Let’s be very honest there: you absolutely do not need to take classes or many tutorials that you need to pay for to learn the basics and a little bit more about photography–but photography classes do something for you that being behind a screen in a dark office at home can’t do for you. Classes, for many years, were the best ways for photographers for learn how to do their craft. But the internet has changed there. There are loads and loads of places where you can go to learn all of the basics. Photographers that just want to know the basics probably learned this way. There’s YouTube, The Phoblographer, Tuts Plus, and a load of other free resources that do a great job of teaching you some tips and tricks that you’ll be responsible for getting into a routine of.
And perhaps that’s one of the best reasons why you should take photography classes.
People that pay for classes to become a photographer of course have some sort of vested interest–after all, they’re paying to learn. You get very individualized instruction sometimes but you also get to be around other people that want to learn too. This results sometimes in people being very supportive of one another and creatives getting to work with other like-minded creative people. It’s a social experience a Facebook group can’t give you but that photography classes can.
Take it from a man that has had interpersonal conversations with a group and has taught workshops. People focus all of their attention on one or two things, they can have in-person demonstrations and can also have more candid conversations. The in-person experience is something that’s very valuable considering that photography is also done in person.
Additionally, you often get to learn on a location with a photographer that will give you assignments that you otherwise would need to only get by yourself or by experimenting. Even further, at these photography classes there is feedback provided and a load of other benefits.
Now, let’s also be a bit more real and honest here: if you want to learn the basics, I’m not exactly sure that paying for photography classes is a great idea unless you’re the type of person that only learns that way. But if you’re the type of person that can read or watch something online an learn that way, you’ll majorly benefit at the start. When you have to grow as a photographer though, you won’t learn just by buying new gear. You’ll only get better by creating better work. Most of that is done through working with others and a free trade of ideas that is much better accomplished in person. This lends itself to a bunch more time involved with answering candid questions, honing a creative vision, and something that is very specialized with the intent of teaching you something.
On the more technical side of this, keywording and searching for something on Google isn’t the easiest thing to do sometimes considering that some companies also try to hack keywords. Trust me, it’s how I used to do photography years ago and knowing the ins and outs of SEO is how I built Phoblographer.
Lastly, what photography classes do are give you a better social experience with others who also want to learn and either share information or work together with you. In photography, you’ll start to see that the more advanced sides are really all about working with other people.