15.8.08

Did You Go To School For Photography??

I didn't... I haven't had formal training... I started out with out a clue as to what I was doing but I've learned A LOT. I'm always reading up on things, learning from others and on forums etc etc...

To my knowledge a lot of greats haven't had formal training. I remember going to dinner with Scarlett Lillian and asking her that same question and she said no, she just picked up her camera and started learning... I believe she's recently blogged about it too...

Another Great here in town that freely admits to not having any formal training is Mark Pennington, I have such a professional crush on him!!!!

Anyway... I'd like to know who else out there is like me... or even who has gone to school for it and how they feel it makes them different from the people with no formal training....

14 Comments:

Tara said...

No formal training here. My mom was a freelance print photog in the 70's and I inherited her AE-1 when I took photography in 10th grade. My grandfather was an illustrator and painter, so I guess I just have artistic blood flowing through my veins. I grew up in front of my mom's lens and always loved flipping through old family albums so I learned a lot of the basics from her growing up. I started developing my own personal style once I "got it", and that was it... Still have Mom's AE-1, and still shoot only Canon!

Jean Moree said...

Formal training? LOL. Does that really mean anything in the big picture? I thought it was all about producing and creating excellent work for your clients. Many greats in the field are self-taught.

Corinna Hoffman Photography said...

No formal training here.. though I did take some Photography classes in high school and college, but those were during film and darkroom days. Now, everything is digital and Adobe Photoshop. I wish I had more Graphic Design training like Scarlett did, though. I think nowadays, the post-editing is much more important anyway. It's the knowledge of graphic design and other photo editing softwares that makes the photo a great one.. though composition and artistic angles are still essential... :)

Sentimental Visions Photography said...

Nope. I've been photographing for many many years, I'd say since 12, 13..and learned on canon manual, developed in a dark room, just self taught. When I went for my graphic design degree I had one class..but that was it. You learn from others, go with your gut, and learn from your mistakes :) Just dive in baby!
~christina

jaimesmithphotography said...

Well, I did receive a Bachelors of Fine Art in Photography. I feel very fortunate to have attended SCAD and studied under some amazing and award-winning professors. I feel the experience was more than just learning photography, but the history of it as well. I was surrounded by painters, sculptors, graphic designers, ect. which can be a major source for inspiration and was also a validation of me being an "artist." I learned to look at photography and how to how to critique it. I miss HONEST & educated critiquing!

This is not to say I feel you need formal training. This was just my chosen path. I think there are photographers (formal trained and not) with the technical skills down pat, but don't have the compositional eye. On the other, there are photographers who are great at getting the right feel of a photo, but blow out highlights or have shadows and hot spots on faces. Composition is something you can teach up to a point, but from there, it's all talent!

Just like any job or field, you don't really learn it until you work in it. I do not feel it is enough to be an awesome photographer to be successful in this business. You defiantly need to have a strong business since or you just won't make it in this industry. It’s a BUNCH of work and you have to love it.

That’s my two cents….sorry so long!

Jess Cumbie said...

Tara - so right about the artistic blood, you do so much more than photos! My mom was the same way, I knew from a young age I wanted to create as my profession I just didn't know what...

Jean - I personally think formal training is great technically, but I agree most of the greats are self taught.

Cory - Yeah I know what you mean, learning the post process has been much harder than learning the camera!

Christina - Thanks so much for your comment!!! I agree, I think that just diving in is the way to go, that's what I did started calling friends said can I practice with you? They all said sure thing, it developed from there...

Jamie - If I had the money I'd get my BFA in Photography in a heartbeat. It's something i want just for myself. I know 3 girls in the UNF program now and they get to do such cool projects!!! I know there is so much to learn that no one can ever know it all. I'm glad you feel the way you do, not all photographers that have taken classes feel you can be a professional photographer without them....

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take a photography class from someone who just started taking pics about 2 years ago. That's for sure.

While some people have talent, photography is a constant learning experience and someone with that little experience should not be teaching a class.

Of course, some people are just greedy.

Jess Cumbie said...

Anon - I don't think it matters how long you've been at it... It doesn't take a lifetime to learn the basics. Anything I have thought about teaching is because people are constantly asking me questions, so I figured why not secure some models (which in most cases like to be compensated in one way or the other, and photos by total novice wouldn't be what I wanted in my portfolio) Plus materials, plus securing a class room, it all takes money... So while some people are greedy, I'm sure, the goal of anything I've put together is to go over basics and give people a chance to shoot models and couples while having someone there to answer all their questions, not to make a killing off others that want to learn. All the things that are to be provided is the expense... AND I'm sure you've seen her work, Scarlett Lillian pretty well started taking photos 2 yrs ago and I'm certain that there are loads of people that would jump at the chance to have her teach a class... so I don't think that "time on the job" has much to do with anything... But you are right, there is always more to learn and even the master photographers I've met and been in seminars with say they still learn every day, still grow every day and that's the kind of career that doesn't get old, which is what makes this profession so awesome!!

James Grubner Photography said...

I had no formal training either. I've always loved to see beautiful art done. Last March i decided to pick up a camera and try things out for myself......I got a good feedback from people who looked at my pictures, and i went from there. LOTS of reading up on the technical side of things, but anyone can have the natural eye for composition. Photography's an ART not a science. It allows you to show the world how YOU view things for once. In my opinion one of the best ways of expression.

NFC Photography said...

A note in response to Anon: Disgruntled people that are so easily discouraged/biased/opinionated about mentors shouldn't be in a profession as demanding as photography to begin with. You should consider a different career field. My suggestion to you is don't even bother taking a class, whether it is from someone that is as naturally talented as Jessica Cumbie, Scarlett Lillian or whoever, or from someone that has years schooling and has read mountains of textbooks. If you aren't willing to be open minded, you will not learn anything. However, I'm sure those "greedies" you speak of will be happy to take your money should you decide to pursue it... good luck to you!

Wilson Photography said...

Hello, Mike and I both have some formal training; his was MUCH more in depth than mine.

Mike studied at the Naval School of Health Sciences in an 8 month, 5day per week, 8 hours per day program. He went through the program to ultimately become a Biomedical Photographer, which he was for over 5 years. His training taught him all aspects of photography, not just the medical side. He was also the Honor Graduate of his class! (I have to brag for him because he won’t do it!) :)

I am a second generation photographer. My mother was the photographer for a local paper for many years while I was growing up so I basically grew up with a camera in my hand. She taught me all of the basics of photography so at a young age I knew how to work a manual camera. (This was also back in the days of FILM!) In high school I was on the yearbook staff and was the photographer for three years. I learned a lot then too, especially the processing and printing side of photography. Then in college I took a few photography classes, I already knew most of what was being taught, but learned more about the processing and printing of film. So once Mike went through his training he taught me what he knew about digital, and Photoshop, etc.

Mike and I both are always learning, I think that as a “team” we are fortunate to be able to teach each other new things all of the time. But I have to say that all the technical knowledge in the world cannot make up for lack of a creative eye. You either have it or you don’t.

~Jess Wilson

April Hollingsworth said...

My major was art with a concentration in Graphic Design. I worked in that field for a few years and that has helped me in photoshop and with designing albums. As far as photography, I had one class in college. Ya know, learn how to use a manual camera (SLR), develop b&w in a darkroom. That's where I learned other basics such as rule of thirds, etc. I also had a photoshop class. I learned a lot even though I dropped out of it. That's it. I learn mostly by seeing other's work, asking other photographers. I've got a mentor here in town who's taken me under his wing.

Jess Cumbie said...

James - yeah... lots of reading!!! LOL I've done loads of reading too and loads of google searches!

NFC - thanks for having your girls back! :D

Jess - well, I feel more like a true photojournalist, by definition we are not the most technically correct photographers in the world... even says so on theknot.com. I think everyone has a style and a market for that style. I'm not the only person in the world that likes what I like, that's how we get clients is to sell us. There are clients that care how much training you've had, and that's fine they are going to choose a photographer with a style and the training they like, I'm not going to be upset if they don't choose me. I'd rather someone be happy with their choice of photographer for their wedding than be upset with the final product they get from me.

April - Thank you for always commenting on my blog! I hope we get to meet in person one day! My TV Production teacher taught Photography as well. And I had a lot of classroom time with him, even had a period where he had no other students (scheduling fluke I'm sure) but he would talk with me a lot about things, especially my senior year when I was the only one there... so I didn't really have a class, or really any real teaching just a convo or two with my cool teacher. That would be all I can claim as formal training. I've thought of taking the life enrichment courses at FCCJ just to keep myself fresh and possibly get a new perspective about things or learn something new :)

JEZZIKA said...

I never had any training myself...My dad has done photography freelance for years for magazines & personal. I think it's in my blood too... In my past experience it's better to get w/ many different photographers over time & learn from them... ESPECIALLY if you have the natural eye or talent or whatever you might call it. Some people are better at certain styles than others & can do more than one style & some people are close minded and stick to just ONE style and never broaden their horizons. Hell, I've had my pictures done by a "so-called professional photographer & don't get me wrong...They did a GREAT job on the style of pics I wanted but Their photo editing skills suck!!! ... and those pics were taken by someone who claims to have had so much schooling and years of experience everything in the field, yet I can do a better photo editing job than this person can...And I'm not even a professional with years of training .....personally I WOULD take a class from someone who has been shooting for just 2 years for the simple fact that THAT'S MORE EXPERIENCE THAN I HAVE...You gotta start SOMEWHERE and every little bit of information counts!!! Everyone just has their own way of learning. Everyone should except that. Some people just use their schooling as a "rub it in your face/popularity/I think I'm better than you" type of deal. I can go on forever and ever.... Anon...yea...you need to open your mind a little and quit being so competitive and bitter w/ others. If you have something to strong to say...SAY IT and stand PROUDLY behind your words....just like you do your photography....what's the worst that can happen? You'll lose some customers or someone MIGHT get some better pictures than yours? Or is it for the fame?? SO WHAT!? Sounds to me, someone else here has greed issues....ok Jess,....sorry for the venting LOL