Are photography classes worth the money or should I save money and just buy a book?

Started Jan 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
AltLens
Forum MemberPosts: 99
Like?
Video Sample?
In reply to MrMojo, Jan 11, 2013

MrMojo wrote:

Perhaps I don't quite understand: are you implying it is unreasonable to request to sit in on a lecture or two before committing?

Yes, that is what I am implying. It would be nice but in most cases it simply isn't feasible... How does one establish enrollment for a course if some of the people are potential participants who will decide whether they will attend after one or two lectures? Do you expect the instructor to turn away students who want to attend to make room for the maybes? If the maybes decide to attend then you may have a course with too many students which negatively affects the learning experience for everyone.

The only time I have seen such a system is with regular college courses where a student can switch to another course in the first week or so, assuming there is an opening in another desired class. (Of course, the college already has received the tuition payment so that doesn't enter into the equation like it does with a typical photo workshop.) In my experience it was common for the most desirable and required courses to fill up quickly so switching courses wasn't always a very good option.

The best thing I ever did was take two 3-4 day courses from different photographers.

You were lucky. However, the question that noobies have to answer is this: in the absence of either personal recommendation of someone who took a particular course, with a particular instructor, or the ability "audit the course" (by sitting in on a first lecture or two before committing the time and the course fee), is it prudent to pay up-front and commit to one of the many "digital photography 101" courses offered nowadays by community collages, photo-clubs or even large photographic enterprises (cf.: http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_4&VBID=2K1HZO04CWTQF&IID=2K1HRG71LSPU&PN=1)?

I suggest it is prudent to take a pass; there is simply too much chaff and to little wheat out there.

Even a personal recommendation may not be good enough since the value of a particular course and the appeal of a teacher's style is so subjective. What works for me may not work for you.

Bottom line: there are no guarantees. You win some and you lose some. If you can't get enough information prior to a class to make an informed decision then don't attend it. Wait for a course that you are certain you want to attend... or read a book.

Might be cool if instructors made a video sample of a lecture just for propspective students to watch at their leisure.  Just a thought.

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