Deal 7: How to make money through your photography
Last week on dPS our reader poll asked readers if they’d ever done any kind of photography training (a class or course). The results from over 66,000 readers are in and interestingly over 60% of us have never done any formal training (whether it be online or offline).
Those of you who have done some training – what was it and how did you find it?
Those of you who have never done any training – where did you learn? Was it just through practice, magazines, websites, friends, books… or something else?
May 20, 2013 02:41 am
Over the last two/three years, as a long-standing owner of Canon EOS gear (including film bodies), yet having taken numerous photos as a serious hobby for yonks years, I have undertaken a number of courses (seminars, workshops and photoshoots) with the UK-based company Experience Seminars. Not only have I learned so much but I also know (from my peers/friends) that my digital photography has improved enormously. No one is ever too old to learn, OK?
May 17, 2013 09:06 am
Although I've been taking 'snapshots' for (40?) years, with a SLR, I now have the time to explore what my almost new dSLR can do. However, I'm getting a very strong impression that even mediocre shots can be 'saved' with hard to learn post processing...... So should the majority of time be spent learning PS/GIMP/etc. or dare I say 'real' photography?
May 15, 2013 07:43 pm
I have taken 2 on line courses, and I also work for a professional doing High School sports (team, individual, and action shots).
May 15, 2013 05:06 pm
I am surprised to find that the majority of DPs followers has not taken any training, I thought that I was the minority that did not get any proper training. I got the impression from some people that every 'serious' photographer would 'qualify' themselves with proper trainings and certification to some sort of workshop. That's because the classes and trainings that I come across so far are rather expensive and I am into photography as an interest, not a business with profits that could fund these classes. To be honest, I do feel insecure to admit that I have not been to any trainings because of this.
I know that these trainings can provide much more compared to what I would learn by myself but somehow those trainings available can range at prices that is akin to getting 1to 3 units of 35mm 1.8G lenses. So it doesn't make economic sense for me at all. So as an alternative, I would teach myself the basics by reading up on articles and books, join online forums, visit the other photographers' galleries for inspirations and talk to friends who are into photography, especially those technical geeks that could help me understand the mechanics of the camera.
May 13, 2013 02:46 pm
This is very interesting. I've taken 2+ years of college classes in photography, read tons of books, and shot on my own for many years. So I'm rather interested to find that so many here haven't taken the first class yet. By all means ... take classes ... awesome way to learn and you get to share the learning process with other interested and interesting people. Some of THE best times of my life were when I was taking photo classes (night school, mostly). Classes are fun and they shorten the learning curve a LOT.
May 11, 2013 04:54 pm
I grew up with a Dad with a photography hobby. Occasionally I would be invited to participate when he was developing his photos (the bathroom was often converted into a darkroom and I was the appointed door guard). Later in my twenties I took an entry level photography class with lab in the darkroom, chemicals and the sort. Other than that I have just been on my own gathering hints and technique by reading and other folks.
May 11, 2013 07:28 am
Like they say, it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there! Photography is a journey and you are really never all the way there as you are always looking to improve. I have been a photographer for 34 years and I love it as much today, if not more, than I did when I first started. Hope you all do too!
May 11, 2013 03:01 am
I'm an online and classroom taught photographer. To learn online I used classes hosted by my local community college and those classes would last about six weeks or so. I even learned basic photoshop in those classes and then would attend advanced classes in the classroom at night. To advance my photography even more I then attended a two year sixty-four hour photography community college program in which I have attained 30 of those hours so far with an A average. Introductory classes, advanced classes, portraiture, studio lighting, etc...Best thing I ever did was take those classes! Wonderful instructors, intense detailed classes, great camaraderie in the classroom and boy, are we a competitive bunch! My work has improved ten-fold, my work sells, I'm confident, and love love love photography!
I've always had an interest in photography since childhood, piddled with it throughout a lot of my adult life, and then the digital age hit and I realized that I loved it ! It's never too late to improve your photography and become the photographer that you see yourself being!
May 11, 2013 02:45 am
Never had any form of formal training. Have read photographic magazines, books and lots of fun trying different things.
May 11, 2013 02:22 am
After my first point and shoot I was donated an old Ilford Sportsman. It had a built in light meter for basic exposure control but aperture and shutter speed was manual. I got books from the local library to learn the basics and as soon as I was able to, progressed to a Canon A1 with a choice of lenses. I have never had formal training but have used various magazines and online reference in more recent years just to keep up to speed. My trusty EOS 20D is never too far away although I would love to return to a full frame camera. EOS 5D Mk III soon :-)
I love the freedom of digital as it allows us to explore ideas without the cost.
May 10, 2013 08:36 pm
For beginners, I would recommend looking to local school districts adult education programs. My first class was through one of them and it really started me off in the right direction by giving a solid footing in the basics.
Another source is industry sponsored classes and seminars. They can either be the educational branch of the companies, like Nikon, or Canon. Or they can be professional photographers touring and sponsored by the various companies. Depending on the status of the instructor, these can be very affordable, or quite expensive. They also end up being infomercials. The first couple of hours are on their techniques, then you get to listen to how if you buy their training products, you'll learn so much more.
A great source can also be found in local photo clubs and groups. We have a meetup.com group here in Jacksonville, Florida that is amazing. We have regular "meetups" that focus on various genre of photography, and there are also members that conduct formal classes on everything from basic camera operation, to advanced lighting using professional models.
May 10, 2013 07:25 pm
I did a two-night course at a local camera shop. Was well worth the money.
Covered the camera basics and settings the first night. Second night was a bit more plus we could ask questions about specific situations.
e.g. Northern lights, stars and the moon,birds on the wing, children, weddings etc.
I had used books and websites until the course.
May 10, 2013 01:38 pm
I have been taking photography classes at a local university for years. I also study photography books and online guides (like DPS) continually. The difference it has made in my skills is huge.
May 10, 2013 08:56 am
Like the majority of respondents here I am self taught, site's like this and trial and error is how I have taught myself, I take my camera wherever I go and practice, practice and more practice, I am going to retire soon and concentrate more on photography and if time permits attend a few courses to fine tune my knowledge, I am only a new member to this site and am enjoying reading what other people have to say..
May 10, 2013 08:47 am
I took a real life course in college - film camera. Loved it! Sometimes I miss the dark room. I am currently taking a DSLR online course. At the end of the course I get a certification. :) I really want to get more into photography as a career and am looking forward to putting all of the information I'm learning into practice!
May 10, 2013 08:40 am
I started by taking a beginner's class (ISO, shutter speed, aperature) and continued thru Level IV Master photography. Additionally, I have taken on-line Nikon courses, several classes with a local professional photography studio (TYE studios - excellent hands on classes) and I have read numerous books, articles, etc.
The best lessons for me - taking photos - at different locations, trying different lenses, experimenting with different f/stops, using different settings. Just keep taking photos - I learn something new everytime!!!
May 10, 2013 05:52 am
I have taken in class, workshops and online training. I am now finishing my degree a BFA in photography at AAU. I plan on continuing and going for my masters degree soon! I love photography because there is so much to learn!
May 10, 2013 05:51 am
I have taken in class, workshops and online training. I am now finishing my degree a BFA in photography. I plan on continuing and going for my masters degree soon! I love photography because there is so much to learn!
May 10, 2013 05:24 am
As a long time professional photographer and educator, I have to say that this poll reflects exactly what we're seeing in our classes as well. It also represents why the consumer is seeing such extreme variances in pricing as well as quality. It's confusing the market place.
May 10, 2013 04:42 am
Have taken little as far as courses are concerned. Have been shooting more than 45 years now. My late father was a commercial shooter in the 30s and 40s and taught me! Best educatio I could ever of asked for!
May 10, 2013 04:21 am
The training that I did was through a Groupon deal. It was a day long class with a 2 hour "exursion" at the end. It was extremely helpful and is why I shoot primarily on manual mode and have seen a complete turnaround in my photography. It stepped me up from the bridge camera and gave me the confidence I needed to take the next step to a DSLR. I would like to take another "refresher" now that I have a DSLR. The bridge camera functions mostly the same as the DSLR but the changing of lenses is new to me. I find this site to be my go to when I have a specific thing in mind and don't know the settings I need. I am so greatful to DPS and the tons of helpful articles!!
May 10, 2013 03:53 am
The company I work for has it's own "University" and teaches an Intro to Digital Photography which teaches the fundamentals of digital photography, post photo processing work, and even has a photo contest as a class project ! It is such a popular class that the class stays books a full year in advance! The instructor is one of our engineers who is a lens expert and a semi-pro photographer (I say Semi-pro because his main job is here.) Although I have never had any plans at advancing in the photography field, I do enjoy learning about it and taking and sharing photos.I was given the title of "club Historian" by the Shoals ATV Riders, Inc. for the photos I posted of the various rides the club went on. Strictly amateur! I really do enjoy this website and seeing the fantastic shots real photographers take and the methods used to do it. I have seen some WOW!!! photos here each time I visit!
May 10, 2013 03:37 am
I took a BTEC Level 3 at local adult community college (in UK) where the emphasis of all their courses is on what you think you might gain from this course in terms of being more employable afterwards. These courses are excellent and cover loads of different stuff and assignments (which aren't all easy) and there is no sales pitch involved. You get what you want out of it and I certainly learnt to do some stuff I wasn't comfortable with before! Beware though, it takes a lot of time and practice over a year. I have been an event photographer ever since.
May 10, 2013 02:44 am
I'm in the 25% that took a course. It was one very specific two-day course via a university's extended learning. The teacher was a professor of photography and it was all about portrait lighting.
I'd wanted to take an actual course for this one for three reasons: (1) at the time, the concepts and terminology etc. were a steep learning curve on my own, (2) I wanted to learn about the specific lighting because I'm usually in front of the camera in that situation rather than behind it ,and figured it would help me work with a photographer better and (3) because the teacher had cool equipment I couldn't afford to buy and stuff I might never use - I got a chance to play around with that stuff in class.
I learned a lot, and it's made followup learning on sites like dPS so much easier!
May 10, 2013 02:35 am
I have only self taught up til now. I've considered getting some online lessons through Karl Taylor or similar sites. I read DPS and just about anything else I can when I can't get out there and just use my camera. I've considered taking a class or 2 just to firm up some areas I still struggle with.
May 10, 2013 02:21 am
".............. Was it just through practice, magazines, websites, friends, books… or something else?"
All of the above.
Something else? Yes ...... studying the great and not-so-great painters; they are the standard for composition and their lighting can be inspirational.
May 10, 2013 01:49 am
I'm self taught. I read books, articles and practice practice practice. Though I would welcome a class or workshop if they were offered where I live.
May 10, 2013 01:48 am
Years ago I took a b&w photography class at the community college, we also learned to develop the film which I really enjoyed. But over the years, just more self taught, practice, many books such as Nat'l Geographic, Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson, etc. There was also a really good photography club that I attended for a few years. I have moved to another state and very disappointed I can't find another one close by. I love my dslr and I have several lenses. Never have enough time for it.
May 10, 2013 01:23 am
I never had any photography training. I learned through the internet: facebook groups, mommy blogs, free tuts online, etc. Also, playing with my settings a bunch. Having photographer as friends I can ask quick advice from (not mooch of course, 'cause who would like that?) Nowadays, who doesn't own a dslr?
May 10, 2013 12:55 am
I learned over the years but got my real appreciation for everything around me and saw beyond this when I came to salvation in Jesus Christ. God Bless
May 8, 2013 08:33 am
I have recently retired and now have the time to pursue a photography hobby. I have moved to Mazatlan, Mexico from the U.S. Unfortunately, there are no classroom classes here but I have been taking on line courses and have been quite happy with them. DPS has tons of free info and great e books. You Tube has lots of info too. I have also paid for courses from Phil Steele and am currently in the process of taking 2-3 hours a day from Lynda.com and I would recommend both.
May 8, 2013 06:02 am
My photography experience goes back to film about 40 years ago so I can take my SLR experience and appliy it to DSLR photography. I consider myself a pretty good photographer always trying to improve by taking on a different assignment to challenge myself. I have taken seminars but never a course. I am always looking for something to get me to the next level. It seems that there is no 'in between" course where the student has a pretty good grasp of photography but needs some help in specific areas. This weekend I am going to a seminar/early access to the railway museum in Old Town Sacramento. We are given a opportunity to attend a 3 hour seminar on Friday and then be allowed access to the museum for a couple of hours before it opens on Saturday. I am finding this kind of course or opportunity to be the most valuable to me.
May 8, 2013 04:41 am
I am a member of the 63%, having never taken any photography classes. Everything I have learned has come from reading books, practice and web sites like DPS. I think about taking a class or two but somehow I always manage to tell myself that I don't have the time. Maybe I should reconsider and take a class or workshop to learn something new.
May 7, 2013 09:45 pm
I'm enrolled on an online course which costs £595 (at full price). There's 20 modules covering everything and you get an accredited certificate at the end, so it's a real qualification. But if I'm honest, I took the last three module tests without even reading the materials - I learn alot from self teaching and practice.
May 7, 2013 09:07 pm
I did photography as a portion of a college program I was in (journalism), so I was able to take what I learned with my film SLR and apply it to my dSLR. So I took photography, and Photoshop courses. Since then I've been able to take some refresher courses for Photoshop, but I do learn a lot by talking to other photographers, playing with my camera, and reading (books, websites). I'd love to take more courses in the future.
May 7, 2013 09:01 pm
I took a beginners class at our local art museum. I had already learned so much from websites like this one but the actual class really helped fill in several blanks and that is where I have received my best critique to date. Don't get me wrong, the critique section here has been great but when the instructor can actually get to know you and what you are trying to do, you just can't replace that online.
May 7, 2013 09:50 am
I had a minor in photography for my B.S. We started learning with black and white film, and progressed to digital. There were also classes on using Photoshop and I did a photography tour class in London for a couple weeks. My professor had great insights and critiques that helped me improve, but those only helped so far. Learning on my own online has greatly improved my photography since then (a couple years ago).
May 7, 2013 08:37 am
I've taken several two-night classes through the local camera store, taught by local professionals that have a bajillion years of combined experience. Ha, ha! The good part is that the classes were smallish (maybe twenty people at the absolute most) so you got a lot of individual attention from the instructor. The down side was that there is never enough time to cover all that there is to cover, so you get a bit rushed.
This forum has provided as much (if not, maybe a little more!) training than any of the classes I've taken. But there is nothing that can take the place of actual face-to-face mentoring!
May 7, 2013 08:21 am
I had a couple of photography classes at my local university. They were a photography 101 course and a course in creating color prints using Photoshop and school owned Epson printers. Much of my learning since those classes has been from books or online from websites like this one. The supplemental learning outside of the classroom has been much more valuable than what I learned inside the classroom.
May 7, 2013 08:16 am
Please take a look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eruderman14/8715934798/in/photostream
May 7, 2013 07:54 am
Well I started over 40 years ago, so I learned from books. Particularly the writing of Ansel Adams.
As for what's available for training today - too much of it is a sale pitch to spend more money on whatever they want to sell.
May 7, 2013 07:35 am
I took a class in college (mumblemumbleyears ago). I liked that it was black & white film and we were taught how to develop and print our own film... although, don't ask me to do it, now. More recently, I've bought or borrowed books to learn.
May 7, 2013 07:15 am
I was quite expecting that figure. I myself have never done any course or training. One thing though is that photography is a hobby for me. I don't make any money out of it.
All things I know came mainly from Youtube videos and internet blogs. There is quite a good amount of very good websites available, and the best, for FREE... : )
I believe that if you are making money with photography it is justifiable to spend money on training. Or if you are too lazy to use the internet....
For me it is working just fine. I am learning quickly and my pictures are way better than before.
May 7, 2013 06:38 am
Wow, 60% is much higher than I expected. I took a beginning photography class at a local community college. It was a black & white class, and we used film cameras. In addition to learning about composition and light, we had to learn to process the film (which I loved!) I had a wonderful instructor who was really passionate about teaching. I'll go back again when my schedule and budget allow. It was an extremely worthwhile class.
May 7, 2013 06:14 am
Sounds about right. I think more and more people are using sites like this as their training. It's easy to learn at your own pace and get good feedback through comments and forums.You just have to be smart and make sure you don't get ahead of yourself and skip the essentials.
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