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  1. #1
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Question Photography School?

    Anybody have any advice about photography schools? I've been into photography for almost 10 years now, and I've decided I could benefit from some formal training. I have a regular full time job, so I've been considering taking online courses. Does anybody have any experience with any school that you could tell me about? If I don't do an online class, my only other option is the local community college. I don't know if the online courses are worth the money, or if I'd be better off at the CC. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Oh yeah, my goals: I'm mostly looking to improve my skills for personal satisfaction, but I like the idea of learning how to make a little money on the side as well. I don't have any intentions of opening a studio or doing anything full time.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    What do you want to learn? What do you think you need to learn? Be specific.

    Have you looked at the Web Photo School lessons, here?

    There's some very good stuff available and it won't cost you a thing. If you want more, you can subscribe and get access to all of their lessons.

    I am a believer in formal photographic training. By that I mean, learning in the darkroom. I think digital has made things easier. But there's no better way to understand exposure than learning to print with and enlarger, in the darkroom. Plus, the darkroom is magic. It may be becoming a thing of the past. But it's still magic. And it can't hurt. If you're considering a community college class, I would encourage you to do it. Take whatever beginning photo class they have, as long as it includes darkroom time. Even if you've been shooting for a long time, you'll learn things in the darkroom that will benefit you greatly. And you'll have fond memories of it.
    Photo-John

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  3. #3
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    First off:
    You have come to a great school in of itself, here!
    You'll find there is a lot you can learn from the community here.

    You might also try your community art center. They'll often have darkroom space available with classes. I am sure there must be one in Austin, do a search for Austin Art Center or something like that.
    John is way right about learning in the darkroom, it will give you a great foundation.

    Good Luck!

    Brian
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    A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety... - Ansel Adams

    "Photography Is An Act Of Life" - Maine 2006

  4. #4
    Pentax Forum Moderator
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    Re: Photography School?

    As a newbie to photography, I have researched this quite abit lately. This site has been a great help to me and the Web Photo School lessons mentioned above have been invaluable. Also, I use Nikons site, Kodaks site, Canons site, et al...all of which offer free lessons. And some are excellent and have helped also. Finally, since it sounds like you only need some refresher stuff, I'm sure you could probably "audit" a course or 2 at your CC for about !/2 the cost of the full course. Sometimes, depending on your situation, you can also sit in on many classes with the instructors permission for free or at minimal charge, if you meet the need. All of these resources mentioned, as I've said before have helped me tremendously. I am currently considering enrolling at my local University for some classes on an "audit" basis, but I am basically a Newbie and need lots of instruction on the basics, which you probably already know. Hope this helps a little.
    Ken
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  5. #5
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    I started photography because of a love of nature. It didn't take me long to realize that I notice things other people overlook. I see beautiful things everywhere, and I want to preserve them and show them to others. My mother, who is a painter, gave me her old 80's model Minolta XJ-370, and her eye. I've dabbled in other media since my first oil painting when I was six, but I could never consistently draw or paint the way I wanted. When I was 19, I took a trip to Or / Wa and I've loved photography ever since. I have a newer camera now and I'm taking more trips, but I've really only improved in taking landscapes. I want to learn how to take good portraits, candid shots, and artsy stuff too. I want to learn how to take good pictures of anything, anywhere, without going to some place that's so obviously beautiful. I need feedback and some logical path of learning to follow. What techniques should I learn first, for example? I feel like I'm at a point where I can make a big jump in my skills, with a little help. I hope that is the case.

    It sounds like nobody thinks much of the online courses. They appeal to me because of the self-paced part, the structure, and the feedback/criticism they (claim to) provide. I just don't want to waste the money if it's not going to be worthwhile. Plus, no darkroom seems like a big deal now.

    I appreciate all of your feedback. I guess I'll check out the CC and seek out some darkroom experience.

    John, Congratulations on this website. It is very cool! Do you have anything to do with mtbreview.com?

    Brian, I like your website too. I'm a mountain biker, although I've never soared through the air on a downhill bike. It's rocky, technical, cross-country around here, but we still have some pretty cool trails.

    Thanks everyone,
    Paul

  6. #6
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    http://groups.msn.com/NYIPRoundtable..._whatsnew.msnw

    www.nyip.com

    try either of those. The second is the link to the school, the first is a link to an msn group formed by students. Not online, but thru the mail, you have 3 yrs to complete it.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  7. #7
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Adina,

    I've already read about NYIP, but I haven't seen this MSN group. Thanks for the link. I'm reading some of the posts on that group already, but I wanted to ask, did you do the NYIP course? Whether you did or not, what do you think of it?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    http://groups.msn.com/NYIPRoundtable..._whatsnew.msnw

    www.nyip.com

    try either of those. The second is the link to the school, the first is a link to an msn group formed by students. Not online, but thru the mail, you have 3 yrs to complete it.

  8. #8
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    I did do the course, started about three years ago.

    The technical info was great, and you could find it other places, but for me, it was worth it to have it all in once place.

    I hit the point though, where I'd gotten everything I was going to get from it, and needed to work more on my style vs their style.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  9. #9
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Quote Originally Posted by adina
    I did do the course, started about three years ago.

    The technical info was great, and you could find it other places, but for me, it was worth it to have it all in once place.

    I hit the point though, where I'd gotten everything I was going to get from it, and needed to work more on my style vs their style.
    You don't sound very encouraging about NYIP, but I looked through your prior posts in the photo critique, and if NYIP had anything to do with they way those pictures turned out, I'm sold. Your pictures are all great. I'm very impressed!

    I've learned a lot from this site lately, so I plan to see how effectively I can put this information into practice before making a decision about school. I still think I should try to get some dark room experience...and, I need to get a scanner so I can post something for critique.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Paul

  10. #10
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    Re: Photography School?

    I attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communication full time for 4 years. Only about 25% of the courses were photo; about 25% were communications (journalism) and the balance was liberal arts (or whatever you choose). This gave me a solid education in Photo-Journalism.

    A friend of mine attended FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) for studio photography. He and his wife are amongst the best I've seen in lighting small products.

    Another friend attended RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) for studio photography and he consistently turns out top notch work.

    Sinar-Bron runs seminars (1 week) in their facility in NJ and the course is (was?) very intensive. Back then they used Polaroids; I would imagine they use digital now.

    The Professional Photographers Association runs seminars (portrait and weddings mostly). Call 1-800-339-5451 for information.

  11. #11
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    You don't sound very encouraging about NYIP, but I looked through your prior posts in the photo critique, and if NYIP had anything to do with they way those pictures turned out, I'm sold. Your pictures are all great. I'm very impressed!

    I've learned a lot from this site lately, so I plan to see how effectively I can put this information into practice before making a decision about school. I still think I should try to get some dark room experience...and, I need to get a scanner so I can post something for critique.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Paul
    More clarification...

    I would recommend nyip if technical help is what you need. They do have a section on darkroom stuff as well, but obviously, it would be in theory, as you would need to implement what you read.

    For me, technical is not my strong point. I can see the finished photo the way that I want it in my head, but I was having trouble putting it onto film. Nyip definitly helped me to have much more technical knowledge, why this setting would work for this, how things relate to each other, that type of stuff.

    However, the course is very much based on the technical aspect of photography, as it is harder to teach vision and style, especially thru the mail. While I know that I have a lot to learn as far as the technical aspects, I feel I have learned as much as I can from them, and need to find other sources to continue. Also, now that I have a better idea how to get what I want technically, I can start to pull the images out of my head. Do I get them everytime? Nope. But because I know a lot more than I used to on the technical side, my success rate is higher.

    hope that helps

    adina
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  12. #12
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Thanks Everyone!

    I just wanted to follow up on this old question I posted, and thank all who gave me advice. I'm by no means a great photographer now, but I think this site has contributed hugely to my improvements since I joined. I still have a lot to learn, but my technical knowledge has improved and now I have more ideas than time. It's annoying the crap out of my friends.

    John and Brian, I took your advice and got some darkroom experience. I found a class at the local museum, and now I'm hooked. In a couple of hours I'm going to tour a darkroom that I'm considering renting. Thank you for pushing me in this direction, and keep up the good work on this site!

    I highly encourage anyone else who is still using film to get some dark room experience if at all possible. You won't regret it.

    Adina, Ken, & Packard, Thank you all too! This site is full of generous people.

    -Paul

  13. #13
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    Re: Photography School?

    All I miss from college is critique. I'm wary of getting critique from forums as the relationship isn't the same etc.

  14. #14
    Jedi Master masdog's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    But the relationships online are built over time just like anywhere else. When I first started here, I basically restricted myself to the sports forum. Now that I have relationships there with a few of the other photographers, I'm slowly branching out onto other boards here.
    Sean Massey
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  15. #15
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Good points (the last two posts). It's hard to critique someone when you have no idea who they are, what their other work is and what their background is. The more you see from someone, the more you get to know all of this.

    It's really helpful sitting down with someone and having them face to face as they critique your work, but the advantage here is that (once people get to know you and your work) you can get a lot more critiques. Like anything else, some will help and some won't.

  16. #16
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    I agree with the points being made about critiques in the past few posts. I just wanted to say that it's still nice to have critiques from people who don't know you or your work, as may be the case with your final audience. When you develop a relationship with someone, and you know the problems they are working through, you may overlook unrelated problems that are just as important, because you're focused on their improvements. It's good to get critiques from stangers who know photography, strangers who don't know photography, and people who are familiar with your work. The critique forum is a great place for this, but it probably shouldn't be your only source of critique...if you want to be thorough.

    Paul

  17. #17
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    True - and critiquing prints is probably better than critiquing from a computer screen. For one thing, everybody's monitor can look different so what they're seeing might not be what you're seeing. Some times it takes more work to get a good print, so having a critique on print quality would be helpful.

  18. #18
    Junior Member crotograph's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Concerning NYIP. I am enrolled in their Professional Photographers course at this time. Already I see vast improvement in my ability to "see" through my lens how to put on film that which my mind and eye want to record. Their lessons, to me, are putting into words what I have learned to do over the last 45 years, but, never understood the technical details of. IE. I "knew" how to adjust the lens to achieve a plane of focus or hyperfocal distance through years of trial and error. Now, though, I can focus and plan every shot. I know what is acceptable for a great photo and what will result in a bland snapshot. Most important- I know to keep a photo composition SIMPLE! How NOT to settle for the garbage can 25' in back of the subject, but, to move the camera to eliminate the obtrusiveness, or, to hide it from obvious scrutiny if I cannot move the camera. I know about films latitudes and how to adjust f stops to control contrast. On and On and...

    So far, though, I am finding this course, for me, somewhat lacking in meat and potatoes. Hyperfocal distances require formulae that, thus far, the lessons have not gotten into. Maybe that is good as I have trouble balancing my checkbook,(ask my wife if you don't believe me)

    For the cost, though, I find myself willing to recommend NYIP. Very helpful and you do have access to a personal instructor who will critique each photo assignment and answer questions, personally, with a view to making you a better photographer. So, the instruction is one on one.

    Give it a look. If you would like I would be happy to fill you in on more. TCrowe
    I Still Like Film Better

  19. #19
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    Re: Photography School?

    True about the relationship forming, I generally find it hard to find people that share my views on making pictures.

    VERY true about prints, an on screen image on an average computer is about 10 times smaller than my smallest work

  20. #20
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    Re: Photography School?

    If NYIP had a course with a more art bias I'd take it. I've no interest in doing traditional commercial work (not to say if someone offered me money to use a shot I wouldn't take it )

  21. #21
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    [QUOTE=crotograph]

    So far, though, I am finding this course, for me, somewhat lacking in meat and potatoes. Hyperfocal distances require formulae that, thus far, the lessons have not gotten into. Maybe that is good as I have trouble balancing my checkbook,(ask my wife if you don't believe me)

    =[QUOTE]

    My husband watched the first videos from nyip with me. The only thing he remembers about it is hyperfocal distance. So now, everytime I get home from shooting, and make a comment about whatever, he asks me if I used my hyperfocal distance. That's the only photography word he knows, and it covers everything. It's so funny.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  22. #22
    Junior Member crotograph's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Most of what I have studied in the first 6 or so lessons are ideas I already knew through trial and error over the years. However, the more technical items are helpful in my understanding of exposure and what is actually happening with the film. Such things as film latitudes and equivalent f stops are ideas that you almost have to take a course to be aware of. I do enjoy it and it also gives me ideas for future photos. I do not intend to become a pro photographer at my stage of life but I do intend to continue learning all I can.
    I Still Like Film Better

  23. #23
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    Re: Photography School?

    Can anyone tell me how much NYIP is for tuition?

  24. #24
    Junior Member crotograph's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Quote Originally Posted by Muley1922
    Can anyone tell me how much NYIP is for tuition?
    Rather than go into all of NYIP's fees, go to: http://www.nyip.com.

    I have been taking their course for about 6 months and loving every minute. But then, I have been doing photography for many years and quite a bit of it is putting proper terminology to those things I have already learned through trial and error. That said, I highly recommend their course. Be prepared, however, to fill in the course with your own research. "The Negative" by Ansel Adams is a good resource. TCrowe
    I Still Like Film Better

  25. #25
    Junior Member crotograph's Avatar
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    Re: Photography School?

    Quote Originally Posted by Muley1922
    Can anyone tell me how much NYIP is for tuition?
    Rather than go into all of NYIP's fees, go to: http://www.nyip.com.

    I have been taking their course for about 6 months and loving every minute. But then, I have been doing photography for many years and quite a bit of it is putting proper terminology to those things I have already learned through trial and error. That said, I highly recommend their course. Be prepared, however, to fill in the course with your own research. "The Negative" by Ansel Adams is a good resource. TCrowe
    I Still Like Film Better

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