Photography schools aren’t a necessity to make money with your camera and become a professional photographer and it is possible to earn a living with your photography without any formal training.
With so many professional photographers never taking any photography classes and still managing to make lots of money with their camera you do have to ask the question if photography schools are actually
necessary to make it as a photographer. Photography schools aren’t essential to become a better photographer but they do help, and they help a lot. Photography schools change the way you look at photography, give you a different perspective on photography and enhance your photography skills.
Photography schools provide a structured way to learn, and rather than bumbling around all over the place without a specific direction, like you would if left to your own devices, a photography school provides a rigid learning structure to follow. You will find that photography schools keep you on the straight and narrow, they keep you focused and they provide the direction you need to succeed.
Photography schools are not biased towards one particular genre of photography and will cover many different types of photography including landscape, portrait, low light and night time, sports and action, flash, macro and close up, and architecture to name just a few. Photography schools provide all round experience and, if you want to graduate, you have to complete all units.
If photography schools didn’t exist and you were left to your own devices you would stick to your favourite photography genres and the ones you are good at. If photography schools didn’t exist you would remain in your comfort zone and never push yourself. This behaviour is human nature, and this is how all photographers would act if there were no photography schools.
Photography schools force you to research in to, study around and gain practical experience in all the different photography genres, and this not only improves your photography skills but also makes you a versatile and rounded photographer who can deal with most situations.
There is a saying “jack of all trades, master of none” and photography schools do turn you in to a jack of all trades but it this necessarily a bad thing? Photography is a fierce market place and there are loads of people all battling for the same work, the same opportunities and the same contracts. If you want to make yourself the most marketable photographer and gain the most work you have to be able to deal with everything, and photography schools force you to do this.
Sure, it would be nice to be a master landscape photographer, for example, and capture better landscape photos than anyone else but can you make a living solely out of landscape photography? This applies to all genres of photography, can you survive with just one type?
Okay, some photography genres are lucrative and profitable, such as wedding photography, but if you can also take commercial quality photos of, say, products too it widens your customer base a bit. All photographers strive for perfection however clients do not want perfection, they want photos that are decent. In my experience clients aren’t bothered if the exposure is slightly off, they aren’t bothered if there is a little digital noise, they aren’t bothered if the composition isn’t spot on and they aren’t bothered if some things are a little soft. These things bother photographers but they don’t bother clients.
Because of this being a “jack of all trades” type photographer is going to be more lucrative than sticking to one genre of photography. Okay, there are some exceptions to this rule and there are master wedding photographers with a waiting list of clients willing to pay ridiculously high prices, but on the whole it is better to be a jack of all trades.
If you want to be a jack of all trades type photographer who can make money photographing any subject the client wants then photography schools are the forward and I highly recommend applying for some photography classes. Photography schools will force you out of your comfort zone, they will force you to try new things and they will make you a better all-round photographer, trust me on this.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.