As for deeper materials understanding, I made a simple home studio and recreated it in 3D. Then shot lots of real materials and started recreation of main ones to learn how specific materials behave and what is the "correct" brightness. Here is a comparison of my real (upper row) and 3D recreated (lower row) materials studio. Background are photos.
Here are some real photos of materials. I used precise lighting setup (Kelvins) and precise camera setup (ISO, FStop etc.) so I knew what to input in my 3D application.
I took lots of photos even in different scenarios and places. Below are some materials I recreated. Everything (except background) is 3D. Rendered in beautiful Corona rendering engine.
Thank you for watching, I appreciate feedback a lot.