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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 14 Aug 2014 (Thursday) 14:14
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ACESFULL82
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Aug 14, 2014 14:14 |  #1

Hello POTNers! Wanted to see if i could get others opinions on this. Has anybody ever graduated from the Art Institute(they have schools across America) with an associaites or Bachelors degree in photography? The reason i ask is i ran ionto an old friend who said he just enrolled in their bachelor program for photgraphy. He said he took out 90k in financial aid and would only repay about 30K. The course is 3-4 years long and they have regular expos where companies come in and browse your work and portfolio and you have the chance to interview with them. Just wondering what ways other people have taken to get to doing this for a living or atleast making some money at it. I did an interview with them and it all seems legit and a great opportunity, but pops always taught me that "what seems to good to be true, usually is". Just curious as to what other classes or schools are out there that might be better then the Art Institute.


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Numenorean
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Aug 14, 2014 14:15 |  #2

Why do you feel you need a degree in this? What type of photography do you want to do?


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ACESFULL82
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Aug 14, 2014 14:34 |  #3

Numenorean wrote in post #17096206 (external link)
Why do you feel you need a degree in this? What type of photography do you want to do?

I just looked into it to see what it was all about. As far as the associates degree goes they teach you all about photography, such as fashion, composition, lighting, photojournalism, business law, business management, and much more in different genres. Basically everything you need to do it professionally. I know as for me i needs tons of help in in all aspects to even begin to think about a career in it. And the doors(national inquire mag, sport ill, big name companies, chevy, dodge, MLB, NFL, sports) they "say" they can open up for you, are VERY hard to open up on your own.


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Numenorean
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Aug 14, 2014 14:48 |  #4

ACESFULL82 wrote in post #17096246 (external link)
I just looked into it to see what it was all about. As far as the associates degree goes they teach you all about photography, such as fashion, composition, lighting, photojournalism, business law, business management, and much more in different genres. Basically everything you need to do it professionally. I know as for me i needs tons of help in in all aspects to even begin to think about a career in it. And the doors(national inquire mag, sport ill, big name companies, chevy, dodge, MLB, NFL, sports) they "say" they can open up for you, are VERY hard to open up on your own.

Well you didn't answer the questions....so.

Do you want to do commercial photography?


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Aug 14, 2014 14:49 |  #5

Let's just give you an example of personal experience. It is not AI specifically, but my son HAD to go to a school specializing in his chosen field of interest. It was $50K for a two year degree and they gave him the whole, we have people who will come in and look at your work and help get your name out in the industry. It is now 3 years post graduation and he is a forklift operator. (Let's just say, he did not get a degree in advanced forklift operation) The school fed him all kind of lines about job placement and hiring him for the school and NONE of that was true.
I think as a general rule, this is a field that you can study and get good enough to be a pro without school. I would say many people here are not degreed in photography in particular. Might it help? Sure, but it is not always what is it cracked up to be.


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aliengin
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Aug 14, 2014 15:03 |  #6

If you want a career in photography. get a business degree.


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ACESFULL82
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Aug 14, 2014 15:03 |  #7

Numenorean wrote in post #17096277 (external link)
Well you didn't answer the questions....so.

Do you want to do commercial photography?

Do i feel you need a degree to be successfull... No. Does it help.. Yes.


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phantelope
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Aug 14, 2014 15:17 |  #8

I'd consider it a waste of money, but that's what it would be for me. Look at the classes, if possible talk to some students there too. I think taking some business classes is always a good idea, depending on what kind of photography you want to do/offer, I think it would be better to find a job as an assistant somewhere, hands on beats classroom for these things any day for me.

But that's me, I zone out during lectures easily and don't like "assignments" in a creative field (go out and shoot something red or shoot the mood "sad" etc. For the right person with the right personality and drive to go beyond what the classes offer, it might be useful. Otherwise you'll be one of so many graduates that all did the same thing, looking for the same job. Which might not even exist. Several of these pay for "universities" got into trouble lately for promising the blue off the sky and not delivering even an overcast day in return.

At least do as much research on the school and the program you're interested in. I wasted "only" 15k on a degree from SF State, not one classmate ever worked in the field (webdesign) after graduating. I ran my own mini business for a while but left that behind me long ago.

Marketing and business will be much more important than some photo assignment in a class. I forget the ratio I read somewhere, but a photography business nowadays is probably something like 20% shooting and the rest is processing, business, marketing, networking. Pros sure have more input here and can also tell you if they'd care if you have a degree or not in regards to hiring you as assistant or 2nd shooter etc.

Be careful before you spend that much money....


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Numenorean
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Aug 14, 2014 15:20 |  #9

ACESFULL82 wrote in post #17096309 (external link)
Do i feel you need a degree to be successfull... No. Does it help.. Yes.

Does a degree in photography help?? NO. Unless for very specific areas.

Hence my question you refuse to answer.

Sounds like you already made up your mind to waste your money on a useless art degree, so go have fun and get your worthless degree and enjoy flipping burgers.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Aug 14, 2014 15:29 |  #10

phantelope wrote in post #17096339 (external link)
I'd consider it a waste of money, but that's what it would be for me. Look at the classes, if possible talk to some students there too. I think taking some business classes is always a good idea, depending on what kind of photography you want to do/offer, I think it would be better to find a job as an assistant somewhere, hands on beats classroom for these things any day for me.

But that's me, I zone out during lectures easily and don't like "assignments" in a creative field (go out and shoot something red or shoot the mood "sad" etc. For the right person with the right personality and drive to go beyond what the classes offer, it might be useful. Otherwise you'll be one of so many graduates that all did the same thing, looking for the same job. Which might not even exist. Several of these pay for "universities" got into trouble lately for promising the blue off the sky and not delivering even an overcast day in return.

At least do as much research on the school and the program you're interested in. I wasted "only" 15k on a degree from SF State, not one classmate ever worked in the field (webdesign) after graduating. I ran my own mini business for a while but left that behind me long ago.

Marketing and business will be much more important than some photo assignment in a class. I forget the ratio I read somewhere, but a photography business nowadays is probably something like 20% shooting and the rest is processing, business, marketing, networking. Pros sure have more input here and can also tell you if they'd care if you have a degree or not in regards to hiring you as assistant or 2nd shooter etc.

Be careful before you spend that much money....

Of course it really depends what he/she actually wants to be doing. Not everyone's going to want to open their own business, "photography" is quite a bit more broad than that.

In any case, I'd definitely advise against taking out a big loan on a photography degree. If he/she does decide to get a formal education, I think it's a lot smarter to just start out taking inexpensive classes at an in-state community college or something until he/she has a more specific idea of what exactly he wants to do, then proceed as necessary from that point. For certain kinds of work, it's pointless to waste money on a degree, while for other kinds of work you're at a huge disadvantage if you don't have a formal education.




  
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Aug 14, 2014 15:38 |  #11

Numenorean wrote in post #17096343 (external link)
Does a degree in photography help?? NO. Unless for very specific areas.

Hence my question you refuse to answer.

Sounds like you already made up your mind to waste your money on a useless art degree, so go have fun and get your worthless degree and enjoy flipping burgers.

OKAY BUD!!!. Do i feel like i have to have a degree to be successfull? NO!!!!!! THere are thousands who picked up a camera and shot a bit and learned tons in a couple months without ever going into a class, and who are highly successfull. Im curious as to what paths some have taken to get to where they are successful. I havent made up my mind on anything!!! THATS WHY IM ASKING FOR REAL WORLD EXPEIRIENCE AND OPINIONS! Im looking to learn more about all aspects of photogrtaphy and not sure where to start.


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Aug 14, 2014 15:43 |  #12

sirquack wrote in post #17096279 (external link)
Let's just give you an example of personal experience. It is not AI specifically, but my son HAD to go to a school specializing in his chosen field of interest. It was $50K for a two year degree and they gave him the whole, we have people who will come in and look at your work and help get your name out in the industry. It is now 3 years post graduation and he is a forklift operator. (Let's just say, he did not get a degree in advanced forklift operation) The school fed him all kind of lines about job placement and hiring him for the school and NONE of that was true.
I think as a general rule, this is a field that you can study and get good enough to be a pro without school. I would say many people here are not degreed in photography in particular. Might it help? Sure, but it is not always what is it cracked up to be.

Thats what im afraid of happening to me. Thank for the advice buddy!

phantelope wrote in post #17096339 (external link)
I'd consider it a waste of money, but that's what it would be for me. Look at the classes, if possible talk to some students there too. I think taking some business classes is always a good idea, depending on what kind of photography you want to do/offer, I think it would be better to find a job as an assistant somewhere, hands on beats classroom for these things any day for me.

But that's me, I zone out during lectures easily and don't like "assignments" in a creative field (go out and shoot something red or shoot the mood "sad" etc. For the right person with the right personality and drive to go beyond what the classes offer, it might be useful. Otherwise you'll be one of so many graduates that all did the same thing, looking for the same job. Which might not even exist. Several of these pay for "universities" got into trouble lately for promising the blue off the sky and not delivering even an overcast day in return.

At least do as much research on the school and the program you're interested in. I wasted "only" 15k on a degree from SF State, not one classmate ever worked in the field (webdesign) after graduating. I ran my own mini business for a while but left that behind me long ago.

Marketing and business will be much more important than some photo assignment in a class. I forget the ratio I read somewhere, but a photography business nowadays is probably something like 20% shooting and the rest is processing, business, marketing, networking. Pros sure have more input here and can also tell you if they'd care if you have a degree or not in regards to hiring you as assistant or 2nd shooter etc.

Be careful before you spend that much money....

Clean Gene wrote in post #17096363 (external link)
Of course it really depends what he/she actually wants to be doing. Not everyone's going to want to open their own business, "photography" is quite a bit more broad than that.

In any case, I'd definitely advise against taking out a big loan on a photography degree. If he/she does decide to get a formal education, I think it's a lot smarter to just start out taking inexpensive classes at an in-state community college or something until he/she has a more specific idea of what exactly he wants to do, then proceed as necessary from that point. For certain kinds of work, it's pointless to waste money on a degree, while for other kinds of work you're at a huge disadvantage if you don't have a formal education.

I would like to make this a career at some point. Im also thinking that an associates degree isnt that much besides a piece of paper and not really worth the 50K to get it. What are some ways others have improved besides just shooting and learnign as you go?


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Aug 14, 2014 15:49 as a reply to  @ ACESFULL82's post |  #13

No matter what the industry, nearly every for-profit learning institute is a complete ripoff.


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Aug 14, 2014 15:51 |  #14

My wife and our youngest son both graduated from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. My wife's degree is in interior design and she's was able to turn that degree into a very successful career. Our son, on the other hand, got his degree in graphic design but ended up going back to school to get another degree in radiography. He's very successful in that endeavor but his graphic design degree didn't work out for him.

He did apprentice himself out to a successful commercial photographer for a couple years, as a photographer's assistant and that was very beneficial for him. If you are wanting to be a commercial photographer, that might be a better approach. This is just one man's opinion.


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Numenorean
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Aug 14, 2014 15:54 |  #15

If you don't even know what type of photography you want to do - start by figuring that out.

I always say that a business degree is far more useful to a photographer than a photography degree. At least it is a very useful degree that qualifies you for many other well-paying jobs if the photography doesn't work out. You will learn business, marketing, finance, etc. and that's far more useful as if you are doing many types of photography you will need to market yourself, make your budgets, etc.

Too many people just think you can start up and be a professional photographer - it is extremely hard work and there is a lot to learn before you are truly ready. Unfortunately, anyone with a DSLR can say they are a photographer and charge $50 for a wedding and screw it up.

Getting a viable career in photography does require some innate talent. Not everyone can do it. You can learn a lot, but there is a reason there is only one Ansel Adams.

You have a lot to learn - some photography school isn't going to be the best way to go about it. There's tons of things available online for you to look at - lots of relatively inexpensive books and even website based training like Kelby One which can improve your skills without costing $90,000.

I took two photography classes but only so I could learn darkroom techniques and have an appreciation of where the roots of photography came from and what it was like to develop and print by hand instead of with digital tools. Everything else was self taught.

The best selling point for yourself will be your portfolio - no matter what area you go into. Not a $90,000 piece of paper.


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