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Tips for Selecting a Good Photography School or College

photographer-smiling-2If you love photography your passion for it may have finally spilled over into the realm of actually thinking about it as a possible career.

Or perhaps you are a photographer that simply wants to earn a college degree in photography and want to sharpen your skills. But the big question is, "How do I select a good photography school?"

Where Are the Courses?
Graphic design schools usually have programs in photography design, while junior colleges offer associate's degrees.

Some design centers and universities offer a bachelor's or master's degree in photography as well as some online colleges.

Regardless of which learning institution you choose for your photography education, the following tips may help steer you in the right direction.

teaching-staffStaff Credentials
A good indication of the quality of education you'll receive is to check the staff's credentials.

If a teacher is teaching editorial photography, check and ask where he has worked before. Did he shoot for big name magazines or businesses? How long has he been in the industry? Does he have a portfolio of his work online? Who did he study under?

The same questions can be asked of those who teach photojournalism, industrial photography, fashion photography, or any other branch of photography.

Your teacher can only teach what he or she knows. If they do not have the experience or a strong portfolio to back up their credentials, it's probably a good idea to pass on that college.

view-camera-lensEquipment and Facilities
Does the photography school you are thinking about have the proper equipment, and darkroom labs necessary to provide you with solid career training?

Do they provide professional format cameras to use such as 4x5 view cameras, state of the art digital cameras, 35mm and 120mm format cameras and lab equipment for processing black and white prints? Does the school you are considering teach the basics of processing and enlarging photos?

Reputation and Recommendations
When selecting a photography school, ask if there have been any recommendations for the school from photography organizations or professional photographers.

Does the school have a reputation for having a good program? Has the school received any honors or recognition as a good photography school?

campusVisit the School
A simple visit to the school can be very revealing. Inspect the facilities and labs. Is the equipment up to date? Do you see examples of the work of students on the walls and classrooms? How is the quality?

Speak with a few teachers. Do they seem proficient and thoroughly engaged with photography? For online graphic design school or graphic design colleges, ask to speak directly with a teacher, if possible.

Keep Everything in Focus
Don't be afraid to ask hard questions, and if the college counselor or administrator doesn't have sufficient answers, just keep digging until you are satisfied. If you're not, you still have other colleges that you can look into.


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