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Could You Start Photography Teaching Jobs?

From Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > How to Start Teaching Photography

“What photography makes infinite only ever takes place once,” Roland Barthes

Passionate about photography, and wish to make it your job? It’s possible thanks to private photo classes!

One-on-one lessons are for beginners as well as advanced students looking to refine one aspect of their photography. On Superprof, it is possible to find interested students in just a few hours and thus supplement your salary as a photography teacher or simply live off your passion. Yet few people know how to organize to give private lessons to aspiring photographers!

Superprof explains how to practice your job as a photography teacher!

Photography Class: What Needs to Be in Place for You to Teach Photography?

Before starting to practice as a professional photographer that poses as tutor, make sure you have everything in place!

tutoring-success Put yourself in the best possible position in order to succeed with photography tutoring!

If you choose to go through a photography school or a photo association, you will become an employee of the school. This is the case when you enter a tutoring agency.

Keep in mind, though, that photography is not nearly as popular as classic subjects like math or English.

It will be particularly complex to teach digital photography or analog photography to students in private schools or via an agency. In general, students will take an intensive workshop, but will not take regular classes to justify hiring a long-term photography tutor.

That’s why the majority of private photography tutors leave classifieds!

This is choosing a different route. Tutors in image processing, studio portraiture, or photo reportage will become freelancers.

Think about whether you’d prefer to be a freelancer or an employee before becoming a photography tutor!

Writing Your Classified in Order to Be a Photo Tutor

To attract as many students as possible, pay close attention to how you write your ad!

On Superprof, writing a short photography tutoring ad requires only a few minutes. However, some pro photographers, although they are overly qualified, still struggle to stand out. What’s the reason behind that? A bad ad can quickly have you lose students.

First of all, it is highly advisable to include a photo in your profile. The future photojournalist or fashion photographer will not only be reassured by this photo, but will also be able to admire your work at a quick glance.

With regard to writing the ad, the teacher must make sure to indicate:

  • The average rate for one hour of photography class,
  • The level of the photo class,
  • The location of the photo class,
  • The material used during the photo class,
  • The duration of photo lessons,
  • The type of education (distance learning, intensive workshops, and small group classes…),
  • The specialties of the tutor,
  • Pro Photographer Degrees,
  • Experience as a photographer.

On Superprof, students have the opportunity to leave a comment and rate your skills. The more a tutor is appreciated by his or her students, the more he or she will attract a new batch of students!

You could also include these great tips from PetaPixel in your ad. It will show your students that you are serious and getting right to work:

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 


Finally, before posting your final ad, you could take a look at the competition’s rates, simply by typing “Photography” followed by your city on the Superprof website.

Too high a rate will put some low-budget students off; too low a price may be a sign of poor quality education. The private photo tutor will have to take a look at the average rates in order to propose a perfect rate for a wide range of pupils.

Your classified ad should not be neglected, whether you are looking to teach an introductory course or an accelerated workshop. An attractive ad could be synonymous with success in the private photo tutoring market!

Photo Class: Define the Objectives of the Student in the First Class

So, did you already find an interested student?

But did you really take the time to understand what he or she is looking for?

discussion-goals Starting a discussion with your student beforehand helps to avoid wasting time during the lesson.

A good photo class happens when there is active listening on behalf of the tutor. Whether it’s by e-mail, on the telephone, or during an introductory course in photography, the photo tutor should take the time to ask the student the right questions before the start of the photography workshop.

The objectives of a beginner or advanced student can be the following:

  • Learning the basics of photography (framing, white balance, shutter, automatic mode and manual mode…),
  • Learning advanced photo techniques (studio portrait, digital SLR, depth of field, shutter speed…),
  • Discovering the history of photography,
  • Moving up from a beginner level to an expert level in photography,
  • Taking beautiful cityscape photos,
  • Managing natural light,
  • Learning photo editing in post production apps,
  • Specializing in macro photography, etc.

Some students may be looking for a particularly complex photo-training when looking to make photography their main job (becoming a photojournalist, for example). In this case, the tutor must have diplomas justifying his or her professional experience as a specialized photography teacher (state diploma in photography).

It is also essential to discuss the duration of the photo course with the student.

To learn basic photography, a 4 hour photo workshop is usually recommended, in the form of a special package. Conversely, to move from a beginner level to an expert level, personalized support will be needed over several months or even several years.

The pro photography tutor should therefore discuss the modalities of the course in advance to obtain recommendations from the student on what to include. It will be important for later word-of-mouth!

Choosing the Right Equipment for a Private Lesson

Who would a pro photographer be without his or her equipment?

quality-material To give classes that will be appreciated by his or her students, you should make sure to buy quality material…

To teach studio photo, portrait photo, night photo, or culinary photo, it is essential to acquire the tools necessary in order for the course to run smoothly!

A private photo class differs from a simple photo intro or an online photo class because of its quality. The students expect for you to be wholly involved in their learning.

During these classes, the student who is learning photography aims not only to learn new elements of his or her artform, but also to improve throughout sessions and deepen his or her artistic knowledge. This development is inseparable from professional equipment that will allow the student to become an advanced photographer.

Here is a small non-exhaustive list of equipment to acquire before a photography class:

  • Renting a photo studio,
  • SLR camera, if the student does not have a camera,
  • Photo editing software,
  • Specialized photo equipment according to the type of class the student is taking (analog photography, animal photography, photojournalism…),
  • Tripod and studio lights,
  • Post treatment room according to the exposure time (long post, short exposure),
  • Digital devices,
  • Practical exercises to take between two photo classes,
  • Focal lens (for effects such as the blur, flash photo, optical zoom…).

Renting a photo studio remains the student’s responsibility. The teacher must specify the course location before the start of the photo shoot. It is the student’s responsibility to buy the necessary equipment, but the tutor can increase the price of his or her class if he or she has to rent it to the student.

Whether it is for editing images, preparing a wedding photo shoot, or teaching the art of black and white photography, the tutor should specify what equipment he or she has available for rent in his or her ad.

With the right equipment, you can finally start your photography lessons!

Photo Class: Let’s Take a Look At an Example of a Photo Class

The last step before getting started as a photography tutor is to prepare your photo course.

digital-classes What if you decided to give digital photography classes?

Again, the course content will undoubtedly vary according to the student’s goals and final expectations. Nevertheless, the photo sessions usually follow a specific path that will guide the student from an introduction to photography to understanding the profession of a pro photographer.

Here is an example of a private photo class:

  1. Intro to the class in order to define the objectives,
  2. Choosing to where to take pictures,
  3. Explaining basic techniques of photography,
  4. Shooting outdoors or in a photo studio,
  5. Printing photos or posing for photos,
  6. Choosing which photos to keep,
  7. Debriefing with the photography tutor,
  8. Practical exercises to do before the next session.

During the session, make sure to be in constant communication with the student during his photo taking.

Like any art, photography can be particularly complex for a beginner in photography. Techniques like white balancing or the contrasting of photos are often difficult for beginners, who can quickly become discouraged from taking pictures.

So remember to discuss the student’s goals with the student at the end of each class in order to reassure him or her and set new objectives for the next class!

You are now ready to give photo classes to the future pro photographers of America!

 

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