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Old Mar 2, 2010, 8:17 AM   #1
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Default Thoughts on value of online photo courses?

Does anyone have either experience or thoughts about the value of taking online photo classes? Ideally I realize it would probably be best to take a local college class for direct interaction with teacher/students, but my schedule really doesn't allow for that now.

Some of the online classes look pretty good, but they generally aren't inexpensive and I wonder how much more I would get out of them than continuing to read books and other information on my own, taking pictures and asking questions/getting feedback from others on forums at my own pace and on my own schedule.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 9:34 AM   #2
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Unlike with actual photography, any exposure to knowledge and experience is good exposure.

Books are good.

Classroom leader-led instruction is good.

Group interaction is good.

On-line instruction is good.

Wallowing in ignorance is bad.
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Old Mar 2, 2010, 10:02 AM   #3
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TCav 's reply said it all! As an active instructor, I can tell you that the amount learned by the student is directly proportional to how much they are personally engaged in the learning process.

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Old Mar 2, 2010, 8:52 PM   #4
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Are you in a hurry? Are you someone who looks for books with 'for complete dummies' in the titles? If not, you should be able to learn what you need, but it will take longer, and there may be gaps you are unaware of until you find yourself needing the knowledge.

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Old Mar 3, 2010, 12:43 AM   #5
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Hey I have many of those 'for dummies' reference books and they are actually very well written. When it comes to learning photography you can learn the basics and the theories. But nothing takes the place of putting your finger on the shutter and pressing down. Seeing and judging the results of your work yourself. Composition, light, focus, subject are there for your consideration. What would YOU do to improve the shot? This can be a slow evolving process. Taking a course with feedback is much quicker and very beneficial, any kind of course. Because it is structured for you to progressively learn the steps to improve your knowledge and camera capabilities to enable you to take great shots. That said I dont believe someone can be taught to have an eye for photography. Many can go to the same spot and only 1 or 2 will come away with an amazing shot while the others stand around looking for something to shoot. Does anyone dispute this?
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 1:58 PM   #6
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While I completely agree with Bynx on some points, I don't totally agree with him on whether someone can be taught to have an eye for photography. I do agree that some people have a natural ability to see things better than others, but that natural ability can be improved on with feedback. And yes, there are people that seem to lack the ability to take a good picture, no matter what (though I think those are in the minority, many are capable of taking good pictures but they either don't know how or aren't interested enough to learn how).

Books are excellent for learning the basics (I also have a number of them) and they are good for inspiration. I totally agree with Bynx about the feedback aspect - often I'll be making some mistake and not realize it or know how to make it better. Sometimes it only takes someone pointing out something small that I missed to have a picture go from "almost" to "cool!".

One of these days I'll take a photography class, I'd really like to someday. In the mean time I'll continue to hang around here and read books.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 4:05 PM   #7
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In addition to what's been said, I would like say that they are VERY fundamental and you will miss the valuable one-on-one evaluation you would get with a "live" instructor such as you get in a classroom setting. Basic/fundamentals you can learn from books or from forums such as these, as folks here have already said. The fine points, not so much. You CAN get the fine points from these forums but, you need to ask the right questions. For that, you absolutely need the fundamentals.

BTW, a couple of books to take a look at are "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson and "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 8:40 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for your input. Sounds like the two things I could really benefit from is the structure that a course would provide and the feedback from professionals as I go through the process.

gjtoth, thanks for the book suggestions. I own the Peterson book and have read both it and the Kelby book. What I need is some real hands on time with my camera(s) -- can't wait for Spring, or at least some better weather.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 9:33 PM   #9
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I got my all white balance knowledge from forums and blogs, i even learned a lot of techniques which aren't mentioned in books. Now i am going to start to read a book, imo source is not books, forums, blogs etc.. source is you and how you desire to achive it. I really want to take excellent pictures so much and i would use a lot of techniques to get best results with knowledge which i have it from here or from anywhere.
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Old Mar 3, 2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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Get out even in the worst of weather. You'd be surprised what great shots you can get when its terrible out there.
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