« on: July 26, 2011, 10:18:11 AM »
Speaking from one that's gone your route (graduated Brooks Institute, your schools competition in, 2004), I have a few bits of advice and clarification. When I started in the early 2001, they required a 35mm film camera. By the time I graduated, they didn't have that requirement anymore because they were in the process of going strictly digital, which was a decision I opposed at the time. While I was there, the first half of my time was dedicated to film and fundamentals... 35mm, 4x5's, medium format, studio, advanced studio, lighting, portraiture, strobes, etc... My school had a large rental dept that was free to students for 3 day rentals on most equipment, however the popular stuff got taken quickly so if you really liked a certain piece, they suggested you get a student loan and buy the gear to insure you always had them for your disposal.
I dont know if your school has a darkroom or still emphasizes film, and if so, odds are they want you to get a film camera. I wouldn't stress too much over the film camera as long as it's manual with a manual sync for strobes and hotshoe. If your school says it's fully digital, which it might be, then ask if they require full frame or if aps-c is acceptable.
Make sure you go into the school and this profession with your eyes wide open. It used to be the joke amongst pro photographers you needed to marry a sugar momma or daddy to support your profession until you get the one shot that gets you your first big break. While I would like to say a lot has changed from then, this is still a very aggressive saturation of pro photographers and hobbyist photographers who would think it would be the cat's meow to take jobs away from a pro and get a few bucks for their work. Can you blame them? No, but it does eat away from our potential earning potential. If you want proof of this, go to your local yellow pages and search under photographers or photography... look at the pages of competition. Most will not have the technical quality you and I would have, but consumers dont care if the photographer is really good at marketing and sales. You need to develop a style and niche that would make people to want to choose you rather than joe blow down the street.
Lastly, you mention that you are getting married shortly, please make sure your significant other is fully prepared for the profession of professional photography. I met my wife while I was at school and while we were dating I kept warning her how expensive photography was, but it wasn't until AFTER we were married and the cost of camera gear were being budgeted in our expenses that she really understood how expensive photography was. Every time I upgrade lenses and cameras she gets humbled. I hear from a lot of professional photographers that the cost of gear for newly weds and starting up photographers can be a big issue with finances so please make sure your fiancee is fully prepared for the costs to be a pro photographer.
Good luck and if you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply or send me an email regarding school.