A&P Anyone actually go to a "School of Photography"??

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by ok_computer, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. ok_computer

    ok_computer OT Supporter

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    I've been really considering it quite seriously for the past few weeks..

    Mostly because my girlfriend is going to go to the Alberta College of Arts and Design.. it's a highly respected school, and their photography program is supposed to be excellent. Apparently it's concentrated towards advertisement photography, which I think would be really fun as well.

    I'm starting to take photog. very seriously, and really can't think of anything better for homework than "Go take a picture of something that interests you in an alley" (An actual homework assignment I read about). I really can't think of anything I'd rather do.

    I think the only thing holding me back is how worth it it will be in the future. Is there really a demand for photographers in the industry? Or will I just be a better wedding photographer than I was before I dropped thousands into a real education?

    The things I most would like to find out are whether the possibility of landing an enjoyable job are high (incl. in the job is pay, which may be a problem, can't imagine many people make a very successful living with photography) and whether spending thousands and spending years at this school would be worth it.

    ACAD is known as the second best fine arts school in Canada, so there are no questions about the quality of instruction.
     
  2. phish

    phish hockey crew

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    Isn't there freelance work you could do? Work for advertising companies? Work as a wedding photographer? Work for Magazines, Newspapers, Journals, etc. that use a lot of high quality images?
     
  3. Airpoppoff

    Airpoppoff Vodka > Racing F1

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    Viper did
     
  4. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    :werd:

    :hs:
     
  5. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    search for brooks and you'll see my thoughts on it.
     
  6. ZeroSkillet

    ZeroSkillet Matt Hughes > *

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    So you want a degree to wipe your ass with eh?
     
  7. jared_IRL

    jared_IRL OT Supporter

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    i'm in school now. Art Institute of Philadelphia.

    1st quarter though. seems to be a pretty good program so far.

    and yes, that was my assignment you were reading about.

    any ideas for it? I'm terrible at this stuff.
     
  8. ok_computer

    ok_computer OT Supporter

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    link? :x: :hs:

    Just browsed your treads started by you and didnt see anything
     
  9. Airpoppoff

    Airpoppoff Vodka > Racing F1

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    Tred'z eh?
     
  10. ok_computer

    ok_computer OT Supporter

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    So I found the thread Viper asked these questions in, decided I'd answer them. Right now I am in the Bachelor of Commerce program in University, so business, and it seems alot of people suggest sticking to that. Let me know your thoughts.



    do you have any degrees or credits right now?

    I'll have 36 credits after this year

    what field do you want to go into?

    I really don't know, advertisement photog seems fun, but it seems to be a very open field.

    how much money do you have for school?

    Money doesnt matter, in Canada, it's like $3500/yr tuition. I think 33 credits (full year) at ACAD is under $3700. Anyway my parents pay for it.

    How much are you willing to go into debt for an education?

    See above.

    Are you willing to put in the time for classes but not actually get the degree?

    Not sure what you mean here.. Are you basically asking if the classes would be worth it to me even without getting some sort or qualification/title out of it? If so, probably not, jsut because I can do the same thing with random classes (not college) for alot less money
     
  11. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    I went to two photography schools. The first one for still photography and the second (Brooks institute) for cinematography. If you're seriously considering making photography a career I'd highly recommend a school like Brooks.

    Yes, you can make some very good money in this field, but as with all things, it takes talent, skill and time.

    I've been everything from a commercial photographer, news photographer and tv cameraman. Today I'm a producer/director for a video production company and while I'm not uber rich, I make a very comfortable living.
     
  12. Chrissy

    Chrissy dnb doll

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    i currently work as a product photographer and do some work on the side as an event photographer for some of the promoters here in Atlanta. even though i've been photographing for years i still wanted formal training so i began classes this year and love it.

    i've been digital since day one of my photography interest and i can't stress enough how great it is to work with film and truly encompass the ins and outs of photography as a whole. studying film has improved my digital photography already, so i'm excited to see where this takes my professional career once i delve into digital imaging and such. :)
     
  13. ok_computer

    ok_computer OT Supporter

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    :coold: Thanks for the tips

    Did you ever do freelance photoography, as mentioned above? (2nd or third post I think)

    How does one get into that? Just randomly send pictured to newspapers and such? how does it work?
     
  14. Tedrzz

    Tedrzz New Member

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    Put together a portfolio and resume. Contact your local newspaper and talk to their photography director and setup an interview.
     
  15. ok_computer

    ok_computer OT Supporter

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    It's that easy hey?
     
  16. phish

    phish hockey crew

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    Yeah, it was I that mentioned it :hsugh:
     
  17. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    you're a brookie too? :wavey:
     
  18. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    I'm too lazy to write something else out, so here's a copy of an email I sent to someone asking specifically about Brooks. They asked a lot of detailed questions, so thats what this is, but some parts do apply to all schools. If nothing else it'll get you to figure out what questions to ask



    "I'm about a year into it, going for a BA. I had a AA already, but really meant little here as it was in business. I haven't decided on majors yet, but most choose something in advertising or digital imaging, but others are offered for portraiture etc. There are separate programs for photojournalism, and it isn't as highly regarded. Ventura hosts the PJ and video programs.

    Brooks was bought out, but before I cane in I believe. It is getting full, but its not the end of the world. Because its an art school with a weird schedule, we faced some challenges this year when the review board came to town, but all is well now. The schedule goes 7
    weeks on, one week off, and you get an extra 4 weeks throughout the year, one in the spring, one in summer and 2 at Christmas. The review board added hours to our schedule, but most teachers are willing to work around it, as you're suppose to be in class Friday before the next class starts.

    Brooks is a lot of work and alot of money. Its an investment into a career. Its not for furthering a hobby. The first year to year and a half is technical. You'll be given assignments and test to do to master everything. There isn't a job out there that you wouldn't be prepared for once you graduate. You'll be working with a 35mm and 4x5
    large format the first year, with an occasional option of medium format. Its basically slides and B&W negs. The 8th class or so goes into digital imaging via scanning, then into actual digital photography. I'm not sure where you saw the G5's, as I've never seen
    one.

    Brooks has more equipment than any other school out there. The Canon line is a bit outdated, but has the 1Ds, 1D, 10D, D60 and a bunch of lenses, including the 200 F/1.8. Nikon has the D100 and D1x, and a nice bunch of lenses highlighted by the 400mm 2.8. We also have a bunch of Leica, med format Maymiya, Contax, Pentax, hasselblad and some digital olypmpus. Strobes are the most common items checked out.

    Its a lot of work, as you have to preplan and then wrote up all the assignments. As much weight goes into presentation as the image. You take 1 photo class and 1 Gen Ed class at a time. The Gen Ed's are a joke, so don't worry about those. You probably will get most waived with a BA, but I only got credit for 6 classes from a 2 year degree, so who knows. You can always test out. The gen ed classes are nothing like your normal school's, because of the photo classes occupying so much time and energy. The course works gets progressively harder as you go through, and your schedule will vary every session. Its hard to work, but most have to in order to pay the bills. You're only in class 6 hours per class, so if you're taking a gen ed too that's 12 hours a week of class time, the rest is all on your own. You'll need good time management and motivation. Brooks has some very strict policies, like attendance. Theres only 14 class sessions per class, so they imposed a 3 strikes you're out, so on the 3rd absence you're auto kicked out, the teacher has no input. Cheating is also a big deal, and how they define it is a gray area. Of course stealing images is illegal, but also using images you shot from a previous class is held in the same regard.

    If you're good in the darkroom than your workload will be lightened the first year. Also if you're good at preplanning, setting up the shots before hand and thinking about it rather than just shooting, that'll save you a lot of reshoots. Most assignments are reshootable, so if you try and don't get it, you redo it.

    The first class is an overall intro getting everyone on the same page. You'll learn about the basic camera controls, darkroom, equipment, intro to large format etc
    The 2nd session is really technical on the large format, with a couple creative assignments tossed in to not go crazy. You'll learn other stuff to, like about filters
    The 3rd is a set up for the rest of the way. Its less work than the others, and half of it creative. You'll learn about table top shots, color corrections, color temp, qualities of light, portrait lighting patterns etc
    The next is Lighting theory, which is all location lighting with a flash, mixing ambient with fill, and has way more assignments including 1 huge group project.
    After that is lighting people, lighting studio, etc

    You get to pick your classes in the 2nd and 3rd year, though not calendar year

    All the teachers are working pros, so you're getting input from current professionals and many Brooks grads. I've learned a lot of stuff not really covered in the curriculum from the teachers when they have free time after a class. The classes are 3 hours long, and meet twice a week, so its hard for them to plan a day exactly.

    There’s all kinds of specialty classes, like underwater, zone system, sports, nature etc. There are 2 travel trips per year, if you do them its 1 session planning and 1 session there/post production. You're on your own for the most part to go and capture your story. Look at some of the stuff from those trips, its incredible. The Cuba DVD blew me
    away.

    Social life depends on what kind of personality you have. A lot of Brooks students hang out together, but there a lot of people that are working on a second career and just go to school and go home. Most are in their early 20s, but if you start in Sept that'll be mostly
    entering high school grads, and the largest class of the year. July started 5 classes, Sept started 8, thats an extra 90 people you're fighting with for equipment, time in the labs, products in the stores etc.

    Figure out your budget and figure out where you can get more from. Its not uncommon to see people 100-125k in the whole at graduation if they didn't have anything to start with. Tuition is 4000+ every 2 months, and tons of equipment to buy and tons of supply cost. The low avg of supplies is usually like 500-600 per session, excluding getting new equipment. I have most covered already, but took out a loan just to upgrade, figuring a student loan is cheaper than a business loan later. Housing is ridiculous here. I'm in a 3 bedroom house with 5 other guys, and its still 650 + utl. The are no dorms, but a contract
    with a real estate company exists. Its 650 shared room or 850 for your own room in a 2 bedroom apt usually. Generally its a good thing for high school grads getting started, they're furnished and pre set utl, plus no legal obligation if someone moves out. They require 4 months minimum, but recently have been so over booked they've let people leave early. But they give you whatever is available, as far north as goleta or south to carpenteria, so you could have a 125 minute commute, and you will be driving around a lot, you'll be switching campuses all the time in santa barbara, but if you're in the
    still program you won't be going to ventura often, which is nice. Shared housing in the cheapest, as 1 bedroom apts are 1k+ and studios for 700+. Santa Barbara is one of the most beautiful places around, but also one of the most expensive.


    I've probably confused you more than helped, so you can always ask more. The one thing I would do is ask your self if you want to be a professional photographer and not just a hobbyist. If yes and you can afford it somehow, than do it. Its pretty easy to be accepted, the GPA is really low, its all about the entrance interview. They want people
    that will go all the way through and continue on to become pros.

    Hobbyists need not apply. Financial concern is also there. Of course threes financial aid, but the majority of drop outs are over $$$, almost 15% of the class per year.
    For equipment, you'll need a 35mma and a 4x5, which you can rent from the local stores, its $190 a session from Samys or 320 i think for 2 sessions. if you buy a used one, they're in the 1500-2500 range, depending on quality etc. You'll need it for the first, 2nd, third, fifth and 6th class, beyond that, I'm not sure but it'll be more of your choice anyways. The 4th class uses it for a group project, but chances are someone else will have one.

    Med Format is optional on a few assignments, and won't really be used till later on. The more practice you get with it the better you'll be, but if you don't plan on using it afterwards, just rent them from the school.

    Digital doesn't come into play till after he first calendar year, and most don't have them. I found it helpful to check exposure, flash etc instead of burning film.

    You'll need a good flash, 580ex or sb800 etc. If you don't have one, you might wait you get here, as you'll do testing to determine the actual power of it, and you could have a batch of them that are all different powers.

    You won't need strobes till the LP class, and the school has lots to check out. You can try monoblocks and packs with heads that way, and see what you like better. You can only check out 3 heads at a time though, so its good to buddy with someone and each check out a few.

    Some homedeopt lights, the 2 500 watts on a stand can be helpful, its only like $30 for it. Otherwise the school has some smith victors and stands you can borrow or use their hot lights in the studio. If you take the Smith Victors off campus you'll need your own bulbs though.

    For a tripod everyone gets this Bogen, I forget the number and the 3047 head. Its a heavy duty tripod ideal for studio work and the 4x5, but a absolute pain for on location 35mm work. I got the Neotec system from Bogen and its way lighter and simple to use. Their new Basalt one looks great too. You'll get a student discount if you order from here, but used is always cheaper. The various campuses always have classifieds up for begging students, especially for the darkroom supplies.

    I have nicer equipment than almost anyone in my classes, its the upper division students that have more experience and seen what they wanted, taken out loans, or just got tired of renting or the check out.

    I would get a good telephoto lens, the 70-200 is a nice choice. I use it and the 135 F/2 all the time. Its hard to beat them for portrait work.



    As for the course work, the photo class is what is going to take up your time. By not having the other class, it'll give you more time to concentrate on the class and have fun with it, and gasp, maybe even shoot for yourself. It'll also make you more flexible for jobs. But its definitely enough to stay busy with.

    The course work gets progressively harder by the week, you do a random assignment over the break in preparation for the first day of class, its usually like a test to determine the actual speed of your film. Then you get assigned 1-2 assignments per week, but you'll often be reshooting/printing/mounting/spotting old work. The 5th and 6th week
    especially get ugly, as the more creative and involved assignments are due, and they take more time. Get to the school labs early for those projects. The last week is chill, just a critique usually, as the final is usually in week 6.

    Some classes offer extra credit for shooting more, so if you do the assignment more than once, by switching models, locations etc than you can get more points. If nothing else, extra shooting helps you learn the techniques more and more chances of improving.

    The grade system is a little different that a normal school, as its hard to grade photos. Many of the technical assignments are pass/no pass, and the creative based ones are then graded. Students do fail, others get all A's. Presentation is key. So is getting to know the
    teacher and showing that you work hard and care. If you try your hardest and show that you want to learn and care about your photos, you'll do well. If you know how to analyze your decisions, by that I mean that maybe you did something different, and as long as you show that you understand what you did and why you did it, you'll do well.

    Practice is the key to success though. The more times you develop your film, print, mount etc, the better you'll get. Every session you'll learn more and get better.

    The school is all Mac based, but Photoshop is photoshop. I use a PC and do everything at home, except for scanning. They have Epson 2200's for printers and installing a 10000 at the new Cota campus, and every type of scanner imaginable. The local photo labs can do larger jobs for you, but they are pricey. They get enough of your money with all the chromes you'll shoot anyways.


    I came down with a old Canon 35mm and canon 10D, some lenses and a plastic tripod. Everything else I've got since I've been here, but I've upgraded more than almost anyone. They'll tell you what you'll need as you go.

    When you start send me an email and I'll tell you exactly what to get and what not to get. There’s 2 main stores to get stuff from, Samys and Calumet, but if you know ahead of time you can get used or from online."
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  19. Airpoppoff

    Airpoppoff Vodka > Racing F1

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    how long ago did you send that?
     
  20. mojito

    mojito New Member

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    5-25-05
     
  21. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    yep...class of '72. I was in the very first cinematography class they offered.
     
  22. joy division

    joy division New Member

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    $ is the only thing keeping me from going back to school...I've been accepted to the art institute in denver, in advanced placement for photography- but still after loans it will be $35+k for an AA...another bachelors (i've got a BFA in graphic design/ minor art history) would be close to 70k...120+k would not be in the cards at this point.


    RIT and SCAD are my main choices (I hate california), I figure if I'm going to go somewhere better be the best. All of my photographer friends say don't go to school...too many have loans, they say stick with it and work with local photographers. I'm just going to keep on trucking and move to chicago, la or nyc in 3-4 years and see what happens...
     

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