As we all know, much has changed over the past little while in the way people view life, both from a quality perspective and a career perspective to ensure that quality of lifestyle is met. We all face the challenges that lye in our path as we move forward, so for those people out there wanting to choose photography as a career, or a serious hobby, making the right studying choices is important. The one common thing we all need to be late of is to avoid wasting time and money which in most cases will result in disappointment and often negative consequences.

As a professional photographer, with more than 12 years of running a successful and established photography school in Cape Town, I have privileged to have experienced big smiles, received positive reviews, and heard amazing success stories from past students who have excelled from one of the courses or workshops that they have attended. In saying that, I have made many new and like minded friends and acquaintances in this industry. It is for this reason, and being passionate about photography, that I am going to layout the facts, and the importance to assist you in making the right choices in selecting an institution or photography school that will meet your expectations and take you to the level you expect.

As a creative, the school or college needs to open doors for you. Photography is exciting, it is full of creativity in such a way that it never stops. Make sure that when you make your short list, you feel this is what you going receive once you walk in that door.

We all have a “creative signature” that needs to be explored and released, this is why you are here. This is where the course and the lecturer vital to insure this becomes a reality. You are not just a number in the system, you are the individual who has taken that step and made a decision and a commitment to follow your dream, and therefore expect positive delivery.

I suggest that avoid large colleges and schools, as the support and hands-on training is often lacking and falls short of personal attention towards ones growth. The last thing you want is to lose faith, hope and momentum.  In these instances students are churned out like a herd of graduated cattle entering the work arena, the grazing pastures competing with the same mind-set of other such students to just seek apprenticeships to build experience and confidence, or to just grab the first job that comes around. Photography is an art, so what is more important that experience is “your eye” and your talent. Also avoid those schools that advertise everywhere and promise the world. There is a reason they advertise so aggressively, their intention is to lure students to  enrol in their institutions and that all boils down to where financial gain is the greatest reward, not the student as an achiever. Always remember that the best form of advertising is word of mouth.

My choice would be to find a “small/private photography school who will strive to release your creativity and talent. These smaller schools generally have a different outlook, the intention to educate and teach the student normally comes from within. From the true self and the energy from your lecturer, you will be guided in the direction you are needing to follow. It is that one on one direct and hands on time and attention that will bring this out in you. This is also where you learn about self- expression and confidence, the two main areas that every person needs to become successful in their careers.

What to look out for:

(and don’t be afraid to ask questions, often it is the way in which the question is answered that will give you the answer you are looking for).

  • What are the courses and workshops that are available.
  • How long are these workshops and courses.
  • Are there tailored courses and workshops catering for individuals from beginner to more professional.
  • How many students are in a class, or are they 121.
  • Are the sessions hands on and practical.
  • What equipment and camera gear is required or is everything provided.
  • Do we get coached and guided in finding a job and preparing a portfolio for marketing.
  • Where will I go next after completing the course.

Take the above into consideration and you will be fine. I wish you all the very best, it is a great and rewarding career, both from within and financially, that will provide you with everything you have ever wanted. Be your own boss and follow your bliss.