3 Key Skill Sets to Consider Before Choosing a Photography School
Photography schools can provide valuable training for those with a sharp eye and a creative mind. Whether you want to learn how to make a living from photography, or simply want to expand on your existing skills, formal training is often a good bet. However, if you truly want to succeed as a professional in this popular and competitive field, you should make sure that your education will help you acquire or build on three essential skill sets.
1. Technical Aptitude
Technical skills, for most great photographers, are second nature. The better you understand (and the more you practice) the mechanical aspects like choosing the right shutter speed, white balance, aperture, lenses, lighting, and filters, the more you'll be able to focus on the things really help you stand apart from other professionals.
Therefore, a good school will help you develop comprehensive expertise and hands-on practice with a wide range of cameras, lenses, and lighting equipment. You'll want to learn all the modern digital photography techniques, of course, but knowing how to work with traditional film can also provide you with a competitive edge in some circumstances.
Most of today's programs will also introduce you to image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. You'll want to make sure you learn how to process and manipulate your photos, including important techniques like color correction.
2. Creative and Documentary Flair
While creativity is more of a "soft" skill than a hard, technical one, it is vital that you learn how to develop an artistic sensibility. The single most important thing a photographer can possess is not the latest and greatest camera; it is a "good eye".
Photography is about recording events, telling stories and documenting the world visually. Your photos should convey information without requiring explanation. Schools that understand this will place special emphasis on the creative, conceptual aspects of the profession so that you can develop your own style.
You'll want courses that put your imagination to good use and challenge you to see the world around you from different perspectives. Classes in art theory and composition are crucial. But, you can also benefit greatly from any program that includes subjects like sociology or photographic history. It's all about gaining unique inspiration and insight, and learning how to see things in new ways so that your photos can stand on their own and evoke meaning.
3. Business and Marketing Smarts
At the end of the day, if you want to be a professional in this field, you'll need to learn how to make money from your work. Salaried photography positions can be hard to come by. And, about half of all photographers are self-employed, working on a contract-by-contract basis. That means acquiring some business acumen and marketing proficiency is essential to your success.
Look for a program that includes business courses in subjects like self-promotion, writing and negotiating contracts, and keeping financial records. You'll also want to learn how to assemble an effective portfolio; this can help you turn potential buyers of your services or existing work into paying clients and customers.
You Can Stand Out
Photography attracts many people with dreams of making a living from it. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd, you'll need to become proficient at the above three skill sets. You can start by exploring some of the schools in your area. Then, get ready for a picture perfect career!