Photography is one of those pastimes that began as a profession, and has become more accessible to the general public over the years. This does not, of course, mean that there is no merit to a professionally qualified photographer — quite the contrary, in fact. As an increasing number of people purchase professional photography equipment, the demand for instruction increases also.
A beautiful, expensive camera with a multitude of functions designed to improve the quality of your shots, is no better than an old disposable camera until you make use of its settings. Oftentimes, it is quite daunting for a beginner to have all the buttons and icons, and not know what they are and how they work. This is true regardless of what kind of camera you use.
Thankfully, Sydney has many great photography courses and workshops available. These cater to a range of skill levels, from beginner to advanced; types of photography, digital, traditional, smartphone, or otherwise; price ranges; and course length.
If you're primarily interested in photography, but don't want to invest in an expensive camera just yet, many of these places also rent out cameras to use during the course. After all, it never hurts to try something out before deciding if you want to invest money into it.
Sydney Community College is a great place to start. The courses range from introductions to basic camera skills, to digital portrait photography, and then further onto specialised skills, such as night or flash photography. You can also enrol in courses for videography, photo bookmaking, and post-production editing, to complete your photography skill set.
Prices start at $279 for a four-session beginner's course, up to $449 for an eight-session workshop on using Photoshop in post-production. Cameras are available for hire, and the tutors can offer advice on which cameras to buy, if you decide to purchase one of your own. See the website for a full list of classes.
Sydney Photographic Workshops not only does your regular beginner's and night courses, but also delve into speedlites, portraiture, and travel photography. Several of these courses involve field trips, so you can get genuine experience out in the field as a photographer. You can also book corporate training sessions, which is a great idea for a team building exercise, and can be done in-house or on location.
Prices vary from $110, for a one-evening Night Course, to $450 for a Speedlite Lighting course. Corporate and special 'On Assignment' courses are variable, so you should contact them through the website for a quote.
Photograph by David Vincent, Night Photography Workshop, Sydney Photographic Workshops
The Australian Centre for Photography offers progressive classes on camera craft. Each course covers different aspects of photography, including building creativity, aesthetics, and genre; they are designed to lead on from each other, to create a streamlined learning experience. You can also enrol in some of their other, more specialised courses that focus on other parts of photography, such as Darkroom, Studio, and Digital photography.
Courses range from $180 for a one-day introduction, to $749 for a 10-week course on lighting. You can also sign up for their workshops, which are shorter in duration, and cost less. See their website for more details.
Photograph by Nelson Nikolic, Australian Centre for Photography, Street Photography
On the slightly pricier end, The Photography Institute is designed for people who are looking to make a profession out of photography. It is an online course divided into 12 modules, and you will have access to course materials and tutorials created by professionals and experts in the field. You come out of this course with a diploma, and all the knowledge and skill you need to become a freelance photographer in your own right.
The standard fee is $1,099, but you will receive a $100 discount if you pay upfront. You can also select one of their other payment options, a six-month plan, or a 24-week plan. Visit their website for more details.
Photograph by Clyde Scorgie Photography, PI Student, The Photography Institute
If you're looking for a more casual experience, Photoh offers short introductory workshops in major cities around Australia, at affordable prices. They're a great way to go, if you're after something more laid-back, flexible, and fun. Courses include beginners and night photography, smartphone photography and videos, portraiture, and photography for young people.
Class prices range from $50, for a smartphone class, to $99 for a beginner's class. You can also sign up to their fortnightly meetups, for $35, where you can spend time roaming around with other photographers in your city. See the website for more details.
Photograph by Ron Irving, RJI Photography.
There is really something out there for everyone. Regardless of the kind of instruction you're looking for in a photography course, you are bound to find one that suits you.