Education advice.

Ozarker

Love, joy, and peace to all of good will.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,765
4,192
The Ozarks
YouTube and forums are a fantastic resource for learning. It is beyond anything I could have ever imagined even just 20 years ago.

However, I am looking for a high quality course (online) that is more structured and organized than me just searching around when a question comes to mind about something. Sometimes one doesn't know what he should be asking to begin with.

Do any of you have a recommendation about photography classes that include the art side of things as well as theory and practice and technique? Something that will force me to take tests before moving on to another chapter or subject?

I've looked at what PPA (Professional Photographers of America) offers and am wondering if anyone has experience with their certification or degree programs.

I know, none of that is needed or required to take photos. It is not about being able to list anything like that after my name either (I'm just an enthusiast). It is just about trying to get better educated. I am the type of person that needs structure. I'm not looking at getting a University Degree... just trying to explore the photography / fine art world more. A structured program would keep me on course and pointed in the right direction.

Thanks for your help!
Charles
 

Boromir883

EOS M50
Mar 9, 2014
35
0
Austria
Hi CanonFanboy, you are willing to learn more - the best way to get better :)
- although you are looking for online courses..

-for my person, it worked much better with learning personally from experienced photographers. It took me more than a year, taking workshops and classes with different teachers/photographers in order to find the photographer who had both artistic and photographic skills, and also the gift to inspire people for photography.
So maybe there is somebody in your area, you benefit more from than from online Videos.
Thats my experience - i hope someone else can help you to find high quality online courses.
 

Zv

EOS 5D Mark IV
Sep 23, 2012
1,765
0
www.flickr.com
There comes a point when you have learned enough of the basics and technical aspects of photography to just get out there and do your own thing. It's always good to get feedback from time to time but I think it's important not to simply copy other people's artistic styles. Do whatever makes you happy and see where it takes you.
 

Boromir883

EOS M50
Mar 9, 2014
35
0
Austria
Zv said:
There comes a point when you have learned enough of the basics and technical aspects of photography to just get out there and do your own thing. It's always good to get feedback from time to time but I think it's important not to simply copy other people's artistic styles. Do whatever makes you happy and see where it takes you.
+1 ;D
 

distant.star

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jan 19, 2011
1,813
1
USA
wetracy.smugmug.com
.
Well done, grasshopper. The path to wisdom is paved with questions.

You may find the answer from Adam Marelli. His photography is informed by his formal training in sculpture. Like many artist/pros he does workshops, but that doesn't sound like your answer. Adam tried doing an online program, but I don't think it was very successful.

Anyway, he will understand what you are looking for and will probably provide sound advice. His site...

http://www.adammarelli.com/

His direct email...

[email protected]

He's very approachable and will respond. Simply ask in the same way you have here.

And when you can snatch the pebble from my hand....
 

Zeidora

EOS RP
Feb 15, 2015
667
10
How about reading some books? As always, the majority is useless, but there are good ones. Focal Press tends to have more serious titles.
If you have more specific areas of interest, that may be helpful in answering your question.
 

sunnyVan

EOS RP
Apr 12, 2013
573
0
NYC
I personally like reading because I can learn at my own pace and it's much cheaper than attending courses.

My favourite author is Michael Freeman. The most vital skill in photography, in my opinion, is the ability to deconstruct a photo and analyze what makes it work. I basically came from knowing nothing about photography to knowing the basics, and to the point of confidently showing pictures I took to other people. His books deserve a lot of credit. The other author I like is David deChemin.

Once someone learned the basics, the rest is all about discipline, passion, talent and some luck.
 
There are loads of courses that can teach you the rudiments, in the UK Amateur Photographer does a well regarded distance learning course, I don't know if it is open to people outwith the UK, but there may be similar where you are.

Join a club. Share your work. Ask questions about others work. Devour magazines. Devour Newspapers. (print or online) Look at what makes a great image, what makes an image that people want to use, not saying that you have to be totally mercenary and think along commercial lines, but generally these photographers are the guys at the top of their game.

Look up 'The Genius of Photography' produced by the BBC (It may be PAL Region 2, check you can play disc, great book to go with it)

The great thing with a club is that you can ask questions, others may ask questions you are thinking, and a good club will do interesting excursions etc.

You can learn so much from a screen, sometimes you need to be a bit more face to face.

My take on it...

The technical aspects are easy and dull. If you can double and half thats all the maths you'll need to understand exposure. A bit of practice and you'll make the numbers correlate to what the camera is doing, and the effect this has on your pics. Any course will teach you this. Practice and it'll all click.

The harder aspect - I say harder, some people are born with it, others try all their life and never get it- is getting the eye for it.

Getting so comfortable with the rules that you don't even think about them anymore, so confident with your own approach that you can disregard the rules within your own style.

Great photography has the x-factor. And it stays with you. And it is nothing at all to do with gear.

Absorb absorb absorb, borrow books, buy books, go to libraries. Seek out interviews with those who produce work you like, see who infulenced them, and in turn who influenced them.

I learned on film. My greatest technical help was the Kodak Encyclopedias, but these will be largely obselete these days, although the technique sections, sections on colour etc probably stand up.

You are your greatest resource. It's your legs that will climb hills before sunrise. It's your hands that will cup the lens as you pan with a slow shutter. It's your mind that will come up with a concept.

You might not have greatness in you as a photographer, but if you have, and you follow the above steps you have a chance of uncovering it and making the most of it.

If you really don't, you can at least get more enjoyment from your photography and take better images.

I say all of this without any shade of greatness. But I enjoy it. As an amateur I do it for the love of it, and that's sometimes the best reason. You get to enjoy it without commercial concern.

Here are some photographers who's work makes me swoon, and who's bootlaces I am not fit to tie, they may inspire you:

http://www.vivianmaier.com/
http://www.oscarmarzaroli.com/home.html
http://www.jillfurmanovsky.com/
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jane-bown
http://www.martinparr.com/

Last bit of advice. Don't get hung up on the gear. This forum is very gear orientated, and sometimes very much the worse for it. There is more to life to than resolution charts. A better camera and a better lens will always help somebody make better images, but it's the pre-existing ability, the aptitude, the interest, the love that will make your images great, regardless of your gear.
 

Tabor Warren Photography

I want to go shoot something with a Canon...
Feb 2, 2012
275
1
Tulsa, OK
www.photosbytabor.com
Hi there CanonFanBoy!

I would jump over to creativelive.com. Photography is the sole income for my wife and I and has been since we committed to the career about two years ago, (best decision ever btw).

With Creative Live, you choose what you are wanted to learn more about, find an amazing instructor and learn as much as you can. There is a portrait photography workshop going on now, so feel free to head on over, listen, and see if it might be something that strikes your fancy. I'll set alarms on my phone when new courses come up that I am interested in, and if I want to, I'll buy them and re-watch them several times. It's hard to evaluate how much the investment has paid us back, but I am 100% confident that it has.

Happy learning!
-Tabor
 

unfocused

EOS-1D X Mark III
Jul 20, 2010
6,902
4,951
68
Springfield, IL
www.mgordoncommunications.com
CanonFanBoy said:
Do any of you have a recommendation about photography classes that include the art side of things as well as theory and practice and technique? Something that will force me to take tests before moving on to another chapter or subject?

Lots of good advice here. I'll add my two cents (and worth every penny)

When you mention the "art side of things" that covers a lot of territory. There is a whole genre of people who call themselves "fine art photographers." Some are very skilled, but too many are the photographic equivalents of Thomas Kincade "Painter of Light."

On the other hand, the world of photography as a fine art is an entirely different world -- some hate it, some love it. If your taste runs to people like Martin Paar, Robert Frank, Andreas Gursky, Stephen Shore, Jerry Uelsmann, Ryan McGinley and Rineke Dijkstra (one of my personal favorites) then there are any number of great books on the history and criticism of photography as a fine art.

Jeff Curto is a professor at the College of DuPage in Illinois (maybe retired now) who has a very good series of podcasts on the history of photography http://photohistory.jeffcurto.com/

Susan Sontag's "On Photography" is as insightful today as it was in 1973. Photographer Robert Adams has two very wonderful books "Beauty in Photography" and "Why People Photograph." I think I could read these once a year for the rest of my life and still get something out of them. "The Nature of Photographs" by Stephen Shore is a great primer on art and the nature of photography.

If you are interested in learning the mechanical skills of photography then I would agree that the Creative Live broadcasts are generally quite good. They have something for just about every genre and skill. Many of the presenters also have books. I particularly like Roberto Valenzuela's lighting workshop.

For software, there are also Creative Live broadcasts, but Adobe's Classroom in a Book Series are very good for providing a basic mastery of their software programs. Martin Evenings books are very thorough texts on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Scott Kelby's books are also very good, but tend more toward the "tips and tricks" approach -- which makes them great references. I tend to buy both every few years.

Another thing to consider -- take a basic photography course at your local community college. If you need some discipline to learn this is a very good way to do it. Most college courses consist of weekly assignments to shoot topics or themes, coupled with critiques. The great thing about these classes are that they expose you to a group of 20-somethings who don't worry about technique, but just go out and shoot. They will inspire and challenge you.

Plus, once you've taken a course, you will likely be able to convince the instructor to let you construct an independent study class of your own in an area you are interested in. That will give you some discipline, while letting you learn what you want to learn.

Finally, give yourself some assignments. At any one point, I am working on two or three books. They may never be published by anyone but Blurb, but the discipline of having to produce a coherent body of work on a specific theme is a great way to focus your photography and develop your individual vision.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,790
1,757
Tabor Warren Photography said:
Hi there CanonFanBoy!

I would jump over to creativelive.com. Photography is the sole income for my wife and I and has been since we committed to the career about two years ago, (best decision ever btw).

With Creative Live, you choose what you are wanted to learn more about, find an amazing instructor and learn as much as you can. There is a portrait photography workshop going on now, so feel free to head on over, listen, and see if it might be something that strikes your fancy. I'll set alarms on my phone when new courses come up that I am interested in, and if I want to, I'll buy them and re-watch them several times. It's hard to evaluate how much the investment has paid us back, but I am 100% confident that it has.

Happy learning!
-Tabor

+1

Creative live was setup by top US photographer Chase Jarvis as a way for noted pro photographers to give back to the photography community, and it has been very successful. Chase is a Nikon shooter, but not a fanboy, his passion is photography not collecting equipment.

Watch courses live for free, or purchase recorded versions to download or watch online as much as you want. Virtually any subject is available as well as courses tailored to specific cameras.
 

TheJock

Location: Dubai
Oct 10, 2013
555
2
Dubai
Hi CanonFanBoy,

This is strictly just my personal opinion, but if you are prepared to invest a sizable sum of money in your education then a University or College course with an internationally recognised certificate at the end is the most cost effective, plus I’m sure you can choose certain options/directions – eg. Fine art.
I consider it similar to buying those cheaper lenses while always still thinking about owning those L series versions, which you ultimately end out buying any way after selling the cheap one at a loss, so it’s false economy, save a little longer and go for the top!!!

Above all, make sure it’s fun too!! 8)
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
16,790
1,757
Stewart K said:
Hi CanonFanBoy,

This is strictly just my personal opinion, but if you are prepared to invest a sizable sum of money in your education then a University or College course with an internationally recognised certificate at the end is the most cost effective, plus I’m sure you can choose certain options/directions – eg. Fine art.
I consider it similar to buying those cheaper lenses while always still thinking about owning those L series versions, which you ultimately end out buying any way after selling the cheap one at a loss, so it’s false economy, save a little longer and go for the top!!!

Above all, make sure it’s fun too!! 8)

The reason against spending 4 years and $200,000 or more for a photography education is that photography jobs are going away, and a fine art degree is worthless in the labor market. What are 4 years of your life worth?

Its a huge waste of money and your time, at least in the USA.
 
Mt Spokane Photography said:
Stewart K said:
Hi CanonFanBoy,

This is strictly just my personal opinion, but if you are prepared to invest a sizable sum of money in your education then a University or College course with an internationally recognised certificate at the end is the most cost effective, plus I’m sure you can choose certain options/directions – eg. Fine art.
I consider it similar to buying those cheaper lenses while always still thinking about owning those L series versions, which you ultimately end out buying any way after selling the cheap one at a loss, so it’s false economy, save a little longer and go for the top!!!

Above all, make sure it’s fun too!! 8)

The reason against spending 4 years and $200,000 or more for a photography education is that photography jobs are going away, and a fine art degree is worthless in the labor market. What are 4 years of your life worth?

Its a huge waste of money and your time, at least in the USA.

Lots of folks do degrees in one field and go on to make a living doing something totally different.

Arts degrees have a bad reputation, but there is nothing like a university education for experience, and nothing quite like an art school education, which art aside, teaches confidence, develops curiosity, channels creativity. Very few will leave to become artists making a living from art, but somebody with a photography degree might end up a DoP... a fine art painter might end up in set design or interior design.. a sculptor might find their skills translate to restoration work in old properties, casting cornicing etc...

If I were a bank manager looking at the business case for doing an arts degree, I wouldn't recommend it.

Thankfully there is more to life than pounds and pence. The price of everything and the value of nothing.

Not everybodies brain is wired with an inclination towards the sciences, or a capacity with numbers.

I wouldn't necessarily advocate a university degree as the answer to the OPs question, but neither would I proscribe their very existence as 'worthless'.

Some people paint, sculpt, photograph because they like to, others because they want to, a select few because they have to, for such people a fine art degree is probably the best worth they would get for their four years.

Maybe their aspirations are more noble than this years 7 series.
 

Hillsilly

EOS R
Oct 16, 2010
1,100
2
I've often thought that an arts degree would just be a fun thing to do in itself. And you don't have to restrict yourself to US courses if the costs are high there. Here in Australia, we have an online degree alternative called open learning which I'm almost certain is open to foreign students. Through that, an online Fine Arts Degree through Curtin University would generally consists of 24 subjects at about $AUD1200 each (about $US900). Still pretty expensive, and you're not getting the same hands-on learning. But if you spread the costs over 6 to 8 years, its not that bad.
 

sanjosedave

EOS RP
Jan 17, 2012
202
0
kelbyone.com - content is not updated regularly, but has the basics, photo specific

lynda.com - content is updated each week; I like Ben Long's focused and clean explanations. Has more than photo courses including business, design and other courses. now park of the linkedin world
 
Sep 11, 2015
1
0
I started at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design about a year ago and began pursing my degree in commercial photography. Like you, I had read and watched everything I could get my hands on and it was time to take the next step. So far, I feel that my photography has made huge strides in creativity and understanding. I'm beyond happy with my choice to go here. Also, included in my tuition is a membership to Lynda.com. If you've never heard of the site, they offer small structured courses that have more depth and detail than some aspects of RMCAD's curriculum. The school uses them in conjunction with the current course. I recommend checking them, they have over 800 courses that walk you through setting up your camera to using one flash to 3 and 4 flash setups. They also have an extensive collection of Lightroom and Photoshop courses. I realize that this sounds like an advertisement, but I assure you I'm an actual student who is extremely excited about RMCAD. I cannot recommend them enough.

Lastly, Charles (or anyone else), if you have an questions feel free to pm me and I will get back to you.
 

nvsravank

EOS 90D
CR Pro
Feb 2, 2012
125
0
Nobody brought up NY institute of Photography.
I did their course from home and that was 12 years ago in the film time. I loved it.
I think there are more choices now, but NYIP might still be worth it.
 
P

Pookie

Guest
Hi Charles,

I know we've emailed before offline about a few different topics and I know you're pretty serious about improving your photography skills. I also know you know my background. This is a tough question as I've run across many in your similar situation. Honestly, a fine arts degree will only cost you money/time and once out in the business world you're going to find that you'll either have to get extremely lucky or intern with a professional to get real world experience. An intern position is usually unpaid (or paltry pay) and often interns have to go through a few different studios before you breakout on your own. In other words... a few years without pay or very little. It's often the same path as going to culinary school.

I'm not saying school isn't worth it... I got my PhD in Cellular biology in 91'. So I did a vigorous education route but in science. Then there was a few years in post-doc (aka - paid slavery). Education in any field is only as good as what you put into it. So you're you mileage will vary, regardless... it's a tough road. In the end I found photography to be not as lucrative but more rewarding, and I didn't go to school for it. I did it as a hobby for a year or two, then as a second shooter for a few wedding photographers, then freelance... then my own studio. I can say either course work or "school of hard knocks" can provide you with equal footing once you're over the experience hump.

I've worked with both camps and the one real lesson to be learned... you can either work your a$$ off as a green intern or go to school and, then work your a$$ off as a modestly paid intern. The major difference is the bill you'll carry for a fine arts degree. I currently have two interns and both have not attended a brick & mortar school. Over the years I've had about 25 interns and only 6 have had a degree, all 25 have moved on to various aspects of the business with success.

Knowing your current situation I'd suggest a heavy reading list, online research (either paid course or vigorous free searches) and then start looking for a intern position at any quality photography studio. All of this could be done on your own time and pace. If you were here in Cali you could shoot with me or any of my colleagues. Another possibility would be a serious photography club with real critiques and workshops. There are quite a few here in the bay area and they are either free or have a very nominal monthly/yearly fee. These clubs are often sources for intern positions also. The best course in my mind would be getting into a studio ASAP. You might be lugging gear for a few months before holding a camera but even a degree doesn't negate that possibility.

I've suggested to you before ASMP... they have a decent set of workshops, webinars, seminars and local chapters. PM if you're interested in a reading list as I have a fairly extensive "course" of reading for my interns. In the end, this is a tough business but you can succeed if you're really hungry and want to put in the effort.

David...

The again there is a totally different route I've seen in the industry over the last 10 years or so... "Soccer Mom photography". Go to Costco, buy a DSLR, hang a plaque on your garage and get a website with "your name + photography". As much as it galls me... this for some unknown reason works for many. It also makes me money though as often clients are burnt once, twice, thrice, etc... They realize you do pay for what you get, then they search, find me and end up happy. Like the "Idiot Wedding Photographer needed" thread it often takes a ruined wedding or once in a lifetime event before people understand why you do have to spend a little money for quality work ::)