The Importance of Photo Education

As I write this blog entry, I can’t help but reflect back on my twelve years as a Photography Instructor and the hundreds of students I have inspired, taught, and motivated. When I started teaching back in 1994, we were all using film. Digital imaging has added a new dimension to the teaching of photography. Today’s students are using digital cameras exclusively, and for the most part, are struggling to learn the new technology.

Photographers in the year 2007 and beyond need to be both visual artists and computer technicians. Digital cameras which are part computer and part camera are highly sophisticated tools which confuse many people. Image capture and knowing how to use a digital camera is only the first part of the photographic learning process which has many other components such as mastering image editing software, color management, home printing and downloading images to a personal or public website. Needless to say, being computer literate is a requirement for all serious digital photographers.

Interest in digital imaging which includes all the components listed above has filled up classrooms all over the county and has created a resurgence in photo education. Most beginning and intermediate level photographers show a strong preference to learning digital imaging in a classroom setting led by a qualified instructor. It is extremely important for students to seek out an instructor who has professional experience in the area of photography they are most interested in. In my case, I specialize in nature and outdoor photography which I have a real passion for. My enthusiasm for outdoor photography is contagious.

Since digital photography can be technical and a bit intimidating, it’s important that the instructor be able to implement strategies which allow for the learning of technical material in a fun, relaxed manner. A good photo class will also include time spent in the field practicing the theories learned in the classroom. A field workshop allows the instructor to provide immediate feedback to students in areas such as lighting, exposure, composition and lens selection. In addition to the above, students are able to watch the instructor at work and learn from what he or she may be doing. In my workshops, students tell me one of the things they enjoy most is watching me find and pick effective compositions from ordinary scenes they would have walked right by.

If you are new to digital photography it would be in your interest to sign up for a photo class. You will save a lot of time, frustration and expense from having to learn on your own by trial and error.

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