Photography Schools....Help Please!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by downhillski1, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. downhillski1 macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2007
    Hi guys! Thanks in advance for all your help!

    I am currently a freshman photojournalism student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and I want to transfer. I am looking at a couple of schools, one of them being Brooks in California. I have heard very good and very bad things about Brooks, and I am trying to figure out what to do.

    Some people are saying that with the portfolio, resume, and the two job offers I currently have, I should just leave school altogether and work.

    I don't know what to do!

    Any suggestions/help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    You don't say why after only a few months you want to leave RIT. You don't say what your requirements are, what sort of offers you've had and all the other important stuff about what you do, want to do and think you should be doing that would help anyone evaluate your situation.

    Any advice you get without any of that information will be useless.
  3. downhillski1 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2007

    Alright, well I want to leave RIT mostly because of the school itself and a little bit because of the training. I don't like where RIT is, what there is around the school, and I find the atmosphere of the school a bit odd. Also, I am being forced to take the most basic of classes and what I have already accomplished is not being considered.

    I am open to pretty much any suggestions people have. Although, having said that, I don't really want to go to an art school, and I am hoping to find a school that cares about a resume and/or your portfolio.
  4. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    For straight photography, you could just go and get a job without doing a course. You could find work with someone who can bring you up to speed. But photojournalism usually involves the actual journalism part - writing stories and doing investigations, etc, and this is where a course would be beneficial.
  5. jacobsen1 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2009
    Mt View, RI
    I went to Montana State in Bozeman and got a BFA:photo just because it was the only way they'd let you take their photo classes beyond 101... I can recommend the location, but as an art/photo school, you learn what you put into it and you can really learn photography on your own. Back then, schools were a lot more important to get access to the labs. Now with digital it's much easier to learn at home provided you're learning digital. The one thing you get in a classroom though is critiques. You can't get that online to the extent you can in person.
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    If you pursue a career as a photojournalist, you're going to end up a few places you don't like. (The word is itself- if you're a budding journalist, it's important.)

    That's likely to be the case in any undergraduate program for a university that's got a name. It may well be that you're not suited to school life. I know I'm not.

    You're an undergrad, art schools are the only ones who "care" about portfolios in the way you want to be cared about, and even then they mostly care for the "you can get in" phase.

    However, I'd suggest that if you really intend to do photojournalism, that
    perhaps a little journalistic-like investigation is in order. The journalism part is as important as the photo part.

    There are three good reasons for higher education:

    1. To gain knowledge. For knowledge to be imparted efficiently, everyone must have the same baseline and basic skills. That's why undergrads get to do 100 level courses, so that the baseline for the 200 and above courses is the same. For that baseline, terminology and methods are actually more important than results in many cases.

    2. To gain credentials. So a potential employer knows that your skillset is at least at the baseline for the entire program.

    3. To gain contacts. You never know who's going to be helpful in later years when you need that job/assignment/contact.

    I'd submit that strategically, #1 and #3 are significantly better in a general-purpose education environment than in a photography-only or media-only school.

    However, once again- without specific information, specific recommendations are not going to be useful.
  7. pigbat macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2005
    I'm pretty sure Brooks closed the doors at the end of 2008. AA of SF is accepting transfers Brooks students.
  8. downhillski1 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2007
    From what I know, they are still open and are accredited.

    Anyone know anything specific about the school other than what's in the news?
  9. mattcube64 macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    I'm currently a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Columbia and am studying journalism in the field of photography. They have a really nice program... and the journalism is *ridiculously* awesome.

    However, the bureaucracy at this school is mind-numbing. I wouldn't recommend it if you care to be treated as an individual at all.
  10. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    I would suggest:
    George Seper's online course, $1000. Photography Institute:

    Otherwise, if you want a degree...Pratt in Brooklyn. Pratt is probably around $120,000 for four years. Only $119,000 more than the probably better PI Course....yowsa.

    Also, study David Hobby's site:
    Buy his DVDs.

    And lastly, take workshops here:
    ...such as this one with Joe McNally:

    Joe McNally...a great photographer and even better human being.
  11. anth macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    If the OP found RIT "a bit odd," I'm not sure how he'd fare at Pratt! And I mean that as the best possible compliment to Pratt Institute, it really is an amazing place.

    Also, I hope the OP realizes that most art schools have some sort of foundations program, and that you can't jump to the part you're looking forward to as a freshman. Calm down, take a deep breath, give where you are an honest chance. Honestly take it in and embrace it. Then, consider transferring for the right reasons.
  12. downhillski1 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2007
    That is one of the reasons I decided not to go to Pratt, as much as I actually liked the school. I don't know if I should not major in photography and just intern with a couple of well established photographers I know, or stay in the photography major. What does everyone suggest about that?

    Also, if anyone is interested in seeing anything I've shot I have put some stuff up online temporarily on picasa.

    I'm actively looking for photography jobs, so if I find one, I just might take it.

    Let me know what you all think!

    Thanks again!
  13. zdobson macrumors 6502

    Nov 9, 2007
    I went to Indiana University School of Journalism and they have a great program. Multiple Pulitzer winning photogs have come through there. They have a couple great photography profs and not a lot of photography students, so that aspect is nice. However, if you're hoping to freelance, I'd recommend adding some business courses into your curriculum as they don't really get into that in the j-school. Plus Bloomington is one of the best college towns I've ever been to.

    I don't think you've said what type of jobs you want to get into, but if you want to work at a newspaper, good luck finding a job. And if you find one, you'll even need more luck keeping it. Plus, if you don't want to be in a boring little town, you should avoid papers b/c you'll spend at least 5 years (maybe up to 10) working in crappy places before you can get to a decent once. Personally, I freelance and I love it.

    Honestly, it probably doesn't really matter where you go. The only things people really care about are that you have a degree from somewhere and have a great portfolio. Internships are more of a factor in getting a job than where your degree is from.
  14. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    Kentucky state, or stay where you are. Pulitzer price winning professors of both photo and written journalism.

    If you are claiming that you are good enough to get a job as a photojournalist now, then go to school for film/tv production and add more to your plate. Now's the time to do that. When I was going to school, we had to triple major for things that students now get in one concentration.
  15. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    A degree in photography is a waste of time and money (unless your goal is to teach). Brooks is EXPENSIVE and not worth it for a photography degree. I read an article recently about a girl who graduated from Brooks with 80 thousand in school loans and no job prospects.

    RIT has a highly respected program so I'm not sure what your problem is. Perhaps you aren't cut out for college?

    Repeat after me... It's the quality of your portfolio and connections that matter most. Got it? It's the quality of your portfolio and connections that matter most. Get those two things in line and the rest falls into place.

    This is what you should do...

    If you want to go to school, then get a degree in business/marketing or journalism, or communications/media with a minor in photography (or just take a few classes). Then get out in the world and make connections.

    If you are going into commercial photography, find a photographer who you admire and bug them to let you assist. Then move onto the next photographer until you know the industry inside and out. You'll learn more in less time actually working out in the field. You might also find out that the real world of photography is NOT as much fun as doing as a hobby.

    Photography is a profession that is MORE about having good eye and great connections than a diploma. A school can take you so far, but experience is going to take you the furthest. Other than journalism/editorial work, no prospective employer is going to ask you if you have a degree. Certainly no client is going to care; they just want to know what your portfolio looks like and what your rates are, and how soon you can get the images to them.

    Take my advice or leave it. I speak from years of experience and have been down the very road you are looking at.
  16. downhillski1 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2007
    Yeah, I'm leaning towards a different degree. Also, I'm really trying to work on my portfolio and connections. I currently have two photography job offers, so I might take them and leave school for now, and just do school on the side later. Thanks for the advice!
  17. Gatorsbird macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2009
    Choosing the best photography schools

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  18. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular


    Do not leave school and go to work. Get your degree and eve think about getting your masters. It opens up the entire field of photography to you including teaching later on. Plus it gives you a great chance to shoot for yourself and to develop your own work. Once you start working full time that time for personal work can be very hard to come by. Dropping out of school is terrible advice.
  19. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    This is complete nonsense. A photography degree is extremely important especially if you want to assist the really great photographers out there because they all take interns from the colleges. You can certainly try skipping college and sending your resume to them. They will file it away and never look at it again. I will agree that your portfolio is extremely important and that is one of the greatest benefits to going to college for photography. You get 4-6 years to work on that portfolio and I guarantee it will be vastly superior to what you put together outside of a college program.

    There are many fields and companies in photography that simply are not open to people without photography degree's including a lot of the big companies out there. I have a friend who works at IMAX and they wont even look at someone unless they have a degree in either film or photography and there are many other companies that have similar hiring requirements.

    Take a look at all of the big name photographers out there today and then go to their websites and look at their resumes. The vast majority of them got their degree in photography. If you think that is a coincidence, your mistaken.

    This isnt even factoring in the fact that Art school is a blast. The 6 years I spent in school were by far, the funnest years of my life and I wouldn't trade them for anything. There are many days I wish I was back there. Plus the people that I met and connections that I made in school are priceless.

    Ultimately the decision to leave or stay is totally up to the individual however to take advice from people who make blanket statements like "Photography degree's are worthless" when photography college programs have existed for god knows how long and have produced some of the greatest photographers of our time is, well lets just call it horrible advice. Nothing did more for the advancement of my photography than the 6 years of shooting I did while in school, in fact nothing comes even close to it including the internships I did.

    Why limit your opportunities and your capabilities?
  20. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    I go to Massachusetts College of Art and Design (I'm here for architecture though, not photography); we offer undergrand and grad degrees in photography. Great school, great city (Boston), and lots of possible jobs and routes to make connections.

    PM me if you have any specific questions!
  21. todd2fst4u macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2008
    i go to brooks.
    very good school. will teach you everything you need to know about photography and then some.
  22. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    The above is great advice imo.
  23. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    In my opinion also. Seriously, you might find that you'll want to teach someday, especially when you get older and running around the world doing photojournalism becomes more onerous than fulfilling. There is intense competition for academic jobs, and those few instructors who do not have degrees are the exceptions who prove the rule (they tend to be from the older generation and got their jobs before formal education became as mandatory as it is today).

    Also, the degree will force you to do some things that you would not otherwise undertake on your own, and you will grow from those experiences. I don't think I've ever met a person who has a degree in their chosen field (that is, the field they end up working in) who regrets having completed that degree.

    And then there is one more minor thing to consider. If you are successful without a degree, you're likely to end up supervising people who have more formal education than you do, which can be awkward.
  24. MrLatte23 macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2007
  25. Dfndr90 macrumors regular


    Nov 27, 2006

    I actually went to RIT and was in the PJ program back in '92. Give it time is all I can say. I thought I was the **** when I first started there. Was a scholastic Gold Key winner, had my work shown at he Frick Museum ect.
    It was not until I had a class with Willie Osterman that I realized that I was really only starting out in this great experiment that we call photography.

    Stick it out for at least a year and then decide. You can load up on Garbage plates at Nick's while your there.


    P.S. Fish C was my old Dorm, then 185 Perkins.

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