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Author Topic: necessity of photography school  (Read 31164 times)

PackLight

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2012, 03:48:42 PM »

I'm sure ansel adams would not be nearly as infamous if he made mistakes like missing exposures due to environment conditions... 

"Infamous"? Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

Miss use, but;

Sorry, the internet Grammar Police have always been a pet peeve of mine.

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2012, 03:48:42 PM »

natureshots

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2012, 04:13:31 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".
You forgot Ken Rockwell.

7enderbender

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #32 on: December 19, 2012, 04:25:10 PM »
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.   
   


I don't know from first-hand experience how things play out but here are my thoughts as a side-business photographer with a full-time "day job". I'm a strong believer in education. And I used to buy into degrees (literally and figuratively speaking). And there is something to be said about degrees. They can open doors. They can help you structure your education. But ultimately you're responsible for what you know. There are people who make it through well regarded programs without ever really figuring stuff out for them. Others may get the maximum out of there hard earned money and multiply it later.

So what do you need to learn to run a successful photo business? One would hope a good baseline understanding of the technical aspects of photography. Honestly, I think you can get 90% of that for free (not considering time and materials here). Then there is knowledge about "arts" in imagery in general. Might be worth taking a few classes for that I suppose to get the first hand input from a good teacher or other mentor.
And then there is the business in "photo business". In my observation that's where a lot of photographers lack. Read the good (!) books on pricing theory and throw away everything that uses the words "cost plus markup" anywhere. Take marketing classes and such. See what your local small business associations etc offer for free. Find a mentor at the local chamber of commerce who may not be in any related line of business. You get the idea. If anything look for joint degrees that don't just focus on how to take pictures and set up lights but provide other management skills.

I have an MBA from a reputable business school. I like to think that it has paid off but I can't prove that 100%.  My wife used to be a teacher and we now homeschools our children. So it's fair to say that my views on institutionalized education has changed over time.

The most successful people I know run their own businesses and had rather colorful educational paths in related fields but not necessarily in a "trained as XYZ" way.
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pdirestajr

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2012, 04:40:17 PM »

I'm sure ansel adams would not be nearly as infamous if he made mistakes like missing exposures due to environment conditions... 

"Infamous"? Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

Miss use, but;

Sorry, the internet Grammar Police have always been a pet peeve of mine.

Haha, Fair enough. Just having some fun.
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Plato the Wise

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #34 on: December 19, 2012, 04:41:15 PM »
[=Plato the Wise =]

Isn't that redundant? ???

Plato the Wise is not redundant. Plato is a person - or a noun - and he is wise - or the adjective that describes the noun. Besides, no one ever uses that name because most people don't even know who Plato is. As a result, I don't have a silly name, such as Canon_Shooter11562738.

distant.star

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #35 on: December 19, 2012, 05:11:06 PM »

.
These are the kinds of things I kept thinking as I read this thread. In addition to basic critical thinking, the greatest power of formal education is to enlighten you about everything you DO NOT know. A good school cannot teach anyone all they need to know, but you sure better come out of a school knowing everything you need to be working on. You should have an overview of your field that enables you to know where to put your everyday learning energies. This is especially true of photography as your learning will take place throughout your lifetime.



It's funny how hindsight works... before school, I thought I was pretty decent... maybe a 6-7... I developed my own film, dark room, etc... but after school, I realized i was no where near where I thought I was when first started and was closer to a 2-3...  And now, being out of school for so long, I have grown since the digital revolution and all the advances in technology...  Every time I think I'm a 9-10, something new comes out, a new facet in technology occurs, a new AF system, a new learning curve occurs...  The more I learn, the more I know I need to keep learning... 

What you've observed about your own photographic progression is a very real thing, and has been studied and written about numerous times. The less someone knows about a subject the less accurately they can judge their own skill/knowledge in that subject.  It's the old "you don't know what you don't know".
Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

Plato the Wise

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2012, 05:25:35 PM »
I don't have a photography degree, but I do have a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in painting and sculpture. Photography was part of our curriculum and I learned a lot in the classes.

In fact, many of the disciplines we now work on digitally in photoshop have their roots in traditional darkroom techniques. The tools and filters at times are even named after the original techniques.

Not to mention the art of photography that is outside of the technique itself that is way more important. Composition, color theory, creative thinking and problem solving to name a few.

Could you learn all of that on your own? Possibly - but then again you could learn any discipline on your own. It might take you a lifetime to learn what you could learn in 4 years of a BFA photography program.

If you are just looking for continuing education classes, most community colleges, universities, and art colleges do offer classes. And like someone stated earlier, you will have access to equipment that you wouldn't normally be exposed to.

Hope that helps.

+100

I also went to SVA and got a BFA majoring in illustration. Never turned on a computer or shot a frame of film (even though I took a darkroom class) in 4 years of school. Now I am a professional graphic designer and love photography above all other forms of art.

The point is, art is art. It's all visual communication. Don't get so focused on the current tools you are using. The concepts of form, composition, color theory, etc. transfer to different mediums.

Since I have that art foundation, for me, learning a program or a new "system" is the easy part. Anyone can master a piece of technology.

What year did you graduate?

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2012, 05:25:35 PM »

Plato the Wise

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2012, 05:30:34 PM »


Quote
Fair enough... you have to have the vision and apply the technique to get the shot...  I'm sure ansel adams would not be nearly as infamous if he made mistakes like missing exposures due to environment conditions... 

Ansel Adams did miss exposures. If you went to school or read any of his work you would know that.  :)

schmule

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2012, 05:32:01 PM »

Not as useless as you would think... Think of it like this...  Your shooting a couple outdoors, open sun, you set your exposure... all of a sudden, a cloud comes overhead... you need to instinctively know to compensate... is it 1 stop or 2?  Is it a thick light killing cloud or a thin softbox style cloud...  Then you go into an open shade... what affect does that have not only on exposure but color? 

awinphoto - do you also change WB on the fly or fix it in PP?

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #39 on: December 19, 2012, 05:34:23 PM »

Not as useless as you would think... Think of it like this...  Your shooting a couple outdoors, open sun, you set your exposure... all of a sudden, a cloud comes overhead... you need to instinctively know to compensate... is it 1 stop or 2?  Is it a thick light killing cloud or a thin softbox style cloud...  Then you go into an open shade... what affect does that have not only on exposure but color? 

awinphoto - do you also change WB on the fly or fix it in PP?

99% of the time I change them on the fly... my goal is to do as little PP as possible as that goes against my bottom line... 
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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2012, 05:49:27 PM »


Quote
Fair enough... you have to have the vision and apply the technique to get the shot...  I'm sure ansel adams would not be nearly as infamous if he made mistakes like missing exposures due to environment conditions... 

Ansel Adams did miss exposures. If you went to school or read any of his work you would know that.  :)

I'm sure he did that from the odd time to time, but as I mentioned before, film was and is much more tougher than digital... no instant gratification, no histograms, live view... you had to have your exposure dialed in using math and meters... zone photography, much like what he did, you do a lot of testing, bracketing, etc...  There's a difference between missed exposures made by error and missed exposures done in testing and experimenting.  And quite frankly, what I would deem sellable and acceptable and what he would are 2 separate monsters =)
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agierke

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2012, 05:52:23 PM »
this is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on so many variables (individual aspiration, type of educational institution, curriculum, quality and philosophy of the individual educators, etc). that being said, i will offer my perspective.

my particular experience started at a small 2 year college that was backed by both Pratt and Corcoran, though i began attending in only its second year of existence so the curriculum was being developed as we attended (this turned out to be a benefit in hindsight). i graduated with an associates and then enrolled at the University of the Arts the following fall. over that summer i began assisting a high end commercial photographer in Philly about 25 hours a week (which i continued to do throughout the remainder of my schooling). after graduating with my BFA, i continued assisting and began working in a commercial lab. after about 2 years i was invited to teach continuing education classes at my original school and often interacted with the degree students there. eventually i was invited to become an instructor at the University of the Arts and just wrapped up my 13th semester there. i have essentially participated in all sides of the questioned posed.

much has changed since i first began attending art school with both the photography industry and the industry of education.

i would say above all else, it depends greatly on the individual as to whether formal education in photography is worthwhile AND what that individual's aspirations in photography are. after that, the type of institution, its curriculum, and the quality of its educators can have a profound impact on whether the investment in that education is worth it.

if the assumption is that the individual has the highest aspirations in photography (whether it be in a commercial or fine art venue), then yes formal education can be extremely valuable....BUT only if the quality of an institutions curriculum and its educators are on par with the individual's aspirations. there are many talented students who wash out because they cannot handle the rigors of pursuing a successful career in photography and there are many institutions that will provide an education but that education may fall well short of preparing the student to successfully enter the world of PROFESSIONAL photography.

aside from that, mentorship, camera clubs, and continuing education classes may provide minute benefits in the short term but in my experience they very rarely provide the type of information that would propel someone towards real long term success as they are typically run by individuals with limited knowledge, experience, and success. camera clubs are particularly suspect and are pretty well despised by reputable professionals and educators.

the reality of photography (imo) is that it is a complex and diverse subject that simply takes a lifetime to master. the very annoying trend these days (which has been exasperated with the advent of digital) is that photography is easy and can be learned quickly. so many people out there want near instant results whether it be a client or an aspiring photographer. sub par photography is easy and happens often. masterful photography takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience and is becoming more and more rare.

so in the end it really depends on what you feel you need to be educated in and what your end goals are. if you just want to learn some new tricks then there's probably a website out there or a class you can take. if you want to be the very best photographer you can be, then the education never ends and you should be actively getting it from every venue you can possibly gain access to.   
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 05:57:10 PM by agierke »
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Hobby Shooter

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2012, 06:16:10 PM »
[=Plato the Wise =]

Isn't that redundant? ???

Plato the Wise is not redundant. Plato is a person - or a noun - and he is wise - or the adjective that describes the noun. Besides, no one ever uses that name because most people don't even know who Plato is. As a result, I don't have a silly name, such as Canon_Shooter11562738.
I need to cancel my account and get myself a new name here. :(

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2012, 06:16:10 PM »

bchernicoff

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2012, 02:04:57 PM »
I've been meaning to pick up Vogue: The Editor's Eye for some inspiration. Anyone own it? What do you think?

http://www.amazon.com/Vogue-The-Editors-Conde-Nast/dp/1419704400/ref=pd_sim_b_6

"this book focuses on the work of eight of the magazine’s legendary fashion editors (including Polly Mellen, Babs Simpson, and Grace Coddington) who collaborated with photographers, stylists, and designers to create the images that have had an indelible impact on the fashion world and beyond. Featuring the work of world-renowned photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Annie Leibovitz and model/muses, including Marilyn Monroe, Verushka, and Linda Evangelista, The Editor’s Eye is a lavishly illustrated look at the visionary editors whose works continue to reverberate in the culture today."

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Krob78

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2012, 08:33:03 PM »
this is a difficult question to answer as it really depends on so many variables (individual aspiration, type of educational institution, curriculum, quality and philosophy of the individual educators, etc). that being said, i will offer my perspective.

my particular experience started at a small 2 year college that was backed by both Pratt and Corcoran, though i began attending in only its second year of existence so the curriculum was being developed as we attended (this turned out to be a benefit in hindsight). i graduated with an associates and then enrolled at the University of the Arts the following fall. over that summer i began assisting a high end commercial photographer in Philly about 25 hours a week (which i continued to do throughout the remainder of my schooling). after graduating with my BFA, i continued assisting and began working in a commercial lab. after about 2 years i was invited to teach continuing education classes at my original school and often interacted with the degree students there. eventually i was invited to become an instructor at the University of the Arts and just wrapped up my 13th semester there. i have essentially participated in all sides of the questioned posed.

much has changed since i first began attending art school with both the photography industry and the industry of education.

i would say above all else, it depends greatly on the individual as to whether formal education in photography is worthwhile AND what that individual's aspirations in photography are. after that, the type of institution, its curriculum, and the quality of its educators can have a profound impact on whether the investment in that education is worth it.

if the assumption is that the individual has the highest aspirations in photography (whether it be in a commercial or fine art venue), then yes formal education can be extremely valuable....BUT only if the quality of an institutions curriculum and its educators are on par with the individual's aspirations. there are many talented students who wash out because they cannot handle the rigors of pursuing a successful career in photography and there are many institutions that will provide an education but that education may fall well short of preparing the student to successfully enter the world of PROFESSIONAL photography.

aside from that, mentorship, camera clubs, and continuing education classes may provide minute benefits in the short term but in my experience they very rarely provide the type of information that would propel someone towards real long term success as they are typically run by individuals with limited knowledge, experience, and success. camera clubs are particularly suspect and are pretty well despised by reputable professionals and educators.

the reality of photography (imo) is that it is a complex and diverse subject that simply takes a lifetime to master. the very annoying trend these days (which has been exasperated with the advent of digital) is that photography is easy and can be learned quickly. so many people out there want near instant results whether it be a client or an aspiring photographer. sub par photography is easy and happens often. masterful photography takes a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience and is becoming more and more rare.

so in the end it really depends on what you feel you need to be educated in and what your end goals are. if you just want to learn some new tricks then there's probably a website out there or a class you can take. if you want to be the very best photographer you can be, then the education never ends and you should be actively getting it from every venue you can possibly gain access to.

Well said... +1
Ken

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Re: necessity of photography school
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2012, 08:33:03 PM »