Choosing a photography course when you’re getting started can be daunting. There are so many options. Selecting a curriculum that supports your skill development at a pace that suits your lifestyle is the difference between completing the course and never quite finding the time because it’s overwhelming.
A photography course is a teaching aid to help you improve as a photographer. Often online so you can complete it at your speed and to fit around your lifestyle. Don’t be overwhelmed by the fancy certification names that pop up when you search, what you need is an authentic course that will make you better rather than a slap dash course that gives you a certificate you can print off.
I have been a photographer for almost thirty years and I’ve been teaching since 2008. I have designed courses that are relevant, value for money and guaranteed to improve your skills. But this isn't about my courses. This is about what you need to consider when choosing a photography course for you.
This blog will look at every aspect of photography courses and help you find the right match for you. If you know what you need, it’s much easier to find.
What is your ‘why’ for wanting to do a photography course?
To commit to something you need to know why you’re doing it. You don’t buy a new car without fully checking out its specifications and seeing how it suits your lifestyle and your photography course should be the same so that you can stick to it and see the results.
Why do you want to do a photography course?
- Maybe you’ve always been interested in photography and you’re ready to learn more?
- Perhaps it’s been a hobby for a long time and you’d like to challenge yourself?
- Are you hoping to make it a career and need to hone your skills?
- Possibly you just want more likes and comments on your photos?
Whatever your motivation is, make sure you have the time to invest into your photography. A lot of the teaching I do needs follow up practice because theory will only get you so far.
Before you dive in, figure out what your why is.
Who is the teacher?
Do you remember back at school when you had teachers you weren’t so keen on and teachers you really took to? I believe this impacts how well you do in that class, particularly if the subject isn’t a favourite.
It’s the same with photography courses. You want a teacher you can relate to, understand and respect. It can be really challenging to figure this out if there isn’t a preamble where you can suss them out before you buy, but most will have videos on their websites so you know who had created the course.
If however, it’s a generic course that doesn’t have a face to the training - will you find it as enjoyable? That really comes down to how you learn and how much interaction you need to excel.
How experienced is the tutor or teacher? A 30 year veteran will have much more shareable knowledge than someone who only started up 5 years ago. They may have the same foundational knowledge but the veteran will have all the years of hands on practice.
Testimonials and reviews are a fantastic way to get under the hood of a teacher’s modus operandi. If they have hundreds of positive reviews telling you how great they are, you’re onto a good thing!
One of the nice things my students say...
So when thinking about the photography course teacher, remember;
- What is the teacher like? Is he/she relatable and likeable?
- How experienced are they?
- Will they help me get my photography where I want it to be?
Investigate the photography course
Research the photography course so you know what to expect before you start. You don’t want to sink money into something that isn’t going to give you the desired outcome.
Most people want a variety of lesson modes, in video form as well as written form. They respond well to exercises set, worksheets and interactive learning which is how I run my courses but what medium is the course you’re looking at in?
Have you purchased a written theory photography course when what you actually want is an interactive learning experience? Take your time in figuring out what the course structure is so you know what to expect.
What do you want to achieve and does the course fulfil that. There is no point choosing a post production course if you are struggling to control your camera. Establish a starting point and match the course to your expectations.
What is the course's reputation? Is it popular and is it successful, do past students recommend it? Reviews and testimonials play a big role here because they can help you identify the quality of the photography course, so listen out for them!
What else to consider when choosing a photography course
We’ve covered the main features to recognise when you’re choosing the right photography course for you, but what else do you have to consider to make sure you are making the best possible choice?
What are the time expectations? Are there deadlines? Does it fit into your schedule and if not can you make it work?
How much does the course cost? Is it good value for money? Will you leave with priceless knowledge?
What is involved?
Is it a theory course or practical or both? Are you required to travel to places to seek out locations for certain topics? Can you do it from home? What is expected of you as a student?
In conclusion, find your why and then research courses to make sure they will deliver the learning you are looking for in the method you need for your lifestyle. Listen to what previous students have to say and go with a photography course that will take you to the next level - not one that skips all the fundamentals!
I have designed photography courses for every level to help photographers become better. My courses start at a really low cost and offer core learning that every photographer needs. Have a look at the courses I’ve developed and see if they make the cut for you!