Why Photo Classes?

Why Photo Classes?

When I first decided that I wanted to make a life and career in photography, I realized that there was much I needed to learn. I knew a little about it. My dad was a talented  amateur and with the gift of his cameras came some time in the darkroom and some basic instruction.

For the first year or so, I was a prime example of the “ignorance is bliss” theory of learning. Or, as they say now, I was “unconsciously incompetent”.  I really had no idea of  how much there was that I had to learn.

After all, when I went out with my camera, I came back with images which looked ok.  Maybe, a little under or over exposed but that was something I could fix in the darkroom.

After while, I became very skilled in the darkroom. I could fix almost anything….lol.   (Of course, if I had done it right in the camera, there would be nothing to fix.)

It was not until I got a job in a real studio, as a chemical mixer in the darkroom, that I began to realize how very little I really knew about my chosen profession.

It was a multi-photographer studio and at the end of a days work, they would come into the darkroom and develop their film, mark their rolls and hang them up to dry. For the first time in my life, I saw how good a correctly exposed roll of film could look. Every frame just perfect, or very close to it. The lighting just right. The subject in the exact spot where they needed to be.

I went home that night, looked at my film, and thought ###**!~!**…..     At that point, I started to really learn photography.

I learned everything I could at that studio and got a job at another one in a different town and learned everything I could there. I worked for several newspapers as a staff photographer. I took all the classes I could and studied with the best professionals I could get to teach me. I went back to university and took a degree in Photography. After graduation, I continued to study with experts in the fields of: Portraiture, Landscape, and Commercial/Product photography. I supported myself with weddings and portraits and the sales of fine art landscape photos.

By now, I bet you are thinking: “what does all this have to do with classes in photography?”…  Well, everything!

You see, one  of the problems in learning this art when I started was that very few professionals wanted to teach their competition. Non disclosure contracts were common when you worked at a studio. And, to learn from someone usually meant that you could not open a studio in the same area. Studio secrets were closely guarded and no one was telling. The false feelings of scarcity and insecurity were what drove this lack of sharing but it still made it very difficult for a newbie to break in or even to learn.

However, some of the pros were different and I am very grateful to those outstanding studio and landscape photographers who were willing to share their knowledge with me and others like me when we were just beginning.

So, since the beginning of my life in photography, I have been a teacher.  I have shared what I know and continue to do so.

The classes I teach are not just about how to make a good basic image, although I certainly teach that. They go well beyond the basics and, if you stay with them you will learn all that is necessary to either become a working professional,  or to just make images like one.