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Thread: Should I do this course?

  1. #1
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    Default Should I do this course?

    You guys have been exposed to my work over the last couple of years, so as best as any to judge my skills. I am seriously considering this course as its on special, and I can pay in 6 monthly installments

    http://www.thephotographyinstitute.c...fm/apg/outline

    Do you think its worth it? I have a lot of gaps in my technical knowledge that should be filled, and there are some areas of specialisation that I would be interested in.

    Should I do it? I will at some point, and can afford it at this price (they usually run the special again in another few months)
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
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  2. #2

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    Looks like it covers a lot, I think some people on here have tried it?

    As to your abilities I am sure your up to it.
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


  3. #3
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    I'm currently doing it. Haven't filled any gaps in my knowledge base yet (on Module 5). The tutor seems friendly and it seems like you are getting an immense amount of feedback, however, if you look closely, you will see the tutor types a paragraph or two and the rest is a generic copy and paste.

    Here is an example:

    Hi Paul, fantastic to get another assignment from you!
    The histogram sure is a magnificent tool and can help us a lot, especially when outdoors under harsh and changing light conditions, and we can't always see our screen properly.
    Remember that ONE full stop is usually THREE clicks of the wheel, on modern DSLR's.
    My comments to your answers are below:
    PART A - Yes very well done, and great notes! You show a good understanding of how the histogram works and relates to your different exposures and settings. Overexposed photographs will have the graph always shifting to the right, Underexposed to the left of the histogram...
    It can be very useful to be able to read your histogram when there are certain areas of a scene that you wish to retain the detail in, or so that you know the information is at least there so that you can adjust it in post production later if needs be. Or similarly, to be aware if the detail it is not there, so that you can change your settings to obtain a correct exposure.
    You can see how the different exposures are reflected in the histogram, and you can see how frustrating it can be to correctly expose a shot with an extremely high dynamic range. Visually assessing the scene before you shoot is so important as we have to decide how bright or dark the relative parts are, and then how much of the scene they take up. A bright area might be only a small part of the scene, but be so bright that it carries more ‘weight’ in terms of influencing the camera's meter, so we may not get a shot that is correctly exposed for our main subject.
    This is why we often spot meter from our main subject if we are shooting a scene with a high dynamic range.
    The alternative, if we are photographing a scene where everything in the scene is important, is to find something to take a light reading from that represents the 18% grey in that scene, even if pointing the camera at that area does not give us the composition we want in the final image. We can either take a spot reading from that part of the scene (or centre-weighted reading with our camera) or we can use the normal evaluated reading.
    On most modern DSLR's, there is an AE lock button on your camera to help us, often marked “AE” or with an asterisk and found on the back of the camera, designed to be operated with the thumb.
    You fill the viewer with as much of this 18% brightness area as possible and gently press the shutter button which gives you the correct reading. Then, holding your thumb down on the “AE lock” button at the back, re-compose the shot and fire as normal, keeping your AE lock button depressed.
    You’ll get a shot of the new scene but the camera won’t re-meter for the new scene, but will take the shot at the settings you have locked in with your thumb.
    Often we see how much better saturated the tones are in the shots that we underexpose slightly (especially in skies with lots of blue colour/or clouds with good shape and texture), which demonstrates the importance of judging all scenes by eye, regardless of what settings the camera tells us are ‘correct’.


    PART B - Wow this is a great adjustment considering what you had to start with Paul. And a good process outlined here too! Well done.
    It can be very difficult to save images and thats the whole point of this exercise really -> to show us how important it is to achieve a correct exposure in the beginning. A lot of people rely on 'photoshop' but it's the wrong attitude and as you have seen, an unprofessional way to do things as the final result is nothing as good. Photoshop should be used to enhance our correct exposures, not fix them….so it should be used as a tool rather!
    Gentle adjustments are the key to keeping it looking realistic. Obviously, this depends on the final outcome you are looking for - but for a natural (well exposed) look, you have to keep it simple.
    I think of the ‘safe’ zone as being about two stops either side of the midtone in the scene. Beyond that we struggle to recover information; the highlights are blown out and retain no information for us to work with and the dark areas suffer increased noise/colour bleeding as we attempt to increase their brightness. We need to think about what the most important part of the image is and how much "weight" that part takes up. I think the main thing to remember is that what you do to one part of an image will have the same effect on the rest of the image (eg darkening the sky is going to darken the rest of it the image). Photoshop allows us to make use of the history brush, this will help you achieve better results, ie, keeping the rest of the image untouched or slightly altered, while restoring the details in the parts you want to work with.
    With any photograph there is more RGB information to work with above the midtone but there is less latitude between the zones between the midtone and 255 255 255 (as you may remember reading from module 3), so it is easier to end up with overexposed areas, which is why some photographers tend to lean towards the underexposed side slightly. And we know that shots with a high dynamic range are difficult to correct as they contain areas at both ends of the scale, which is where we face the most trouble in recovery.
    We also find that with adjustments in exposure we also need to control the side effects of these adjustments, and tweaking the contrast either up or down can help us recover the tonal range in a shot that we have altered the exposure of. So it’s a careful balancing act, changing one a little - bit by bit, then the other, then repeating the cycle if required.
    Finally, it is in situations like this where we realize how vitally important it is to obtain a correct (or near as possible to) exposure so that when it comes to adjusting in post production we have the best RAW information to work with.
    When you do run in to situations whereby you have to improve an image, the key is to do gentle adjustments and learn how to 'bring back' the darker/lighter areas if and where needs be. Ultimately, the histogram never lies and if you use that as your main foundation for your photographs you will get better results.
    Well done on this assignment Paul. Good effort. So what is the most important thing you can take away from this assignment? -> The answer - getting the image correctly exposed the first time through the camera, and then making gentle adjustments later in post production.
    See you for Assignment 5, great effort here.

    Module score 10/10




  4. #4
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    I'm doing this course aswell I'm on Module 9, I have found it ok, but I didn't have very good tech knowledge going into it so have picked up a few things, so for me has been worthwhile.
    Canon 7D, Canon EF 70-200 2.8, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 17-70 2.8.

  5. #5
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    Yes i'm on module 9 aswell and have been dragging this one out for a while now . Have never received a 10 yet for any of my modules ! Justin is my tutor..The course has helped me understand some of the technical details and my camera is never in auto mode now like it used to be It is a good course for me and you get CS5 extended at student price which is totally worth it (unless you allready have it that is)

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the feedback, I will wait til after EQC fixup the earthquake damage to the house, hoping to fixup a couple of things about the house in the process - have to move out for an unspecified time, and will most likely be without interwebs. Hopefully it gets sorted soon........
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
    LensAddiction - Photography Blog

  7. #7
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    I was cheeky and asked for a discount and only paid $799, and paid weekly
    Canon 7D, Canon EF 70-200 2.8, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 17-70 2.8.

  8. #8
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    LOL I am happy with $699 as the price and happy to pay monthly, but the IMPOSSIBLE happened, EQC called and they want to start on the outside of my house next week WOOHOO
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
    LensAddiction - Photography Blog

  9. #9

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    Good!

    We have an EQC guy coming round Thursday to argue about parts of our claim

    Then no idea when they are likely to start repairs so life is on hold as per usual here.
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lia View Post
    Yes i'm on module 9 aswell and have been dragging this one out for a while now . Have never received a 10 yet for any of my modules ! Justin is my tutor..The course has helped me understand some of the technical details and my camera is never in auto mode now like it used to be It is a good course for me and you get CS5 extended at student price which is totally worth it (unless you allready have it that is)

    I had Justin too and never got a 10 (finished up earlier this year) so it's not just you

    I found the course really valuable in terms of technical stuff. I'd totally agree about some of the assignment responses being c&p-ed but usually there was enough there to be able to apply it directly to you. Looking back totally glad I did it. My photos have improved no end from before I started but whether that's simply down to the course I could no say.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the feedback, will seriously consider next time they have it on special, if I have any money left!!
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
    LensAddiction - Photography Blog

  12. #12
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    Module 6 = 10/10 without breaking a sweat ..... hmm, i'm beginning to think I should have spent the money on something else ....


  13. #13
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    A question for this thread...

    What is wrong with self education?
    Is it a need to become professional and so have some quals on paper?
    Do you not appreciate your own work and need to justify it with a course?
    This is a hobby for me nowadays, from which I make a pittance which allows me to buy more toys/gear/equipment but I don't need a course I use the free resources of these forums and the internet to help me develop more skill and artistic temperament.

    I spend $4k plus a year to remain qualified and current in my profession, but to spend even $600 on a course that in my tiny mind will only provide a limited value to me in my hobby seems a little odd.

    Okay this post sounds a little cynical to say the least, but treat it as an open inquiry.
    I Just Have Cameras and Stuff
    I don't have an Artistic Eye - I have a Technical Bent & a love of Gadgets
    Give an Artist a box of different sized colour blocks and he will create an art work; give me the same box and I will sort it by colour and then size :)

  14. #14
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    I am always self educating, I have an ever increasing pile of photography books, member of two photography clubs, member of this and several other forums as well as both writing and following a few photography blogs. However there are quite a few technical gaps in my education and when I have done more formal training I have found it of particular value.

    This course looks like it would give a good grip of the basics and provide a foundation to build from. Given I have paid around $6500 for all my camera gear, spending 10% of that on better learning how to use it seems more like an investment really.

    Also I am a very strong kinaesthetic learner, so practical learning is the best option for me.
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
    LensAddiction - Photography Blog

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRose View Post
    I am always self educating, I have an ever increasing pile of photography books, member of two photography clubs, member of this and several other forums as well as both writing and following a few photography blogs. However there are quite a few technical gaps in my education and when I have done more formal training I have found it of particular value.

    This course looks like it would give a good grip of the basics and provide a foundation to build from. Given I have paid around $6500 for all my camera gear, spending 10% of that on better learning how to use it seems more like an investment really.

    Also I am a very strong kinaesthetic learner, so practical learning is the best option for me.
    I can see how that logic works, it is thou not my style as the point of a hobby to me is self learning and development and not to become a slave to a style or technique that is someone else's and taught. Horses and something to do with courses.
    I Just Have Cameras and Stuff
    I don't have an Artistic Eye - I have a Technical Bent & a love of Gadgets
    Give an Artist a box of different sized colour blocks and he will create an art work; give me the same box and I will sort it by colour and then size :)

  16. #16
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    I am self taught. I always tell people this. I have read books from cover to cover, I have tried to emulate other peoples style (just to see if I can do it) and I had a varied portfolio, before considering a type of 'formal' education.

    I wish I had the time to go to art school, or photography school. Do I wish I had gone to photography school more than medical school? .... no. However, I have always felt as if I had gaps in my knowledge, the biggest mystery to me was always the thing i didn't know that I didn't know about it.
    I am passionate about photography, i'm not so much bothered with the pixel peeping, or the technical specifications of the cameras used etc, but i want to be able to be comfortable using them to produce a final image. I am also hugely interested in the history of photography, the evolution of cameras, the evolution of photographic styles. This course was an attempt to fill voids in my knowledge base.

    To answer your questions;
    What is wrong with self education? - You have to be extremely disciplined to formally teach yourself photography, you need to build some sort of structure to hang your knowledge on, otherwise you end up doing what I have done and bumbling around for years, bouncing between Aperture and Avedon.
    Is it a need to become professional and so have some quals on paper? - I have no intention of becoming a professional, so the quals are irrelevant to me, and I think if people did this course so they could put letters beside their names, then I think in a professional forum, they would get laughed at, you would undoubtedly get more credit from paying a large sum of money to have NZIPP next to your name (or whatever the acronym is).
    Do you not appreciate your own work and need to justify it with a course? - I'm not sure how these two are linked, but I find it very difficult to appreciate my own work. I think by having someone offer a constructive critique every now and then would have been very useful (as would have happened at art school).

    For me internet and forum information is very confusing, you have to concentrate through alot of white noise just to hear anything that is relevant, and if i were to only use the free stuff for my education and expect to be able to produce a photograph that would do a subject justice, then I reckon I would still be surfing the free stuff into my late 80's.

    When I get to a position where I could hold down a full time job AND do a 'formal' (university based) photography degree, would I? Yes.


  17. #17
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    While I assume it wasn't deliberately intended, thanks for insulting my intelligence by judging me (and anyone else who does any course at all, evah!) unable to make my own decisions about what I do and don't choose to use and adapt from any learning I do. Attending a formal course and learning from someone else does not automatically make you a slave to their methods and styles.

    Education is not only about the material you learn, but also about the process of learning, and that includes making your own judgements, learning to apply techniques, and then learning from the end result. If you choose to limit the amount of options that go into that process, I can only assume that the same limitations apply at the other end. Hence I embrace all the opportunities to learn from as many photographers as can.
    Blue Rose - Canon 7D & 50mm F1.8 & 17-55mm F2.8 IS USM & 70-200mm F4 IS L & 10-22 UWA and 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro, 580EX II, Manfrotto Tripod legs Tamrac/Lowepro backpacks FLICKR
    LensAddiction - Photography Blog

  18. #18
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    This course for me has been good as i was at the very basic novice stage (auto setting) now my camera is in manual mode ..raw/largeJPG and i am learning to use photoshop through youtube and books. Would'nt say i'm a hot shot now though , no not at all .However i am not all concerned about certificates /diplomas so that does not worry me one bit.Paul i don't think you would get anything much from this course because really i think you are to advanced for this particular course and perhaps you should have a yarn to your tutor about this so you can move it along.You'll find module 10 i'm on it now , setting up your studio "if that is what you are interested in ", interesting

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lia View Post
    This course for me has been good as i was at the very basic novice stage (auto setting) now my camera is in manual mode ..raw/largeJPG and i am learning to use photoshop through youtube and books. Would'nt say i'm a hot shot now though , no not at all .However i am not all concerned about certificates /diplomas so that does not worry me one bit.Paul i don't think you would get anything much from this course because really i think you are to advanced for this particular course and perhaps you should have a yarn to your tutor about this so you can move it along.You'll find module 10 i'm on it now , setting up your studio "if that is what you are interested in ", interesting
    Ah, too late, i've set it up already! :\


  20. #20
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    Haha , i know :P

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul. View Post
    Snipped out for brevity read the thread
    To answer your questions;
    What is wrong with self education? - You have to be extremely disciplined to formally teach yourself photography, you need to build some sort of structure to hang your knowledge on, otherwise you end up doing what I have done and bumbling around for years, bouncing between Aperture and Avedon.
    Is it a need to become professional and so have some quals on paper? - I have no intention of becoming a professional, so the quals are irrelevant to me, and I think if people did this course so they could put letters beside their names, then I think in a professional forum, they would get laughed at, you would undoubtedly get more credit from paying a large sum of money to have NZIPP next to your name (or whatever the acronym is).
    Do you not appreciate your own work and need to justify it with a course? - I'm not sure how these two are linked, but I find it very difficult to appreciate my own work. I think by having someone offer a constructive critique every now and then would have been very useful (as would have happened at art school).

    For me internet and forum information is very confusing, you have to concentrate through alot of white noise just to hear anything that is relevant, and if i were to only use the free stuff for my education and expect to be able to produce a photograph that would do a subject justice, then I reckon I would still be surfing the free stuff into my late 80's.

    When I get to a position where I could hold down a full time job AND do a 'formal' (university based) photography degree, would I? Yes.
    I admire your approach, in fact i usually have a lot of positive feelings to your posts and activities described on the forum.
    But are you trying to out pro the pro,s with a hobby activity?
    I take shots that I believe could only have value and meaning to me, now and then I take a shot or two that actually speak for themselves and feel good when I do that, but i have no desire to become a sideboard expert in photography, to be the hobby guy with better quals than a person who makes a living from shooting shots. I like the lack of constriction that formal training and having to make a living from it produces.

    Your mileage may vary and again I say horses for courses and each to their own, me I will stay in my cynical and protective zone as an non pro shooter.
    I Just Have Cameras and Stuff
    I don't have an Artistic Eye - I have a Technical Bent & a love of Gadgets
    Give an Artist a box of different sized colour blocks and he will create an art work; give me the same box and I will sort it by colour and then size :)

  22. #22
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    A 'Professional Photographer' is defined as someone who earns more than half their income through photography, it has nothing to do with the quality of their work, there are some shocking 'Pros' out there and some excellent 'amateurs enthusiasts'. As already said, I have spent a considerable amount of time, energy and money on my hobby, and I personally want to be the best I can be at it, and I will continue to learn and develop in any way that I possibly can (via new books, old books, websites, youtube, forums, one on one training, educational diplomas etc etc)


  23. #23

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    At some point I may consider trying to be a 'pro' myself, though I'm not convinced I need much formal education or training for it. Non of the good landscapers seem to have had it or needed it.
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


  24. #24
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    Interestingly enough, through my real job, I met the owners of this course. They run this course all over the world and have over 40,000 students currently enrolled.
    5D Mark III, 7DGripped, 30DGripped, Canon 70 - 200 F2.8 IS II, Tokina AF 11-16mm F2.8, Sigma 30mmF1.4, Canon 50mm F1.4 USM, Canon 24-105mm F4L IS, Speedlite 430ex ii and other stuff.

    http://jimpollardgoesclick.com

    https://www.facebook.com/jimpollardgoesclick

  25. #25

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    ka-ching!
    Canon 5DmkII, 400L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 24mmf3.5 TS-E, Canon 70-200f2.8L, Tamron 90mm SP AF Di f2.8 Macro, Sigma 50mmf1.4 EX HSM, Nissin Di866 flash, Manfrotto 190xprob & Markins Q3t head, Lee filters, Lowepro Flipside 400AW, Yong Nuo rf 602 triggers.


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