Photo schools in the D.C. area- CDIA?

Discussion in 'Education' started by ann_hennessy, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Hi fellow photographers,

    I moved to the D.C. area a few months ago and am doing some research on schools in the area to take classes and/or workshops
    from. I haven't seen a ton of options so far.. WSP, CDIA and the Art Institute (which is in every major city I think?). I went to the open
    house at CDIA last night and it seems like a really solid program with great faculty BUT do I need to do a full commitment like that? I
    might just need some workshops (which they offer I saw), but most of the classes in the curiculum are appealing to me, and seem
    useful. The thing is, I have a BFA in Graphic Design and am pretty savy in Photoshop, so I don't need the first and maybe second
    class in that. I would consider myself more than a beginner photographer, so I don't need a couple intro classes. I've taken like five
    classes since college (where I took a few classes also). I've taken a workshop on Lightroom and can probably re-figure that out. I'm
    good with software programs. I have been trying to make connections here and start a lil business but it isn't taking off just yet. I'd
    love more business knowledge along with the rest of my photo knowledge I'm lacking in. I know if I do it it'll provide me with structure,
    motivation and the missing gaps in my education. I know I have talent but I need the tools to help me put them to use! I understand
    being a photographer is going to be mostly business knowledge... which they apparently provide.

    I get super excited at the thought of going back to school, but not at spending $26,400. I might be able to transfer a couple classes
    though, so maybe I'll pay less??... I'm not sure what kind of photography I want to do yet but I've been doing retail/lifestyle stuff with
    kids, babies, families... Going to CDIA would help my vision and broaden my options in case I don't want
    to limit myself to just this stuff. I also am in need of a community, resources, connections.... It seems like a great source for that. I'm
    sure there are photo clubs or organizations in the area though?

    Thoughts from any alum? Thoughts from D.C. photogs?

    Or any other schools/organizatioms in D.C. worth looking into?

    Thanks all! Sorry if this is a repeat but I've found nothing relevant to this exactly.

  2. I lived there years ago, so my info may not be so current
    How about the Corcoran School of art downtown. Not cheap but a well know art school and they have photography programs. I actually went to the photo school at Northern VA community college or "NovaCoCo". Joyce Tenneson used to teach there and was actually a good photography school back then. I would see what is going on there, it is reasonably priced too. I would think the University of Maryland may have a good art program, you could also check GWU American U and Georgetown. Not sure what is available there.
    You might also check out the Washington DC chapter of the American Photographic Artists or APA. It is a professional organization and you should be able to find out what type of business is there.
  3. Thanks David,

    I'm going to look into these other options. I was wondering about NovaCoCo also, because I actually live in Alexandria.

    Thanks again!
  4. Ann:
    I have worked as a director for both the Hallmark Institute AND CDIA which I guess puts me in a unique position to offer first-hand advice as to which programs are decent. However it almost ALWAYS depends on which direction of photography you wish to pursue. If you want to try and make a go of it by selling your work in a gallery, then you would want a BFA program. If you want to make a real living off of your craft, you will want a business-centric photo program.

    At the risk of sounding vague, it doesn't really matter what school you go to as long as they have a specialized program of photography. By "specialized", I mean the program that has a dedicated staff of seasoned photographers and is financially supported to keep up with changes in technology. The three main areas you will need to know are:
    1. ISAW, Lighting, Composition
    2. Reverse Engineering & Conceptualizing
    3. Business Communications

    Early on in my career I toured the photo dept. of RISD (internationally renowned college of art). The graduating senior who was my tour guide had the misfortune of being assigned to me because I asked her a barrage of questions while touring in which she was completely unable to answer. She had no clue what she wanted to do and had no idea how to use an on-camera flash. Couldn't even fathom the idea of shooting a wedding or event. Also had no idea on how much to charge if she was given the opportunity. Research these areas.
    Before you consider going to school, you should also as yourself if you have what it takes to be successful. The three "P's" of: Promotion, Personality & Portfolio are vital to any professional's future. Regardless of the school you choose, once you get out in the world and possess the ability to produce a high-quality image, you then need to make money. Do you have the drive to continually get your name out there? (promote). Do people like working with you? (personality) Do you have a top-notch body of work? (portfolio).
    There are many other unique ways of acquiring these skills without dropping $50,000 or more on your education like attending industry-sponsored workshops led by renowned photographers and keeping the funds in your pocket to invest in the equipment needed to shoot high-priced contracts.

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