Hey, I'm new!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by InTheShoot, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. InTheShoot

    InTheShoot TPF Noob!

    Jun 15, 2009
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    Hi all!! I am new here, look forward to "meeting" you as I do my rounds through the forum over time!
    I am a novice/amateur/hobbyist - call it what you will! I love to take photos of my friends and family! I am a creative type - I see what something can be, not what it is!
    I scored the Pentax istD and gear as a gift from my brother who feels he has "outgrown" it and needed something better - no dramas at all - I suppose I can cope with such a freebie! Lol.

    I am seriously considering formal education in portrait photography as it's the one big passion in my life, I am always looking for ways to better the last shot, and am always on the lookout for some new location/prop!
    I have read online so many times that education can not compare to real experience behind the camera - I imagine this would be a matter of personal preference - some of us learn better in a classroom - some out on the field - and formal education does offer both!
    Some argue that a portfolio is all you need to get a job, that so long as you can take a great pic, the degree is unnecessary - my question is then - where do you learn the rest?

    Where then, do you learn where to send your photos to be developed or how to archive your photos properly? Where do you learn the do's and don'ts of the real world? I might think I have natural talent - but a client might not... So how does one decide whether formal training is necessary?

  2. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

    Aug 22, 2008
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    I think it's mostly about confidence.

    All of the educational information you'd find in a classroom is available for free across the internet and cheap in local bookstores. Obviously it's not nearly as well organized as it would be in any formal education. However, if you're tenacious and confident that you can learn it on your own, you almost definitely can because it's out there waiting for you to find.

    A formal education also has the added benefit of professional feedback, which is important. However, like the knowledge itself, if you're tenacious and seek out the feedback, it's also freely available from communities such as this one.

    But both of these things really require that you're confident that you can get where you want to go and disciplined to use the resources available.

    Of course there's nothing wrong with it, but a lot of people don't have that personality trait built it and I think a formal education will also provide an important element of confidence. So I would think that it's all about your perception of where you stand. If you really think you can train yourself and are willing to do the work, you almost definitely can--and you'll probably never meet a client who will know the difference. But if you've got serious doubts, but still really want to, then maybe the formal education rout is a better solution.

    Most good formal education in photography also goes over some of the lesser known business side of photography. In my experience (personal included) this is where most self taught professionals feel most insecure.
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 1, 2008
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    Photography is an art subject - so if your setting up your own studio or going to work for a firm a key part is going to be the work you produce - your portfolio - so what grades you have won't affect this in the least.
    However grades and formal education are often things that will get your CV higher up the list and get the employer looking at your portfolio - also if the employer has 2 people to choose from who's works are similar the one with the education and grades is more likley to get the job offer. Its not key and you can do without, but its not to say that it does not come with benefits.

    Some other plus points:
    1) Its formal time to focus on photography with a schedual - this forces you to work at a pace with your photography. Self taught can work fine, but its very easy to spend months not looking at the camera or not pushing yourself as much as you could. Its also very easy for other things to but in and take up your photography time.

    2) Self taught will often mean that you focus in on one or two key areas or interest of yourself, an that a wider view of the subject and methods won't be learnt. This means that you are likley to miss out on some basic stages of other areas of photography, which could come in very handy later on. Getting a good grounding in all areas helps give you a firm base to work from

    3) If your looking for work I would suggest a coursed based around vocational training - this is key since it would also include parts such as managment, legal aspects, copywrite, costs etc....
    These are things often overlooked by people wanting to start up and often are the things that will break a photography business before it even gets off the ground - regardless of how good they are.

    4) Contacts - good formal education can give you contacts in the industry - this is often one of the most valuble parts that you can walk away with - its not what you know its who you know. Of course what contacts you get will depend on your education that you choose to take.

    What level you take the education at will be important - nightclasses will give you a different input and output to say a university degree. Also consider the private market - some photographers will offer tutoring and this can be a great way to get in the field experience as well as see things working outside of a theoretical classroom. Also for things such as wedding photography its a great time to get experience without the pressure of delivering - the pro is already getting the shots for the Bride and Groom so you are free to experiment and make mistakes in a safe environment

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