I did it! I graduated from the New York Institute of Photography! I finished their Complete Course in Professional Photography in October of 2015 and received my certificate. It’s been quite a journey, as I took longer than most students to accomplish this adventure. I went nearly blind and had to discontinue my studies while I had two separate operations to transplant my diseased corneas and heal from each, along with several familial and personal losses in the past several years since receiving my NYIP materials. But, I persevered and am proud to say I completed my course and am looking forward to where my business in photography takes me. Below, I have shared some of the things I’ve learned about myself during the time of my NYIP course. I hope they will be helpful to you.
NYIP CertificateNew York Institute of Photography Certificate
I prefer natural light. Before NYIP, I had only used natural light and perhaps fill flash with a built-in or on camera flash. I learned to use studio lighting and artificial lighting during the still life, advertising and portrait sections of the course, though I have yet to master it. It’s nice to know how to use artificial light, in the absence of quality natural light. It’s for this reason I’m happy I’ve learned how to use this type of light, but I still prefer natural light. I will most likely continue to use natural light 95% of the time.
I have a natural eye for composition. On more than one occasion, I’ve been told this. Though I learned more about the rules of composition through the course, I also learned that I was already doing much of what is taught about it, without having to stop and ask all the questions about the composition when I decide my framing. I am not saying I have a perfect eye or that all my compositions are by the book and I’m not sure how to explain it, but for some reason I can just feel the right composition when I see it in my viewfinder or on my LCD display. I don’t always nail it and there are times when it is ok or even necessary to break those rules, but it’s been a good exercise to consciously ask myself questions like: What do I want to include in the frame? Why am I including one thing but excluding another? What is my subject? How do I draw attention to my subject? How much of what is in my frame do I want to be in critical focus and how much do I want to blur? etc… This exercise has taught me why I like or dislike images of my own or others’ when I see and contemplate them and that’s a good thing to learn, especially if I expect to improve my own images, teach others in the future and learn from studying other people’s images. So, for all of you who can relate to having a natural eye for composition, be sure to also learn how to decipher them so you know why a certain juxtaposition works or doesn’t work. Critique is a good skill to acquire and I’m still learning to do it better.
I prefer wildlife and landscape photography. I would really just rather be out in nature photographing wildlife and scenery (with the occasional person included for perspective or scale now and then) than posing a person or group of them for portraits or rushing to the next news story. Part of my reason for taking this course was to fill in learning gaps and challenge myself to try all the different areas photography has to offer. I wanted to be able to do them all, even if I decided on just one type to focus on in the end. Being previously self-taught, I knew I had purposely NOT learned or practiced certain aspects of photography that I didn’t think I liked. NYIP gives you a look at it all and, by trying each type of photography, you just may find something you like that may surprise you, or like myself, you will confirm what you already knew and will feel more confident in pursuing it.
I need to practice more. Even with a natural eye, your photographer’s eye can get rusty if not used regularly. The NYIP course forced me to do more “practicing”, something I’m not very patient with because I just want to get to that perfect sunset spot and await the right light and get the awesome shot in the golden hour. The NYIP course allowed me to slow down and think more, try shots I may not have tried before, use my camera settings in ways I haven’t before. It kept me shooting and that’s a good thing. They say practice makes perfect and I think that can be true, but with regards to photography, I think practice makes you capable. It takes more than being at the right place at the right time, with the right equipment…you also have to be skillful in how to set up a shot and how to use your camera in order to bring home the shot.
I have a lot to learn! I think the biggest thing I’ve learned throughout this course is how much I still have left to learn. The more I practice, the more I learn. The more I shoot, the more I see the need to shoot. Perhaps that’s a good place to be. It will keep me doing what I love to do! So, I will continue to be a student of photography as well as a professional and I hope to capture more skillful images in 2016 than I did in 2015. If I put into practice what I’ve learned through NYIP, I’m sure I can accomplish that goal. Thanks NYIP!
In the comments, please let me know what you learned about yourself in 2015, as it relates to photography.