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Thread: Online photography courses - are they worth it?

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    Online photography courses - are they worth it?

    Hi guys. I know there are a few similar posts out there and I have read them. There were just a few more specific things I wanted to ask.

    I am considering doing an online photography course with the view to ONE DAY making some money out of my photos. The one that appeals to me the most is the Australian College - Mastering Digital Photography course.

    Has anyone actually done this course or something similar? How did you find it? Have you noticed an improvement in your skills? Does it build to level of knowledge that could be on par with pro's?

    Another question to the pro photographers is: Have you done any formal photography course/training? Or are you self taught?

    I've been photographing for a while and have had my DSLR for 2 years now. I know most of the basics of aperture, shutter speed, iso, depth of focus, composition, etc but I want to learn about using artificial and natural light in my photographs, more about digital editing (i have a basic knowledge of photoshop), how to start a photography business and basically just how to take better photos. I know nothing about portrait/wedding photography but that is what I would really like to do (with a bit of landscape and wildlife on the side!!).

    Do you think this course is worth the money? Any advice you can offer would be great. Thanks.

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    tell you what, I have no idea about the course you have mentioned, but I dare say if you stay here and participate for three months and take photos and post for C&C, follow the NTP program (but you may be past that having had a slr for 2 years) then ask
    Darren
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    Nothing beats the hands on face to face teacher in real life.
    The on-line thingy is a good follow up for brushing up and improving.
    A night college course would be a very good foundational start.
    "The greatest camera in the world is the one you hold in your hands when shit happens." ©2007 Raoul Isidro

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Anything is worth it, if you learn from it, and it becomes good value for money. It really depends on your current knowledge, what the course offers, and what you absorb from that. How much you put into the course will be the defining answer to your question. I have a diploma of photography, did I learn from it, Yes I did. What I learnt was more about contracts, clients, marketing, than about photography itself. So you need to choose the right course for you, and no-one else is in a position to advise on that as we have no idea what knowledge you already have, or what you need to know.
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    I am not sure how online courses work, maybe they say go and take a pic of a fence and then comment on your dof and how to better compose it and so on, then email back and forth with answers and questions, that would give me the shits, maybe a Photoshop course at a local Tafe would benefit you more. I tend to agree with Darren, Whats your hurry, stick around here for a while and see how you go
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Pipe View Post
    I am not sure how online courses work, maybe they say go and take a pic of a fence and then comment on your dof and how to better compose it and so on, then email back and forth with answers and questions, that would give me the shits, maybe a Photoshop course at a local Tafe would benefit you more. I tend to agree with Darren, Whats your hurry, stick around here for a while and see how you go
    my course had entire units. You had to complete the unit which involved an aspect of photography, by writing small essays on each topic. Each unit also incorporated a photography challenge requiring us to generally present as series of six photos. Some were related to the unit topic, for example, the unit on contracts required us to get a Time For Print (TFP) model, and present 6 photos of the model, along with a copy of the contract.

    The assessor then 'marked' the unit and it was returned with a mark, and a couple of paragraphs about our work. Each unit took about a month to do, without being to intensive. If you tried to do one in a week, it would have meant about 4 hours work each day on the unit.

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    Making good photographs has little to do with being professional. Courses can simply make you a better photographer but you can do that in many ways as has already been suggested.
    Work on your creative and technical skills first, then work on your administrative business skills and finally work on the notion that you can put both together and survive in business.
    Keep in mind that once you have acquired the first two qualifications less than 10% of those who try can make a living out of photography (or most creative businesses for that matter).
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    Thanks everyone. Really appreciate the input. I'll continue to explore and be part of this site - really liking it so far. But I think I will also do the course.
    Thanks.K.

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    I completed the course you are looking at about 18 months ago - really enjoyed it and yes have learnt heaps since I first started out. Am currently completing the Digital Photography Pro course, which is a follow-on from the other one. I find the College and tutor very helpful and friendly. Sure you don't get the face to face experience, but it suits my needs and other current work commitments.

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    Thanks Andreap - nice to hear from someone who has done it! I live out in the country so no chance of face-to-face anyway!!

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    Hi there, I have been learning photography over the past couple of years. I am also new to AP and am loving reading tips etc from others. I have looked at doing online courses etc. I have tried to find local photographers around my area but to no avail. Things I have been doing is reading forums, websites & learning from youtube videos etc. I draw inspiration from what other pro photographers are doing and work on replicating their work. I have been getting some good results from trial and error.

    i guess in a nut shell is push yourself to learn new skills etc. Get feedback by posting on forums etc, take all the feedback on board & be happy & have fun

    GM

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    Member Geoff's Avatar
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    Stuff I've invested in:

    Kelby Training (about $30 a month) - some good vids on photography (weddings, senior portraits, creative lighting), plenty of info on software packages (PS, LR etc). I sub month by month and I should really cancel it when I know I'm don't have time or am not motivated to learn...and pick it up again later when new vids are loaded or I regain interest.

    Zack Arias on Creative Live - excellent 3 day workshop on Studio Photography - spends a lot of time on lighting, does get repetitive, the man talks A LOT. It's about US$129 and I think it was money well spent if you're interested in learning the fundamentals of Studio photography.

    Lynda.com - some very good info on Photoshop. Check the freebie samples - from memory there was a good explanation on colour correction using Curves. Don't underestimate training in software - worthwhile.

    Things I have considered:
    ICE Society - Jerry Ghionus - a little pricey at US$365 (though there appears to be a 20% off promo atm). I've watched some of the samples - if you're interested in learning wedding photography this would be an option I'd consider. I'm still deciding personally as weddings are not my bread and butter - I think I could learn from this site (posing, composition mostly - he's a clever bloke).

    TAFE - I've had friends go this route - me I put the money into lights and then set about organising TFP shoots and researching online like crazy. Different routes to the same goal.

    Hope the above helps someone - I don't get any commissions from the above they're all things I've put my money down on or seriously considered.

    One other superior avenue is to assist - this can be tricky as you need your schedule to sync with the photographer from who you're learning from (and to find a pro that you both get along with and who has need of your help). To my mind (knowing what I know now) this would be a route I'd try to pursue with more energy.

    Geoff

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    Very interessting topic. Lots of very good suggestions. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RaoulIsidro View Post
    Nothing beats the hands on face to face teacher in real life.
    The on-line thingy is a good follow up for brushing up and improving.
    A night college course would be a very good foundational start.
    That may be true for you... But some learn more effectively by trial and error, and some by reading etc etc. Be careful when giving such firm advice when it incurs cost on the OP, it may not be good advice for the individual. In this case, we're talking about an online course, in which there's a very similar program running here at AP for FREE!
    Living the dream...

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    FWIW, I was completely self taught. Most foundation information was sourced from books (prior to internet access or existence), and simple trial and error. I had almost no peers or friends to seek advice from. The more you do something, the more experience you gain. The photography area is one that you never stop learning, and I never do.

    Having said that, I wouldnt turn down the opportunity of doing a course if the information and structure of that course was entirely up to date, and the education supplier, had some decent gear to educate with.
    Last edited by Longshots; 06-10-2010 at 4:48pm.
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