For those that get the idea, they want to learn about photography, do it because they want to make it better, or expand the idea into a business, something which people have a number of avenues to go down.
The Camera Club
It’s fare to say I don’t know much about camera clubs, and would be unjust to pass judgement, but they can be a good starting point, if you like the idea of meeting likeminded people and there is no critical side to learning photography. People are a good source to ask questions of, but you need to ask the same question of many to see if the answers are the same, if not then it can be confusing to which to point of view to go with. Photographers will admit they have strong points and weak ones, but some might not acknowledge this, as they been doing it a long time and believe they are right, that can be said of anyone, and not just belonging to a club. For the most part you need some sort of camera, and if your looking to get a camera, you can be pushed into a corner because many will use the same make and model, which doesn’t mean thats the best for you.
You can go onto the web and find courses of all types from one day, a number of weeks to part-time and full-time degree courses. The one day or more courses normally only cover a certain aspect from beginner mode and teaches you the basics of a camera, which you would fine within the manual, but find it better being hands-on, but they may offer another course to move up on, which can be expensive way to learn.
The college of University course, can be done as part-time or full-time depending on your circumstances. But theses courses can be set to news or sports photography, which is photojournalism and maybe what your looking for. Or a course in professional photography, that covers al types of photography and historical attributes that are part of the course. This will lead to learning the pass and and now of photography and give you the openness for you decide where you want your photography to go in the end.
It is structured, but you don't need to have your own camera for the most part as these types of course have full equipment to use and borrow. This is great as it gives you the opportunity to try gear you might not thought of, as well as learning old school large format, medium format, 35mm film and digital and medium format digital. The course will cover location as well as studio based and photo editing.
Ive spoken more about this, because this was the way in with my photography and how I learned and eventually adapted to what I do now.
My Time At Uni
The course I chose was based in my home city and was part-time, which suited my needs. The course was done at a local college but was part of Plymouth University but done at college level. This was great because those that know the difference between college and Uni, know that for Uni you are left to your own devices, where as college has more support, which for me having slight dyslexia did help when it came doing a research paper, otherwise I would failed that part.
Being wheelchair bound did bring up some challenges for the course, college and me, but we worked together to make the ability to do things possible.
The course was great for me, even though at times I felt I loss my way, but exploring the different avenues of photography, gave me vision, ability, focus. I came a way, not just knowing the ability of my camera and other equipment thats now part of my gear, but the future of where I wanted to take my photography. It open my eyes wider than the lens, towards the end I knew why I saw things in a detail that made an image to me. It gave me the tools, experience of those tools, to know where I was going at the end of the course, without, I would of been lost and probably had given up the idea of a photographer.
The idea of having a degree, for someone that didn’t do well at school all those years ago, does make you feel good, and to pass with a merit, meant I had done better than good, and something that I'm extremely proud of. I did have low points because of my health, but the support of the college and the mainly the tutors and staff, helped me to keep the focus and pushed me to learn more than what was called for in just a pass. I'm very grateful to them. In my home, my degree certificate sits proudly framed next to one of my portraits, which was part of my final pieces of work for the end of the course. It reminds me why do what do, and gives me strength when health pushes back.