"A picture is better than a thousand words," Confucius

Do you dream of transmitting your knowledge in the field of photography? What if you became a private tutor or start online tutoring jobs?

To begin your activity as a private photo tutor, it is necessary above all to find pupils interested in your artform! There are dozens of ways to find students willing to seriously immerse themselves in the art of photography or studio photography. A small handful of students is often enough to build a tutor's solid reputation.

Follow our tips for finding students for photo classes!

Determine Your Student's Profiles

Target A Certain Type of Student From the Start

To make sure you find the right tutor in just a few days of research, it's all about targeting according to your expectations...

Teaching digital photography, image processing, or studio portraits requires some work beforehand. If your ad is well written and aimed at a targeted audience, you will be more likely to catch the eye of great photographers in the making.

There are three levels of students in photography:

  1. The beginner level, students looking for a photo intro course to learn the basics of photography (landscape photo, white balance, black and white photo, contrast...),
  2. The intermediate level, students who seek to deepen their basic knowledge in photography (framing, exposure time, automatic mode and manual mode, depth of field, shutter speed...),
  3. The advanced or expert level, students looking to become pro photographers with advanced photography training (portrait photography, night photography, film photography, photo editing in post production ...).
Do you prefer to teach beginner students or photo experts?

Here, everything is a question of logic:

  • For a beginner's course, look for students and adults from all walks of life who want to improve their artistic knowledge.
  • For an advanced level, orient yourself towards art schools (also, art associations, photography forums...).

On your ad, you will need to indicate the level of your course while remaining attractive to beginners in photography!

You may also want to mention your price... find out how to set your rates competitively!

Determine your Class's Content and Specialty

When looking for a teacher, students look first and foremost at the contents of the photo lessons!

The photo lesson contents must be clearly described and explained on your ad, while remaining concise as to not lose the attention of future students. Students will be able to study the different possibilities according to the training you propose.

So do remember to indicate your specialties as a photographer when writing your ad:

  • Digital SLR,
  • Animal photo,
  • photojournalism,
  • Image editing,
  • History of photography,
  • Culinary photo,
  • Natural light,
  • Long pose in a photo studio,
  • Fashion photo,
  • Wedding photo...

It is also essential to specify the duration of the lessons, whether it is an intensive photo workshop or a long-term course. In the case of an expert level course, do not hesitate to use the technical terms of photography: the expert students will feel reassured by your professionalism and your knowledge of photography.

Students will be able to learn photography and study to become a photographer through an intro course!

But they should never forget these 5 essential tips from PexaPics:

1. Get in close

It was the famous photojournalist Robert Capa who once said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” He was talking about getting in amongst the action. If you feel like your images aren’t ‘popping’, take a step or two closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and see how much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better you can see their facial expressions too. 

2. Shoot every day

The best way to hone your skills is to practice. A lot. Shoot as much as you can – it doesn’t really matter what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to harness them to tell stories and should too. 
Don’t worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with. Experiment. Your style – your ‘voice’ – will emerge in time. And it will be more authentic when it does. — Leah Robertson

3. See the light

Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp; how can you use it to make your photos better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary. 

4. Ask permission

When photographing people, especially while in countries with different cultures and languages, it can be hard to communicate. In certain countries if you photograph someone you are not ‘supposed’ to photograph, it can get ugly and rough very quickly if you are not careful. So out of respect you should always ask permission. 

I have started shooting a series of school children in Pakistan. These are all posed portraits and they are looking down the lens. My guide helps me with the language and I limit myself to smiling, shaking hands, giving ‘hi-five’ and showing them the image on the back of my camera once it is done. You would be amazed how quickly people open up. — Andrea Francolini 

5. Use flash during the day

You might think that you should only use flash at night time or indoors, but that’s not the case at all. If it is an extremely bright day outside and the sun is creating harsh shadows on your subject, switch on your flash. By forcing extra light onto your subject, you will be able to fill in those ugly shadows and create an even exposure. 

6. ISO

There are questions to ask yourself when deciding what ISO to use: 

What time of day are you shooting? If you are shooting outside during the middle of the day you will need to use a lower ISO such as 100 or 200. If you are shooting at night time without a tripod you will have to increase the ISO to a higher number to be able to record the light on the camera’s sensor.

Will the subject be well lit? If your subject or scene is too dark you will need to use a higher ISO such as 800 or 1600. 

Do you want a sharp image or an image with more movement in it? Using a high shutter speed to capture fast movement might mean that you need to use a high ISO to compensate. Likewise, if you’re using a slow shutter speed to capture blur you will need a low ISO to compensate. 

Don’t forget, increasing your ISO increases the grain or pixel size in your photo. So don’t use an ISO of 3200 or 6400 if you don’t want a photo with a lot of ‘digital noise’.

Learn more about how you can get started teaching photography

Photo Class: Developing Your Student Network Thanks to Word of Mouth

To give private photography lessons, nothing better than to begin "selling" your classes within your entourage!

Most of the time, young photography tutors will begin by explaining the techniques of their artform to their family and friends. It will be an opportunity for the beginner tutor to deepen their teaching techniques and work on their pedagogical side.

You may be able to find your first student in your immediate surroundings!

Presenting your private course to your loved ones offers a lot of advantages:

  • Giving a photo class in a familiar environment will greatly reduce your stress.
  • You already know your students: it will be easier for you to adapt your pedagogy to their skills.
  • No need to introduce yourself, since your students already know your background.
  • If you give classes at home, you will save on transportation costs.
  • Your students will be able to give you a better idea of your teaching style.
  • You can quickly expand your circle of students.

Next step: word of mouth!

Your friends will have the opportunity to praise your photographic merits with other potential students who want to learn how to take beautiful photos in a small group or an individual class. It is also possible to print flyers and business cards by distributing them within your neighborhood or near an art school.

On Superprof, our students regularly leave opinions right on the profile of their photography tutors. You will have no trouble distinguishing yourself from other teachers through your online assessments.

In short, there are plenty of little tips for you to find photography students via word of mouth - whether it be physical or virtual!

You may also want to explore teaching photography online...

Writing a Classified for your Photography Lessons

Post an ad in a magazine specialized in photography!

What if you attracted students to your photo lessons by writing an advertisement in your local paper?

The simplest method is to place ads in the shops of your neighborhood. Among your neighbors, there are bound to be people looking for an accelerated 4-hour photo class or a photography workshop to learn how to use a photographer's professional equipment (tripod, diaphragm, SLR camera, focal length...).

By scoping out how close your students are, you will find it easier to attract the eye of families or couples interested in an intro to photography. Make it clear that your course is aimed at both children (or teenagers) and adults: you will have a better chance of attracting more students!

You can also post your photo ad in a newspaper:

  • Traditional regional newspapers
  • Magazines specialized in photography

A word of advice: with a newspaper ad, why not stand out from the crowd with a playful illustration (camera, flash, cityscape or natural landscape...)?

Finally, make sure that you participate in a local photo exhibition to find students addicted to soft focus, macro photography, or photo studio. Near his or her exposed photograph, the photographer can not only sell his or her photos, but also offer a trial class to build a regular clientele.

So, why not promote yourself and your mastery of photography?

Photography Classes: Finding Students at Art Schools

What about finding students directly in art school?

Take a tour of art schools to find students!

Photography and art schools (RISD for example) are ideal for finding serious students who want to take online photo classes or private lessons "face to face." Even if they do not necessarily study photography, art students have an artistic inclination and will not say no to discovering a new artform!

Framing, composition, street photography, or light painting...these are just some of the various techniques that will surely interest art school students!

Art schools generally provide students and visitors with a board on which there are various ads. As a private tutor, you will only have to ask if you can post your ad there.

What's the best possible outcome? Maybe it's to give private photo lessons as a student in order to finance your photography studies.

Art students are not only knowledgeable in their field, but also offer slightly lower rates than professional photographers. During your photo studies, you can hang ads in your school to attract other students keen in studio photography or film photography.

Making a little extra cash in a cool and easy way!

Photography Class: Find Students Online

What if you could find photo students without even leaving your home?

On Superprof, registering as a photography tutor is easy and totally free. The professional photographer tutor can  get in touch with thousands of students interested in artistic subjects, and more specifically in his or her area of specialization.

Online, you could find many many students to take your photo classes!

Don't forget there are many things you could add to your photography tutoring ad in order to attract a maximum of students:

  • Your degree,
  • Photographer experience,
  • Average price per hour,
  • Best rate packages,
  • Specialties and course content,
  • Course level,
  • Photo equipment,
  • Location of the photo class,
  • Geographical location and possibility of giving a photo tutorial online.

It usually takes only a few weeks - or even a few days - to find several students interested in your photography classes. Once a first contact is established, the photography tutor will discuss the modalities of the course with the student and the possible scheduling of classes. Also remember to ask your student to bring their photo material or, possibly, make available your own material during your course.

You are now ready to find photo students who are passionate about photography!

Now enjoy this complete guide to teaching photography...

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.