Formal training/Accreditation - Worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tirediron, May 28, 2008.

  1. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm interested in finding out how many out there have completed some sort of formal photographic training, and of what type (community college, on-line, correspondance, et cetera).

    What is your opinion on accreditation? After all, photoraphy isn't like plumbing; different doesn't mean wrong. Can you really teach art?

    Is it necessary to have classroom training to be a pro, or are experience and self-instruction good enough?
     
  2. cdanddvdpublisher

    cdanddvdpublisher TPF Noob!

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    This is one of those questions that I struggle with in other areas as well. I believe that some people do really well with the structure of a classroom setting and that they thrive in that environment and benefit from networking opportunities. On the other hand, I believe that some educational programs really get people thinking only on the technical side, without the creative.

    Ultimately, I guess my answer is that it depends on the individual.
     
  3. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    I have been looking localy here in Cincinnat for something. There are a couple of schools semi-localy that offer classes even one program that is a 2 year Photographer program. I think that you need a strong understanding of the technical side before you can do the creative side. For example, someone might know what "look" they are going for, but not how to get that "look"... I am planning on taking some courses this summer.
     
  4. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. It was a 2 year program at the time and exposed me to alot of things that I never would have been exposed to just on my own. I learned alot of concepts and techniques that gave me tons of confidence as a pro later. Lots of people start and do just fine without any formal education but I do think an education helped me inmmensly.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have to say that you can learn a lot about photography from books, the internet and from playing with the kit and camera. A good drive to learn is also essential to developing those skills and pushing yourself further. That sort of drive some people just don't have, they need someone to push them along a little, especially if their early shots are less than they desire.
    I think also that a good photography course would force you to learn how to shoot somthing that you would otherwise not bother with - for example I don't both with shooting buildings or people and so if I ever end up wanting to my skills in that area are poor.
    I think confidance, not only in yourself but in your kit, is also something that a course can give to people. That is something very important no matter if you are going pro or not - its something to be proud of and a sign that you are doing well (sometimes web and family comments of praise can feel "empty" at times. The web is not personal enough and family and friends might be viewed as being overly generous in compliments.
     
  6. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    I know there has been other threads about this, but lets not forget the Newyork Institute of Photography. I don't have any personal experience with them, but others that I have talked to have had success with them. With NYIP it comes down to weather or not you can learn with that style of teaching.
     
  7. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Photography is something you do. It's not something you learn. Somebody with a degree in photography cannot take a better picture than somebody without a degree.

    Better to study the business behind photography - business, accountancy, administration, management etc.

    This is where a photography business lies. The photos are 5-10% of the business.
     
  8. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Acreditation/certification or no... hard topic.

    A lot is going to depend on the person. Are they autonomous in their methodololgy of aquiring experience and information? If they are autonomous, AND in their minds the piece of paper to place on the wall at the end of the course is not important, you don't need it.

    It is not in photogrpahy, but I have over 35 computer industry certifications from Microsoft, Novell, Cisco, CompTia, etc... In 25 years, NEVER has one certification ever put any bread on my table... EVER. It has, however, opened a tremendous amount of doors for me that gave me opportunities to strut my stuff and earn a nice living.

    My take on acreditations is that it will get your foot in the door... but your expertise, knowledge and experience will decide if you stay or not. I talk to other industry certified professionals on a daily basis who with their certifications, could not talk their way out of a wet paper bag, and others with no certifications that literally run circles around me.

    That's basically my take on it.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I understand what you mean here, but take issue with how this argument is presented. Granted that photography is an art and as such much is reliant on the artistic skill of the person with the camera to take a good shot. But a person who has had training with a camera has a potential to get that shot more how they want it than a person who must rely more on experimentation. Thus training can let you use your creativity to the greatest potential.
     
  10. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    It is possible that training can help in some circumstances - where the photographer had the skills to start with. It is more important to learn how to advertise and sell images though.

    It is the complaint of industry through the entire world that graduates come to them with theoretical qualifications and know nothing practical. They can tell you how many turns to the inch an 8 BA thread has, how deep the threads are and what the tensile strength of the metal is in relation to the stress it will endure. Put them into a workshop and you could end up with the most unsafe creations in history. A classic example - my wife's ex husband is a helicopter mechanic. He built a set of training wheels for my stepson's bike that were the most rickety dangerous thing I'd ever seen. The bolts weren't done up tightly and the deign was apalling. He'd used good quality parts and spent about $50 making it. It was utterly unsafe and I went to the local walmart and bought something better and more adjustable for just $7.50. There's the difference between qualified and being good at something.
     
  11. *Mike*

    *Mike* TPF Noob!

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    A lot of "creative" photographers would probably be a lot better off if they did some study in art. As for certification... eh. I don't think it makes a difference to potential clients, which would be the strongest motivation to pursue it. However, I think that anyone passing themselves off as a professional should be able to pass a certification process - whether they choose to pursue it or not.

    Here are a few sample questions from the PPA's certification process. http://certifiedphotographer.com/sample-test-items.html
     
  12. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Consider what your end goals are for photography and try to find out if formal education/certification is the right path for you.

    If your goal is to run your own wedding photography business...then I'd suggest that real world experience and some business education would be more beneficial than a photography education.

    I'm pretty much self taught...but I have taken some classes through a local 'Continuing Education' school. So far, the actual curriculum hasn't been anything really new or profound...but spending that time with the instructors has been well worth the cost.
     

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