Photography Schools

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by FireCoral417, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. FireCoral417

    FireCoral417 TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone. Sorry if this topic has been posted previously. I did a quick search and didn't see anything recent.

    I was wondering if anyone would be able to give advice on a few questions I have. First a quick background on me. I'm 24, currently a freelance graphic designer. Photography has always been a passion of mine. I've been taking pictures of things since my mom first let me use her professional Nikon when I was about 8 years old. I've recently thought of a career change to photography. Everything I've ever done has been self-taught. But I thought this time around it might be a better idea to go to school to hopefully get some good connections and have the name of a good school on my resume. So here are my questions:

    1) Is it worthwhile to persue a bachelor's or associate's degree in photography or should I just teach myself? Or what are the pros and cons of both?

    2) If I do decide to go to school, what schools would you recommend and why? Or what should I look for when choosing a school?

    3) If I teach myself, how would I go about finding the right job? (I'm interested in photojournalism... but not for a newspaper and I certainly don't want to end up in a portrait studio)

    Thanks for the time you took to read this and for your input!
    ~Coral
     
  2. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Alot of questions that can go both ways.

    A question to you is: Where are you located? and Would you re-locate?

    It can't hurt to have that kind of education on your resume and for life in general. Teaching yourself also has a pretty large learning curve. The easiest answer if your not ready to invest into a BA would be to scope out your local community college and take a few photo courses. This will tell you pretty quickly if you want to or can do it.

    Right now without more info. I don't know. I just got my info pack from College of Creative Studies. I am considering getting a second BA in photography or fine art. With your graphic design background and photo leanings, this may be a place to look at.

    This is the eternal question. It may come down to apprenticing with someone, or even dumb luck. By taking some classes, you may really get the feel for what kind of photography you have a knack for. If it also may lead to some good contacts to help you down the road. So I guess where back to going to school.

    Hope some of this helps you.
     
  3. FireCoral417

    FireCoral417 TPF Noob!

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    Oh! Thank you!

    I live in Fort Lauderdale Florida. I'd definately relocate for the right school. The one I was really hoping to go to is Brooks Institute in California. Unfortunately I just found out the tuition alone is about $75,000 for 3 years :confused: I guess I'm sorting looking for something closer to the $30,000 - $40,000 range

    It's the only one that I've found that I like. And I'm having a hard time even finding other good schools online. There's always the Art Institute which is 3 blocks from my house... but I know tons of people who ave come out of that scool complaining.

    I'm 99.9% certain I'd like to do photography, it's just -- like you said -- a matter of finding which area of it I'd do best in I suppose. Ideally I'd like to (like many I'm sure) work in the entertainment industry. That's why I think going to schoool might pay off because learning from someone who has worked in the industry for years would probably have better connections than little old me trying to do it on my own
     
  4. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    You can request info packs from just about any school, so do that.

    Another one to consider is Parsons Design in NY.

    Remember that alot of these type of schools require a portfolio submission. Thats why I think going the Community College route to start maybe is the way to go. I also teach at a CC, so I'm biased.
     
  5. Nikon Fan

    Nikon Fan TPF Noob!

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    You could always take some online classes if you wanted. I know nothing about them, but you could do it through a major photography school, an that combined with your previous background seems that it would give you a good start.
     
  6. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    I have worked for a paper for the past seven years. Not as glamorous as shooting the "academy cover" for Vanity Fair. The real test of photojournalism is shooting the third grade tree planting on arbor day. Your creative prowess is what editors are looking for.

    The answer lies in your passion for photography. A BA involves a 100% commitment, so be ready for a lot of work. I know for a fact that you will not be disappointed with this route. Associate degrees and community college no matter what their reputation will provide at least technical skills. Plus hanging with other photography students is really important.

    Assisting is a viable option. One problem is that jobs in the field generally go the way of word of mouth or schools. In this case learning is second to production. If you keep your eyes and ears open you can learn a lot. Many (if not all) great photographers were assistants at one time.

    Personally I think online and self taught methods may fall short. Some how it is too impersonal. On the other hand I learn from The Photo Forum everyday. That is a whole other story.
     
  7. NikonChick

    NikonChick TPF Noob!

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    Dont rule out the community colleges. Photography being a trade, doesnt require a well recognized schools name on your resume, it requires a strong portfolio. Since you have some photographic knowledge already, it might be a better route, depending on the level of skill among the instructors... and they are more likely to have a more indepth network into the field than a university.
    I have diplomas from a community college and was planning to upgrade to a degree at university. After looking into it further, and seeing the work of the graduating class, I quickly decided that it wasnt the right route for me. (OMG their work sucked!!)
    Keep in mind that at the university level, photography is usually taught as an art form; thus the BFA. Technical skill isnt as much a requirement in art as it is in trade.
    I guess in the end it depends what you want to do with it... I still havent decided; so 5 years later Im still working in retail but have some cool lighting gear....um.... I really need to figure that out....
    I guess beyond that I suggest you never take a job that pays just enough that you cant afford to quit so you can figure it out.....figure it out as you go.
    good luck.
     
  8. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    If you find the right University, then doing a Degree can work for you.
    Here in the UK we have specialist Art Colleges (often subsidiaries of Universities) that do the whole Art provision.
    This gives you a distinction between the Photography courses offered by Universities and those offered by Art Colleges. The former are academic and the latter are vocational - in one you just think about it, in the other you do it for real.
    Having said that, there are wide variations in the quality of the courses. There are a lot of Art colleges but only 2 or 3 worth doing Photography at. You have to find the right ones.
    There can be definite advantages to going to the right one. You get to meet a lot of the top people in the business, the College has contacts that can get you a job and the College reputation can open doors - we had an 'old boy' network you wouldn't believe*.
    But every succesful photographer has found a different route to his goal. University/College is just one option and is not the right way for everyone. You have to find the right route for you - and only you can do that.


    *see my link in the 'Photographers You Have Known' thread.
     
  9. 303villain

    303villain TPF Noob!

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    this is something ive been pondering the last several months as well. i am a student at the metroplitan state college of denver, but was taking classes also at the community college of denver to get an associates degree in photography, but they suspended their photo program, so at metro my current major is art with an emphasis in photography. im not sure what exactly what i would like to do in the field, but my big dream is to teach highschool.. the academic advisors at my school have pretty much told me, get the education major, to hell with photography, and thats really not something im willing to do since its pretty much my only creative outlet, and i sure as hell cant draw or paint or anything like that. ive developed a big passion for photography over the last couple years. all this info is great people! thanks alot!!!

    do any of you have any resources for possible careers in this area?? jw. thanks again

    *sorry to hijack*
     
  10. gypsyIX

    gypsyIX TPF Noob!

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    if you're going to invest the time and money in a bfa, make sure you have a focus before you start. know why you're there. there's no time for figuring it all out when you're there, you'll be too busy working. also, make sure you take some kind of "how to make a living as an artist" class. otherwise you'll be working in retail like the rest of us.
     
  11. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Having read the responses you have gathered to date let me give you another perspective. Here in the mid-west, every pro photog I know will tell you to associate yourself to a first- rate photographer and apprentice. Learn all you can, do his/her grunt work. Learn to interview clients for them. Fill out process forms, releases, setup lights, haul gadget bags, whatever kind of slave work they have for you to do. If you find the right pro you will progress very quickly. Let everything they do soak in, observe, listen, and watch. I do not know any professional in this region that will guide you to a school. They consider it a waste of time and money. Get the experience, engage in award contests, and earn a reputation, not a degree. As crazy as it sounds, an award in your chosen field included in your folio will help you more than any sheepskin. The bottom line, its your work and reputation that lands the gig, not the framed paper in the vanity wall.
    BTW, grew up in your neck of the woods, West Hollywood, left in '73. I am sure it's changed but was a nice place to be a photog at the time.
    John
     
  12. Jeff/fotog

    Jeff/fotog TPF Noob!

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    I only took a one-week Master's course in Maine after many years of teaching myself, reading and going through a lot of film. The problem with formal instruction is that you learn only one way, usually. When you are self-taught you learn your own way. (maybe good, maybe not). My pics are at www.jefferyraymond.com if you would like to see what happens when you teach yourself. Most importantly, follow your passion and don't try to "out think" photography. That's the biggest mistake you can make.
     

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