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Thread: Keep teaching myself and practising OR do a Degree/Diploma in Photography?

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    Keep teaching myself and practising OR do a Degree/Diploma in Photography?

    Hi Guys

    I am chasing some advice. Who of you have done a photography course or studied at university, and if you did what course did you do?

    I 'm not sure if I should keep learning off you guys or if I should go out and get the piece of paper to hang on my wall, mostly so if and when I decide to do paid work people have the confidence that they can put trust in the fact I am qualified in what I am doing..

    I would love to make a career out of it so any advice would be appreciated!

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Sounds mean, I guess, but a "piece of paper to hang on the wall" a good photographer does not make.

    And you won't learn much from us either f you don't post up your work so we can give you some feedback, you have been a member for nearly 12 months now and we haven't seen any of your work yet.

    None of the photographers that I look up to have any formal qualification, except that one from the school of hard knocks
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    You talk about learning off us, but since you joined, 11 months ago, we have not seen a single photo of yours up for critique. If you want to learn, put your work out there and let people guide you.
    "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

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    You will learn as much if not more here for free, nothing more than your time. Mark is right, the piece of paper may as well be toilet paper, it means you completed a course, not that you are a good photographer.

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    Thank you for your input. That is exactly the what I needed to hear. I'll be sure to become more involved from today.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I will be in Mackay regularly for a day here and there starting next week, if you want to catch up, play with some Nikon gear etc send me a PM and I will bring some gear along.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    As for courses.

    If you are going to do a diploma course, do an accredited and recognised one. Many (the Photography Institute for example) offer diploma courses that are not a recognised qualification. Basically they make their own course up, print their own diploma, but it is not from a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). The result is a diploma that is about as useful (employment wise) as buying a degree from some Nigerian University off the net.

    If you wish to do a course, look at a recognised photographic diploma, probably the best one is : Diploma of Photo-imaging (CUV50407) : which gives you a nationally recognised Diploma from an RTO, that actually means you have reached a specific level of study and should be competent at doing what the diploma is issued for, and it can be used for employment purposes etc. This diploma will have printed on it, that it is a national recognised qualification, and detail the RTO's registration number, etc

    If you want to focus on the Genre that interest you, then look at photography workshops instead of courses. Workshops usually are single day, or weekend and focus on a particular genre. Landscapes, weddings, studio etc. They tend to be more hands-on, get in and do it, and we will tell you settings, explain the why's etc as you enjoy the day or weekend.

    Sadly, there are now a lot of non-registered training businesses set-up, and they offer courses that seem to be about getting a real diploma, when they are not. My personal thoughts are that these businesses should have to state in all communication (their website, any letters, and all documentation) that they are NOT a registered training authority and that any qualification received does not necessarily meet the Australian education standards for a diploma, etc.

    Workshops, are often run by professional photographers, or others, to focus on one genre, or one particular aspect of photography (lighting workshop for example). These workshops are not run by RTO's but ultimately you get a good knowledge of the particular workshop topic, and there are probably more practical for most photographers, as they are hands-on and get you taking photos, not writing essays on the why's and how's of a grey scale chart, or the variations in kelvin values. (which are good to have a knowledge of, but don't make you a good photographer..taking photos and practice does that).
    Last edited by ricktas; 27-11-2011 at 8:26am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    If it were me in this situation, I'd be spending my time/money on a course that really matters.

    Something like graphic design, where you learn to become more proficient with software like Adobe's CS, or even a (short)business course where you become better acquainted with learning how to manage the finances of the business itself.

    Photography is best learned in a more practical manner where you simply go out and practise lots, and lots.

    As already said, post up images for CC. Not that our opinions really matter as much as those of the prospective clients, but having other opinions on how to better capture an image can help you understand what it is that you want.

    Once you know what it is that you want, how to achieve it and how to present it, then you're in a better position to sell yourself, and your product, to your customers.
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    pretty good point there ak

    seems to me a lot of people that post this sort of question just simply dont take enough photos and learn the hard way
    Darren
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    "Forget about the profession of being a photographer. First be a photographer and maybe the profession will come after. Don’t be in a rush to pay your rent with your camera. Jimi Hendrix didn’t decide on the career of professional musician before he learned to play guitar. No, he loved music and created something beautiful and that THEN became a profession. Larry Towell, for instance, was not a “professional” photographer until he was already a “famous” photographer. Make the pictures you feel compelled to make and perhaps that will lead to a career. But if you try to make the career first, you will just make sh*tty pictures that you don’t care about." - Christopher Anderson

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    I'd say a course is only useful if it teaches you stuff you'd take years to find out on your own.
    I'm doing a Cert IV in Photoimaging, one subject at a time, and I think it's helping me evolve as a photographer quicker than if I was trying to teach myself.

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    A couple of years ago, I took an uninformed leap into an online photography course (I won't say which one, but I got there from clicking on an advertisement in Facebook). It was an Australian course and run by a well-known photographer, so it seemed promising. I found it very interesting with some worthwhile exercises that doubled up as assignments. I learned a fair bit of theory. However the level of critique in the assessment of those assignments was very lenient and dead-easy to pass. One of them, I barely even made an effort, and still got top marks.

    Although they have a dedicated Facebook community of students, advertise one-on-one assistance from tutors, which is true, the problem was the lack of human interaction and that 'hands-on' experience.

    After completing the 1-year course online, and nailing the assignments, I can't really say that I am that much of a better photographer for it. Sure, I learned a few important and useful tricks, but probably nothing I wouldn't have picked up from one day in a studio with real people.

    If I had my time again, I'd follow Rick's suggestions here and do a series of workshops that suit your particular need, or do your homework on courses that are very interactive and challenging. The theory is really for interest, but the practical knowledge you'll gain from solid practice and being amongst people (workshops, get-together groups, working for other professionals) is a million times more beneficial.
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    I agree with workshop philosophy. I have done a couple of workshops. Good for learning, filling in the gaps, and seeing what is possible but there is no escaping need to get out there and take lots and lots of photos on own.

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    I found "Google" to be my best teacher........I absorb as much as I can from as many sources as I can. Magazines, E-books, Forums, other Photographers etc.
    I find a photo that I like and I research on how it was done, then I practice, practice, practice.
    I continue this process with every aspect of my Photography and Photoshop. It is easy to get swamped with information...so I find it best to accept that it all takes time.
    I started with a Fujipix 5500 in 2004......I then upgraded to an Olympus e-500 in 2006......and then an E-30 in 2010. This year I delved into the Canon pool and got the 7D, but I have never taken a course of any sort.............I thought about joining a Local Camera Club but my work hours don't permit much of a social life.
    So I have had to go it alone and hence I am a student of the 'Google Online Academy' lol

    Honestly..........ALL the information is out there and you will find that there are thousand of resources.
    This place is the best start...............I learnt sooooo much from being in a Forum just like this.
    Don't do Photography to make money..................BAD START!!

    Do it because you love it, you are passionate about it and when you find that you see the world through a viewfinder...and you are more passionate about learning than making money, then your rewards may come.
    Cheers and Happy Shooting
    Cindy

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    My only advice is to go out and practice Creativity on your own, its something you cannot learn from workshops or diplomas etc. If you have a creative streak which you might not know about - its best to nurture that and express it individually rather than learning through someone else's teachings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crystaljayne View Post
    I would love to make a career out of it so any advice would be appreciated!

    Out of what, specifically? "Photography" is a broad brush.


    It is no burden to have recognised qualifications: and it is often an advantage.
    There are obvious advantages of structured learning.

    As an example: if you want to set up a W&P Businesses, then there is no law which requires any Formal or Recognised Qualifications and many successful W&P Photographers have none.

    On the other hand: Still, Cine, Broadcast, Television Formal Qualifications could make an easier road for you at Fox Studios or at large production houses, overseas.

    The bottom line is to evaluate the value to you to attain your goals against the input of both your time and money.

    No one method of learning is ever enough. And "learning" is NOT learning, without involvement.

    Mine or other’s qualifications are mostly irrelevant to your position, until you define your position more accurately and then I suggest seeking specific advice from people versed in those defined areas of interest, to you.


    WW

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    Developing Creativity is by NO means a solo enterprise.
    Creativity has been for years: nurtured, cultivated and has blossomed by Tutelage, Mentorship and Apprenticeship.

    Mozart, Beethoven, Dali, Henson, Riefenstahl, Newton, . . .(insert long list of those at the pointy end of the phalanxes of decisive CREATIVE breakthroughs), all studied formally; were mentored or apprenticed; and they also taught others.

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    You will learn as much if not more here for free, nothing more than your time. Mark is right, the piece of paper may as well be toilet paper, it means you completed a course, not that you are a good photographer.
    it's not what you know, it's what you can prove what you know. This is how the world works.

    Having a qualification but being mediocre at something is better than being good at something without qualification.

  19. #19
    Member Kaktus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warakawa View Post
    ....Having a qualification but being mediocre at something is better than being good at something without qualification.
    Wow ... Really ???

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warakawa View Post

    Having a qualification but being mediocre at something is better than being good at something without qualification.
    Disagree. The great masters of Art, did not have diplomas or degrees when they painted the Mona Lisa, Sistine Chapel, Monet's garden. Ansell Adams and the other great photographers were self taught, not a degree to be seen.

    Yes in some fields (medicine etc) a degree is important, but in ART, it is not.
    Last edited by ricktas; 31-01-2012 at 6:42am.

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