Is it worth taking a photography course?

We have all thought it when learning photography….is it worth taking a photography course?  Will it make any difference? Can’t I just learn everything online for free?

It’s such a great question, and one that I can’t believe I haven’t covered this on the blog up until now!

Having gone from taking the worse photography course imaginable, to trying to learn it myself for free (for several years) to now having taken more photography courses than you can shake a stick at, I have my fair share of experience on the subject 😁

(Plus of course, I have since created my OWN photography course so I also have the benefit of seeing this from the other side too, along with the experiences of hundreds and hundreds of students!)

So, today we are going to dive into four reasons why a photography course just might be worth it for you, so you can decide once and for all whether to take the plunge or not!

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#1   Structured Information vs Random Information

When you pay for a photography course, you are not actually paying just for the information that’s in it - you are paying for the information to be put in a logical sequence, and structured in a way that make sense.  

Here’s what I mean by that...

A good course will have all the information laid out for you, in the order that you need to learn it, so that everything is connected. When you learn one piece of the puzzle, you are taken onto the next logical step, and everything links back so that you can see how it all fits together.  

For example, in Auto to Awesome, I don’t just dump a load of information on you and then you leave you to try to connect everything together yourself.  Everything is structured so that you learn in a logical fashion, and all the bits of information that link everything together is included, so that you have the best possible chance of getting results within a few weeks.  

Whereas when you try to learn for free online, most of the time you are getting a mess of different tutorials that don’t link together. Regardless of how good or awesome each individual tutorial is (and there is plenty of them) if you are not learning in the correct order, and making sure you get all the connecting dots, things just aren’t going to make as much sense as they should.

If I may use an analogy (I do like an analogy!!) taking a course is like going on a journey with an experienced traveler. They will get you from Point A to Point B in the fastest possible time, but they will also make sure that you don't miss out on anything important along the way.  Whereas when you go it alone, you'd set off with no real clear idea of where you are going, have no map to guide you, and you'd hope to get there simply by relying on strangers to help you along the way.

You'd probably miss out on loads of places of value along the way, simply because you didn't know they were there, or end up doubling back on yourself or feeling like you want to give up!  So although you may eventually reach your destination,  you will arrive much, much later, sweaty and harrassed, and the journey will have been ten times harder and longer than it needed to be.

And me no like to sweat :-) 

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#2   All the Information vs Missing Information

When you try to learn for free online, what you often find is that you miss out on those little nuggets of wisdom that actually help it all come together and make sense - things that maybe you didn’t even know to search for.

I am definitely talking from personal experience here, because this is exactly what happened to me!

After a couple of years of going it alone, I had gathered together SO much information, but no matter how much I practiced, or picked up different tips or tricks online, I STILL couldn’t get the images I wanted.  It was only when I finally caved and took a course that I had all these lightbulb moments, one after the other, as all the random information I had already learnt came together.

That photography course was definitely worth it, not because of the amount of information that was new to me, but because of the RESULTS it gave me from just a few little tweaks.

I know I am not alone here, because so many of my Auto to Awesome students have said the same thing - many knew about shooting in manual mode, but somehow still felt like they were missing important pieces of the puzzle, but after taking the course, everything came together and made sense! 

In a nutshell, with a decent photography course you are getting ALL the information you need, vs hoping you might come across all the information you need.

#3  Support & Accountability

A good course will not only give you all the information you need, and presented in the order you need to learn it, but it will keep you motivated and continually moving forward.

Firstly, as we just said, you are never going to wonder “What’s next” because a course is geared to keep you moving throughout all the steps.

It also means that you won’t get stuck!  If you get a course that comes with support, if you have a problem, or something just doesn’t quite make sense, you have someone on hand to answer.

Most importantly the answer is given in a way that makes sense because the instructor understands the context in which the question was asked.

For example, if you ask a question about getting sharp images generally, I can’t help you - not because I don’t know the answer or because I’m being stingy with information, but because there is 100 possible reasons for it - I would need to work with you one or one to even know where to start. For sure, I could throw some random tips at you to at least appear to be helpful ('Use a tripod!" "Watch your shutter speed!") but the chances are, unless I’m really lucky and hit the nail on the head, it’s not going to solve your problem. It's like putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. 

But if someone asks a question in the private group that comes with my paid course, I am able to help them because I know exactly what they know already, so I can put my answer into context.

I recently wrote a blog post that kinda deals with this - the Art of Focusing On Your Own Photography Journey. It’s a different type of tutorial, but one that I think will be super helpful, so be sure to check it out.

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#4  It’s saves you time!

Of course, I’m not saying that learning photography from free tutorials can’t be done, and that you HAVE to take a course.   There are loads of fantastic blogs providing free information - in fact, you are reading one of those right now 😊

But having to search for random, disjointed tutorials, all written by different people (sometimes with conflicting information) and who might not even shoot the same genre of photography as you, is not exactly a recipe for overnight success.

So, please, whatever you do, don’t confuse activity with accomplishment - all that zipping about between different blog posts and videos might FEEL like you are getting somewhere, but it’s not actually moving you forward as fast as you could.

Following a course that has all the information laid out for you is as simple as logging on, watching a video, practising it, and moving on. Which means you get to where you want to be much faster, and with a whole lot less frustration and swear words.

In short, a course is not about simply doing more, it's about doing more of what matters.

Over to you! 

If you want to learn how to take control of your camera, and start getting the images you dream of in a few short weeks, then you had best check out Auto to Awesome, my step by step course for new photographers, and for those who feel like they are missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. I can tell you right now, it’s a whole lot better than free 😁

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What do you think, is taking a photography course worth it? Have you taken one and it didn’t live up to expectations? Leave your comments below!