I am a research writer by profession. A few years back, as part of a regular exercise to enhance my skill portfolio, I decided to learn photography. I felt that it could be an added feather to my cap of existing achievements. I did set out on a mission to find an apt photography school. A photography school that will not wipe me off my years of savings as well as deliver the goods as promised. Did I find one? That is part of another story.
However, there are a few key findings which I thought I need to share with people around so that you don't end up committing the same set of mistakes that I did. For instance,
1) I highly recommend photography as a career path only for those with an artistic sense and see the beauty beyond what your eyes can see.
2) If you have been looking out for free courses on photography, let me explain what these actually are. Most of these so-called photography schools try offering an inexpensive and less valued courses for free to generate leads. The moment you are into the school they try up-selling some of their most expensive courses which people eventually end up buying. This is purely a marketing gimmick.
3) If you are totally new to photography and have never handled a camera in your lifetime, I recommend that you get started with any school that offers you these basic courses. This step will primarily help you kick start your career.
4) As a next step, I recommend specialization in a photography career. When you say that you are a photographer, you might not gain much credibility. This is like saying that you are a scientist. What people might be interested is to know if you are a nuclear scientist, space scientist or say a biologist. If you are not sure of the specializations available within photography, here are some: Portrait Photography, Wedding Photography, Motion photography, fashion photography, landscape photography, sports photography, underwater photography and even doll photography. The list goes on.
5) While learning a new skill, classrooms do certainly have an edge over their online counterparts. This is not to undermine the effectiveness of online schools. However, a live classroom based session, is more effective in terms of doubt clarification and sharing of ideas. Regular classes come in real handy while studying concepts of lighting, composition, and other basics. If time is a constraint at your end, you can always opt for these online versions.
On a final note, I would like to re-iterate on the fact that photography can be the most rewarding career that you might ever choose. When you learn the basics, ensure that you get it done from the best in the business. Any course that can provide you hands on training with real situations should be your first choice of selection. I wish you all the best for a bright and illustrious career.