Have You Ever Taken a Photography Class?

Have You Ever Taken a Photography Class?

One of the questions I get asked a lot via email and a regular question that is raised in our forum is around photography classes, courses, workshops and training.

  • What photography class should I do?
  • How do I know if photography training is right for me?
  • Should I do a photography course or just read a book?
  • Do I need photography training to go Pro?

    These questions (and more) arise so many times that I thought it’d make an interesting discussion here on the blog.

    Have you done any photography classes/workshops/courses or other types of training? If so:

  • What type did you do?
  • Where they worth it?
  • Who would you recommend them for?
  • How did you choose which one?
  • Would you do another one?

If you’ve not done any photography training:

  • Would you recommend any other strategies for learning photography?
  • Do you hope to ever do any training?

Really any advice, tips, experiences or ideas you have on photography courses, classes, workshops, degrees or other types of training would be fascinating to hear about.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Patricia Rockliff December 7, 2012 08:20 am

    I have taken 1000's of photos in my travels around Australia. I've shared my photos with friends and family, who in turn shared these with friends and colleagues. I got really good feedback about my photography so I decided to do an online Diploma. This was through the Photography Institute. It was an excellent course that included setting up a business and assignments on portraits, running water and setting up a portfolio. It was a good solid course and demanded high standards. I also purchased a course specific to my camera where tasks were set but not assessed. This was an excellent course as I'd just purchased my new camera. I subscribe to many photography newsletters and also look through other photographers' website. Another helpful resource for me is to look carefully at the old style artists and how they painted shadows and emphasised a certain point in their piece.

  • Pao Saway January 10, 2012 09:44 pm

    Hi! It's been a year since I started photography and not once have I felt that I need to enroll into a formal photography class. I learned everything online from video tutorials, forums(especially here in DPS), friends, and also by joining some photography groups. We have a wide source of options to know the basics and what to know about photography through the world wide web. I would consider enrolling into an actual class if in case I'd continue as a Pro. However for now, I will just invest my good earn money in buying better gears.

  • John Heilman November 5, 2011 01:50 pm

    I took lots of photo classes and workshops, mainly at the local community college. Well worth while. But the most benefit I ever got was from the weekly meetings of a photography club. Each week the members would bring in prints (and back then, slides) in various categories - nature, children, action, etc. A visiting judge would comment on each photo, and that was great. i got "professional" critiques on my shots, and I learned even more from listening to the critiques of others and comparing my thoughts to those of the judge.
    Join a club!

  • Joe February 17, 2011 11:54 am

    I havent yet. I will very soon.I'm in San Antonio,Texas. Anyone know of any good classes to take there? I love this site and have learned alot.I have been out practicing too but I would like to learn more about the "Triangle". Wouyld love to do it in a classroom environment and be able to take notes and ask questions. Hopefully soon.

  • Jennifer Moore April 24, 2010 05:26 am

    I have been artistic all of my life, and I'v e been a shutterbug since I was a teen. I have never been able to take courses (never cold afford it in high school or college, ) but I have not let that stop me. I have always taken pictures like mad whenever I've had a camera on me--even if it was not mine.

    Nowadays, I'm hoping I will be able to take some classes--there are specific fields I am interested in--and I will be taking my first Photoshop course in August, though I already use it. I'm self-taught, but also, my boyfriend's dad is a pro photographer, and I have gotten some good coaching from him and from my boyfriend (BF majored in photography in college, initially.)

    I've been learning by instinct and by practice, and of course by reading and talking with other photographers of varying levels.

    Jennifer Moore
    JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

  • Christina Lee April 18, 2010 01:42 pm

    I have taken two Intro. to Digital Photography classes at the University of Texas Arlington from their Continuing Education program. I have found them to be very valuable because I'm a hands on learner. I'm planning on taking more classes. It also gave me a chance to meet other photography enthusiasts in the area and something to do while my husband is out playing pool.

    I don't think you have to have a degree in photography--it's still an apprentice profession, but a few classes cannot hurt, and I definitely suggest workshops.

  • Steve Clemens April 8, 2010 02:50 am

    During years of taking photos I'd never been to any kind of photo workshop. Everything I learned was from my dad, reading photo magazines plus lots of trial and error. Last year that all changed!!

    Last summer, my son who live near us in Denver, encouraged me to attend a workshop with him that was put on by Great American Photo Workshop. The workshop was in eastern Washington in the Paloose region--an amazing agricultural landscape of rolling hills planted primarily in wheat. The course was taught by the Silverman's, a couple with an extensive background in virtually every aspect of photography. About 25 of us roamed the region for four very full days. Up well before dawn to shoot for three hours; back the motel to download our photos and engage in classwork and critiques; then back out into the fields again to shoot until dark.

    I've been taking photos for 50 years and had become pretty bored with photography, until I took this class. This class really lit a fire under me and got the creative juices flowing again, mainly because it was hands-on with lots of sharing of ideas, techniques and insights. It was exciting to see what others saw (and shot) in the very same landscapes I saw. I'm taking tons of photos these days (including lots of before sunrise adventures) and loving the whole process a lot more.

    One added bonus: after the class I started investing in better equipment--a new Canon dSLR, Manfrotto tripod and head and a couple of L-series Canon lenses, plus a great backpack-style camera bag. Now I have no excuses!!!

    [eimg url='IMG_6613.jpg' title='IMG_6613.jpg']

  • photoman022 April 4, 2010 08:41 am

    It was 1973, I was a private in the Army, newly arrived in Germany and I bought a brand new Petri V-6 SLR to record my time there. It was a totally manual camera; it had no through the lens light meters or anything else. I brought my brand new camera to Munich for my first weekend trip in Germany. All of my photos came out rotten. Overexposed, underexposed, every which way exposed!

    I enrolled in a University of Kentucky photography course by extension (the Army even paid for it). The course consisted of a book, a series of questions dealing with each chapter, and photographs I had to return with the questions after finishing each chapter.

    I didn't learn anything about composition; I didn't learn about the rule of thirds; the only thing I really took away from the experience was the rule of f-16. F-16 at shutter speed of 125 in bright sun. It revolutionized my photography!

    Two and a half years ago I bought my DSLR. By time I bought it I had learned the basics of composition, etc. But the DSLR had a whole new set of problems. All of my photographs had strange tints to them. Trying to set the shutter speed and aperture setting was a task in and of itself. I bought a book on digital photography, but it was already out of date and the materials obsolete.

    I did a Google search for digital photography and found tons and tons of web sites, including DPS, which I continually return to because it is one of the best. Through all of my searching I learned about color temperature (my photos no longer have that strange tint to them). I learned about Aperture and Shutter priority modes. I even learned about manual mode and off camera flash. Because of the things I learned on the internet, I experimented with macro photography and portraiture.

    There is a whole universe of digital photographic knowledge on the internet, most of it relevant and up to date. When I want to learn how to use a function on my camera I don't look at the manual that came with the camera (it doesn't make much sense); I do an internet search and I find more than enough information on the various functions, sometimes there are even videos showing you how to do set the functions.

    Do I want to expand my photographic horizons? I come to DPS and read through the tutorials and learn more than enough, more than I could ever learn in a digital photography course!

  • Jim Philp April 3, 2010 07:27 am

    I have done a short course in Photoshop at Bremmer TAFE which I found invaluable, there is nothing like a collective learning situation, and the commitment to attend that paying in advance generates. At this stage of digital camera development knowledge of image editing is necessary and very useful, so that every exposure is made with an eye to later optimisation. However, in real terms my photoshop skills are limited, and are subsidised heavily with third party image software with handy tweaks. I would recommend at least a basic photo course to anyone taking up photography plus reading the camera manual before using the camera, then taking a few thousand shots using every possible setting configuration, and then reading the instructions again, and again....pity most are so badly written. (So are many camera reviews- the problem being that one has to work with a camera for several thousand shots to maximise ones feel for the device)
    As a purchaser of of chuck out bin clearance line compact cameras I have learned that you can use the faults in cameras to generate unique and interesting images that would take many hours to replicate in photoshop! The Mitsuca range in cameras are a case in point.
    It also gives one a wonderful opportunity to discover how well such things as noise reduction and sharpening plugins actually work. Keep up the good work.

  • John W. April 3, 2010 06:39 am

    I have taken five photography classes and am now in the process of taking a sixth one from Penn Foster. All of these were and are being taken on line. They have covered everything from begining photography to advanced photography. They covered camera type, lighting, portraits and everything in between. I have learned a great deal from these classes. Another good thing is you have instructor like a regular class. They are only an e-mail or phone call away. One other thing, they ARE cheaper.

  • Tam Steele Daly April 2, 2010 10:14 am

    Hi Nathaniel, and other DPSers.

    Try this for size:



  • Janice Lenard April 2, 2010 09:48 am

    I am lucky enough to have a photography class offered by our local park department. There are people with all levels of abilities and knowledge in the group. Our instructor is a professional photographer that loves to share his knowledge of photography. We meet on Saturdays for a month at a time. In the class we always take road trips to take pictures, we never stay in the classroom and "learn" about photography. It really feels more like a photography club. Everyone helps each other. We just finished the March class where we took a trip into Chicago, into Michigan to photograph the lake and lighthouses. We went to a local county home to take pictures of the residents ( they love having their pictures taken) and we also went to a local florist to take interior shots of flowers and arrangements. We always try to go someplace different where we can stretch our talents. By the way, in May we will be going to Holland, MI, Brookfield Zoo, St. Mary's College and Tabor Hill Winery. I can't wait.....

  • Tam Steele Daly April 2, 2010 09:44 am

    Hi Nathaniel, and other DPSers.

    Try this one for size -

    lots of goodies and a great 'Off - the - AUTO MODE' course.

    Tam[eimg url='http://www.photographycourses.net.au/IMAGES/Photography%20Courses%20&%20Tuition%20Newcastle,%20Hunter%20Valley' title='Photography%20Courses%20&%20Tuition%20Newcastle,%20Hunter%20Valley']

  • Nathaniel Kidd April 2, 2010 08:39 am

    No, I have never taken any classes for photography. Though I would like to, I have not had a chance to.

  • oliver April 2, 2010 07:42 am

    I've been very lucky, my dad was a photographer and i've has the advantage of a lifetime,with cameras. But i want to give something back and do some tutorials, a lot of people ask me stuff about exposure, lighting etc. If anyone here has any questions i can try to answer.

    Oliver Prout fashion photographer

  • Crystal April 2, 2010 07:05 am

    I've taken quite a few Photography and Photoshop classes. It started with a simple 'older adult' class at Oasis and resulted in my buying a DSLR. Then I took 2 classes at Community Colleges. These classes taught photography basics and photoshop. The assignments and the critiques were very helpful. I took one of those classes with a college-age grandaughter. That was fun. Then I took some in-the-field courses led by a local photographer. I also took the free Continuing Education Photoshop courses. I think the best thing about taking courses is that you get assignments and you get your work critiqued and you get to critique other peoples work. The second good thing is that you can ask plenty of questions. I love computers and I love Photoshop. I've made collages, combined photos with painted art, made personalized birthday greeting cards with scanned photos. I love trying new techniques. I'm still learning to take better photos, because that means better art. HDR, textures, layers, masks....there is always something new to learn. I now take a small camera everywhere.

  • Paul Smith April 2, 2010 06:08 am

    I've taken a couple of courses the last of which was absolutely the worst class of any kind. The instructor was not a photographer but a IT book writer. How or why they would let someone who is not a photographer teach a class is beyond my comprehension. I took the class thinking I might get some tidbit or feedback that would help me. Instead what I got were canned responses "love the color great shot". Every day I read not only the feedback left for me but also the other students. It amazed how uniform the response was not matter the quality or skill of the photographer. I began helping each student with their work because I felt so bad they had paid for a class to improve their skill and were not getting anything of value. I wrote a blistering review and forwarded up the chain.
    ED2GO stay away from it waste of time and money!!!!!
    Before you take a class ask 3 people who have taken the class was it worth
    Look at some of their before and after work
    Understand exactly what you are getting before signing up (does it satisfy your needs)

  • Ferd April 2, 2010 05:22 am

    I was on the yearbook staff for a couple of years in high school. A friend took pictures, and I learned basic darkroom techniques from him. I majored in architecture in college for 2 years (before switching to engineering) and had to take a year of art classes. For my last semester (spring 1975) I chose photography. We shot a roll of B&W every week and did our own developing and printing.

    The professor didn't want to see "snapshots" but wanted us to be artistic. I think B&W is a great way to learn about composition and content. A sunset may be awful purty in color, but it takes practice to see the possibilities of a scene in B&W.

    I've had a DSLR for 4 years now (Nikon D70s) and a couple of days ago I signed up for a non-credit, 4-day class at the local community college. It's part II, not part I. I learned on a "fully manual" Minolta and I want to learn how to use the fancier settings of my camera.

  • George Fragos April 2, 2010 05:20 am

    Years ago the New York Institute of Photography had resident courses. I took two programs. One in "Commercial Photography" and the other in "Color Photography". I got to work with equipment and photographic processes I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to. After those I did two apprenticeships with successful photographers. NYI taught me the mechanics and chemistry and my apprenticeships taught me technique and polished my visual skills. My 1st apprenticeship was on call and unpaid. My 2nd was a full time job for which I was paid. Online courses and books have their place but there's no substitute for hands on working with a professional. I've also learned a lot from self assignments and experimentation followed by an objective evaluation of my work. Experimentation has no place during a live session.

  • Dave April 2, 2010 04:33 am

    I've taken courses on B&W film as well as digital portrait and landscape courses, but I really didn't get out of them what I really wanted; maybe I'm just expecting too much. I've been thinking about the NYIP course, but have my doubts about that as well. Anyone else ever taken it? Is it worth it?

  • bev April 2, 2010 04:11 am

    I took several on-line classes through www.ppsop.com (Perfect Picture School founded by Brian Peterson author of Understanding Exposure and class by same name). I highly recommend them. They have both 4 & 8 week classes (and other) both beginning (Understanding Exposure) and very specific (Business of Photographing High School Seniors). The week starts with a "lesson" - typically 20+ pages of instruction and examples, an "assignment" - 3 to 5 shots demonstrating various things being taught, and a bulletin board of sorts where you can chat with other students and the instructors (typically 2 instructors per class). You post your photos after a week and then the instructors critique them. The best part though turned out to be the interaction with the other students. They can also post about your photo. I learned a lot from other people and made friends with people from around the world - Japan, Australia, Costa Rica, Greece, Holland and of course the US. I have continued correspondence (and photo sharing) with several of these people a year after the course. The instructors range in their critiques - they are all very successful photographers in their own rights. Some were a bit gentle with their critiques IMO but others were really specific and very helpful. The best student interaction came from classes with more students - including Bryan Peterson's classes Understanding Exposure and Art of Seeing. I also too Portraits Unplugged which was GREAT and Mysteries of Flash - which was a LOT of info that I can go back to and continue to learn from but too rushed but it got me to use my flash and I often use it manually now - unthinkable before the class (esp with the poor documentation from Canon!). I agree with other posters that the more effort you put in the more you get out of it. Will I take any more classes? I don't know. I would love to go on a meet-up or on-site workshop at some point in the future (perhaps with one of the instructors I have had for an on-line class). I did find the classes absolutely worth it.

  • Julia White April 2, 2010 03:36 am

    My first job out of college was as an assistant in a small PR department. I was required to take a photography class so I could shoot photos for the company newsletter. Camera in hand, I trudged into my first session. A love was born. Now that is not to say the teacher was any good (he wasn't) or the assignments were exciting (they weren't) but somewhere during those 10 Wednesday nights that I gave over to this class I found a love for photography. Thirty years later and I'm still in love. Though now, I must admit my passion for Photoshop may have surpassed my passion for the camera.

  • Paul April 2, 2010 03:02 am

    Back in the days of film, I took a basic class through an adult education program. We shot slides and showed our work each week, gently critiquing each other. We had assignments like Depth of Field or Children and we were allowed to interpret the assignment to some degree. It opened me up to the idea that creativity has no bounds and that there are infinite possibilities in the links between brain to camera to subject.

    I later took a figure class at a more advanced level. Yes, naked women as the sole subject of study. It was a small group of students working with simple studio lighting and shooting film. We had to select one shot each week and present it as an 8x10 and explain why it was our shot of choice for the week. The models were female and the class was coed. Each student got a 10-minute block of time to manage the shoot. You got to choose the lighting set up, position and pose the model, choose your shooting angle. Other students could shoot your set up but they had to defer to you as you moved around. It was very interesting to see that, most of us photographers, fully clothed, were a bit anxious working with a naked, live human being. This was not arranging a bowl of fruit. We found how to communicate our wishes without touching the model, getting her feedback to see if the pose was comfortable, working with her for a better result and expressing gratitude for working with us. It was a humbling experience and at times surprising as we worked through our individual ideas of "beauty" and "form."

  • Amanda April 2, 2010 02:02 am

    I never took a formal class, and the best lessons I learned were through shooting and asking for advice through online communities. Other lessons are learned by shooting alongside a pro who can help fine tune your settings in the moment. Third best option for learning is to start a 365 project and challenge yourself daily.

  • Matthew Scullion April 1, 2010 09:16 pm

    I have done a couple of courses with John Clements, an excellent UK based photography tutor. Both were excellent and I found that they both taught me things I didn't know and also filled in big gaps in things I thought I did know.

    The practical tips you get from Pro photographers are also excellent.

    The two courses I did were 'Introduction to Digital Photography' which covered, in the morning, basic DSLR techniques including using things like exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed, various settings on your DLSR etc etc. In the afternoon we then did basic post prod, using various packages and focusing on stuff that is common across all of them e.g. levels and curves, filters, file types, why you should use RAW etc.

    The other course I did was Studio Lighting which was brilliant. Here we learnt all about using studio flash and setup loads of different techniques and took shots of a pro model. Highly recommended if you're into portraiture or off-camera flash.

    John's a great teacher and a really nice guy. He's got a web site now where you can see all the courses he does which, from what I can see, he seems to organise through stores (such as Calumet) or manufacturers (such as Nikon). His site is: http://www.goprocreate.co.uk.

  • Francis Quigley April 1, 2010 05:17 pm

    Yes, I took one last year. It was a landscape photography weekend run by a promient member of one of our neighbouring camera clubs. I have been considering taking a course with years nut was concenered about spending a lot of money on a course which was goongbto spend 6 out 8 wks teaching basics which I have picked up overthe years from books and mags.
    I took this John Hooton weekend course because other members of our club had recommeded it and because it was reasonably priced (it was the first year of the course). I found the course well worth doing. Since then I have recently puchased a course / DVD from Bert Stephani a beligum based portrait photographer this is an excellent DVD again it his first DVD and the editing could be a little better but the info is excellent and Bert has a great way of getting it across. I could definately recommended both courses.

  • Lizzie April 1, 2010 04:57 am

    I have taken a couple of classes at my local community college but it seemed like the need to fill the classes diluted the content of the classes because of the wide range of learning levels. I have a hard time finding classes that address the needs of someone like myself. I did not grow up with computers or the digital techology and, although I love all that incredible potential I see with digital photography, since I switched to digital I feel almost paralyzed with all the learning I have to do that does not come naturally to me at all. When I switched to Mac, the learning curve got steeper still. It's all quite overwhelming trying to stay in business. As much as I'd like to work on improving my photography skills, I spend almost all my time and resources learning about operating systems, file formats, archiving, printer settings, system preferences, cables, plug-ins, & software compatibility. My experience with classes is either they are geared towards a real beginner in computers or digital photography where I learn 1 or 2 new things but for me, not worth the time & $, or they are geared towards most of what I want to learn but make too many assumptions that I know the technology. I guess what I need are classes taught by an oldie like me who didn't grow up with computers and remembers the inherent ignorance that follows. It's as if someone is teaching me something that conceptually I would understand but I need a translator to speak my tech-challenged language. Frankly, i often feel embarrassed & intimidated by other photographers because of my lack of computer understanding, not my lack of talent. I appreciate the tone and helpfulness of this site and those who post here. Occasionally, I come across a photographer/teacher's website or blog that I enjoy who seems to appreciate my learning spirit and they possess enough humility and generosity to help me along. I stumbled upon one such person recently, Peter Phun, http://peterphun.com/blog who teaches at UCR in Riverside, CA. I wish I lived close enough to take his classes. He is patient enough to answer my questions. There must be a lot of photographers, like myself, who don't want to stop doing what we love, but we need teachers to see and meet this particular niche. By the way, Peter Phun has a show on April 1st in RIverside, CA so if you live the area...

  • Zack Jones April 1, 2010 03:37 am

    Does watching videos on Kelbytraining.com count as a photography class? if so then yes, otherwise no, I haven't.

  • Caroline March 31, 2010 12:52 am

    If you live in the Washington, DC area, the site BuyWithMe is offering a Photo Safari deal today (March 30th). Only $25-29 for a half day workshop! I'm signing up for the Monuments at Night.

  • Carl Shortt March 30, 2010 11:42 pm

    Last week I took a Black and White Digital Landscape class at the Santa Fe Photography Workshops. Carlin Tapp was our instructor. He is a wonderful teacher and really knows the Santa Fe area photo places. In addition to the great instruction, I really enjoyed and learned a great deal from my fellow students. I highly recommend Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.

  • Kevin Ricks March 30, 2010 10:48 pm

    I have taken a bunch of photography classes - two with manufacturer specific company (Canon) and some run by (a quite sophisticated) camera club. The Canon experience seminars were invaluable as someone fairly new to photography - and really helped me understand my camera really quickly. The ones i went on weren't really practical class (we did use camera but in the classroom) but i learnt an awful lot - I would say you loose this knowledge quite quickly unless you use you camera regularly! The good thing about them is that they do day courses specific to you needs (wildlife / using EOS flash/ Night Photography, introduction to cameras etc)

    The camera club ones i (still) go to are good - but more as a way of practice than actually being shown how a digital camera "thinks" and works.

    Highly recc - UK : info@experience-seminars.co.uk

  • Joe Parenti March 30, 2010 07:18 pm

    I have taken classes at Joliet Junior College and I am currently taking another from Proud Photography on line. The community college proved to be invaluable, the instructor and some students started a photogroup, which is now over 100 participants, we have monthly meetings, attend seminars and do photoshoots. And on top of that I have made some new friends with the same interests and we still continue to learn from each other. I also read whatever I can find on the web and through books, Scott Kelby etc. for techniques such as lighting, backgrounds, composition whatever.

  • lesli streets March 30, 2010 02:09 pm

    i just went to wppi in vegas and sat through many of my favorite photographers classes. i realized by doing so that the method which i learned my skills was so unique and fortunate! i took two classes from wendy schulz http://www.wendyschulzphotography.com/ online and would highly recommend her as an instructor. in fact, i have recommended her to many friends and they too have found her as good as i did. she teaches you technical aspects, creative aspects, and photoshop to go along with all of the in camera skills. and the fact that it was online was great because i could meet the others in my class even though they were across the country. wendy also has a fabulous alumni board where she and her students continue to ask and answer questions all about the photography business and specific skills. the online community she has built is really a huge support system for me and very encouraging. wendy has a great way of finding 101 ways to explain things that can be difficult too. if you are not understanding a concept, she will stick with you till you do. trust me. i've put her to the test on that! she's awesome and i can't think of any other place to start learning photography that would be as easy and fun. --lesli streets

  • kelley March 30, 2010 09:20 am

    I took a few photography classes from The Institute of Photographic Studies. I would totally recommend them!!!

    They are an independent photography school, and they hold classes all around the US and some International ones. They typically cover about a semester in a week, so they are great time savers, and are also fairly inexpensive for the amount that you learn. The instructors are AMAZING! They all have photography businesses of their own, and are very very knowledgeable.

    Another plus, is that you get to travel to sweet places as well. And really it doesn't cost that much!

    As someone who is mainly self-taught I would say that I would do my photo classes through IPS again in a heart beat. Very worth it.

    Check them out!


  • Lee-Ann March 30, 2010 07:45 am

    I took my first photog workshop with Wendy Schulz - I went in having just held my dlsr for the first time, shooting auto. After 12 weeks, I have never switched out of manual mode. She is amazing - teaches to where you are, pushes you to try harder and answers every single one of your questions!! Her teaching style is exactly what I needed. Can't say enough about this class! http://www.wendyschulzphotography.com/

  • daniela March 30, 2010 06:21 am

    I didn´t took a photography class and I think I never will - it just isn´t my way of learning.
    Read the one and other book, also some tutorials but only when I had a problem to be solved.

    I will remember better when I had to solve the problem alone - for many people this will feel ineffective and dumb - for me it is the real deal.
    I was like that my whole life, a little stubborn ;) and a group-phobic.

    Another thing - when you discover things by yourself in handling your camera or dealing with a difficult light situation, there is a special feeling of pride, you got there by yourself.

    I would certainly feel not so good if some teacher told me this and I only had to remember the lesson to deal with my problem. I would just feel copying his technique instead of trying to find my "own" way.
    Of course it´s good to talk to other photographers and share knowledge - and for some kind of people it´s good to take classes, nothing wrong with that.

  • Prashad Lodhia March 30, 2010 05:33 am

    I took a really good photography course on the South Bank of the Thames in London. The tutor showed a few photos, explained ISO + exposure overrides and then let me loose in P mode. Then I got an explanation of Tv mode and was shown examples of effects you can do by varying shutter speed and the tutor took us to a place where you had a fountain and a couple of kids skateboarding - excellent place to practice different effects. And same for Av and M mode which were explained later.
    Good mix of theory (rule of thirds etc...) and practical feedback after every exercise on technique and composition.

  • stacy t March 30, 2010 04:53 am

    i took a bunch of classes at ICP in NYC. they were good and i thought i was all that and a bag of chips. i knew i wanted to start a photog biz (doesn't everyone these days?) but knew i was lacking something. so i signed up for an online class with wendy schulz http://www.wendyschulzphotography.com/ . i found out i was NOT all that and a bag of chips and she thoroughly kicked my butt. she teaches you what you SHOULD know and not just how to take a decent picture. she pushes you beyond your comfort zone and makes you better. it was either fish or cut bait. i decided to fish. i can't say enough about her - she has become my friend and my mentor. i've taken some of her advanced classes and her flash workshop. i constantly learn from her each and every time i take a class.

  • Elizabeth March 30, 2010 04:41 am

    Yes - I'm about to graduate from my local community college with an associates in photography - I learned alot & it was worth it ( going on to get my bachelors degree)

  • Nancy March 30, 2010 04:01 am

    I've taken so many workshops and short classes I couldn't count them all. They have been a combination of face-to-face and online experiences and I always learn something I can use. I also teach a five-week course at my community called called, "Digital Pictures and Sound." It started out as a Multimedia course but is now focused on digital photography' and heavy on image editing. We also discuss camera selection/features, composition and creativity and use Photoshop Elements for editing. It's designed to be an introductory course that will appeal to a home user or a student new to digital photography.

  • Tyler March 30, 2010 03:33 am

    I have a BFA and MFA, the bachelors had over 18 credit hours of photo classes. My master's.... most of what I focused on was photography.

    I learned a lot, photography was my focus, but I am a decent drawer, painter, woodworker, and printmaker - being well rounded is helpful. I knew the program was pretty interdisciplinary going in. I wound up teaching myself a lot of things, and I used my peers and professors for advice and feedback. Classes are useful to a point, but I think there is a lot to be said for research. Figure out what you want to learn, read up on it. Execute a project that facilitates the process. Books on tech are just as good as a class, there are forums and clubs where you can ask questions.

    I see a lot of worm online that is technically well done, but the overarching concept of the work is either pedestrian and cliche, or not topically focused at all. I think that is what people need help with the most. Seeing photographically is a skill, and if you have it that's half the battle. The next hurdle is technical consistency. To really pull it all together, you need to be able to plan and edit (not in photoshop... actually tossing bad images and organizing) what you are going to do.

    That said, my academic training is a blessing and a handicap. I have a hard time just going out to shoot if it doesn't fit into the framework of one of my projects. I miss that, that is what I am trying to reconnect with. How does one become naive again? That and a Master's degree scares off plenty of employers.

  • Dreamer of Pictures March 30, 2010 02:45 am

    * Really any advice, tips, experiences or ideas you have on photography courses, classes, workshops, degrees or other types of training would be fascinating to hear about.

    I hear this tune in my head: its getting better all the time! The opportunities abound now, compared to when I started.

    College courses have a distinct advantage of encouraging persistent photographic efforts for the duration of each course. Additionally, real conversations are possible. These can be considerable advantages. A single seminar does not accomplish either one.

    Second, digital has liberated us from the inherent operating cost limitations of film. It is typical now for me to shoot as many as 600 photos in one day. Back in the film days, when each shutter click cost about 50 cents, I was not nearly so willing to try things.

    In the US, community colleges often are often cost-effective opportunities for college level photographic education without formal admission to a degree program.

    Third, keep in mind that many teachers will strongly encourage you to go manual, both for exposure and for focus. I think pocket cameras are marvelous, and I carry one almost every minute of every day, but college teachers usually expect you to use gear that can go full manual. If you need to obtain such gear, consider buying used gear as a way to save costs. Sites like CraigsList and eBay can help.

    Fourth, the Web generally and this site specifically can open your eyes to a wealth of new ideas to try.

    Fifth, when you attend a seminar or a course, do not hesitate to ask for permission to record it, possibly using a camcorder. Repeating the info at home, when you need reinforcement, can be remarkably useful.

  • Dreamer of Pictures March 30, 2010 02:43 am

    * What type did you do?
    Introduction to black & white darkroom techniques while a yearbook photographer in high school. This was my first intro to contrast control in printing.

    In the 1970s I took several semester-long college courses in black & white photography and in printmaking. One course in strobe techniques was taught by harold Edgerton, the inventor of the strobe light (go to Google Images and search for his stuff, he did some great work).

    In the 1990s, I took several all-day seminars. One from Nikon School, one from George Lepp, one from another major outdoor photographer. These were color-oriented and improved my understanding of color issues. I learned the advantages of a double-ball tripod head, fill flash, and some other techniques.

    * Where they worth it?
    All of the courses taught me to be more aware of issues that affect viewability, including composition and contrast.

    Each all-day seminar taught me many useful things I did not know previously. However, none were specifically digital. Later I attended a 2-hour seminar by George Lepp that specifically demonstrated several Photoshop technqiues.

    Most of all, the courses encouraged me to stick with photography, by giving me something new and potentially enchanting to try.

    * Who would you recommend them for?
    George Lepp is terrific for general nature photography and also for Photoshop techniques.

    * How did you choose which one?
    The college courses were chosen based on the college course catalog of available course topics at my college. I took almost everything offered while my parents footed the bill.

    Lepp is a regular contributor to Outdoor Photography magazine, to which I subscribe. The other seminars were mentioned in that magazine.

    * Would you do another one?
    Yes. When I have time. Photography is my avocation, but not how I earn my living. I am limited to local all-day seminars until I retire.

  • Val March 30, 2010 01:54 am

    Took a Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) Class last Thurs in NY at Adorama. It was one of the best experiences I have been exposed too and it only cost $25.00 and they gave us a $25.00 certificate toward a future purchase either in their store or online.
    If you are ready to take your Flash Photography to the next level, I recommend this Nikon workshop.

  • Liza March 30, 2010 01:31 am

    I think classes can be a vital part of learning photography in the beginning stages. I read this blog daily and it offers so many great tips and how tos which have been incredibly helpful. However, I am still in the beginning stages of photography so sometimes the tips and tricks don't seem to work at home and then I don't have anyone in person to show me what I may have done wrong. So I recently took a series of photog classes at a local university and the teacher was engaging and entertaining (which is important if you have to sit there for three hours!). There were assignments and a great deal of one-on-one time to SHOW me different tricks and techniques and talk about them face-to-face. Everything seemed to really start to click. HOWEVER, I have taken photog classes before where the instructor was boring, old school and just trying to make extra money. It's important to choose the right class level and instructor as photography is not an inexpensive hobby and neither are the training courses and you want to make it worth your time. Leverage your class experience with as much blog/mag/book reading and practice as you can afterwards!

  • kate.si March 30, 2010 01:19 am

    I wish I could, they're all too expensive. I've taken 2 figure drawing and 2 painting classes. Half of which were gifts. Like all my camera's come to think of it...

  • Julieanne March 30, 2010 12:59 am

    I've done a few photography classes. I took photography twice in high school since they didn't have any advance classes, our teacher just gave us different and more 'difficult' assignments. In the regular first class we did black and white film photography, a small portion on studio photography, and also did Photoshop. In the second time around, it was honestly the same stuff but different assignments.

    At my community college I took black and white film, advanced black and white, studio photography (my favorite class), history of photography, and digital photography.

  • Jesse Houwing March 30, 2010 12:29 am

    I've taken a Black and White photography class while I was studying at the University. It was quite hard for me as I was used to using colors to give impact to my pictures. The class forced me to think more about composition, contrast and other technical parts of photography.

    The best thing I learned during that course was that if you see a picture and think, wow that is beautiful, but you have no idea why, then it isn't a good picture. Instead a good picture should trigger emotions, you should be able to readily tell what it does to you. If all you can think of is that it's nice, good or beautiful, then throw that picture away and try again :).

  • Angélica Menchaca March 30, 2010 12:02 am

    I took a beginners digital photography class when i bought my first dsrl it helped me learn the basics but that was it, it was an expensive class and i would had learn the same with a book. However i had the oportunity to spend almost a month with a professional photographer who really taught me about photography, specially wildlife photography, today i just shoot and shoot and think i have improved, the secret is practicing a lot in different environments, also DPS has been a great guide for me thank you for that!!

  • Tenzin'sMom March 29, 2010 11:47 pm

    I'd love to take more photography classes! I love the combination of instruction, group interaction, shooting time and feedback. Books are great, too, as I'm very independent and self-motivated, and DPS is also a wonderful learning experience.

    I recently attended a Miksang workshop (see http://miksang.com/ for more info), which I would highly recommend. The focus of the workshop was not on photography techniques or taking a particular style of photos, but on the process of learning to see clearly and directly, and then to create a photograph of your perception. This really has given me a wonderful basis for all the photography I do.

    I'm also registered for another workshop this coming summer, Photography and Spirituality, at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. I'm looking forward to it because it combines two of my interest areas in a beautiful location. (See http://www.ghostranch.org/index.php?option=com_oscommerce&osMod=product_info&cPath=84_50&Itemid=199&products_id=402 for more info).

    Since I have neither unlimited funds or free time, I choose workshops carefully, with an eye to content, location, instructor and price. I agree completely with several comments above that you will get out of it what you put into it! And you don't need a fancy camera to take a class -- you can take your little P&S and have a great workshop experience as long as you are whole-heartedly committed to getting the most out of it. Actually this holds true for any learning modality of course. But the best way to learn is to keep trying new things, and keep on taking those photos.

  • Pete Langlois March 29, 2010 11:30 pm

    I took 3 semesters of photography in high school.

    The big thing I got out of it was how to actually develop film. This was in the late 1980's when there were no digital cameras. Photoshop what was that? We had to dodge and burn with a piece of paper to get the correct print we wanted.

    As far as after high school goes, I've learned a lot from forums like DPS, The Photography Corner, Popular Photography Magazine, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, speaking to my local camera store personnel, as well as photography books. I really like the Scott Kelby series. They are informative and fun to read. I have a bunch of other photography books as well but none of them sticks out in my mind except "The moment it clicks" by Joe McNally. It's fun to look at other photographers work on the various websites and flickr as well to get inspiration.

    I'd love to some day take a photo tour of remote places to get some different types of shots that can't be achieved where I live.


  • Linda March 29, 2010 11:29 pm

    When I first got interested in photography, I took a class at a local community center. The teacher was a local photographer whose main focus is landscape, but who also does some portraiture.

    I had gotten my camera for Christmas, and while I'd figured some of it out, I REALLY needed a basics course.

    My instructor covered all the basics, from exposure, f-stops, lighting, composition. He touched a bit on unique styles of photography (night-time photography, painting with light, infrared photography). We took field trips and he looked carefully at our work and gave us suggestions to improve our techniques. I firmly believe that he gave me a good foundation. He used visuals, but also gave us paper information that we could refer to at a later date (I still use mine regularly, 2 years later!).

    I recommend that anyone SERIOUSLY interested in photography take a course of some kind. This was a 6 week course, cost about $70 all told, and was well worth it.

  • Melissa D March 29, 2010 10:29 pm

    Yes...Favorite class was an evening of lecture and photographs with a renowned wildlife photographer and the next day "hands-on lab" with various lenses offered by the class at the Houston Zoo. Excellent.

    Least favorite, a class covering basics of THREE Nikon cameras...disjointed, different cameras have different functions, etc...

    At the very least, exposing oneself to other photographers, see what they are doing and hearing and practicing to stay alive. Sometimes the interactions and observations are worth the time and money in itself!

  • Bill Turley March 29, 2010 10:15 pm

    I grew up around cameras during the post WWII boom, my father was a "kidnapper", in High School I was "adopted" by a press photog that was the Head Photog on a Gannet newspaper. Remember this was before the concept of digital was thought of. I got jobs working in and around cameras and darkrooms. I reached the point where I needed to decide what direction my career needed to take. I took both an Academic Course at the University of Rochester and an advanced course, Color Photography at Rochester Institute of Technology. The photo course really didn't teach me anything I didn't know, I got A on every project and the instructor admited there was little I would learn by taking the formal program. So I turned to the academic direction but was worked in Medical Photography.

  • Wilson Wong March 29, 2010 10:12 pm

    Really depends on what type of person you are
    a) Highly independent - read books and try to understand
    b) Like to be structured - the course will help you step by step
    c) Just want to relax and let others take over - course work will be great.

    One thing about photography, especially the technical part is like maths. You need to understand one part in order for you to build on that knowledge.

    As an instructor myself, I totally understand that some participants would 'switched off' when the subjects taughts are something they know very intimately.

    Hence if you are already pretty good at the basics, then it would be better to go through some workshops that deals with specific subjects.

    Ultimately, photography is a 'lonesome' skill...you really have to work on it to understand the concepts and then one can further develop other creative skills.

  • Morgan D March 29, 2010 09:39 pm

    I took an adult education offered Digital Photo Safari class this weekend. I LOVED it. The instructor has photographed wars, sports, life. He is one of the staff photographers for our city's newspaper.

    We started off learning some basics, ISO, f.stop, shutter speed, types of light you may run into ... Then we headed out to a location (covered bridge) to take photos. As we were on location, we talked about the lighting and how to handle the situations you come upon. Also, we talked about composition, leading lines, rule of thirds, etc. We were also told about action and tried to do pan and blur shots. We were then sent on our own at the location to take pictures and see what we came up with.
    When the on location part was over, we went back to the studio. The pictures were loaded onto the computer and we all looked at them. He picked examples from everyone to emphasize what we had been learning. He took a little bit after that to go over basic editing techniques.

    I uploaded the Unedited pictures to share (They are Not in the right order either, but thats another story). I figure I can go back and edit at any time, with a fresh look.

  • Geoff March 29, 2010 09:34 pm

    I took my City and Guilds Course way back when I came out of the Army. I immediately became a part-time instructor at the same college. You cannot teach creativity but you can teach the rules of design and the use of the 'tools of the trade' Like any artistic trade your 'tools' have to be second nature, whether they are paint brushes, chisels, pallet knives or a camera. When you know them backwards you can then concentrate on the subject. I often found that creative students "lost their way" during the first year as they struggled to learn about the physics of light, colour,optics and chemistry of film but by the second year their creativity bounced back providing they got to grips with the theory and put it to continual practice. The students needed a lot of support and encouragement that first year so as not become too despondent but those who "stuck with it" and finished the course became good photographers.

  • Leonidas Bratini March 29, 2010 09:26 pm

    i have never taken one class or workshop but i think i should
    just to make my pictures better.
    what do you guys think of my pictures
    please give feed back

    Thank you in advane

  • Jeff Johnston March 29, 2010 09:09 pm

    Currently enrolled in a 16 week community college class. It has been very helpful although disjointed at times. The instructor is a professional and knows his stuff. But, the community college sees continuing ed as a step-child and so we have been bounced from our classroom a few times. This has forced the instructor to change his plan on the fly for that day.
    In spite of that, the class has and continues to be very helpful. It is four hours each Saturday morning and we only have five in our class. So, it has been a very personalized experience.
    I have learned volumes both in taking good photographs, and in post processing via Lightroom. The weekly assignments have been challenging and enlightening.
    Started the class owning an XSi and now have a new 50D........
    Well worth my time and dollars.

  • Ellena March 29, 2010 09:06 pm

    When I first bought my DSLR I enrolled for a Introductory Workshop, a whole new world opened for me. After spending some time getting better acquainted with my camera I moved on to a 9 week course. We were given a new assignment each week. Attending the course was invaluable - now I follow good photography blogs and the work of photographers I admire to build my knowledge.

  • Beckywithasmile March 29, 2010 08:04 pm

    As a high school student I first fell in love with photography in my Beginning and advanced photography classes. We used film and very basic SLRs (no auto anything). It was a great way to begin. It was definitely worth it. I would recommend that any high school student who is interested in photography take any photography classes his/her high school offers. It's a great way to learn about photography and to do something fun for a class period. I didn't have much choice, we had beginning and advanced and I went on to take photos for our newspapers and yearbook. I would do it again and if I had the opportunity, I would take more classes. Since high school I've read a lot about photography on this website and on others. It's a great way to get inspiration for my own work.

  • Sally W March 29, 2010 06:47 pm

    I've taken a few photography classes through one of the local community college's online classes http://www.ed2go.com/kern/ I thought I got quite a bit out of it and did see my photography improve. And I joined a local camera club where we have monthly assignments and get feed back from other members at our monthly meetings.

  • Simon Boone March 29, 2010 06:37 pm

    I have been tutoring for 2 years in Adult Education at a local college. I named the course Digital imaging, and do a Level 1 and a Level 2 NCFE funded course.
    Initially this was going to be a Photoshop course with a twist, but it has changed completely. The course is now a photography course with some photoshop techniques thrown in. This is what the students wanted. They wanted to know how to use their camera first. How to make better pictures second, and only then they were interested in how to enhance their pictures. Very few are interested in cut and pasting, scrapbooking etc. The 2 1/2 hrs lessons have now got the following outlay: First half hour viewing and discussing the weekly picture. (every week all students are required to make a picture of a particular subject) The winner selects the next topic) The next hour we discuss camera techniques/properties and the last hour is spend on the PC's with a particular PS tool or technique.
    Every course last for 26 weeks (during school terms). The reason why I enjoy it so much is that you see people arriving with a digital camera in a box. They have never opened it, or dared to use the camera. Now after a year they make stunning pictures, and win local village/town photo competitions. To see the improvement and the pride on the learners faces is more rewarding than the peanutlike fee I get paid for doing this.

  • Flores March 29, 2010 06:20 pm

    I never took any class of photography nor bought any photography book. I am a pure amateur photographer which is merely for hobby. I just learn from newspaper, magazine, internet (particularly DPS) and most of all feedbacks from friends.

  • Fábián Gábor - fotograf nunta Cluj March 29, 2010 03:18 pm

    I've taken photography classes a few months, but we learned how to develope a film, nothing more. It was more like a photo community than a class and we learned more from each other than from the teacher. I think it worth it, because I met new people and we are a family now.

  • Michael VanDeWalker March 29, 2010 01:59 pm

    Find a good local camera club that holds monthly competitions. Get to know the people in it and ask questions. You will be amazed what you can learn.

  • opensourcer March 29, 2010 01:53 pm

    I took a B&W film photography class a few years back when I was in college. The first thing we learn was the history of photography. Then our professor taught us camera physics and darkroom chemistry. Having the basics down, we are then assigned weekly assignments as well as a semester long personal collection.
    Every week, our professor would do a slideshow lecture about certain photographer and/or style. Then we would do a pinup and get critique. It's helpful to get critique from the professor and classmates. It's also enlightening to learn about the different style of photography to try and to explore.
    Taking a class is also fun for meeting some photograph buddies. I went out for some photography walk with these friends. We would take and talk photography with one another. You actually learn a lot through sharing your photography knowledge. I'm sure DPS crew would agreed.
    I now have a dSLR but I still approach photography like I did in that class. Before I took that class, I thought "pictures" I took from my P&S are great. After this class, my approach to photography completely changed. I approach photography with a reason and an intent. I didn't just improved in the duration of this class, I am still trying to push myself to improve.
    Take a class. You'll definitely will look back and wonder why you didn't do that earlier.

  • Latoya Johnson March 29, 2010 01:51 pm

    I was inspired by this topic. Just registered for my first course that starts in May.

  • rick March 29, 2010 01:44 pm

    I have taken Digital Photography Fundamentals from Camerta Club of the Philippines and Basic Photography from Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. I also studied tutorials from HP On-line classes. They were all worth it. Lectures are followed by exercises and assignments. I still want to study advanced lessons and post production techniques.

    I recommend them to anyone with passion for the art and science of digital photography.

  • Matt Everett March 29, 2010 01:36 pm

    On my most recent trip to Washington, D.C. I enrolled in a half-day Monuments and Memorials course offered by Washington Photo Safaris. They offer numerous courses on virtually every type of photography and their prices are amazingly affordable. Their URL is: http://www.washingtonphotosafari.com/

    I did this on a whim as a birthday gift for myself. It is the only official training I've received, and I have to say that it has been one of the best gifts I've ever gotten myself. We covered a ton of material in the half day. Incidentally, it is also a really great way to get out and see the city since all the learning is done in the field. Another course is definitely on my do list next time I'm back in town.

  • Jack Foster March 29, 2010 01:19 pm

    I took a few classes in college, nothing too in depth It was an entry level course that went over the very basics of composition, lighting, etc. Fun class, but probably could have learned more just reading online. Once Adobe Photoshop CS5 is launched I think it'll make everyone look like a pro :)

  • Andrew March 29, 2010 12:17 pm

    I took a "Photography Outings" class at a local community college. Every Saturday for 8 weeks we had class for 3 hours. Every other Saturday we would meet somewhere different and take pictures with assigned shots to complete. We went to a variety of places: local garden, alternative lifestyle area of town, youth basketball game, and a university with gothic architecture for twilight shooting. On the off-weeks we critiqued the assigned shots (e.g., take a picture of someone's shoes, take a picture with only 1 color, take a picture when you are in the shade, take a picture of someone in the shade, etc.). I really enjoyed the class because it set aside time each week to go out and shoot. I have trouble doing this otherwise. For this reason, I would recommend it.

    This class was a Christmas gift from my wife. She visited a couple of the local camera shops looking for information and every place she went recommended the classes there. I very much enjoyed the class and would definitely do it again. Actually, I plan on doing it again this summer when I have more available time (I'm a graduate student).

  • PotatoEYE March 29, 2010 12:14 pm

    Never done any, only google and some videos on retouching, the rest is trial/error, trying out everything I can. My photos speak for themselves :) Can't imagine someone would fork out $ for free info that's available

  • Linda March 29, 2010 11:25 am

    I haven't taken any photography classes but I do read DPS and other blogs to learn more about photography. Then I try to apply what I learn with my camera.

  • cristiano007 March 29, 2010 11:18 am

    I've never taken a class. When I was a child I collected a photography "enciclopedia" and even in times when I wasn't practicing photography I was to read and re-read the whole thing. I've memorized everything, even the picturesand I think is part of my DNA now. I would like to make some kind of practical thing someday, a workshop or something.

  • Becky McGuire March 29, 2010 11:15 am

    I have taken a couple classes through my local community education program. The best one was the one where we went on a photo shoot each week with our instructor. I learned more from that class than I ever did from reading a book because it was hands on training. I think it was around $50.00 US which is a bargain.

  • Catherine March 29, 2010 11:02 am

    I found this discussion interesting. I am always looking to improve my photography and get a better grasp of the techniques that the professional use. I just came back from the Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Orlando and I have to say that listening and watching world famous photographers work was one of the best learning experiences I've had. But while there, I had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with some extraordinarily successful photographers, and listening to them answer specific questions I had and walking through some issues I've had troubles I've encountered was the best "training" I've ever had.

  • Jason Collin Photography March 29, 2010 10:46 am

    I have never really taken a photography class, but I have attended a few lectures and taken a workshop or two. I had a chance to attend a free workshop on outdoor single strobe portrait photography with the Lighten Up and Shoot crew and learned several new tricks.


    I think attending a workshop can help you come up with fresh ideas and techniques for new types of photography you may not have tried yet.

  • R Melanson March 29, 2010 10:25 am

    I took some film and darkroom photography courses a long time ago. When I made the switch to digital I wanted to take digital upgrade courses but all the reputable academics were still teaching film based courses. Fortunately the camera stuff is pretty much the same so my skill set was transferable. Going from a darkroom to a computer was and still is the challenging part. I'm actually considering going back to film on a 4x5 view camera. I don't think digital will ever truly match film for overall iq or creative process. Then again it could just be me???

  • scott March 29, 2010 10:24 am

    For those in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas there is one coming up that is going to be pretty fun and is free.


  • Kimberly March 29, 2010 10:23 am

    I've wanted to take a photography class, but I haven't been able to find the time so most of what I learn is from books, sites like this, photography groups/clubs, and actual practice.

  • Dave March 29, 2010 10:13 am

    Yes, I've taken a couple classes
    * What type did you do? I did a two day intro course, just to reinforce some basics. I also took a two day course from Rocky Mountain School of Photography, mainly to help me shoot in Manual mode. Another all day workshop that I learned from was with Joe McNally and Moose Peterson - at Photoshop World. There I learned a lot about lighting.
    * Where they worth it? My goal with every class, or any type, is to learn one thing a day. If I learn more, it's a bonus. Yes they were worth it, and I've put everything I learned to good use.
    * Who would you recommend them for? Everyone, from beginner to Pro. There's always something you can learn.
    * How did you choose which one? Mainly availability
    * Would you do another one? Yes, I'll probably take a multiday workshop this summer.

  • Karol Lee March 29, 2010 10:10 am

    I love taking classes, there is always something new to learn. You do have to be careful though, make sure you are taking a class that pertains to your level otherwise you will just become frustrated with the other students.

  • Mei Teng March 29, 2010 09:50 am

    I am a self taught hobbyist photographer. I find good resources from website like DPS, books and mags. I don't intend to pursue any classroom lessons at the moment. Photography classes are expensive over this side of the planet.

  • Erick March 29, 2010 09:33 am

    I am a self-taught person so I would recommend, read books, read good blogs like DPS and take your camera and take photos, many photos.

    PD: and take the light as your best friend, meet her in depth, and she will show you her secrets !!!

  • Codewarrior00007 March 29, 2010 09:18 am

    Excellent topic! Personally I've not taken any courses/Training. I read books, articles and, best of 'em all, went out and experimented with different settings.

  • C.E. Jones March 29, 2010 08:57 am

    I have taught some "basics of Photography" classes.
    I found that most people unfamiliar with photography get lost with the terms and really confused with f stop, shutter speed and ISO settings.
    I had the students for a total of 14 hours. There were 2 days, 7 hours each.
    The first session, we covered basic photography concepts, and learned how to access the functions of their cameras.
    The second session, we went on a field trip and took photos using different shutter speeds, different f stops and different ISO settings.
    I would say the class was successful because the students were taking better photos by the end of the second class. Also, once they learned their cameras, they were able to better focus on their creative abilities.
    There were other classes available to teach them Photoshop Elements, once they learned how to take good photos.

  • FiZ March 29, 2010 08:49 am

    I took a class in high school, though I didn't get much from it. It covered all the basic elements of exposure, but I couldn't afford an SLR and digital point-and-shoot cameras didn't have that much control at the time, so I just got by on photograms and pinhole pictures.

    As part of my multimedia degree at AIP, I took a class in digital photography and while I didn't remember much of the mechanics of exposure, I loved the studies in composition (rule of thirds, etc), symmetry, texture, pattern, and so on. Those visual principles were actually what I remembered the most when I picked up a point and shoot a year and a half ago. Though it certainly helped having heard about ISO, shutter speed, aperture and such when I finally started researching a DSLR to buy.

  • Charlie March 29, 2010 08:43 am

    I have taken classes through adult ed. Teacher has been doing photography for years & has a gallery. We had class time one night a week & field trips as a group on the weekends. During the class time, after the field trips we would be critiqued by him & also other classmates. Critiques were a great way to see what you did right or wrong. It was also great looking at other peoples work. With a group standing within feet of each other images could be so different.

  • Derek Scott March 29, 2010 08:33 am

    I took a class from my high school 4 years ago. It was really my first introduction to photography. It was all done in film and black and white, so i got to learn a lot with darkroom processing, which was cool. It also helped me a lot with the composition aspect because we did not have colors to worry about. I would like to take more courses that focused on DSLRs and digital post production.

  • Wendy Mayo March 29, 2010 08:33 am

    I teach a free beginning photography course in my community several times a year. We cover all the basics of exposure, white balance, lighting, posing and composition. I have noticed that some people come to the class eager to learn, ready with pen and paper to take notes, hanging on your every word. These are the ones that really "get it" when you are discussing technical things. They know that it takes study and practice to get better. If you send them home with an assignment, they do it. They are the ones who contact me with questions or send me photos to critique. They are out shooting all the time, putting into practice the techniques they have learned.

    Then there are the ones who are there because they think they can set a few buttons or dials on their camera and get great photos. They are looking for the "magic pill" to being a good photographer.

    If you want to take a class, no matter if it is in person or online, you need to be willing to put effort into it. As with most things in life, there is no easy road to great photography.

  • Chelsea (CLR Photography) March 29, 2010 08:20 am

    If anyone is familiar with Karen Russel, i took her photography class and let me tell you. i learn alot and understood things better. shes on my website. www.clrphoto.com check it out and plz comment.

  • Josh M Lloyd March 29, 2010 08:09 am

    I took a black & white 35mm photography course in college. It taught how to take photos, history, and how to develop, crop, print, and even mount. My wife and I took the class together and both of us LOVED it! Learned a lot. It's information that really helped us learn what it really means to frame a shot. He would give us an assignment, then we'd put the photos in front of the class, and we'd all look at each others, then talk about them in class. What was good, what needed work, etc. It was great. I was actually the only student the teacher asked if he could keep one of my photos to use as an example for future classes! I was pretty proud of that.

    I'd really like to move to the next step and take a digital photography class. Just haven't had the time or money to do so.

  • CTyler March 29, 2010 07:50 am

    I'm in the middle of taking a Lighting on Location course. The teacher is very hands on and we're doing a lot of field trips, critiques, equipment review, and have a lot of question/answer time. It's worth it for me because we're actually learning by doing and instruction. I would recommend courses in photography if the teacher is good and you spend a lot of time "doing" and if the student wants to excel in a particular area of photography. I simply got a flyer in the mail for the adult ed program and went to check it out, liked what I saw and signed up. I was fortunate to get a good teacher the first time around and I am going to be taking some more.

  • Alberto March 29, 2010 07:40 am

    i wish to have one, but in my country is way to expensive, i rather like to read and informe by the internet. It is amazing how much things your can learn on the net. Best Wishes

  • terryd March 29, 2010 07:21 am

    I've had 3 classes in my time ... first a Community College Class which was OK, a correspondence course which was also OK, and I attended a 1-day workshop which was OK for demonstrations, but not for practical training. What I learned about classes in these three attempts was that the quality of the class and the instructor is irrelevant. The class and all the books and other readings are simply knowledge. It's all useful, but there is only so much of it and once through, you've pretty much got it all. The workshop was useful in learning the mechanics of handling the camera, but since I was already familiar enough to handle my cameras in the dark, there turned out to be less there for me than otherwise.

    What REALLY matters in ANY course, workshop, or other learning experience is your attitude, how YOU approach the learning. The most disconnected class I had (the correspondence class) was great not because of the material or the instructors, but because I was so enthusiastic that I poured myself into it. I jumped at every assignment and didn't just do the assignments, I overdid them. I approached them from every direction and did variations, tried new things, looked for other approaches, anything I could do to learn something new. Consequently, I got a LOT more from the course than others I've talked to did because for every concept in the books, I had tried a many ways to approach it as I thought of at the time. In fact, I'm still learning from the course because I still find new ways to look at the concepts.

    The correspondence course offered feedback, but it was the more direct feedback I got from friends and acquaintances that really helped me to understand. This is where the community college course was strongest. Once a week, a bunch of us got together for the class. The instructor wasn't brilliant and their photography was OK but not exceptional, but the instructor did one thing more than any other which helped us, we all got to talk about the pictures in the class. Whether it was student assignments or pictures used as course material, we all talked about them and the criticism helped us all get better. It didn't matter that we were students, the instructor made it clear that our opinions mattered. We all improved by throwing ourselves into every picture no matter who took it.

    As I later reflected on formal courses, I thought back to some informal training I got in Junior High. It was a brand new school and a request went out to the student body for a volunteer to be school photographer. I jumped at it with the enthusiasm of youth. The art teacher, a skilled photographer as well as artist, took me under his wing and taught me to use a camera better than I ever had. He taught me lessons that have helped me ever since. They stuck because I was desperate to learn. I carried the school camera everywhere. Took pictures everywhere. Each good picture was praised with critical assessment mixed in, but it was my enthusiasm that made those lessons sink in. I WANTED to know what he wanted to teach.

    Whatever learning method you choose, classes, books, workshops, or some other means ... you will get out of it proportionately to what you put into it. Critical assessment is important, but it can be skewed by the background of the person giving it. If YOU really want to learn, you'll seek critical assessment from more than one person, from people with a variety of backgrounds. Whether you're reading or attending a class, throw yourself into it, do more than you're asked, and seek feedback from as many sources as you can. If the most photographically insensitive person you know says they don't like it, it's as important as if a pro says it. Find out why and you can't help but get better.

  • Abigaele March 29, 2010 07:16 am

    I am currently in a photography class and each bit of information starting with the mechanics of and settings on the camera to post production editing and critique is a step to a full understanding of the art. In my case, it is taking me from being a 'picture taker' to a 'photographer' and I can better appreciate others' works.

  • Chris P. March 29, 2010 07:01 am

    I've taken 1 class and 1 workshop. The class I took was back in 1998, when we shot on slide. What was honestly, most useful for me, was the peer showing and review, and the fact that that teacher (over about 8 sessions) expected us to show progress over the class - he worked with us and wanted us to show we were 'getting it'. He also challenged our individual eye.

    The class was a city (Austin Tx) park and rec department / continuing ed type class. I would strongly recommend this kind of class for someone trying to develop some confidence beyond leaving their camera on 'dummy mode'. Honestly, I expect most DPS readers are beyond this level, but, if they aren't and are trying to figure out how to get to the next level of confidence, a peer review, strongly led class can really help.

    Since that time, I've taken a workshop on creative portrait lighting, as I have a number of lenses, but no lighting / studio setup. That workshop was useful for me to help understand what $500 might buy me, and what $1500 might. It also helped me understand that, while studio results are really cool, I am not much of a studio style shooter. I'm not likely to head out and drop $500+ on a lighting setup right now, but spending $1000+ on a new lens was worth it for me. I'd rather work with available light - and this workshop saved me some money right now by trying before I buy. So even workshops are useful in their own way.

    Beyond that, shoot shoot shoot - change your angles, change your focus, look for ideas to change your routines. Experience can be the best class out there, as long as it isn't in a rut.

  • Patrick Alessi March 29, 2010 06:43 am

    I think that classes are far less important than portfolio reviews or critiques. It is one thing to hear someone lecture about f-stop, ISO and shutter speed. It is quite another to listen to an expert tell you what they like and dislike about your photos and how you can improve your artisitic technique.

  • Shannon March 29, 2010 06:37 am

    The only class I took, I dropped out of because I thought it was too hard. Kinda wish I'd stayed in it now.

  • Lisa Cirincione March 29, 2010 06:36 am

    I have taken very many photography classes, at several different levels. I have even repeated Basic Phototgraphy a couple times, to get a different teacher, for a different perspective. Learning how to do anything correctly takes practice, practice, practice, and I find classes help me concentrate my practice in different areas. I have had classes online, and in a classroom, and both offer many benefits. Feedback and a different viewpoint are very important. I agree with Jack, above, that photography is more than just taking pictures. You need to gather all the information that you can, and then use what you want, when you need it. A lot of times the classes are equal parts too basic, too much and just right. You have to be able to take what you need, and give back to the other students also.

    Good luck!

  • Liz March 29, 2010 06:20 am

    I took one Photojournalism class, mostly to just get a better grip on my first DSLR. It's funny because I now work in the marketing department at the same adult education center where I took that class. And I can say with confidence that our Photography classes are always super popular, and our teachers are top notch. I'd love to take more classes (like work towards a degree/certificate), get more in-depth training, but one got me started and curious enough to teach myself.

  • keith March 29, 2010 06:15 am

    Lots of ways to get training in photography such as community colleges or adult ed programs which usually offers classes in the evenings. I teach photography classes for an adult school here in Los Angeles. I'm also one of the organizers for a Photoshop Users Group in LA too.

    I've taken plenty of classes too, I have BA degree in photography.

  • Hubman March 29, 2010 06:11 am

    My wife just bought me a Nikon D90 for Christmas (my first SLR) from a national camera store chain that offers free classes with every camera purchase. The instructor really knows his stuff, but I wish there was more hands-on work and/or assignments and less talking about photography. That being said, it's been pretty helpful and has helped me put into practice what I've learned from a book I bought and how to do some things I never imagined.

    One of these days I might take one of the courses offered by Nikon. We'll see how my own self-teaching goes.

  • Jack Foster Mancilla March 29, 2010 06:01 am

    In the Marine Corps, I went through the Navy's Photo "A," and "B", school.

    That training was invaluable.

    Photography is more than taking pictures. I think any real training is a good thing. But the passion you accept, and use, the training will make the difference. … Training is just information, and not cast in stone. … Like the rule of thirds, until you learn the rule, things are guesses, but once you learn the rule, you can use the rule to make your images better, and you can CONSCIOUSLY, choose to break the rule for effect.


  • etherealshadows March 29, 2010 06:00 am

    Here's a thought: how about you stop trying to leverage "SEO" techniques to attract more readers? The phrases you use in this post are obviously designed to appeal to search engine searches. More importantly, considering your overall quality of content, you're no photographer. Stop trying to be something you're not. You're a "commercial blogger," nothing more.

  • Henry March 29, 2010 05:56 am

    I just finished up a basic DSLR photography class. I personally found it useful, as we had a lot of feedback through assignments and what we called our "weekly 5" (We all had to take 5 photos each week based on a theme we all agreed upon. Those photos were shown at the end of the class with feedback by our instructor). Another great aspect of the class was that we managed to have one class in the school's studio with the lighting, backgrounds, and models where we managed to do some studio portrait shots. I actually chose this class because I had some friends who were doing it, and we're planning on possibly taking some more in the future. I think classes are great for the feedback you get from people other then your friends (and it's always guaranteed that you're going to get feedback, unlike when you post on flickr or a photoblog.) I'd definitely suggest it for people just starting off, as it's a great way to get that initial momentum and to really start you off on the right foot.

  • Ashlie March 29, 2010 05:52 am

    I have done a photography class, but it's a High School class so it was free. Most of the time we worked on graphics design but the teacher still assigns little photo assignments for the yearbook. I would say it was worth it just because we learned a lot of photoshop techniques and some simple stuff about photography.