Degree in Photography


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Aug 19, 2003
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#1
Hey guys,

A friend of mine is seriously, and I mean.. SERIOUSLY considering taking up a degree in photography. He's figuring that australia or the US might be a good place for him. His dad is looking more at australia (Cos its cheaper). But some homework for him to do.

1. Is it worthwhile taking up a degree in photography?

2. where are the more prestigious universities to pursue a degree in photography?

3. anyone in clubsnap (or knows a graduate of) graduated from a degree programme in photography? care to share your thoughts on this?

My friend's dad is skeptical about spending that kind of money on him just to "take photos and be a cameraman" (his exact words... so he's also in a fix man.

help me out. thanks
 

denis

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Feb 24, 2004
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#2
hi there, what kind of photography his interested in? fashion, journalism etc? there's many many kind .. maybe , where is he going to be after he grad?

if u're talking abt journalism, University of Missouri, Ohio University, the University of Minnesota, or the University of Kansas.. this are the one.

other's gotta ask others to help :)
 

kiwi2

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#3
I can only answer the first question. Practical one from what I've heard and read. And also know from professional friends.

Answer: Largely NO.

Reasons:

1. A degree is not going to make you earn more money. I know 2 professional photographers personally who have no degrees in photography but one of them makes good money. The bottomline is how you create a niche for yourself. Even amateurs can do reasonably well here if they work hard enough.

2. A degree takes time and money. In that time, you can gain experience and contacts which are also part of your learning process and help you earn more $.

3. A degree in photography is practically of much less value in Singapore compared to overseas. The level of appreciation for academic art and photography here is lower than the other "arty" countries. Contacts and packaging are what matters more here.

Ok these are my personal opinions so please take it with a pinch of salt. No flaming please. :p If your friend has other plans like staying on in Australia, going overseas doing academic teaching, or if he has the time and money to splurge, then I feel by all means go ahead.

A degree in photog is not necessarily going to make you take better pictures, much less have more credibility to local customers. Yes, photogs are sometimes viewed more of a 'cameraman' than a professional here. Sad but true.
 

y0ngcheng

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#4
previously i read some post that... it say... photography is one of the career that no need cert. just have a nice port folio will get u the job.



but well... i told this to my teacher. and wad my teacher replied me was...
A and B got the same job in photography under same company. A had cert (cert in anything) while B had nothing (in term of cert) but their standard is equal... BUT, A pay will rise much more faster den B..


well.. this is wad my teacher told me. i didnt say i believe it.. nor i didnt say i believe it.. coz myself also dunno :dunno::dunno:
 

sonix

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Jan 17, 2002
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#5
At least in my company, people who have good degree is protected species, and agree with y0ncheng's teacher. People who have degree will have increment faster.

My companys is MNC (US company based)..... just throwing a real fact.

* please don't discuss company name here. it should remain confidential.
 

LiOnElLiN

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#6
y0ngcheng said:
previously i read some post that... it say... photography is one of the career that no need cert. just have a nice port folio will get u the job.
agreed!
art is all about portfolios lah...
its not about qualifications, just merely results

UNLESS of course you intend to work elsewhere and a qualification allows you to command greater respect/pay. else, cheapo singaporeans will never buy it... :bsmilie:
 

Jed

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Jan 19, 2002
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#7
That's where a lot of the local opinion and perception is wrong. A degree in photography is only a cert in some ways. For plenty of people, it is also the means towards putting together a good portfolio, the knowledge on how to run a business and network properly, among other things. There is a lot more to the degree than just the letters after your name.
 

kcky

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#8
Hi,
Just wondering, does NUS have a degree course in photography? In the faculty of Arts, maybe? :dunno:
 

Axion

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I doubt NUS has one, NTU has photojournalism as under SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION & INFORMATION.

To get admission to a reputable school, a portfolio might help.
JermsDayout, does your friend have a decent portfolio?
 

Aug 19, 2003
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#10
thanks for your infor guys... i can gather that generally, an art degree majoring in photography would run the risk of being "undercut" by paperless amateurs-turned-pros in the future. yup, my friend has been taking up photography as a hobby and is seriously chasing the paper for it. cos he reads alot and scours the net for the who's who is photography and gets their stuff (heck i dun even know who these guys are?!). but i do know that most of these accomplished photographers have done their dues in college degrees majoring in photography.

i'm not sure if he has a portfolio tho... didn't ask. we just critique each others photos when we have the time. most of the time... just talk **** and kopi.. hehehehe

nope, NUS don't have a degree specializing in photography. NTU's Mass Comm degree and the diploma programmes in Temasek Poly (the ARTS specialists!) only cover one module in photography. Laselle have not made any headways yet... On the contrary, when I look at the course prospectus of these overseas universities on their syllabus for photography majors... the subkects and modules covered are pretty damn extensive!!! Yup, not much of it is technical "technical" though... but it teaches you on management, aestheic judging and stuff.... yup, stuff that make one a judge and critique, but might not be a reknowned professional in "Creating" the perfect shot.

but it does sound nice... "so-and-so, graduate of the prestigious whatever university in photography, has clinched the award for best promising photographer in this category in the prestigious whatever award this year..." hehhehhehh :)
 

beachbum

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#11
i would just like to share this: a good photograph is mostly made up of two parts: concept and execution.
The execution part can be picked up by being assistants in top studios. Many top photogs who didn't have formal education picked up the tools of their trade this way.Many top photogs who HAVE formal education in photography also does that. This is essential to getting into the industry.

Being a top photog means also having good aesthetics/style and conceptualisation skills that people admire and would want to pay you for that. And going to Art school/Design school or photography school (good ones that emphasis on this area, on the WHAT and WHY and not just on the HOW) can teach wannabes these values and skills. And this is the area where many hobbist/turned pro loose out - not having a solid foundation in Art and Design. And this will hamper growth in their work and in the industry.

Of course many of you would argue that many top photogs have no formal Art education and you don't necessary need to go to school to learn that. That's true. However, i can also bet that these photogs already have highly developed aesthetics values and conceptualisation skills and would probably make top grade in Art school too. I am making a case for Art education because i think most wannabes would benefit greatly from it. If you think you already have style and good aesthetic values that client would pay for, then go without it.

So JermsDayOut, if your friend wants to go to a photography school, make sure it is one that teaches Art (assuming he want's to go the e.g. commercial /fashion route) and not solely on the How (which can be picked up as assistants). Of course, if he wants to pursue photojournalism, choose a good journalism school.


cheers! :)









 

snowspeeder

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Feb 16, 2004
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#12
Years ago, I had the option to choose whatever degree I wanted to...in any country. But if I had to choice again right now, I would choose photography. Not sure how much good it'll do, but least I know it would be sheer enjoyment throughout.
 

#13
y0ngcheng said:
previously i read some post that... it say... photography is one of the career that no need cert. just have a nice port folio will get u the job.



but well... i told this to my teacher. and wad my teacher replied me was...
A and B got the same job in photography under same company. A had cert (cert in anything) while B had nothing (in term of cert) but their standard is equal... BUT, A pay will rise much more faster den B..


well.. this is wad my teacher told me. i didnt say i believe it.. nor i didnt say i believe it.. coz myself also dunno :dunno::dunno:
I believe what u saw is my post at http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=65469

The topic that i discussed was similar to this thread.

Yong: What ya teacher said is generally true but i guess it doesnt quite apply to photography.
 

agape01

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Feb 13, 2003
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#14
US schools in general do have internship programmes and if you are able to prove yourself when you apply what you have learnt in the actual industry, then you have a chance to shoot for them. Like what has been said, it is in the networking.

That is what I would like to do, but would rather take a degree in journalism majoring in photojournalism. US Missouri and Pen State are the tops in the US. Ex-graduate of Pen State is Steve McCurry.
 

Ian

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Feb 20, 2002
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#15
Firstly let me stress the following, professional photography calls many people, yet few will make it past the first 2-3 years in the industry. The attrition (drop out) rate is horrific amongst new pro's, mostly because they do not really understand what 'professional photography' is all about and just how tough it can be.

As Jed has pointed out, a degree will give you other benefits, however a talented person with no qualifications will ALWAYS rise further and farther in this industry than someone who hasn't got real talent as talent cannot be taught, it's innate.

The main door that a degree in photography opens are in gaining membership of various professional organisations and an inside track with industry contacts, it won't save you from having to PA for an established pro though, unless you are very very lucky.

As far as Journalism courses go, I'd avoid the USA like the plague as most Journalism courses there produce what can best be said to be clones, who write, think and shoot in a similar manner. It's a sad but true fact folks. Europe or Australia produce journalists of far higher calibre.

Why do I think JermsDayOut is actually his 'friend'?
 

#17
i think that, if photograghy is a passion of one self, then they should strive to find their style for themselves. i understand that the tech part of it a factor, but i think its better to get like a mentorship education then have the man teach you at a corp. ameri. collge. as for me, i will do photography as a job for my begining years, then do it as a hobby once i open my own coffee shop, "the Ugly Mug"

Peace
the Freak :kok:
 

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