Photography School Options - GASP! Stone might finally learn something!

Discussion in 'Workshops & Lectures' started by StoneNYC, May 16, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    So,

    The past few months have been really rough for me, I have lost a bunch of family, a long-term relationship, my place of living, my place of employment, and have really been in relatively rough shape.

    Anyway I'm trying to pick myself back up and do what is right for my next steps in life, I've been up applying to certain places and unfortunately many of the places insist on a minimum of an Associates Degree. They don't even seem to care what kind, as long as I have the paper.

    So naturally I'm looking at going to school for photography. I found a local school of art that has a photography AFA degree that focuses on both the digital workflow and believe it or not mostly traditional photography techniques!

    However I'd like to get a good idea of what others whom actually possibly might have gone to these schools, and or other schools, as well as just general information, I would for to hear from people whom actually either work in the education system, went to the actual schools, or hire people who go to various schools etc. Please don't flame me, this is a big step for me.

    I called around to the various state colleges and community colleges in my area and none of them have any serious photography focuses.

    -Southern CT State University in New Haven, CT is one that offers an art degree with a focus on photography, but even that only has five maybe six courses that are photo related and the rest are all normal academia and non-photo related art. And only offers a 4 year degree when I'm only looking at a 2 year degree at this point. TOTAL 2 year COST $25,000+materials cost and no degree or 4 year total of $50,000.

    -Paier College of Art, in Hamden, CT is a TINY little art school, but they seen to offer an associates with all the really important photo classes and my friend already goes there and she said it's a wonderful school, all the professors are working professionals who own their own photo studios etc, none are JUST teachers.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1400266351.210705.jpg

    And they offer a 4 year Bachelors if I want to continue after my 2 year. TOTAL 2 year COST $25,000+course materials cost

    I also spoke to one photographer that owns a random photo studio in my area who went to ...

    Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, it's farther from me and I would have to get housing, and they don't really offer and actual associates degree they only offer a certificate after two years of schooling, the guy I spoke to sounded like a real salesman, and he kept repeating that they were one of the top three photography schools in the world, something that I just had a hard time believing when there's places like RISD (which I couldn't afford) but he also mentioned that they did have a lot of job placement programs, and that 90% of their students get placed directly out of that program right out of school which on the surface sounded nice. TOTAL 2 year COST $50,000+housing+course materials costs.

    What I am weighing is the idea of going to school for photography and learning photography as a trade which would allow me to find and understand the working world of photography so that I can work in that field after I learn at the school, but also I'm weighing the option that Photography might not be the only thing that I should look at in terms of actually supporting myself after school is over, so the idea of getting an actual associates degree that is accredited is a little more appealing then if I go to school that just focuses on photography but only gives you a certificate and not an actual degree. In the art world your skills and your portfolio really are the main focus in terms of getting a job, but it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan and actual degree at the end.

    Price is also obviously a factor for me, and I would rather not have to have a tremendous scholastic debt while trying to start working in a field that already isn't exactly the best for many people in terms of financial stability, I am certainly open to other schools, but then the housing expense comes into play a lot and being away from the area in which I am used to living, I am certainly not academically skilled enough (my grades weren't great in school) and my portfolio probably isn't good enough to apply to a place like RISD or anything, but I'm open to considering a "reach" if it would make the difference somehow.

    The Paier place sounds like the best bet for both, and I would learn a lot and a much higher focus on traditional techniques... But I would like YOUR feedback please.

    Thanks everyone!

    ~Stone

    (PS mods I wasn't sure where to put this, feel free to move it to the right place).
     
  2. snapguy

    snapguy Member

    Messages:
    1,297
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Location:
    California d
    Shooter:
    35mm
    paper

    I am older than dirt and if there is one thing I can tell you from a long life of being a working stiff in photography and being a freelance photographer -- you need to get your hands on one of those dumb pieces of paper. If not you will work for a lot of Bozos who don't know a Leica from a Looney Tunes cartoon. You need to go to a place that is accredited. And, if you get a two-year degree you will be within a reasonable distance of getting a four-year one later if you think you need it.
    I never got a stupid degree and it cost me plenty. I once worked for a guy who did not know there were camera lenses that weren't zooms. I told him about my 50mm f1.4 Nikkor and he said "50mm to what?" He graduated from journalism college. With a minor in Dumb but he got more bucks than I did.
     
  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

    Messages:
    1,467
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I went into college equally liking computers and photography and could have went either way. I ended up starting but not finishing computer science, started an Internet business, dropped out, and do photography for fun now and think I've chosen the right path for me. I would be suspicious of an idea to get a good paying job with a photography degree alone. Photography seems undervalued these days and making a living at it seems like an uphill battle unless you want to be in academia or have established a business in photography, or you marry well.

    I'd suggest getting an associates at a local community college or state college branch in business or something equally versatile and employable. Then get the training you want in photography, and put the two together as you see fit or conditions allow. Check out Maine Media Workshops and Maine College of Art to see what they offer for your needs. I am not familiar with the schools you have listed. RIT is an option too, but it's probably not cheap.
     
  4. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,199
    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You already know how to take good photos. You could probably teach at some of those places. I would work odd jobs to make ends meet while you start your own photography business. The last thing you want is $50K in debt.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,771
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You seem to want to stay on the East coast. Brooks in Santa Barbara does not require degrees beforehand (at least they did not at one time) and they offer some very good courses.

    PE
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,436
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    From everything I've heard from pros who own studios, having a degree in photography is not particularly important. What they care about is: are you a hard worker who shows up on time, knows how to use a light meter, knows how to set lighting ratios, pays attention to things like wrinkles in fabric, stray hairs, dirt on the backdrop, etc. Having a decent portfolio will help convince them you can do these things, but you don't have to go to school to develop said portfolio. In today's working studio, while having wet darkroom skills may impress on a personal level, not having very solid, demonstrable Photoshop skills will be the kiss of death. More helpful would be to have an Associates in business management (because that's the part of the business the pro photog doesn't want to be doing him/herself) along with a serious portfolio.

    Given that you're in the New York metro area, I'd start assisting freelance, and build a portfolio of work out of the assisting gigs, while doing the AA degree in business management, or getting a full Bachelor's in something. You can do this at a state school or even a community college where you can do it a lot cheaper than $25-50K, and you can get academic scholarships to reduce the cost even further. Many community colleges have photography courses and even wet darkroom facilities where you can keep practicing your wet darkroom skills and building a portfolio while you get the other general skills.

    You don't have to have a degree in your career field in order to succeed in that field - I'm an IT professional and have been for 15 years now, but my undergrad degree? English Lit.
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,417
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are going for a piece of paper, make it worth your money. I recommend getting a degree in business management, and utilize that. You can always open your own studio and then you will have the knowledge to run it properly. support yourself while in school by taking photos. If the self employment route doesn't work, the degree will get your foot in many doors.
     
  8. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Buy a plain ticket.... then come here.....

    no degree is nessecary - no degree is issued as we are a school without exams..

    Photography course - optional classes- room to live in - fellow students from all over the world (15 different contries as we speak) - all the food you can eat - coffee you can drink or develop film in - study trip to Prague (this fall).. and more

    All included.

    For far less than 25K

    just sayin'
     
  9. yurisrey

    yurisrey Member

    Messages:
    258
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    New York Met
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi stone, I just want to share that I too had been in a similar situation a few years ago: straight out of film school I owned a business (sfx studio) and was actually so busy I had to turn down work. About a year ago that all changed. I lost my business, and could barely find work as a camera operator/lighting specialist, (I even ended up working in a kitchen for a bit just to pay my bills) It was a truly humbling experience. Thankfully I returned back to school (journalism major/photography minor) and now find myself happier than when I thought I had it all. I think Rudyard Kipling put it best in "If:" (a bit of paraphrasing)

    "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;"
    and
    "Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools...
    Yours is the Earth and everything thats in it."

    In short, a place like Paier sounds like an ideal school, its curriculum looks very well structured and there is the added advantage of having professors have hands-on-knowledge of the trade. That is priceless. I used to have lunches with a headhunter who worked in the finacial industry for high-level positions (CFOs, VPs, etc; ) and what I discovered was that in the 'art world' as much as the corporate, what is most desired the in a potential candidate is a) real-world experience vs not only theoritcal and b) persistence. And b is clearly seen when you show on your cv that you returned to school. I wish you the best of luck and I praise you for determination.

    Forgot to mention: the associates degree is important, having a college degree puts you on an equal playing field.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2014
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,971
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1 !!

    sounds like a great situation, and a great way to learn photography.
     
  11. pdjr1991

    pdjr1991 Member

    Messages:
    184
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Salisbury, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Im currently working on my BFA at Salisbury University. Next is my MFA and im clueless where. But i look forward to teaching at the college level and want to open a studio. Bottomline is i know i want to teach and require the paper for it. Think short and long term. If you need the degree, get it.
     
  12. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

    Messages:
    1,478
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Location:
    Penfield, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
  13. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Good info so far. Gandolfi, you're always an inspiration, and the price sounds right, and your student body is never short of models it seems. I'll consider it, but it would help to have the Associates, as others have said.

    I'm also more adverse to learning a LOT of academia... I think I would want to learn photography first and then maybe business management once I have my associates in photography because that I can take night classes while working, but FOR ME I can't do art and work and school at the same time, I need to focus.

    PS, my screen name (which won't change as it's my online handle everywhere) was actually something created a very long time ago that was part of an attempt at manifest destiny, in which I had been interested in becoming a fashion photographer and shooting in New York City, however I've discovered that I really truly despise New York City, it's dirty and loud and I'm much more at home in open spaces of greenery, so I'm a lot less interested in going to school in New York City, and I actually live in Connecticut believe it or not, and only have lived in New York City and tiny spurts and couldn't wait to leave, so unfortunately that also means that it's very difficult to pick up small photography gigs as there aren't as many in Connecticut as there are in the city.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    US
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Study business and get into stock trading. And whatever you do, stay the hell away from the printing business. And as far as photography as a career, not me brother. Photography might be fun, but when it's work, it's WORK, in the 4-letter sense of the word. BTW--don't blame you a bit on the New York City bit. Never been there, never will. New York's best days are long behind it.
    The printing business is a lot like the photography biz. I print for commercial customers. But when you work for ad agencies, those are people you can never satisfy. Most of them are kooks.
    Get into business and trade stock. That's the ticket. People who work with their hands never have anything but poverty and sorrow.
     
  16. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,979
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Stone- I'm glad to see this post from you. I think it's a great idea. Your enthusiasm, and desire, deserve the chance to find out where photography can take you.
    Visit Paier. Talk to the students and faculty. See the facilities. Check the kind of work students are doing.It sounds like it could be a good fit for you. I did a BFA in Photography. As much as people may dismiss it, there's something about being in a creative, learning environment on a daily basis.

    PS- Even with my BFA, I'd jump at the chance to study with Emil... I'm sure a few weeks working with him would be incredibly inspiring. :D
     
  17. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    US
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Stone ole' buddy--I'm going to give you the best advice you'll ever get. Go talk to your Dad.
     
  18. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,916
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    Location:
    Ye Olde England
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Never heard of them, so did the obvious thing, googled the name. Top hit was: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/hallmark-institute-of-photography/turners-falls-massachusetts-01376-1604/hallmark-institute-of-photography-stay-away-from-this-overpriced-overhyped-worthless-sc-820356

    If they need a salesman to sucker you in with grandiose promises of snake oil, it's a pretty sure bet there is a scam in it somewhere. "Top three in the world" my :pinch:
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    My dad's advice has always been to find a rich woman who only wants to worship me and make life easy... Not very helpful...
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    That was actually my impression after talking to him for a while, at first it sounded good but the more he talked and the less he allowed me to ask questions and more suspicious I got and towards the end it just sounded like a big old sales gig.

    I'm glad my judge of character and suspicions were correct. Thanks, I had planned to do more googling anyway figured I would ask you guys here first before I did some serious research as sometimes it's better to hear from people rather than just read the Internet, but I trust ripoff report in general, has a website they actually do a good job of weeding through the truth, and so thanks for posting this.
     
  21. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

    Messages:
    2,057
    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Location:
    US
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Actually, that's not bad advice. I was kinda thinking along the same lines, but didn't want to sound crass by saying it. Seriously, when the chips are down, your Pop will point you the right way. You're from Connecticut, not some podunck like Marshville NC, where even the parents are sorry as the children. You Pop can't live in a place like Connecticut and be a no-count bum who won't point his kid the right way.
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Funny you say that... Had to rent my apartment to my dad for $300/month (at a huge loss obviously) for 2 years because he is kinda a no-count bum, I love him, but, he made a lot more mistakes than I have, and he's a genius, physicist, theoretical physical chemist, engineer, and I make more than him as a washed up no talent actor/photographer who now lives with his mom again. The bank won't even take my burnt house (that I used to rent him) and didn't even show up to the foreclosure hearing, so the judge wanted to dismiss the case, and I was meeting with the judge to give the bank more time in order to finish the foreclosure action, and the judge looked at me and said "they didn't even show up how can I give them more time I'm sorry but the motion is dismissed" and I'm doing better than him...

    But thanks. Not everyone in CT is well off. Still 1st works problems... But still... Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of good influences mostly from my mother in reality, and my father in science and understanding of the world, but still nothing that would help me succeed in life financially from either... Everything I've had (80,000 CC line, multi family property, stock investments, etc) and lost ... in my life has been my own doing, and nothing but discouragement from all my attempts. I just keep pushing onward.
     
  23. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,199
    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You're already a good photographer. What do you expect to learn? 50K for a piece of paper does not sound like a good idea to me. Don't make any rash judgements when things are seemingly at their worst. Assuming you are healthy and not in debt, you are already a hell of a lot better off than many people.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,971
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    getting that piece of paper is a huge deal if it is for a degree in photography ( or art or anything ) it leads to other things.

    but then again, sometimes its best to get a day-job that pays the bills and do the creative work in the spare time.
    sanders mcnew is a lawyer by day portraitist by night
     
  25. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    What kind of jobs are these that your applying for that require at least an associates? Certainly not photography jobs, all that maters there is your portfolio.

    If you want to do photography as a living then there are other cheeper ways then going to school. Workshops and online classes would be one way.

    So what is it that you want to do?

    Do you want to work the other jobs that require at least an associates? Then sure get one an associates in photography since it is something that interests you and you will do it as a hobby out side work.

    If it's photography you want to do then take some workshops, find a working photographer to intern for and take a class on running a small business and save yourself all that student loan debt.
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,800
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd second the advice to take business courses. A business Certificate/Degree/Diploma plus a portfolio plus evidence that you like hard work will get you farther than anything that is specific to photography.

    Don't discount relatively dry academic learning. If you can succeed in that environment, it means you can handle all sorts of crap, and still satisfy requirements.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.