Recently I decided that I had learned all I was going to about my camera from the internet, and figured it was time to take a class. After a lot of googling, I decided on GTA Photography Classes, mostly because their class best fit into my schedule. I thought I would write up my thoughts on the class to help you decide if you’re looking for photography classes in Toronto! The class I took was Photo 101 with Lauren.
The first week you cover the 3 most basic facets of manual shooting – ISO, shutter speed and aperture. The class itself takes place in one of those offices that aren’t specifically for one company, but are set up so various companies/groups can rent work space as they need it. I was a bit surprised by that, but whatever. Not having a dedicated space probably keeps their prices lower so fine by me. There were only 6 of us in the class, and the class made it clear they cater to a wide range of demographics. We went through a power point explaining what the three settings do, when you would change them and how they interact together. We were also given printouts of the powerpoint slides to help us remember, which I appreciated. However I didn’t really appreciate the teachers attitude towards the class. She seemed rather patronizing towards us, particularly in the way she would explain things. I said to a friend afterwards she seemed as though she was trying to explain this to a pack of golden retrievers. At one point she specifically explained to us that shallow depth of field meant “That your depth of field would be very.. shallow. Not deep.” Huh, you don’t say? She also told us off a couple times for taking photos during class, when we were supposed to be trying out new settings on our cameras. I understand that she maybe expected us to wait until we had combined all three settings to start taking photos, but if we’re mucking around with our settings anyway, maybe it will help us to see how a picture turns out with our shutter speed turned all the way up? Little things like that aren’t really a huge deal, but they did bug me. We did get a chance at the end of class to go out into the office and take photos, but it was so dimly lit in there, and the class was in the evening so there was no natural light coming in that it was almost impossible to actually try any of the things she had shown us. Most of their classes are at night, so you’d think that’s something they’d take into consideration.
Week 2 was a ‘field trip.’ It was outside normal class hours and we were to meet at the office, and then spend two hours wandering around Queen St, taking photos, and then having Lauren critique our work. I didn’t end up going on this outing, because I wasn’t feeling well and had to work Saturday night, so I decided to take some Advil and go back to bed instead. Considering how much I’ve been practicing on my own, I figured I would be okay without the 2 hour outing with the class. I did find it weird though that they’d schedule the field trip before you’re done all the learning portions of the class, so you can’t really practice all the skills you’d learned.
This class was focused on compositon, which apparently only meant rule of thirds. Honestly I lasted about half an hour in this class before feigning emergency and leaving. It was SO slow. If you’re a reasonably smart person at all, or take less than 26 minutes to understand a concept, don’t take these classes. Also I left the first class with a headache and started to get one as soon as this one started. Not sure what that was about. The worst part is of the 25 minutes that I stayed, we spent about 15 of them doing the worlds most ridiculous activity. We were split into two groups (come on, we’re adults. No one wants to do group work) and given a random object. One was a hanger, and the other was a power bar. We were then supposed to ‘imagine’ 10 different things this object could be used to ‘portray.’ And she meant like “Oh, you can hold this hanger this way and imagine it’s an iron! Or a window squegee.” It was supposed to make us ‘look at things around us differently. Nope, all it did was make me annoyed.
Apparently this week you take your photos in and everyone critiques them. I didn’t go, for reasons I think are obvious by now. And anyway, I don’t want 5 other random people who are taking a Photo 101 class critiquing my photos. The instructor maybe, but what do these people know? They’re supposed to be beginners too.
Moral of the story, if you know absolutely nothing about photography and are kind of a slow learner, sure take these classes. Otherwise, I would avoid. The only good thing it did for me was reignite a passion for photography I’d long forgotten about, and now I’ll be taking photo classes at Ryerson University here in Toronto!