Paying for Your Education in Photography


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Aug 15, 2006
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Has anyone paid to learn about photography?

When would you?

When wouldn't you?
do you mean such as taking photo classes, because i am right now, going for an AFA in photography

I would only pay for hands on, such as basics of camera and lighting, and advanced classes, anything where i actually get to produce work. right now I have a non-silver photography class, a B&W film class, and a color class. all of which i have learned something new from. I love to learn in a hands on way, not just staring into a book, and not applying it.

I would not pay, for just theories and bookwork.
I have paid and am currently paying a local university to teach me about photography.

One course on how a camera works, basics on various photo styles (photojournalism, nightshots, studio,…), specific courses on subjects such as Sports, Product, Fashion, as well as how to develop concepts and how to run a photo business.
All this I am paying for.

While with many things you learn in school, you have to put it in practice to really get a grasp on it. These courses are very hands-on and it’s a great way to get to know the basics to allow you to go out and explore things on your own.

When would I not pay to learn? When there is no hands-on work. Hands-on could be in class or with projects due. I would not pay if it was pure theory.
Do you mean the occasional workshop or video? Yes.

Going to a 4 year institution for what is essentially a trade? No.

Would I suggest that someone who hasn't been to one attend an institute of higher learning and majoring in something else? Absolutely.
Not paid a penny for any teaching so far.
However I have considered a few things as possible learning experiences that I would be willing to pay for:

1) university/college course - would have to be the right course, I really can't see myself sitting a standard course on photography (all that modern art stuff would bore me to tears). Chances are I would try to follow my interest in wildlife and see where it takes me

2) workshops - either single day or longe course with specific aims and small groups/1to1 - most likley in things like editing or field skills (with my wildlife interests even a survival or tracking based course would come in handy)
No workshops (though I think I would really enjoy them), no schooling, no courses except one minor online course... I did take the beginner photography course from Proud Photography, but to be honest, I did all but the last assignment within a few days and delayed doing the last assignment becuase I was going on vacation. It did not directly teach me anything new... it did reinforce a LOT for me and let me know where I was. I enjoyed it.

I did purchase several DVD workshops (Dean Collins, Zack Arias, LR2 and CS4, Perfect Exposure, Perfect Composition, etc...) and found them amazing, but again mostly nothing was new, just reinforcements of concepts that I already was quite familiar with. Nice to know that I am on track for where I think is the right way for me.

Self-education via books, the internet ( is a biggie and my photography library just hit over 20 books)), real life experience, participating with other photographers and being in the strobist group are the places I learn the most from.
Last edited:
Next month I will graduate from a college photography program. It's VERY hands on, and is amazing. We learned everything there is to know about cameras (35mm and digital), studio and location photography, business and bookkeeping, digital production and printing and Photoshop. Just to name a few. It's expensive but it is sooo worth it. The only reason I wouldn't pay to learn photography is if it were only a minor hobby that I didn't care too much about.
Me no havent ever paid to learn and, I think Im too old to start. I wa handed a 120 camera when I was none and, havent ever looked back. Im lucky though I had a lot of photographers in the family so, I got mine for free.
I went to Brooks. Worst mistake of my life and I'll be paying for that mistake for years.

I encourage people to avoid the school like the plague and go to a state college that offers photography. Same education at a fraction of the price.
Photography is a journey. I paid for a four degree and loved every penny of it. I got free rides to The Summit Series of Photography Workshops from Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC loved every minute of it, well except the part where Jay Maisel shot down my work, but we have all heard that sad story a million times.

Point is take the gamble and take a class. One thing for sure is that the internet and reading is limited. Human interaction and hands on experience take your journey to another level.

Love & Bass
Well I got my associates in photography from free schooling. Now later this year Im getting ready to attend Syracuse University for photojournalism. And not only is it free for me Im getting paid to go. Its nice having a good employer. I believe a good education foundation is important, it has helped me out making me the photographer I am today.
I will be paying for a BFA in photography this coming fall.
Hopefully one of the best choices of my life.

Most reactions