Do you know anyone who learns best by doing? They’re called kinesthetic (or tactile) learners, people who prefer learning through hands-on experience. They’re the ones who say, “Let’s just get started already. I’ll learn as I go.” Don’t hand them an instruction manual to study. Don’t try to explain to them how to play a new card game while you deal them their hand. Don’t try to show them how to learn a new computer program unless, by god, their own fingers are on the keyboard.
Only about five percent of the population leans toward kinesthetic learning. If you, your child, or someone else you know is a kinesthetic learner who wants to learn photography—and good headway isn’t being made—may I make a suggestion to you? Move to shooting on film for a while, with a camera that is decidedly not automated.
Digital cameras are a marvelous thing, but shooting on film requires a person to get much more deeply engaged, mentally and physically, with the camera itself. Because the photographer needs to wield physical control over the moving parts—and not just by pushing an automating or semi-automating button—they’ll better learn why each component is there, what it does, and how it works with all the other parts. In other words, kinesthetic learning abounds.
Similarly, shooting digitally means the photographer might corner themselves into using just one ISO speed. Using film forces the fledgling photographer to play around more with shutter speed and aperture. Exploring the results of varying combinations of these three photography building blocks, I think the kinesthetic learner will develop a deeper understanding of how a camera actually works—and, eventually, how a good memory is made.
Here’s a quick little fun quiz to determine what kind of learner you are: