Which photography school to go to?

Hi. I currently live in the Philippines and I am looking for schools with a 1-year program for photography. I really don't mind relocating for studies.

I would like to start at the beginning of all lessons (camera, ISO, shutter speed, etc) to form a good, solid foundation. But at the end of everything, it is Fashion and/or Wedding photography I want to pursue as a career.

Some years ago, I wanted to be a little of everything. I wanted to learn a lot of things, but never knew which one I really wanted. But when I realized it was photography a couple years back, I held on to it.

I know one year of education really isn't enough, but honestly?

It's all I have.

I am 23 years old, I will be graduating in May 2012, and soon after that I will be 24. I just feel that if I took another 2-4 year course, I wouldn't know when my life would start.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have kids, neither am I married, but I do want to be someday, and I don't want to still be in school waiting to finish before doing so...

Fashion photography with a mouth and sunglasses

Also, I know tuition is huge, I will definitely need some funding and scholarships for this, ON TOP OF the cost of living of course. This is why I need to be very wise about it. I saw you recommend Hallmark school of photography, and I have really considered it.

I've read previous blogs on how great the school is, but those blogs seem to date 2008 and back. I can't seem to find any update whatsoever from students enrolled now, or just graduated. HIP gave me a call and gave me a number.

It's $73,000 at an estimate (including housing, etc + a BORROWED camera for the 10 months you'll be there. We've to return it after the program) and I don't know what to do.

I don't know if it's worth it.

Living in the Philippines is very difficult because you can't just walk in to any of the schools to see for yourself. It's hard to judge a school over the internet.

I am also checking out Fashion Institute of Technology and New York Film Academy but I cannot seem to get ANYONE from either schools to give me a call and talk to me, but Hallmark called me within a week of my inquiry.

I don't know what to do. Please help!


Best Photography Course's Answer

Hi Mic,

I really receive A LOT of inquiries each day but your submission stood out because you already have a clear plan on how to make it with your photography career.

Before I try to give you some tips and suggestions I would like to share one of the most important things that will make or break your photography career. And no, it's not the camera equipment. It's about your mind and decision making. For instance, you just decide to learn photography.

There's nothing that can stop you.

Yes, there will definitely be humps along the way, but you solve them and move on. If you have the internal attitude and the desire to succeed - you can do it.

But please remember that once your "master plan" is ready in have to execute. Like Nike says: "Just Do It" :-)

But I digress.

I think it's best to just reflect my thoughts while reading your inquiry, ok?

So, you are free and could jump into photography. That is a good starting point. You are also willing to relocate? Mic, I can literally feel how passionate you are about photography and that you want to learn it.

One of the most important things for photographers is to become a master of the basics.

What do I mean by "master of the basics"?

Well, my experience is that ALL professional photographers don't have to fight with the technology. They just use the tools (the camera equipment) to create a true piece of art. They DO NOT THINK what a specific button does on their camera (that is an extreme example but I think you know what I mean).

They just ACT and adopt to the situation. Please remember that a photo shooting is always different. There are a lot of variables involved. Just think about the light, the location and ultimately the people!

You really have to learn the basics FIRST! Then try to grow your skills.

Do it in a natural way. One step at a time.

Why do I tell you that? Because you wrote that you want to start with the basics like ISO, aperture, shutter speed etc.

That's the way to go!

Also, your preferred fields (also see my articles on wedding photography courses and fashion photography courses) are very lucrative. If you master one of those fields you can really make a solid income - no matter where you live.

But I digress, again.

Hallmark School/Institute of Photography - Yes or No?

Well, as you already wrote the "money question" is probably the key to your decision. Tuition fees are astronomically high!

Is it really worth it? Well, this is something that only you can decide. Looking back on my career and the career's of fellow photographers I have to say that all the money I spend in my eduction (and my equippment) payed off many times.

And don't forget that HIP is one of the best photography schools on the planet.

The name alone is worth a lot if you apply for a photography job somewhere.

Such an investment in yourself really is a long-term investment - hopefully for the rest of your life.

Hallmark is an excellent photography learning institute that a lot of professional photographers used to kick-start their career's.

What I don't like is that they only lend you the camera equipment. If you will graduate you have basically zero equipment. So you should strive to purchase your own equipment that you can later use to get the first photography jobs (the first jobs are extremely important!) and ultimately - earn money.

My personal view is this: If you have the chance to receive a scholarship or some other financial aid - go for it. It's expensive, yes. But you will receive an excellent education that is worth a lot in terms of your future photography career.

Please note that this is my personal opinion. In the end it's up to you to decide the path that you will take.

For further information on photography schools in the US you might also like my page on the top 10 photography schools in the US.

Hope that helps!
All the best,

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