Getting Started (Education)
In my opinion, education with photography never really ends. There is always something new to learn whether it be new technology, new techniques or just new places to go. But getting started I had some key pieces of educational material that really helped me out.
A good friend of mine, Josh, who runs a media company called Four Guys Guns, taught me a lot of what I know today about photography. When I showed an interest in the sport/hobby/profession (whatever you want to call it) he made the suggestion to read "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby. This was the single best piece of literature that I read that I still reference back to today.
This book does a great job of just breaking everything down barney style, which I really need. It covers a wide array of issues pertaining to photography to include equipment, techniques and editing.
In the end, I read Scott's full line of digital books. I did get something out of all of them but starting out I think the first three books in the series were the most beneficial.
Again, if you just want something to get your feet wet, the above is your go to. I've purchased a couple other books to include Understanding Exposure and Not All About the F Stop which certainly helped getting started but didn't give me the same "oh no shit" response as the first couple of Digital Photography books.
In addition to print there is no shortage of both free and paid education online.
For paid services I actually use CreativeLive.com a lot. I recently took two classes by Ben Willmore on Photoshop and Lightroom. They were both extremely well done and covered both editing platforms really well. I ended up getting them on sale and I paid $250 for both the classes, a cost I would gladly pay again. If you do take a class on there, pay attention to the student reviews. The photoshop class had 43,000 students with a 100% review rating... Pretty solid.
For free services YouTube is my peanut-butter and jam. If I am trying to figure out a technique or how to do something in photoshop I just ask YouTube, so far it has always worked.
In addition to both online and print education there are no shortage of workshops available. Admittedly I have never taken one but it's definitely on my list to both take one and eventually host one. I have been following Christopher Burkard who hosts a workshop to Iceland and Greenland which I keep thinking would be the cat's meow (btw, I hate cats), but you need to be pretty baller to afford one of them. If anyone has any good workshop recommendations, I am all ears.
While all of the above education is great and can certainly help you make it to the next step, I think my best education has been the hands-on experiences with great photographers. Again, my friend Josh has probably taught me more about photography than any of those books combined. He also consistently pisses me off because every time I think I've started to get to his level he posts a shot that blows my capabilities away. Anytime I have a question about photography I call him and he's humble enough to respond with plenty of knowledge in a way that someone with my neolithic intellect can understand. Now before you get to thinking Josh is a super great guy, he also vapes. Aside from that, he's the shit.
The final piece to my education puzzle has just been going out and taking photos. As my friend Kevin Markland put it "Step 1: buy a camera, Step 2: shoot it until you wear it out, Step 3: repeat." I certainly have thousand of straight garbage photos that are unusable but within those there are a few winners.