I am about to share with you a secret, one that can improve your life forever. I am 100% serious. Even though I am posting it here on the internet, it’s still a secret between you and me. Come and lean in a bit closer… a little more… as I am about to share with you how to truly master ANY skill and become a pro at it, AND even get paid for it afterwards. I am honestly not exaggerating at all, I just wanted to see how much closer I could get you to the screen… (probably no that close at all.)
Anyway… let’s dig into it.
I am a professional photographer, but I started out never having taken any classes in it at all. I learned my photography skills while traveling around the world, with my camera in hand, experimenting. Through trial and error – and there was a lot of error! – I learnt which settings worked best for which situation. While I became excellent at the practical side of photography – composition, observing my subjects, capturing the right moments, and also learning some of the theory (mostly just ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture), I never got fully to grips with some of the more in depth theoretical aspects of photography and cameras. This lead to some awkward moments once I started doing it professionally as people started asking me questions about areas of photography they didn’t understand, and having just told them I was a professional photographer I had to reply back, rather sheepishly “hmm, I don’t know either.”
So, after a couple of those awkward moments I asked myself, “How professional do you really want to be? Because if you want to go all in and truly call yourself a professional photographer, you need to know everything there is to know about it.”
That’s when I started thinking.
A question I often ask myself in many different situations is “How can I get the absolute maximum out of this?” So, I started thinking with that in mind, how can I get the absolute maximum out of learning photography. Is there a more effective and beneficial way than simply opening a book or taking a class? How can I get the maximum out of this…. ? (This is, by the way, an incredible question and way of thinking to maximize and gain more out of any opportunity. I will write a more in depth article about this very soon.)
After thinking about this for some time, the PING happened and the light went on – I had an idea:
Teach it yourself.
Yes. That’s right. I was going to create a course teaching other people about all the theoretical and practical aspects of cameras and about photography that I had no clear clue about myself. And let me tell you now, it’s THE most powerful way of mastering ANY skill. If you want to be a pro, write a book or create a course, or even better do BOTH. Because when you do this YOU HAVE TO KNOW what you are talking about. It has to be 100 % correct. Especially if you want to go and use this material afterwards to sell it. I would strongly recommend you write your book, or create your course for the purpose of selling it to other people. Not just so you can benefit financially from it once it’s done, but also because you will aim your sights and set your benchmarks waaaay higher if you start with that result in mind.
So, I signed myself up for a couple of online photography classes from world renowned photographers, read every article I could get my hands on and learned everything I didn’t know or didn’t fully understand. I then wrote it all out for my course, until finally after months of hard work it was all done and I had finished my very own interactive course on photography. All beautifully written and illustrated, professionally and clearly explained, so even the in depth technical parts are easy to understand by everyone, no matter their previous experience or knowledge. To make it even easier to follow, I included my own illustrations and photos to demonstrate certain techniques and camera functions. It really is a beautiful piece of work, and one I’m very proud of. I’ve released it on my website, and it’s been very well received.
Then, however, I took it a step further (I already dropped a hint about this.) From the interactive online course I had created, I started making plans to create a full video course that could be used for online teaching platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare (see what I mean by maximizing?). You can do this the other way round, but it makes more sense to write a book or interactive online course first and then create a video course out of that as you already have most of the text written out.
Recycle your material and give it form in every possible way that you can. First of all, this is good because not everyone likes to learn by reading. Some prefer to take on new skills by watching videos, others by listening to audio classes. If you want to get the maximum out of something, hit every possible note that you can. Secondly, it’s even more beneficial financially. Thirdly – and this is the main point, the one where we started from – because you will come to imbed this information so much deeper inside you. For the video course I HAD to commit everything to memory. I couldn’t very well stand in front of the camera reading from a piece of paper. Also, both platforms, Udemy and Skillshare have a Q&A section. On that, I am being continually challenged by questions from my students. This means I keep on learning and keep on getting better and better while I am helping out other people in the process. And, last but not least, another nice plus point, especially if you run your own business, or are creating a brand, you just made yourself visible in many more ways than before. Meaning, more people are able to find you or your business.
You can become a master in any field in this way. Yes, it takes time and hard work, absolutely. But if you truly want to master something (and achieve all the other points of maximization that go with it), then teach to others what you want to learn yourself and depending on how far you really want to instill this information within you, expand your content on other platforms like Udemy and Skillshare.
Teach what you want to learn – it’s the absolute best way to go, and you never know, your course might end up being one of the most bought courses on the platform… 🙂