Teaching Photography The Right Way

camera-auto There is a right way and wrong way to teach anything. When it comes to photography, there is such a variety of teaching styles, methods and assignments that a photo educator can pick.

For me, I like being hands on and explain the lesson as simple as possible.

I recently learned about an online photo class (a very popular one – that charges a decent amount of money) instructs their students to leave there cameras on Automatic ISO all the time. Now, I don’t care what approach you take in teaching photography. What I do care about are educators teaching the wrong ideas. Yes, the Auto-ISO function can be useful. However, by telling your students to do this all the time just takes the thinking process and the fun and excitement out of the art of photography.

I mean seriously. Did I really have to write this?

My friend +Zach Frailey said (via Twitter), “Instructor laziness or instructor ignorance?” – I believe it is a mixture of the two.

Thanks for reading and happy shooting,

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Learning, and continuing to learn, about the three main controls of light in a camera (Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO) are and will continue to be vital in me understanding how to make the pictures I WANT TO MAKE, not just pictures that are good enough. Sounds like someone is just trying to draw a check and not really working on helping the students become better. Sad.

    1. That’s how I see it as well. If they continue teaching like this I really hope my family member gets a refund.

    2. I agree. It has taken me a while to get the hang of most of it ( and I’m still learning ) but I would not have done it any other way.

  2. Hey, it sounds pretty off to say something like leaving your camera in auto ISO. I would ask a few questions here though as perhaps this is just spreading false details about a class or an online game of telephone.

    1. Is this first hand knowledge? Did you have a discussion with the instructor?
    2. Why does the instructor say to keep the camera set to auto ISO?
    3. Popularity doesn’t matter. What’s the skill level of the class? Is it a class for learning your point and shoot camera or is it an advanced class offering to teach advanced photographers how to be more creative with their camera?

    There are a number of factors here and I don’t know the full story. Instructor or not, telling people to use auto ISO all the time, forever and always is ridiculous. Any advanced photographer would start to experiment outside of auto ISO anyways because this wouldn’t be the only bit of learning they would do in photography.

    1. I am not taking this class, but a family member is. He (and his classmates) were instructed to leave Auto-ISO on all the time so the camera would take care of the different lighting conditions. To me that is the instructor(s) taking the easy way out and giving false instruction to the students.

      1. The thing is that you don’t have the full picture and you’re getting information second hand. This could be the way he runs the course to focus on other aspects of photography. The skill level of the class plays a big roll in the class. An introduction to photography could say to place your camera on auto-ISO and experiment with other important aspects of photography. Getting into an in-depth conversation about ISO and how to go about using it may not be something the course would explore depending on the level.

        Even in this post, you make no attempt to help readers learn why to avoid Auto-ISO, Why it might be a good idea sometimes, the benefit of creatively exploring ISO in different scenarios, and more. There was a huge opportunity here beyond saying an instructor is giving false information (so don’t take that class). I just don’t feel it’s fair to the instructor, even if no names are used, without actually talking to them directly on the issue. Just seems like something blown out of proportion when never even talking to said instructor yourself. Especially if it then becomes such negative word of mouth.

        Wouldn’t it have been an awesome blog post to share that you talked with the instructor and had reasons from them beyond what a family member remembers hearing (while not fully understanding photography or their camera yet)? You would have something to actually report on with reasons for and against auto ISO and have something of Value here.

        Perhaps ideas for new posts :)

        1. Again, the statement that the instructor made was to use Auto-ISO all the time. In my opinion that is wrong. Plain and simple. Yes I can go try to speak with him/her but I’m not going to. Yes I can write my own article about it and maybe I will in the future. This article is me venting about people paying for the wrong information. Please stop trying trying to make me look like the bad guy by venting on my own blog.

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