The Photographer’s Roadmap

Where are you right now? Where do you want to go? Here’s how to get there!
Instructions: click on any one of the 12 areas of study below and start going through the listed Lenspiration training material chronologically.
Skill level:  E=Easy,  M=Moderate,  A=Advanced
1. Understand Your Camera

The first step to becoming a photographer is to explore all those buttons, dials, and settings on your camera! Use the following list of resources to help you get started:

EThe Secret to Shooting Like A Pro! – Ebook (free for both FREE and PRO members)
MHow To Unlock Your Camera – Video ($19, or free for those with special coupon)
EUnderstand Your Camera’s ControlsFoundations of Photography Course, Section 2 (50% off in PRO)
EHow Your Camera’s Controls Affect Your PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Section 3 (50% off in PRO)
EMaking The Switch To Manual – Course (PRO exclusive)
MA Precise Explanation Of Exposure Compensation – Video (PRO exclusive)
AUnderstanding Megapixels – Forum discussion
MShould I Be Using The “Picture Color Control” Settings In-Camera? – Video (PRO exclusive)
EWhat To Look For In A Good Zoom Lens – Video (PRO exclusive)
EVariable vs Fixed Aperture Lenses – Video (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Avoid Corrupting Memory Cards – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Get The Perfect Exposure . . . Quickly – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
ADiagnosing Issues With The Canon 100-400mm Lens – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

2. Experiment With What You Have

It doesn’t matter what equipment you have, are you learning from your experimentation and practice? Practice the tips in each of the following resources, one at a time, as if a coach had assigned them to you:

ECan You Use Any Camera To Take Great Photos? – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E8 Principles For Taking Better Photos With Any Camera – Video (PRO exclusive)
EMoving My Pictures from Bad To Good To Better To Best – Blog post
EMaximize On The Beauty Of Every-Day Locations – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
ETips For Helping Young Photographers Get Started – Blog post
AHow A Budding Photographer Learned To Photograph A Prizewinning Shot – Forum discussion (PRO exclusive)
ESimple Ways For Beginners To Get Back Into Photography – Forum discussion
MHow To Photograph Back-Lit Leaves! – Special feature
AHow To Photograph Snowflakes – Forum discussion
EThe 3 S’s Of Silhouette Photography – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
EThe Difference The Sun Can Make – Blog post
EHow To Create The Starburst Effect In-Camera – Video (PRO exclusive)
EObserve The Critique Of Other’s Photos – Database of PRO Critique videos
EHow To Capture The Unique Beauty Of Early Autumn – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Make The Most Of Peak Autumn Color – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Capitalize On The Distinct Advantages Of Late Autumn – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E10 Amazing Benefits Of Shooting In Winter – Blog post
E4 Keys To Enjoying Shooting In Cold Weather – Blog post
E5 Tips For Shooting In Dreary January – Blog post
MImprove Your Photography By Making The Most Of Your Spare Moments – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
M5 Steps To Capturing The Silky Water Effect – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Photograph The Silky Water Effect On Bright Sunny Days – Video (PRO exclusive)
EChristmas Tip: Blurry Background Christmas Lights – Blog post
E3 Steps To Photographing Beautiful Background Blur – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Capture Tack Sharp Reflections – Video (PRO exclusive)
ETips For Sharp Images Without A Tripod – Forum discussion
EHow To Take Action Shots That Are Always Tack Sharp – Video (PRO exclusive)
E5 Tips For Focusing In The Dark – Blog post
MStep By Step, Focusing For Night Photography – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Shoot In The Darkness Of A Cave – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
M4 Methods For Nailing The Perfect White Balance – Video (PRO exclusive)
EShooting Advice Before Going On Vacation – Forum discussion
AShooting An Amazing Photo, From Start To Finish – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
ASequence Analysis: Discover A Habit Of The Professionals – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
EShoot For This Week’s Photo Assignment – Lenspiration opportunity (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

3. Know How To Buy Smart

As you grow, you will eventually want to upgrade. How do you know what to get? How do you get the best deal? Study each of the following resources and start making educated buying choices:

EChoosing A Camera That’s Right For YouFoundations of Photography Course, Section 1 (50% off in PRO)
EAnswering The Most Common Photography Question, Once And For All! – Blog post
MPhotography Buying Guide – Ebook (50% off in PRO)
EUse The Forums To Help You Buy – Forum discussion
EWhat’s The Difference Between Smartphone Cameras And DSLRs? – Forum discussion
MHow This Photographer Bought His Very First DSLR Camera – Forum discussion
ESome Camera Buying Advice – Blog post
EPurchasing Recommendations – Blog post
EWhat Camera Should I Upgrade to From A Nikon D40X? – Video (PRO exclusive)
ETips For Upgrading Lenses – Forum discussion
EIs It Worth The Extra Cost To Get f/2.8 On A 70-200mm Lens? – Forum discussion
EDeciding Between The f/1.4 or f/1.8 50mm Lens – Forum discussion
EThoughts On Upgrading A Nikon Camera – Forum discussion
EWhat About Buying Refurbished? – Blog post
MWhat Every Photographer Should Know About Tripod Heads – Video (PRO exclusive)
EWhat You Need To Know When Buying A Polarizer Filter – Video (PRO exclusive)
ERechargeable Battery Recommendations – Forum discussion
MBudget Nikon Speedlights – Forum discussion
MSell Your Old Equipment On The Forums! – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

4. Organize Your Photos

Is your computer clogged with pictures? Finding it difficult find the shot you’re looking for? Eliminate the confusion by getting organized using the following resources:

ESecrets to Organizing PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.5 (50% off in PRO)
E10 Reasons Why I Use Lightroom – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.2 (50% off in PRO)
ECan I Use Photoshop & Bridge Instead of Lightroom? – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.3 (50% off in PRO)
EGetting Started in Lightroom – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.4 (50% off in PRO)
MHow To Merge Multiple Lightroom Catalogs – Forum discussion
ERecommended Viewer For Sorting Through Pictures Quickly – Forum discussion
ETips For Organizing Files – Forum discussion
MResolving An Organizational Disaster – Forum discussion (PRO exclusive)
EHow I Back Up My Photos – Video (PRO exclusive)
ETips For Backing Up Photos – Forum discussion
ERecovering Lost Data With Recuva – Video (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

5. Edit Your Photos

Are your pictures lacking that “pop” that you see in the professionals’ shots? It’s time to master post-processing technique. Use these resources to do it:

EIf You Want To Start With Free Software . . . – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.1 (50% off in PRO)
ETutorial On How To Use RAWTherapee – Forum discussion
EHow To Get Started In Photoshop Elements – Video (PRO exclusive)
M3 Apps For Detailed Editing On A Mobile Device – Blog post
EThe Reason We Edit – Forum discussion
ERedeeming A Photo Using Lightroom – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
MImporting And Sorting Photos in Lightroom – Video (PRO exclusive)
EHow to Use Virtual Copies in Your Normal Post-Processing Workflow – Video (PRO exclusive)
EHow Long Should It Take To Edit My Pictures? – Blog post
EWhat To Do When Saturation Or Vibrance Doesn’t Work – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
EUsing LR Tools To Remove Distractions – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
EWhat Happens To My Photos When I End My Lightroom Subscription? – Video (PRO exclusive)
MIs It Worth Upgrading To Lightroom CC? – Video (PRO exclusive)
EExtend A Photo With GIMP – Video
EThoughts On HDR Editing – Forum discussion
EHow This Prize-Winning Shot Was Edited – Forum discussion
AUsing Photoshop to Remove Lens Flare – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
EA Practical Use For Photoshop’s Color Blending Mode – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow The “Lighten” Blend Mode Works And The Amazing Things It Can Do For You – Video (PRO exclusive)
EFocus Stacking: When It Worked And When It Didn’t – Blog post
MHow To Use Photoshop To Make A Picture Look More Cozy – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Use Photoshop To Quickly Merge Two Photos Together – Video (PRO exclusive)
M15 Principles Of Photo Compositing – Video (PRO exclusive)
AHow I Use Photoshop to Create the Cutouts In The Lenspiration Calendars – Video (PRO exclusive)
EUsing The Forums To Improve Your Photo Editing – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

6. Share Your Photos

What benefit are your pictures if they lay stagnant on a hard drive forever? Whether it’s online or in print, it’s time to start sharing your pictures! The resources below will show you how to do it:

EWhat You Need To Know To Start Sharing Your PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.6 (50% off in PRO)
MHow To Add A Professional Watermark To Your Photos – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Set Up A Photography Portfolio On Facebook – Video (PRO exclusive)
MAdd Attractive Text To Your Photos – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
EWinning Photography Awards Takes More Than Coincidence – Blog post
MHow To Prepare Your Photos For a Photo Contest – Video (PRO exclusive)
E5 Reasons Why The Printed Calendar Isn’t Extinct Yet – Blog post
AUse Your Photos In A Printed Wall Calendar – Lenspiration opportunity

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

7. Master Composition

The subject of composition is as deep as the ocean . . . and as essential to the life and impact of an image as the air we breath! Start applying the concepts outlined in the resources below . . . sequentially, systematically:

EPillars of Composition – Foundations of Photography Course, Section 4 (50% off in PRO)
E7 Fundamental Tools of CompositionFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.2 (50% off in PRO)
MA Two-Word Idea That Will Transform Your Composition – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
EHow Do I Make This Composition Work? – Blog post
E3 Components Behind Every Great PictureFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.3 (50% off in PRO)
MWhat’s The Subject Of Your Photo? – Forum discussion
EHow Slight Rearranging Can Make All The Difference In The World – Blog post
MPositioning Yourself For Better Compositions – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
EWhy I Composed This Cityscape The Way I Did – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
EHow I Work A Scene In Landscape Photography – Blog post
ETweaking A Composition To Perfection – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

8. Explore New Genres

Step out of your comfort zone and explore new horizons! There are worlds of new skills to be discovered. Pick a genre below and start practicing:


EMAPRO Posing – Database of posing ideas, portraiture ebooks, and recommended educational resources (PRO exclusive)
EThe Secret To Amazing Golden Hour Portraiture – Blog post
EA Few Portraiture Tips From My Interview With A Pro – Blog post
MThe Process of Taking a Family Portrait – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
ELearn To Set Up Better Family Poses In A Studio Setting – Video (PRO exclusive)
EHow Do I Conduct An Engagement Photoshoot? – Blog post
E5 Things To Consider When Shooting A Wedding As A 2nd Photographer – Video (PRO exclusive)
EA Few Ways To Improve A Wedding Photoshoot – Blog post
MHow To Get The Best Photos Of A Couple On Their Wedding Day – Video
EAn Honorable Approach to Maternity Portraiture – Video (PRO exclusive)
MSafety Precautions For Newborn Photography – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
EWhat’s The Best Lens For Portraits? – Forum discussion


EHow To Prepare For Your First Event Photography Gig – Video
EThe Secret To Capturing The Moment – Blog post
EHow To Add A Professional Touch To Your Photojournalism Photos – Blog post
EWhat Camera Should I Use For Event Photogaphy? – Blog post
ETips For Shooting A Large Event, Part I and Part II – Blog posts
EWhat We Learned On The Green Lake Event Photography Team – Blog post
E5 Tips For Shooting At The Fair – Blog post
EChallenges Of Shooting A Family Conference – Blog post

Still Life

MWhat You Need To Know To Get Started In Product Photography – Video (PRO exclusive)
EFirst Shot At Product Photography – Blog post
M5 Stages To Conducting A Photoshoot For A CD Cover – Video (PRO exclusive)
E12 Puppy Photography Tips – Blog post
EImproving A Product Image – Forum discussion
EA Few Product Photography Tips – Forum discussion


EWhat Exactly Is Golden Hour? – Video (PRO exclusive)
EIdeas for Better Sunsets -Video (PRO exclusive)
ESuggestions For Improving Sunset Photos – Forum discussion
EChoosing the Right Lens For Flower Photography – Video (PRO exclusive)
EWhat’s A Good Lens To Bring On A Hike In The Mountains? – Forum discussion
EMaximize The Quality Of Your Moon Photos – Video (PRO exclusive)
MMoon Photography Tips – Forum discussion
EPreparing For The Epic Moment – Blog post
EBeach Photography: 10 Challenges To Prepare For – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow To Photograph Lightning In 5 Easy Steps – Video (PRO exclusive)
M3 Ways To Shoot Landscapes At Night – Blog post
AHow To Use Stacking For Better Milky Way Shots – Forum discussion
EWhere We Went For Epic Pictures During CAPTURE Virginia – Blog post
EWhere We Went For Epic Pictures During CAPTURE Vermont – Blog post
AA Step-By-Step Guide to Photographing The Stars – Behind the Shot (PRO exclusive)
AHow To Photograph A Solar Eclipse – Special Topic (PRO exclusive)
EFind Excellent Shooting Locations With Lenspiration’s Scouting Guide – Lenspiration opportunity

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

9. Earn Money With Your Photography

Learn to identify and meet the needs of those around you and you will never lack for a job. Carry out those jobs with excellence by learning the basic principles of pricing, relationship-building, and running a business.

EDetermine Your Photography Goals – Blog post
EHow To Start Getting Your Nature Shots Used – Blog post
EStock Photography Common Questions – Video series (PRO exclusive)
EHow I Shot An Architectural Assignment – Blog post
MHow Do I Know If I’m Prepared To Start Shooting Professionally? – Video (PRO exclusive)
MLegalities Of Posting Pictures Of People On Blogs – Video (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

10. Become An Expert In Your Field

Pursue excellence by figuring out how to do what you’re already doing in a more efficient way. Develop the skills and character that will help you save time, money and relationships.

EHow To Be Successful In Photography – Blog post
EHow Are You Shooting For Excellence? – Blog post
EDealing With Fears In Photography – Blog post
MMy Number One Recommendation For Shy Photographers – Video (PRO exclusive)
E6 Benefits Of Using A Tripod – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Keep From Losing Photography Equipment And Accessories – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
M3 Keys To Staying Warm When It’s Freezing Outside – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Keep From Missing Good Opportunities For Good Pictures – Blog post
MHow I Clean My Camera Sensor In 10 Straightforward Steps – Video (PRO exclusive)
MHow to Deal With Intense, On-Stage Lighting – Video (PRO exclusive)
EDrone And Portraiture Tips From Professional Photographer Donnie Rosie – Interview (PRO exclusive)
MHow Does One Go About Developing A Personal Style In Photography? – Video (PRO exclusive)
EHelpful Websites For Online Location Scouting – Blog post
ETips For Online Location Scouting – Forum discussion
ESpeed Up Online Location Scouting Using Lenspiration’s Scouting Guide – Lenspiration opportunity
EExperience The Subtle Yet Powerful Results Of Photo Critique – Lenspiration opportunity
EWhy These Photo Submissions Were Rejected By This Designer – (Forum Topic)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

11. Explain Photography Effectively To Others

Regardless of our skill levels, we can all learn how to be more effective communicators. Learn skills in writing, story-telling, and public presentation so you can be a more effective in helping others learn photography.

EGetting Started In Public Speaking – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
MInsights On Writing For A Photography Blog – Video (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

12. Be Prepare To Stand Alone

Photography is used for both good and evil. In a world that increasingly blurs the distinction between the two, how do we know for ourselves what is right? Are we standing alone in love, understanding the root issues behind the outward battles of our day?

EHow Do We Know What Is Right And Wrong In Photography? – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.1 (50% off in PRO)
EDealing With Expectations In Photography – Blog post
EWhat Does Contentment In Photography Look Like? – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
EHow To Set Up Ad-Free Internet Browsing In Firefox – Video (PRO exclusive)
EWhat Does It Look Like To Follow Christ’s Example? – Blog post
EWhy Have A Higher Standard? – Blog post
EThe Whole Point Of Standing Alone – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
MWhat Is The Testimony Of Your Online Presence? – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
EWhat Are Your Convictions In Wedding Photography? – Blog post
EThis World Desperately Needs Warning Signs – Blog post
EUnderstand The Analogy Of Noah’s Ark – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
AJoin A RiseUp Discipleship Team – Online course (10% off coupon: LenspirationRU10   25% off PRO coupon: click here)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the Q&A forum

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