How Do I Choose the Best Professional Photography Courses?

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
A photograph of a waterfall in Tasmania.
A photograph of a waterfall in Tasmania.

Taking professional photography courses can be a great way to learn everything about the art of photography, but it is important to keep in mind that not all courses valuable to a professional photographer will be labeled as professional photography courses. Many art schools offer photography classes that could be quite useful, and many photography schools do not focus on the professional aspects of photography. Learning to be a great photographer by taking classes at an appropriate level is the first step to becoming a professional.

A photo of a plate of chicken piccata, taken by a professional food photographer.
A photo of a plate of chicken piccata, taken by a professional food photographer.

In most cases, choosing the best courses is not only about the subjects taught. Some classes are more conveniently located than others, and some are more expensive than others as well. It is important to look at classes you might reasonably be able to attend, which depends on your individual circumstances. When looking for photography courses, devoted photography schools are often an excellent choice, but art schools and community colleges can teach all the relevant skills as well. Working as a professional photographer is often about talent and skill, not the prestige of your education, so building a strong portfolio should be part of any photography program.

Choosing the best photography education courses depends on your goals as a photographer as well as your current level of knowledge and practice of photography.
Choosing the best photography education courses depends on your goals as a photographer as well as your current level of knowledge and practice of photography.

Choosing the best professional photography courses requires a candid evaluation of your own skills. If it would be better for you to start with the basics of lighting and the way a camera works, for example, you must make an effort to find courses on those subjects. On the other hand, if you are already familiar with the camera and all technical aspects, courses that teach about composition might be more appropriate. It is important to note that most professional photography courses require students to use their own cameras, as it is assumed that working with your own tools teaches more relevant skills.

Most photography courses should teach you how to edit digital photos using photo editing software.
Most photography courses should teach you how to edit digital photos using photo editing software.

While many people now use digital cameras, most professional photography courses will teach how to use a darkroom and other basics of film cameras. On the digital side, most photography schools also teach how to work with photo editing software effectively, though not all schools focus on special effects. Achieving photos that look professional because they are finished well is an important part of any photography program.

Professional photographers often work in specific environments, such as outdoor or portrait photography. Many workshops teach skills specific to this type of work. While each photographer might have an artistic vision and a specific style, it is also important for a professional photographer to be able to take direction and please clients. Some workshops can be helpful when learning how to communicate with clients in a professional context.

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    • A photograph of a waterfall in Tasmania.
      By: magann
      A photograph of a waterfall in Tasmania.
    • A photo of a plate of chicken piccata, taken by a professional food photographer.
      By: HLPhoto
      A photo of a plate of chicken piccata, taken by a professional food photographer.
    • Choosing the best photography education courses depends on your goals as a photographer as well as your current level of knowledge and practice of photography.
      By: olly
      Choosing the best photography education courses depends on your goals as a photographer as well as your current level of knowledge and practice of photography.
    • Most photography courses should teach you how to edit digital photos using photo editing software.
      By: Syda Productions
      Most photography courses should teach you how to edit digital photos using photo editing software.