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Thread: training vs no training

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    training vs no training

    Hi there, I have been an active amateur photographer around my local area for about 2-3 yrs now, with a few professional jobs thrown in here and there. I have spoken with a lot of the professional photographers in town and I was surprised to find out that they don't have any formal photographic training. I studied photography in high school and was considering doing more studies in the future. My question is, how may of the "Advanced" and "intermediate" photographers who are members of this forum are trained? Is it generally considered a prerequisite to get into professional photography? and, Is doing a course online considered adequate?

    I would be appreciative of any and all response.

    Thanks

    Karla

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    I'm self trained as are most fellow photographers I know


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    Last edited by kiwi; 30-07-2012 at 10:26am.
    Darren
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    I think it depends on the individual.

    Many people benefit from structured training. On campus or online courses can be fine. It doesn't depend so much on the medium, but the provider.

    Many others don't need it at all, and are motivated and enthusiastic enough to conduct their own research on the Internet and in books etc, and get shooting all on their own.

    There is no right answer.

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    Agreed, people learn very differently. And as long as our do learn and do progress and measure yourself I don't think photography is a discipline you need formal training with, instead, if you intend on becoming a pro it's marketing and business that will offer most benefit in running a photography business.....or....when that fails (look at stats) another job altogether


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    Account Closed reaction's Avatar
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    I think people who fall into this as a hobby will not go for formal training so much. I mean no course could cover the detail found online.
    There is the other business side, where 'formal training', 'certification' etc are useful more for the badges you can stick on your website than the content of the training.

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    I find them a waste of money personally.............and as stated, if you have the drive and passion to educate yourself you can find 'any' information you seek online! I like to call it the 'Google school of photography'...........it really depends on how much of yourself you want to invest!
    Most people that ask me about photography are not willing to practice to achieve their knowledge, they just want it all handed to them on a platter.
    You reap what you sow as they say......
    BUT horses for courses...........as long as there is learning, there is no right or wrong I believe.
    As for the paper that has, diploma, certificate competency etc etc................it means jack to me!
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    I've have often wondered the same thing. I recently did some shoots with the local paper, I learnt alot just buying doing that. But to build a business I reckon any evidence of certification/courses etc could only help your business's status.
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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day Karla

    There are two distinct sides to this - the creative side & the technical side
    Creativity cannot be 'taught' - tho copy-cat technique can be developed...

    The 'technical' side can be taught - it's a bit like learning to drive > someone showed you [I presume] the basics of driving a car, and once you've got your licence, experience comes into play to make your car-driving technique better & better

    I am in the business of "teaching people to drive" their camera - I am on the road in outback Qld & nsw for 6-8 months a year and we do about 2-dozen "photo techniques" workshops. All of my students are adults, some in their 50s & 60s to whom the inner workings of a dSLR or Ultrazoom incorporate things they have no knowledge of

    Yes- there will be those people here who say 'RTBM' > tho to a farmer more used to sheep or cattle or plowing paddocks, the reference to WB /ISO / DoField etc etc is meaningless until it is shown and explained to them

    However, for me to get an enthusiastic mob of "amateurs" up at 5:30am on a cold morning to do sunrise pix over a lagoon with brolgas squarking & croaking does occur, and the photos so achieved bring together much of the theory discussed the day before > and they then talk of getting mail-order 12" x 18" enlargements of the 'best' ones for display at home

    There will be some here who have the education & general 'nous' to deceipher a 200-page camera instruction book - and again experience helps if it is your 2nd or 3rd camera - but if your highest level of education 20+ years ago was year 8 or year 9, and you have purchased a camera over the mail-order system as you are 250+ km from the nearest camera shop, and you have no one to assist working thru 200 pages of barely meaningful bumpf and technobabble, it is hard for them

    Dunno whether this helps > hope so
    Regards, Phil
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    I agree that good workshops are great jump starters for any level

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    i am still a student at the university of trial and error, 20 years and i don't think ill ever graduate
    I've done so many things I'm not proud of...and the things I am proud of are disgusting. ~Moe, The Simpsons

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I would recommend doing some workshops, like a wedding workshop etc, rather than doing an overall training course. Once you can use your camera on manual, then you need to focus on the genre you want to pursue. So a lighting workshop, portrait workshop etc is always valuable.

    Though, as for any business I reckon doing a marketing course/accounting course etc for small businesses is much more important. When you remember that most of your job as a professional is not actually taking photos, but marketing, dealing with contracts, payments, paying bills, etc, that is where you can benefit from a course.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    I`m self taught over the last 45 years and quite capable of making lots of mistakes... Just get in and try lots of things and you will learn heaps very quickly.
    Graeme
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    I fully agree with Rick and would add that getting some formal business qualification is essential. Of those photographers that move into a full time business more than 90% fail in the first two years. Some much quicker. There is a saying in the professional industry that if competition becomes too strong take a six month holiday and your worries are gone. But I guess this can apply to any form of business where the owner has no formal training. Simply look at the registered unemployed, again over 95% have no qualifications. Training and qualifications are essential for success and both should be structured.
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    Thanks a lot for all the points of view, it has bee quite helpful.

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    I am self taught as you can tell from my photos

    I recently did a one on one workshop in Bali with Jeff Mullins to improve my underwater photography and it was worth every cent - I thought I was reasonably experienced but I was wrong

    I am also self taught with writing my articles - been published a few times - I guess it is each to their own. I don't know a lot of the techicallities of photography but I do know what works and what doesn't (as you can tell by many of my photos )

    Karl
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karla74 View Post
    .... I have spoken with a lot of the professional photographers in town and I was surprised to find out that they don't have any formal photographic training. .....
    This may say something.

    So if thinking about starting a photography business (yeah you've already read it),

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    .....I don't think photography is a discipline you need formal training with, instead, if you intend on becoming a pro it's marketing and business that will offer most benefit in running a photography business.....
    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    ......Though, as for any business I reckon doing a marketing course/accounting course etc for small businesses is much more important. When you remember that most of your job as a professional is not actually taking photos, but marketing, dealing with contracts, payments, paying bills, etc, that is where you can benefit from a course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    I fully agree with Rick and would add that getting some formal business qualification is essential. .....
    "Enjoy what you can do rather than being frustrated at what you can't." bobt
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    I was a self taught photographer. I decided though I wanted access to use of commercial equipment and to network with like-minded people. So I enrolled in TAFE and did their Dip. of PhotoImaging. Was good for the access and networking. Here I meet AIPP members and subsequently joined. I continue to be an active member and find it very beneficial. The key I believe with AIPP membership is the activity. No point in being a wallflower

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    I would say the best way of training is a mix of formal education and being self-taught.

    I did a 8 week course at tafe about 7 months ago (When I first started Photography with my dslr) and I found it very handy for getting me away from P, S and A modes and straight into Manual. You also get to learn a little about Photoshop generally and readjusting photos. I would say it is beneficial to do a short course in design also as the founding principles of good photos are based on colour, line, pattern, texture, shapes, composition etc. which can all be learned in a design course or reading on the net/books.

    As mentioned above, understanding Business Management is ideal, and I feel what else is also important is understanding the difference between you and other casual photographers with their point and shoot is that you are an Artist. As an Artist, you are capturing the feel of what is in front of you, according to you and to have that feeling resonate to other viewers. Perhaps reading up on how painters compose pieces of work will help understanding with composition and what creates compelling images.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    I would say the best way of training is a mix of formal education and being self-taught.
    Self-taught is of course "experience". Let's get this in perspective. We do 12 years at school and a further 3 or 4 years at Uni or trade college. Around 16 years of training. What we don't have is "experience". Sure, part of our life we pick up a camera and click away, do an odd wedding, and then someone says - that's a great shot - and the dream begins. We still don't have any experience in the photographic "business". Just have a look at the number of hopefuls on this site and the questions they ask. And they've already started their "business". Like I said earlier, only 5 in 100 will get past the first year without going belly up and that's despite 16 years of "training".
    Training is crucial but you need to make sure at the tertiary level that your training is focused on "business" and some photography. Then, to avoid becoming a reject there's one more step - work experience. You can't do this by yourself. Think of it as an apprenticeship, trainee-ship or even a internship. Up until the last decade one could get a job in the media as a cadet and learn under the wing of someone "experienced" before taking the jump. Every successful business adopts this approach but would-be photographers still think they can do it alone. No way, you've already got 3 or 4 million professional competitors and you're on the bottom.
    Okay, the key is to get under someone's wing - I've got three guys working for me now and when I retire they'll get on with it - with heaps of experience.
    The other question you need to ask yourself - "what is photography?" At least, what makes money? It's not about what you like to shoot or the genre you choose - if it is you'll be out of business in two years. It's all about taking photos for a client. Like it or not if you defer from a clients wishes you'll be sacked and very quickly out of work. You need a broad pallet and a mindset to do anything within your experience at anytime. If you persevere you'll enjoy professional photography otherwise you'll become just another statistic.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redgum View Post
    Just have a look at the number of hopefuls on this site and the questions they ask. And they've already started their "business".
    Funnily.Go to Facebook and type in 'photography, (your town/city)', the number that come up is simply astounding. Every second person with a DSLR has a 'photographer' page.

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