If you are becoming more passionate about photography, and want to learn more and become more skilled at it, what are the options for doing so? Autumn is a good time to re-evaluate this, as there are many photography courses and groups starting up for the new term. But how do you go about finding the best course or group for you?
In this article we give you some practical tips about how to take your photography to another level this autumn.
Be clear about what you want to achieve
Before you jump in with both feet, and sign up to something that may not be right for you, take time to think about what you want to achieve. If you still consider yourself very much a beginner, make a list of the new skills you would like to learn, and the kinds of opportunities you are looking for to gain more experience. It’s also helpful to then prioritise the items on your list, as one course or group may not be able to fulfil all your needs, so you need to decide which are the most important to you.
Be realistic about how much you can commit
As well as deciding what you want out of a course or group, it’s also important to know how much time and money you can commit. You may be at the stage of life where you could attend and finance a full-time course, perhaps even a university course. But for many people either shorter workshops, away weekends, or regular evening classes or group meetings may be more realistic and affordable. You need to decide your own boundaries before researching different options that may be out there.
Decide if a course or a group – or both – is the best option for you
Based on the above considerations, you should be in a better position to know what you are looking for. A photography course – whether on a full-time, one-off or regular basis – will centre around instruction, demonstrations and assignments. You and the other participants are there to learn, and content will be structured accordingly. And bear in mind that there are many courses available online as well as in person.
Another option is to find a photography group. This could be joining a local branch of a camera club or a local community group interested in photography. Or it may simply be a case of getting involved with a photographic club or group on social media, many of which run online sessions to learn about particular topics or to interact with more experienced photographers.
So you need to decide if a structured course or more informal group would be better for you, and also whether you want to do this face to face or online.
How to find the best photography course for you
If you are potentially interested in a full-time university course, start by taking a look at the list of photography degrees on the UCAS website. The Find Courses website also has lists of more vocational photography courses, some of which are full-time. Also check out The Open University which has a variety of courses and study options available.
There are also many courses available that could dovetail with your current work or study. Start by looking at Evening classes near me to see what kind of options are available in your area. You may find a wide choice of options, including courses such as Digital Photography, Practical Photography, or Foundation / Intermediate / Advanced Photography. This is where the list you made earlier will be helpful : you can compare what is on the course syllabus with the skills you particularly want to learn to decide which course is the best fit for you.
It’s also worth checking local colleges and trade schools in case they have offerings that for some reason are not listed online. And always ask around in your local community to get any word of mouth recommendations.
When you are narrowing down your choice of course, it’s also a good idea to find out more about the instructor. Ideally you want to see some of their photos to see if you like their style and feel you could learn from them. And check out any reviews of the course to find out the experiences and benefits that previous students have had.
How to find the ideal photography group for you
Joining a local photographic or camera club can be a great way to meet new friends who are also passionate about photography. There are likely to be different events, talks and exhibitions that you can get involved with. The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain – PAGB – coordinates over 500 such clubs in the UK. Check on the PAGB website to find out if there is something of interest near you.
There are also many community-based photographic clubs, where you can meet other budding photographers in a safe and welcoming environment. Groups such as UK Shooters, Urban Photographers Club, London Independent Photography, She Clicks, and many others provide opportunities to meet up – either face to face or online – learn more about photography, attend events, and publish your work within the community.
If you prefer to interact remotely there are many ways you can be involved with different groups such as those listed above. Start by checking out their website and/or tracking them down on social media and getting involved in that way.
We hope that this guide has given you some useful information that will help you understand more about how to take your photography to another level this autumn. As we have seen, there are many different options to learn more about photography and interact with other like-minded people, either face to face or online. And there will be something out there that is just right for you.
Good luck on your journey, and remember to check back here soon for more helpful photography guides from Print Your Memory.