opinion, critique (both of your work and your classmates') is essential to learning photography.

In the end, I would highly recommend taking a real life course if you can. But if you can't, this is a nice alternative. However, it'll also come down to practice. Watching every lesson in the videos or attending every real life class is pointless, if you don't apply what you learn and go out and actually shoot.

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