5 signs you are ready to take a formal photography / video class:
(Originally written for speedycourse.com by Michael Mariano)
Nowadays, everybody seems to be a ‘photographer’ with a camera strapped to their necks or a cameraphone in their hands. The internet has made learning photography more accessible than more traditional learning mediums. After a while, It comes to a point though that the internet seems to be not enough anymore. How do you find out if you need to take a formal class? Here are the 5 signs ->
1.) Camera ‘chimping’ – If you don’t know this term, then most probably you have been unconsciously doing this without knowing. Since the advent of digital cameras, shooting with film is replaced with the sensor allowing to capture images with ease and display it to the LCD monitor at the back of the camera. It is very convenient, but it has introduced a bad habit amongst hobbyist and professionals alike – camera chimping, aka reviewing the image right after the shot (pretty similar to a chimp while trying to figure out an object.) Chimping disconnects you from your subject and the moment that can turn into a bad habit shot after shot. In a formal class, you will be trained to spot, identify and correct the bad habits that are introduced with digital photography. Proper camera workflow and discipline is a must in learning photography.
2.) You have read your camera’s manual – Most people just skip this altogether and go to You tube instead. It might be very technical
for most people, but your camera’s manual can carry a plethora of information that pertain specifically to your camera. Reading the manual
helps you get familiarized with your camera and helps you come up with questions once you decide to take a formal photography class. This is also a clear sign that you are ready to learn the principles of photography, which is not taught in detail in your camera’s manual.
3.) Youtube and the internet is not enough – These days Youtube and the internet is a convenient way to check out some tutorials on photography basics. Just one search, and magically the Pages to your queries appear. Back in the early days of the web, there weren’t a lot of websites that catered to photography. Forums and e-groups were built by photographers and hobbyists in order to connect and communicate with others. Eventually, Youtube came along and catered to avid vloggers and enthusiasts who wanted to share their experiences and ideas as well. The medium has its limits though. For most of our participants in our workshops, they prefer connecting with our instructors and experiencing real-time feedback if they have questions. Also, having a personal experience guarantees that the information learned can stay with the participants longer through the class-practical-critique system.
4.) Asking your friends and family for photography advice – It is but natural to ask people who are around us for advice and critique. Sometimes though it may just feel that you are not getting the right answers to your questions especially if there are conflicting answers. Participating in a formal class with a defined course outline structures the topics in such a way that streamlines the ideas and lays it out in an easy to understand format for its participants. A professional instructor can also give you constructive criticism which can help you improve your craft.
5.) You have the urge to connect and talk to other people who loves photography as well – The great thing about having formal photography classes is that you get to meet in person like minded individuals. Photography as an art form draws people from all walks of life. In our classes, we have had CEOs, lawyers, engineers, architects, all the way to teenagers who professes the love for the craft. Photography needn’t be a solitary hobby. It is a great opportunity to learn from others as well.
Is formal photography education necessary / Is it necessary to take formal photography classes?
From our point of view, it is important to understand the needs vs. the wants of the participant before encouraging them to take classes. If we see the passion and yearning is there, then we encourage people to try to learn first via photography books/internet. If they find that they are having a hard time via those methods, then yes – It is a necessity. We believe that such an approach will help prospective participants to discover for themselves the joy and passion of photographing the world around them without pressure from other people. Only in that way that they can be in a path where their self-discovery can lead to higher aspirations in the craft.
For those who wants to make this craft into more than a hobby, then they should be prepared to hold themselves to a stricter standard meaning taking formal photography classes as a must besides from self-learning. The competition grows stiffer everyday. And one would think, why would established professionals teach their own competition? It might sound counter intuitive, however the truth is this – We believe that while we may earn our experiences (which we truly own), knowledge in general should be shared in order to continue to improve and propagate photography into the next generation. It is through this process that the younger generation can learn and the older ones can take pride in knowing that the young ones will be in good hands.
For more information, please contact us at (02) 209-8300 or email us to find out about our current workshop offerings or if you want us to customize a workshop for your group’s needs.