Photography: is community college worth it?

Sharpshooterr

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And how do you know about "most" photography programs at community colleges? Please tell us exactly what evidence you are basing this conclusion on? Or is it just sour grapes because you had chosen a program that wasn't very good?
Most junior colleges in addition to the academic program have classes that are taught through a Community Services arm through which anybody can teach through those programs. Those are people like you and I that just sign up to teach a class and people with those interest take the class. There are no qualifications to teach them. Some classes are great, others not so much. Maybe Flying took one of those.
Those classes are unaccredited and no units are given toward degrees so college students rarely take them, only community members!
SS
 

limr

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Most junior colleges in addition to the academic program have classes that are taught through a Community Services arm through which anybody can teach through those programs. Those are people like you and I that just sign up to teach a class and people with those interest take the class. There are no qualifications to teach them. Some classes are great, others not so much. Maybe Flying took one of those.
Those classes are unaccredited and no units are given toward degrees so college students rarely take them, only community members!
SS

I have worked at my community college for 17 years as teaching faculty, staff in several various departments, and now as academic counselor. I know exactly what continuing education courses are and how they work. Since the question and discussion has been about associate degrees, I don't think he was talking about those classes. Even he took one of those classes, he still feels like he can make claims about "most" community college degree programs. I find that problematic.
 

Grandpa Ron

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I would have to agree that understanding the business is equal to or more important than the photographic skills.

The reason I say that is, that once a person has advanced beyond the basic skill level and wants to do photography for a living; what you shoot and how you shoot it is often not in your control.

The cold hard fact is you get paid for photos people want, not the photos you like to take.

I believe that spending money to understand how business works and why it works that way, adds a bit of realism to following your emotions. It also give you a better perspective for charting your way.

Good Luck
 

ronlane

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@Grandpa Ron, you are correct. The "meat and potatoes" shooting that makes you money most of the time doesn't require knowing elaborate lighting setups. It is stuff like weddings, events and headshots. Stuff that isn't really creative but will help pay the bills. Even shooting HS Seniors portraits can be done and make money with basic skill levels.

But it is the business side that will help you keep paying the bills with the camera.
 

flyingPhoto

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I have worked at my community college for 17 years as teaching faculty, staff in several various departments, and now as academic counselor. I know exactly what continuing education courses are and how they work. Since the question and discussion has been about associate degrees, I don't think he was talking about those classes. Even he took one of those classes, he still feels like he can make claims about "most" community college degree programs. I find that problematic.
I just make the effort and look at the course description online. And if possible email the people listed on the JC website as being in charge of that program...

A good bit of the time, the "program head" doesnt even know the information on their courses web page.
 

limr

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I just make the effort and look at the course description online. And if possible email the people listed on the JC website as being in charge of that program...

A good bit of the time, the "program head" doesnt even know the information on their courses web page.

So you spend your time calling community colleges across the country? How many colleges are you up to so far? Clearly enough to make sweeping generalizations based on some course descriptions and a few phone calls. Obviously, this also means you know how the classes are run and the qualifications of all the professors, right?
 

Sharpshooterr

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I just make the effort and look at the course description online. And if possible email the people listed on the JC website as being in charge of that program...

A good bit of the time, the "program head" doesnt even know the information on their courses web page.
Sorry but this BS is not flying with me.
Give me the name of 3 of the JC’s that you are referring to and I will check out the course material, just as you did and I will email the department heads to check competency, as you did. Let’s see if you develop amnesia over which colleges you emailed?! LoL
Flyer, the rubber is about to hit the road and I think you’re about to crash and burn into a smelly cesspool!!!
SS
 

PixFixer

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Hi!

First things first: my apologies if this is not the right thread! I'm new and I'm not quite sure whether this is the right place to post these kind of questions.

I'm in my early thirties and am looking forward to study photography. Since a BFA is out of my league, I was thinking about community college and go for an associate degree. Do you think it's worth the time and money (or maybe I should stick to workshops instead)?. And if so, is there any college or program anywhere in the US you can recommend me? I know every experience is different and that at the end of the day much of the final outcome comes down to self-learning, connections and how you market yourself, but I'd love to be guided throughout the process and I think college/long programs would work best for me.

Thank you in advance for the help! Much appreciated. Have a nice day. :)
That's allot of effort when going to galleries, lectures, classes, learning the hows and whys of photography. Also, study the work of others that came before you. Take a pile of photographs and join a photo club [even if it's on-line] and get critiques and then, shoot and shoot and shoot, some more.

I am self taught and did all those things and earned a nice living through the years. In todays world that is more difficult to do but as an art and avocation it can be very satisfying. I chose to NOT go to school because of time and expense. So, try the above, it does work. You will find out soon enough if it's your jam.
 

cdd29

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Most of the photogs I know that do it for a living are self taught, though one does have a degree in fine art photography (wasn't from a community college either.) All but one have a full time job or are retired and do it on the side. If your local community college has photography courses and the costs aren't outrageous, it would be a place to start.
 

Geenphoto

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I don't find anything wrong with going to a local community college. The quality of the education you get depends largely on the quality of the instructor. I knew a pro photog out of McKinney that taught at the Collin County Community College. I would take lessons from him anytime. He is very approachable. He also taught night classes as a continuing Ed. So maybe you are not interested in the degree but in some photography specific classes.

As was stated, some of the best pro photogs that I know are self taught. There is an entire world of information out there on the web. I was fortunate that I cam across a forum back in my early days where I could interact with amateurs and pros alike. That site close, I was very sad. If you are looking for basics of photography then I suggest finding a few YouTube channels and start watching and experimenting. You will quickly find out which ones are worth your time.

There is no better teacher than experience. So go out there and start taking pictures. Rate them. Edit them. Study the bad ones as much or more than the good ones. Use a critical eye and try to describe why Pic-A is not as good as Pic-B. Share with others with like interests and ask for constructive feedback -- and grow a thick skin. None of us were very good in the beginning. I am not that great now.
 

mrca

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I took a seminar with them 20 years ago. Well worth the price. I still carry a viewing card. Their metering class was fantastic. In those days no indication of the zone of the colors around us and they made my using in camera metering dead on. I adapted it to caucasian skin being about 1 stop brighter than middle gray, ie zone V, the meter thinks it is So to place it in zone VI, I just spot meter/back button focus under the eye and move exposure 1 stop brighter than center hash mark. Eye is sharp and exposure is dead on. Same with pastel colors, one stop over. North sky, school bus yellow, coca cola red, zone V. Their classes in Montana or wyoming are pretty pricey and you have to take time off work to attend so never attended. But that was in the day before the proliferation of free on line content.
 

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