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Author Topic: necessity of photography school  (Read 31383 times)

Dark Reality

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necessity of photography school
« on: December 19, 2012, 09:42:20 AM »
A few photography school related questions.

for those who went to school, do you feel like you learned a great amount, or was it more of a business decision to have a diploma.

And from 1 to 10, where would you say you were at before and then after 1 = not knowing you can take off the lens on a slr.  10 = Neuroanatomist

And lastly, could you have learned the same from the internet and experienced friends?

Edit- I do consider photography a form of art and when I said learn, I meant more than just the tech aspect.   
   
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 10:36:26 AM by Dark Reality »
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necessity of photography school
« on: December 19, 2012, 09:42:20 AM »

verysimplejason

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 10:11:52 AM »
A few photography school related questions.

for those who went to school, do you feel like you learned a great amount, or was it more of a business decision to have a diploma.

And from 1 to 10, where would you say you were at before and then after 1 = not knowing you can take off the lens on a slr.  10 = Neuroanatomist

And lastly, could you have learned the same from the internet and experienced friends?

Having a mentor that can share experiences is the one of the best way to learn other than learning directly from experience.  It's just the same when you go to school.  You might have been taught the same subject and same amount of theories as that with other students but it doesn't mean that what you learn is on par with what others learn.  It always depends on the person on how fast can he assimilate the knowledge and put them to use in the real world.  That said, you'd still be better off learning from a guru.  Of course any avenues of learning is always welcome.

One more thing, please learn more on the art of real photography.  Sometimes, we tend to be pixel-peepers/tech-heads.  There's nothing wrong with that except that if we do that, we are forgetting the real essence of why we are taking pictures.  :)

Krob78

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 10:13:15 AM »
A few photography school related questions.

for those who went to school, do you feel like you learned a great amount, or was it more of a business decision to have a diploma.

And from 1 to 10, where would you say you were at before and then after 1 = not knowing you can take off the lens on a slr.  10 = Neuroanatomist

And lastly, could you have learned the same from the internet and experienced friends?
The more you learn, the better equipped you can be!  Then again, there is the "School of Hard Clicks", which has worked out well for many!  School may take some time off the learning curve though!
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ChilledXpress

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 10:20:47 AM »
One more thing, please learn more on the art of real photography.  Sometimes, we tend to be pixel-peepers/tech-heads.  There's nothing wrong with that except that if we do that, we are forgetting the real essence of why we are taking pictures.  :)

+1

I really think there is a huge difference between knowing what a camera is technically and being a classically trained photographer... Those who go to photography school are learning far more than the AF systems and MTF charts of cameras and lenses. Anyone can take photos of color charts and rattle off spec sheets, this is not what photography school is about. If this is what you are referring to... then you're really talking about Photography 101 not photography school. You don't need to go to photography school for that. I received my md/phd after about 14 years of school... along the way I took more than a few classes about photography and art. I know about cameras and lenses... is that photography school. Absolutely not... I would never say that was even close to equivalent. Photography school encompasses so much more than the technical aspects of photography. Does that mean you can't be a photographer without formal school... No, and that really is my answer to your second question.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 12:58:09 PM by ChilledXpress »

bchernicoff

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 10:49:56 AM »
I have wondered about this too. Over the last 4 years or so, I have gone from barely an SLR knowledge to having a nearly complete technical understanding. I would say that I have mastered candid or outdoor photography. I know how to do basic fill flash just fine.

I've bought a basic studio strobe set, some reflectors and modifiers and am trying to learn pro-quality lighting. Right now, I'm pretty terrible. I've wondered if taking some classes would be the way to really learn lighting. I'd really like to learn more of the artistic side as well.
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Dark Reality

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 10:55:50 AM »


Having a mentor that can share experiences is the one of the best way to learn other than learning directly from experience.  It's just the same when you go to school.  You might have been taught the same subject and same amount of theories as that with other students but it doesn't mean that what you learn is on par with what others learn.  It always depends on the person on how fast can he assimilate the knowledge and put them to use in the real world.  That said, you'd still be better off learning from a guru.  Of course any avenues of learning is always welcome.

One more thing, please learn more on the art of real photography.  Sometimes, we tend to be pixel-peepers/tech-heads.  There's nothing wrong with that except that if we do that, we are forgetting the real essence of why we are taking pictures.  :)

I didn't say it, but that's exactly what I meant. I don't want to go to school to learn just about sensors and autofocus, the internet is already full of that.   But I love to learn about photography in general. But I consider ita expense just like anything else, and I'm trying to determine the value of it. That's why I picked to questions I asked.  If money was of no concern, I would already be there.
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RS2021

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 10:56:17 AM »
Going to photography school is the same as going to "art school" in a more broader sense ... I guess they hand out photography diplomas in art schools but I digress. A couple of art history courses and may be a specialized course for 3 or 4 credits on top in a regular liberal arts curriculum will do more good... Granted over priced in this context. But most proprietary "art schools" in small communities are run by people who are more ignorant about art than Mr. Squeers-like schoolmasters from Dickensian novels.

I think art of any kind stands out when it has a unique and personal view point. By training students to mostly conform, we blunt innovation and uniqueness. If I had a nickel for every time I saw a shot of a long straight road going into infinity in a perspective shot... I'll be Donald Trump (hopefully without the badger hair). Most of what an "art school" can teach can be acquired from public sources, me thinks.

And here is a scene from the classic Britcom "Red Dwarf" :)

Lister: I went to art college.
Rimmer: You!!!
Lister: Yeah.
Rimmer: How did you get into art college?
Lister: The normal way you get into art college. The same old usual, boring, normal way you get in. Failed my exams and applied. They snapped me up.

:D
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 11:24:06 AM by Ray2021 »
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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 10:56:17 AM »

bchernicoff

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 11:12:35 AM »
I guess, I should have prefaced my comments with my background. I am a software engineer and work full-time consulting with the federal gov in DC. Photography is my main hobby. I wouldn't be interested in getting a degree, just taking a few classes to broaden my skills.
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Lawliet

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 11:13:01 AM »

And lastly, could you have learned the same from the internet and experienced friends?


Most of what i've learned about photography was/is from socializing with painters, designers, editors, videographers&playwrights,  musicians&poets, historians.
Internet? Discussions are not nearly as immersive and with forums/interest groups you risk running into the old photo club problem: everybody copies one idea and you find yourself railroaded, chasing pointless trends. Same problem with workshops&tutorials, people end up parroting what they've learned.

If you want to attend a photography school make sure they offer open challenges instead of answers.

awinphoto

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 11:30:27 AM »
I went to Brooks Institute of Photography a decade ago...  Photography schools will give you exposure, it will give you a place to cut your teeth, it will teach you how to succeed... It will give you honest critiques you may not get from clients, friends, and acquaintances...  And for SOME people, they need instruction, they need to know the difference between a split lighting, loop, Rembrandt, butterfly/hollywood lighting... broad vs short, softbox vs umbrella vs reflector...  With photography, there are so many ways to do the same thing and so many different tools to get there...  Yes, you can always learn online from places like creativelive.  Yes, you can always get a mentor, if you can find an honest mentor, and slowly work your way up... Yes, you can do it for cheap and eventually get to the same place... Will you get the same experience?  maybe... maybe not..  Will you get the experience not only with SLR's/DSLR's, but medium format, large format, scanning backs, 3 shots systems... will you get get access to cutting edge equipment and systems...  Going to school forces you to know how to shoot multiple camera systems, lenses, models, lighting, locations... just assisting for a photographer or learning from a photographer or online CAN isolate you to a camera system, or a lighting condition or set up... To the instructor, mentors, photographers style but also habits, good or bad...

I have grown immensely since I left school and have evolved and moved with the times as equipment changes and technology changes...  Could I have gotten to where I am without school... maybe...  Can i have learned from others for a fraction of a cost... maybe... Would i have the experience and knowledge of my exposure tables and be able to shoot anywhere anyplace any condition... maybe... There's a lot of maybes... not a lot of certainties... Do you need a degree in photography to get a commercial job or a wedding client or two or three?   Hell no... But you better know what the hell you are doing if you get those jobs or you will be in a world of trouble...
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awinphoto

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 11:50:15 AM »
One last food for thought...  If you assist a photographer and you mess up somewhere, you may get fired or get docked in pay... If you shoot a wedding even for a friend or acquaintance, even for a simple shoot and burn, and you miss a shot or two or a dozen...  or underexpose or whatever... you can be blacklisted, Sued for not only what you have been paid, if any, and punitive damages if you didn't have a contract in place... There's actually a big case right now a shoot and burner is being blackmailed for something like 40 thousand dollars give or take because he didn't have a contract and it bit him in the butt...  You can also get negative referrals which depending on your market, could put you out of business or force you to move...  In school, you mess up on an assignment, you get an F and you reshoot if you're allowed.  You do not get the weight of the world crashing down on you because you are cutting your teeth and doing the hard knock shots that everyone goes through...  It's better having one person ridicule you and make you a better photographer rather than early on having one mistake ruin your career. 
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verysimplejason

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 11:53:00 AM »


Having a mentor that can share experiences is the one of the best way to learn other than learning directly from experience.  It's just the same when you go to school.  You might have been taught the same subject and same amount of theories as that with other students but it doesn't mean that what you learn is on par with what others learn.  It always depends on the person on how fast can he assimilate the knowledge and put them to use in the real world.  That said, you'd still be better off learning from a guru.  Of course any avenues of learning is always welcome.

One more thing, please learn more on the art of real photography.  Sometimes, we tend to be pixel-peepers/tech-heads.  There's nothing wrong with that except that if we do that, we are forgetting the real essence of why we are taking pictures.  :)

I didn't say it, but that's exactly what I meant. I don't want to go to school to learn just about sensors and autofocus, the internet is already full of that.   But I love to learn about photography in general. But I consider ita expense just like anything else, and I'm trying to determine the value of it. That's why I picked to questions I asked.  If money was of no concern, I would already be there.

Pick your ways and means.  Photography school is just one avenue of learning.  It's one of the fastest and not to mention the credibility that you'll get from attending one.  Sure, it's not a guarantee that you will learn but for most people, I think they will learn a lot just by going to school.  Your friends can also be good teachers if you are sure that they have the necessary knowledge to impart.  All in all, it's up to you to analyze the situation.  Just be reminded that a diploma or certificate is certainly worth the money especially if you intend to earn from photography.  Having said that, a good portfolio is also as good or better than a diploma or certificate.

cayenne

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 12:31:36 PM »
I have wondered about this too. Over the last 4 years or so, I have gone from barely an SLR knowledge to having a nearly complete technical understanding. I would say that I have mastered candid or outdoor photography. I know how to do basic fill flash just fine.

I've bought a basic studio strobe set, some reflectors and modifiers and am trying to learn pro-quality lighting. Right now, I'm pretty terrible. I've wondered if taking some classes would be the way to really learn lighting. I'd really like to learn more of the artistic side as well.

Same here. I love to collect tech and toys.
But like with things like Guitars, etc...I've taken lessons in the past. Of course, there is a TON of info to self teach on the internet, and I do that, but I would love to get into a class or system with real people showing me things, at least as a good foundation to build from.

I don't find much locally as far as formal classes, but after the first of the year, I am going to try to contact the local camera club I've found in the NOLA area...and see how that works out for me.

If one of the community colleges gave a class in photo 101, in the evenings, I'd love to take it...not so much for credit but just to learn...

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 12:31:36 PM »

jhaces

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 01:16:27 PM »
I am mostly self-taught in most things technical. However, I did sign up last year to a photo course that covered from the very basics (this-shiny-end-takes-pictures, kind of thing) and while some weeks it was decidedly very boring, I still think it was one of the best choices I've had. Being in contact with other photographers (aspiring, mostly) and the sense of belonging into a photo-community has been awesome.

Full disclosure, after the course I signed up for I actually received a job offering at that school and have been teaching since. I have had the chance of dropping into lecures, courses, etc and the chats with the students and other photographers are really illuminating.

Bottom line, I absolutely recommend signing up for a course. Maybe you will understand better things you think you know pretty good, or maybe even learn some new tricks (perhaps not theoretical, but practical aspects of photo) and the photo-community is decidedly a plus! Even if theory-wise you learn nothing new.

ChilledXpress

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 01:19:45 PM »

And from 1 to 10, where would you say you were at before and then after 1 = not knowing you can take off the lens on a slr.  10 = Neuroanatomist

Edit- I do consider photography a form of art and when I said learn, I meant more than just the tech aspect.   
   

Your scale should reflect that edit. No disrespect meant to Neuroanatomist but more like...

 1 = not knowing you can take off the lens on a slr.  1000 = Mann, Friedlander, Avedon, Leibovitz, Cartier-Bresson... etc

...and many of them never went to "school".

« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 01:31:25 PM by ChilledXpress »

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 01:19:45 PM »