First things first – Just because a photographer had a diploma in digital photography it doesn’t necessarily mean that the photographer can capture better photos than another photographer without any formal photography qualifications. There are times when a photography diploma isn’t worth the paper it is written on!
I must stress that I am not trying to put down those photographers who have got a photography diploma as I have one myself and I worked damn hard for it, so I know how much time, effort, dedication and graft goes in to finishing the photography diploma course. I know it’s not easy to achieve a photography diploma and I have respect for every photographer who has taken the time working to get achieve one.
Since I have a digital photography diploma (and passed every module with a distinction and won two prizes along the way) you may be wondering why I say “just because a photographer has a diploma in photography it doesn’t necessarily make them any good”. The reason for this is because of the way photography diplomas are taught and the way the assignments are set and marked.
When I studied for my photography diploma I could have passed it without even picking up a camera, let alone taking a photo. You read that right – I could have passed my photography diploma without even picking up my camera.
The photography diploma course is all theory based, and whilst the syllabus is wide ranging and includes modules on several different areas of photography, including landscape, macro and close up, sports and action, portrait, still life and wedding photography (to name just a few) the course was all theory and not practical.
I would have thought that the question papers would include activities that involved taking photos to submit with the written theory, but they didn’t. I was expecting some question papers to instruct me to take photos of, I don’t know perhaps:-
the same object at different apertures to demonstrate how the depth of field works; or
a photo of a moving object taken with different shutter speeds to show how to capture movement: or
A landscape photo taken with different filters to show the effect on the image, and choosing the most suitable filter to achieve the type of photo I was trying to capture
There are a million and one practical exercises that could be set to someone studying for a photography diploma, so I was (and still am) stunned that no practical exercises were set.
When I signed up for the photography qualification I was hoping to get some photos critiqued so I could find out where I was going wrong, and then given some useful tips and tricks to sort out the issues. Unfortunately, it didn’t work like this.
When I studied for my photography diploma I made sure I submitted sample photos to illustrate that I not only understood the theory but also knew how to apply the theory for the effect I wanted. The tutor never critiqued my photos, and neither did the person marking my photography assignments which is a shame, but at least I showed them I knew what I was doing.
Since the question papers never asked me to submit any photos it is obvious that it is possible to achieve a photography diploma submitting theory based written answers only. I don’t know that if I had done this, and left out my photos whether I would have passed each module with a distinction or whether I would have been a double prize winner, and I never will know.
Whilst studying for the photography diploma I became friendly with another photography enthusiast, and after we had submitted our final examination papers we met for a catch up. We obviously talked about the photography diploma, how much time and effort we had put in etc. and when my photography friend said she didn’t submit any photos or even take any relevant photos whilst studying for the diploma I was dumbstruck. This person was meant to be a wannabe professional photographer (i.e. a person paid to take photos) and here she was basically leaving her camera in its bag and submitting just theory based answers. In my opinion, this person was not a dedicated photographer and simply took the easy route to get a photography qualification and letters after her name to put on her business cards to drum up some business. Hmmmm……….
Since people can gain photography qualifications without taking any photos it means the paying customer has to be careful and not simply think that just because a certain photographer has a photography qualification or photography diploma, and a few letters after their name, they can take the best photos.
I know there are many photographers, just like me, who studied for their photography qualifications the “right way” and submitted photos and improved their photography skills with the theory they were studying and learning during the diploma. I am also aware there are other “lazy “photographers who took the easy way out and just scrapped through. The million dollar question is how many (so called) professional photographers are there who took this route? Just a bit of food for thought there……..
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.