Disclaimer: I am not being paid or endorsed by NYIP to write this, I just really believe in the value and education they provided me. Think of this as more of a review or write-up. Find more information at http://www.nyip.edu – Enjoy.
Time Began in a Magazine… The New York Institute of Photography (referred to as NYIP henceforth) is a nationally-accredited online-based school. They host a myriad of photography-related classes ranging from portraiture, weddings, videomaking, business, and Adobe Photoshop. I first heard about NYIP while flipping through an issue of Popular Photography magazine at the local public library.
It was a neatly placed advertisement along a right-hand page margin. I try not to be swayed by simple ads, but this one stuck out to me. The bright and bold red-grey-black colors and letters caught my eye.
The ad touted having exclusively online photo courses for demanding schedules as well as affordably low tuition. At this time I was not enrolled in any sort of college or higher education.
NYIP describes itself as the oldest photography school still around, getting its’ start in 1910 teaching film photography, when obviously digital wasn’t around. Now having progressed to being an online-only school with only an office building located in New York City. Digital photography is their main focus, and they do it well.
All I had was a lot of (read: expensive) camera equipment I had bought and used extensively for many hours.
And free time, lots of it.
This was definitely a “why not?” situation…
…and so I did it.
I made the choice within a couple weeks, and soon I was enrolled and fully paid off; just over $1,200 for both courses. Very affordable compared to a traditional community college or university photography class.
At the time of this writing, there is ten different courses to choose from. While there is some overlap, each one presents a different genre or subject of digital photography. I settled upon the Complete Course in Professional Photography and the Intensive Course in Travel Photography.
In retrospect, the Nature & Landscape Photography course would’ve suited my portfolio and style a bit better. When discussing the school with my mother, she even agreed to that. Fortunately both the courses I took discussed nature photography to some degree.
The nice part is that NYIP alumni are always welcome back to take the other courses (at a discount too). I could always take the nature course in the future, however I feel actual in the field experience is what I need to devote myself to now.
This is How It Went..
I eagerly began the classes, and it was love at first sight. I could work and study on my own terms, going at my own pace through the wealth of material.
The assignments (which I am showing throughout this blog post) really challenged my creativity and typically involved getting out of the house to complete them, although some projects were more studio-based or required artificial lighting.
I bought some new equipment within that time, some of it needed to do the assignments.
The good news is you can invest in as much or in as little as you want or need. Meaning, you can go through the course with a point-and-shoot or “prosumer” camera or a full-framed one, or something in between. The choice is yours.
Despite taking a two month break in between, I somehow managed to push through and complete both courses in about 12 months to my surprise. That’s about half a year before the first deadline.
I completed the Professional Photography course in September 2017 and the Travel Course in October 2017, not too far off from what would be the 1 year mark in November.
The important thing was that it narrowed down my career path for me, which would be wildlife, nature, and landscape in a fine art and conservation perspective. That same SmugMug site I created for my final project portfolio (which I entitled “Living Things”) became the actual website I used thereafter (www.ryanltaylor.com)
I obviously kept the site and tweaked it after finishing both courses, with it being the platform to share and becoming the next stepping stone in my overall career.
How It Feels to Be an Alumni
I am proud of all my progress in that single year, as I have framed and hung my two certificates on the bedroom wall to remind me often. Display your achievements with pride!
I still try to contribute to the student forum whenever I can, a nice community of students trying to hone their craft.
If I ever travel to New York someday, I will surely make a stop to say hello.
To End On a Cliche
The takeaway for you is that some impulsive decisions can turn out good, and you may want to go with your gut feeling.
I was somewhat lost before enrolling, and by the end of my term I had carved my photographic niche.
Who would’ve thought that reading that magazine would turn into enrolling in photography school.
It just sort of happened.
Take the chance, will you?
Is Proper Education Necessary to Succeed?
Personally, I think online classes (or any in-person ones) are worthwhile if you are self-motivated enough to succeed. This is definitely a case of “you get what you put into it.” So make a conscious effort to do your best. Take the classwork seriously, read it, study it, but have fun! The photo assignment are where you creativity and special style can shine!
Do you have a formal education in photography? Where did you go to school at? Are you self-taught?
Everyone has a story of how they came to be, professional or amateur.
Tell me your story down in the comments below or drop me a note at my email.
Have a nice day.
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