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. How Well Do You Know 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:

E 10 Settings Every Photographer Should Know . . . Instinctively – Ebook (free for both FREE and PRO members)
E Understand Your Camera’s ControlsFoundations of Photography Course, Section 2 (50% off in PRO)
E How Your Camera’s Controls Affect Your PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Section 3 (50% off in PRO)
E Making The Switch To Manual – Course (PRO exclusive)
A Understanding Megapixels – Forum discussion
E What To Look For In A Good Zoom Lens – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Variable vs Fixed Aperture Lenses – Video (PRO exclusive)
E How To Avoid Corrupting Memory Cards – Video (PRO exclusive)
M How To Get The Perfect Exposure . . . Quickly – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
A Diagnosing Issues With The Canon 100-400mm Lens – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:

E Can You Use Any Camera To Take Great Photos? – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E 8 Principles For Taking Better Photos With Any Camera – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Moving My Pictures from Bad To Good To Better To Best – Blog post
E Maximize On The Beauty Of Every-Day Locations – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
E Tips For Helping Young Photographers Get Started – Blog post
A How A Budding Photographer Learned To Photograph A Prizewinning Shot – Forum discussion (PRO exclusive)
E Simple Ways For Beginners To Get Back Into Photography – Forum discussion
A How To Photograph Snowflakes – Forum discussion
E The 3 S’s Of Silhouette Photography – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
E The Difference The Sun Can Make – Blog post
E How To Create The Starburst Effect In-Camera – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Observe The Critique Of Other’s Photos – Database of PRO Critique videos
E How To Capture The Unique Beauty Of Early Autumn – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E How To Make The Most Of Peak Autumn Color – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E How To Capitalize On The Distinct Advantages Of Late Autumn – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E 10 Amazing Benefits Of Shooting In Winter – Blog post
E 4 Keys To Enjoying Shooting In Cold Weather – Blog post
E 5 Tips For Shooting In Dreary January – Blog post
M Improve Your Photography By Making The Most Of Your Spare Moments – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
M 5 Steps To Capturing The Silky Water Effect – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
M How To Photograph The Silky Water Effect On Bright Sunny Days – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Christmas Tip: Blurry Background Christmas Lights – Blog post
E 3 Steps To Photographing Beautiful Background Blur – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Tips For Sharp Images Without A Tripod – Forum discussion
E How To Take Action Shots That Are Always Tack Sharp – Video (PRO exclusive)
E 5 Tips For Focusing In The Dark – Blog post
M How To Shoot In The Darkness Of A Cave – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E Shooting Advice Before Going On Vacation – Forum discussion
A Shooting An Amazing Photo, From Start To Finish – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
A Sequence Analysis: Discover A Habit Of The Professionals – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
E Shoot For This Week’s Photo Assignment – Lenspiration opportunity (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:

E Choosing A Camera That’s Right For YouFoundations of Photography Course, Section 1 (50% off in PRO)
E Answering The Most Common Photography Question, Once And For All! – Blog post
M Photography Buying Guide – Ebook (50% off in PRO)
E Use The Forums To Help You Buy – Forum discussion
E What’s The Difference Between Smartphone Cameras And DSLRs? – Forum discussion
M How This Photographer Bought His Very First DSLR Camera – Forum discussion
E Some Camera Buying Advice – Blog post
E Purchasing Recommendations – Blog post
E Tips For Upgrading Lenses – Forum discussion
E Is It Worth The Extra Cost To Get f/2.8 On A 70-200mm Lens? – Forum discussion
E Deciding Between The f/1.4 or f/1.8 50mm Lens – Forum discussion
E Thoughts On Upgrading A Nikon Camera – Forum discussion
E What About Buying Refurbished? – Blog post
E What You Need To Know When Buying A Polarizer Filter – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Rechargeable Battery Recommendations – Forum discussion
M Budget Nikon Speedlights – Forum discussion
M Sell Your Old Equipment On The Forums! – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:

E Secrets to Organizing PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.5 (50% off in PRO)
E 10 Reasons Why I Use Lightroom – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.2 (50% off in PRO)
E Can I Use Photoshop & Bridge Instead of Lightroom? – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.3 (50% off in PRO)
E Getting Started in Lightroom – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.4 (50% off in PRO)
M How To Merge Multiple Lightroom Catalogs – Forum discussion
E Recommended Viewer For Sorting Through Pictures Quickly – Forum discussion
E Tips For Organizing Files – Forum discussion
M Resolving An Organizational Disaster – Forum discussion (PRO exclusive)
E How I Back Up My Photos – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Tips For Backing Up Photos – Forum discussion
E Recovering Lost Data With Recuva – Video (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:

E If You Want To Start With Free Software . . . – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.1 (50% off in PRO)
E Tutorial On How To Use RAWTherapee – Forum discussion
E How To Get Started In Photoshop Elements – Video (PRO exclusive)
M 3 Apps For Detailed Editing On A Mobile Device – Blog post
E The Reason We Edit – Forum discussion
E Redeeming A Photo Using Lightroom – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
M Importing And Sorting Photos in Lightroom – Video (PRO exclusive)
E How to Use Virtual Copies in Your Normal Post-Processing Workflow – Video (PRO exclusive)
E How Long Should It Take To Edit My Pictures? – Blog post
E What To Do When Saturation Or Vibrance Doesn’t Work – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
E Using LR Tools To Remove Distractions – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
E Extend A Photo With GIMP – Video
E Thoughts On HDR Editing – Forum discussion
E How This Prize-Winning Shot Was Edited – Forum discussion
A Using Photoshop to Remove Lens Flare – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
E A Practical Use For Photoshop’s Color Blending Mode – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Focus Stacking: When It Worked And When It Didn’t – Blog post
M How To Use Photoshop To Make A Picture Look More Cozy – Video (PRO exclusive)
M How To Use Photoshop To Quickly Merge Two Photos Together – Video (PRO exclusive)
M 15 Principles Of Photo Compositing – Video (PRO exclusive)
A How I Use Photoshop to Create the Cutouts In The Lenspiration Calendars – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Using The Forums To Improve Your Photo Editing – Forum discussion

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:

E What You Need To Know To Start Sharing Your PhotosFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 5.6 (50% off in PRO)
M How To Set Up A Photography Portfolio On Facebook – Video (PRO exclusive)
M Add Attractive Text To Your Photos – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
E Winning Photography Awards Takes More Than Coincidence – Blog post
M How To Prepare Your Photos For a Photo Contest – Video (PRO exclusive)
E 5 Reasons Why The Printed Calendar Isn’t Extinct Yet – Blog post
A Use Your Photos In A Printed Wall Calendar – Lenspiration opportunity

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:


E Pillars of Composition – Foundations of Photography Course, Section 4 (50% off in PRO)
E 7 Fundamental Tools of CompositionFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.2 (50% off in PRO)
M A Two-Word Idea That Will Transform Your Composition – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
E How Do I Make This Composition Work? – Blog post
E 3 Components Behind Every Great PictureFoundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.3 (50% off in PRO)
M What’s The Subject Of Your Photo? – Forum discussion
E How Slight Rearranging Can Make All The Difference In The World – Blog post
M Positioning Yourself For Better Compositions – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E Why I Composed This Cityscape The Way I Did – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
E How I Work A Scene In Landscape Photography – Blog post
E Tweaking A Composition To Perfection – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)


Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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:


EMA PRO Posing – Database of posing ideas, portraiture ebooks, and recommended educational resources (PRO exclusive)
E The Secret To Amazing Golden Hour Portraiture – Blog post
E A Few Portraiture Tips From My Interview With A Pro – Blog post
M The Process of Taking a Family Portrait – Special feature (PRO exclusive)
E Learn To Set Up Better Family Poses In A Studio Setting – Video (PRO exclusive)
E How Do I Conduct An Engagement Photoshoot? – Blog post
E 5 Things To Consider When Shooting A Wedding As A 2nd Photographer – Video (PRO exclusive)
E A Few Ways To Improve A Wedding Photoshoot – Blog post
E An Honorable Approach to Maternity Portraiture – Video (PRO exclusive)
M Safety Precautions For Newborn Photography – Photo critique (PRO exclusive)
E What’s The Best Lens For Portraits? – Forum discussion


E How To Prepare For Your First Event Photography Gig – Video
E The Secret To Capturing The Moment – Blog post
E How To Add A Professional Touch To Your Photojournalism Photos – Blog post
E What Camera Should I Use For Event Photogaphy? – Blog post
E Tips For Shooting A Large Event, Part I and Part II – Blog posts
E What We Learned On The Green Lake Event Photography Team – Blog post
E 5 Tips For Shooting At The Fair – Blog post
E Challenges Of Shooting A Family Conference – Blog post

Still Life

M What You Need To Know To Get Started In Product Photography – Video (PRO exclusive)
E First Shot At Product Photography – Blog post
M 5 Stages To Conducting A Photoshoot For A CD Cover – Video (PRO exclusive)
E 12 Puppy Photography Tips – Blog post
E Improving A Product Image – Forum discussion
E A Few Product Photography Tips – Forum discussion


E What Exactly Is Golden Hour? – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Ideas for Better Sunsets -Video (PRO exclusive)
E Suggestions For Improving Sunset Photos – Forum discussion
E Choosing the Right Lens For Flower Photography – Video (PRO exclusive)
E What’s A Good Lens To Bring On A Hike In The Mountains? – Forum discussion
E Maximize The Quality Of Your Moon Photos – Video (PRO exclusive)
M Moon Photography Tips – Forum discussion
E Preparing For The Epic Moment – Blog post
E Beach Photography: 10 Challenges To Prepare For – Video (PRO exclusive)
M How To Photograph Lightning In 5 Easy Steps – Video (PRO exclusive)
M 3 Ways To Shoot Landscapes At Night – Blog post
A How To Use Stacking For Better Milky Way Shots – Forum discussion
E Where We Went For Epic Pictures During CAPTURE Virginia – Blog post
E Where We Went For Epic Pictures During CAPTURE Vermont – Blog post
E Find Excellent Shooting Locations With Lenspiration’s Scouting GuideLenspiration opportunity

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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.

E Determine Your Photography Goals – Blog post
E Dealing With Fears In Photography – Blog post
E How To Start Getting Your Nature Shots Used – Blog post
E How I Shot An Architectural Assignment – Blog post

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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.

E How To Be Successful In Photography – Blog post
E How Are You Shooting For Excellence? – Blog post
E 6 Benefits Of Using A Tripod – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E How To Keep From Losing Photography Equipment And Accessories – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
M 3 Keys To Staying Warm When It’s Freezing Outside – M&M episode (PRO exclusive)
E How To Keep From Missing Good Opportunities For Good Pictures – Blog post
M How I Clean My Camera Sensor – Blog post
M How to Deal With Intense, On-Stage Lighting – Video (PRO exclusive)
E Helpful Websites For Online Location Scouting – Blog post
E Tips For Online Location Scouting – Forum discussion
E Speed Up Online Location Scouting Using Lenspiration’s Scouting GuideLenspiration opportunity
E Experience The Subtle Yet Powerful Results Of Photo CritiqueLenspiration opportunity (PRO exclusive)

Have a question about a topic that’s not covered here? Ask on the PRO 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.

E Getting Started In Public Speaking – Behind the Shot (PRO exclusive)
M Insights On Writing For A Photography Blog – Video (PRO exclusive)

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

12. Are You Prepared 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?

E How Do We Know What Is Right And Wrong In Photography? – Foundations of Photography Course, Lesson 4.1 (50% off in PRO)
E Dealing With Expectations In Photography – Blog post
E What Does Contentment In Photography Look Like? – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
E How To Set Up Ad-Free Internet Browsing In Firefox – Video (PRO exclusive)
E What Does It Look Like To Follow Christ’s Example? – Blog post
E Why Have A Higher Standard? – Blog post
E The Whole Point Of Standing Alone – Behind the shot (PRO exclusive)
E What Are Your Convictions In Wedding Photography? – Blog post
E This World Desperately Needs Warning Signs – Blog post
A Join 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 PRO Q&A forum

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