We’ve all wanted to make a thing, and then given up on it as soon as we realized we would have to learn a new skill, like sewing, or bit of software, like Photoshop or Dreamweaver.
Whether it’s making a website, learning to cook a meal, or figuring out how to co-ordinate your clothes like the Montréalais, it can be daunting to look at examples of the end results you want and realize that you have no clue where to even begin— what questions are you supposed to ask about InDesign, Final Cut Pro, or colour blocking? What can and can’t they even do?
Begin with the end results. Take something that you wish you had made, or that looks like something you’d like to recreate, and recreate it. Knowing what it’s supposed to end up like, you can then search around online for how to make it happen.
It probably won’t turn out how you want it to the first time, or even the first few times. This is good, because it means you have good taste, and that there’s just a gap between what you like and what you’re able to do right now. Just keep trying to close that gap by analyzing your results, making adjustments, and trying again. Repeat this process for as long as it takes.
So if you want to become a really great photographer, start trying to recreate photos you love. It’ll help you understand what questions to ask. If you take a photo of a fountain, but the water is blurry because it was in motion, Google that issue and you’ll learn about shutter speed, which is a term you might not have heard. The same goes for any other craft; you’ll eventually build up both a vocabulary, skillset, and your own techniques for getting interesting results.