Institute of Photography is one of the fastest growing online photography course websites in the UK.
The company was founded by Course Director Tim McCann, who has a comprehensive background in photography. We spoke to Tim, about his career, and just what it is that makes the Institute of Photography stand out from the bunch when it comes to online photography courses.
Photography was pretty much always a part of Tim's life, as his father was into film photography. Tim got his first SLR in his teens, working with black and white film. "I began my career in magazine publishing, mostly writing about home computing, which was just beginning to take off in a big way in the 1990s. Digital photography also started to make an appearance in the late 1990s, and many professionals were looking to be reassured about the benefits of this new medium compared to film.
I became the editor of Digital Photography Made Easy, and wrote a lot of freelance work for magazines during this period - I could tell that digital photography was going to take off in a big way and there would be a big demand to know more about it," he explains.
So what made Tim take the leap into teaching digital photography rather than just writing about it? "Online learning is a lot more interactive than just reading a magazine. I wanted to teach people, to help people understand this new world of digital photography. People were confused - digital was a big leap from film and a lot of photographers were riding on this wave of change - I wanted to explain digital photography to them, to get people off the automatic mode and enable them to use their kit to its full potential", Tim enthuses. "I wanted to break down the elitism that was surrounding new technology - I myself am not from a techy background. I wanted to show that anyone can learn new skills if they have the right support network."
"The Institute of Photography provides information in sensible chunks - the course is as in-depth as you want it to be," he says. "We cover the creative and the technical aspects, to give you a well-rounded experience, with lots of assignments and interaction with tutors."
It is this interaction, Tim believes, that sets the Institute of Photography apart from the many other courses that are available over the internet today. "Institute of Photography provides written feedback on your assignments, as well as 1-on-1 tutor support. The course isn't about passively and remotely sitting and working through assignments. There is a lot of interaction with the tutor and images will be looked at and scrutinised in great detail to help you to improve in a constructive way."
"There is unlimited email tutor support, you can get in contact with someone pretty much 24 hours a day, and expect a response within a few hours. We also have a continuous online chat facility, allowing you to get in touch with someone in real time. We also host weekly chatrooms. There is also a forum, exclusively for our students where people on our courses can chat with each other, pass on knowledge and offer hints and tips for improvement."
No matter what level of photography you are at, the course will be able to nurture and improve your skills. "Whether you're a beginner, or more proficient at photography, the course will offer unbiased, constructive and impartial critique - this aspect of our course is proving extremely popular with our students," Tim adds. "People can feel daunted when starting on a course like this, and they shouldn't. We're here to support you every step of the way."
"The course will give you a good understanding of where you are at with your photography," Tim goes on to explain. "It will show you where you need to improve, and can enable you to have more proficient skills and knowledge, should you wish to further your learning with us, or at University. If you love photography as a hobby the course can stand you in good stead and give you a grounding in the subject that will be very helpful for furthering your learning."
"Our course is not dumbed down, but provides knowledge and training in bite-size chunks. Those who are willing to learn and get fully immersed in the course will no doubt find it a rewarding investment," says Tim.
The Institute of Photography is the UK's leading online photography course provider. To find out more and to book onto the course today, take a look at the Institute of Photography website.