The biggest question in training to be a photographer is which is best learning on the job or doing a qualification or degree?

Alot of photographers often say that their university or college course was a waste of time and money once they got out into the real world theywere unprepared for freelance photography and even with a 1st degree or masters they still could not compete with industry standards. This is often true to some extent but qualifications do mean a lot and the dedication of completing a degree can give you a leg up with employers.

The ideal course would combine the practical teaching and theory as well as work experience, business development, legal guidance and even sales and advertising.

I’ve heard people comment that a good photography

I’ve heard people comment that a good photography teacher should have an active participation in the industry as well as comercial and teaching experience. Alot of tutors I have met in Photography are more technical than creative and have little or no experience in the industry. As for actively participating I have never met a tutor with an up to date portfolio.

Today, accademic courses are more about theory than practice, students right dissertations on light and exposure but only produce a handful of projects to exhibit at the end. The practical side of photography is the most important and if they cannot handle a large workload of taking and editing images how do they expect to survive in the real world.

They come out of University with a diploma, £20k or so in student debts, with little experience of working int he industry which would help them pay it off. The majority of students will not have a good enough portfolio and innevitably become an assistant for a pittance.

No universities help students prepare for the real world and teach business and accounting skills needed for being a freelance photographer innevitably meaning students are getting into more debt probably contributing to the ecoomic crisis at present.

Courses should be more geared up towards the profession as not all academics are students for life or have rich parents to bail them out. A photography degree is beneficial but you need work experience to be successful.