My Photo School student Ros Crosland gained so much confidence from doing the courses that she's decided to do photography as a full time job...
When and why did you first decide to do a My Photo School course?
I can't remember the exact date but it was 4 or 5 years ago. I saw the courses advertised, and liked the idea of combining an online course with tutor help; going out on my own, to put the knowledge I had gained into practice, also appealed.
Was this the first time you had signed up for online learning?
It was the first time I had signed up for online learning that included tutor feedback on my images. I've done other courses where you are assessed by online multiple choice questions, but it isn't the same.
How did you find the process at the beginning, in terms of interacting with the tutors and the level of the courses?
At the beginning I had a few technical issues. I could only play the course through the Google Chrome browser, and the videos wouldn't play on my iPad. But technical help was always available and my recent courses prove that all these problems have been solved. The tutor interaction has been great, and with one exception, the levels of the courses have been right for me. My photography skills have improved considerably over the years.
How have you found learning this way to be helpful compared to, say, buying photography books or joining a camera club?
I am passionate about photography, so I learn what I can from all sources. But what I love about My Photo School is the opportunity to submit assignments and get them assessed. It's also been good to interact with other students and ask questions along the way.
What has been your proudest photography achievement so far as a result of studying with My Photo School?
Probably to put up a photography exhibition in our local library and actually sell some photos! The images I displayed came about after pooling skills obtained all the courses I have completed. Everything from landscapes to wildlife, and of course processing with the help of the Lightroom course, and taking on board advice given in the "how to make money from your photography" course.
You are now a full time photographer, right? How did the course helped you prepare to take the plunge?
Yes, I left my long term job last Autumn to see what I can do with photography. The My Photo School courses have given me skills I wouldn't have had otherwise, and given me confidence when using my camera. Once I had done a few courses, I had gained a much better knowledge of my camera settings. I can switch easily now between outdoor wildlife photography and indoor group photos. This morning I was taking photos of a local wildflower patch planted by the town council, and tonight I will be inside taking photos of an indoor exercise class. A complete contrast. You are never too old to change careers!
What tips do you have for other students, current or potential?
I would encourage everybody to sign up initially for a course in an area that interests them the most. I started with flowers and birds, as I am a keen nature photographer. That got me hooked enough to widen my horizons and try other courses.
For more on Ros and her work, see www.facebook.com/rosjcrosland/