/What kind of equipment do I need?

Technically, all you need is access to any camera that allows full control over its shutter speeds and apertures. Most of our students are using typical dSLR cameras, which are cameras that have a single, detachable lens. However, it is possible to learn photography with a mirrorless camera, or even a “point-and-click” compact camera, so long as the camera allows for complete manual control over its functions.

/Do I have to have any experience or previous training?

Absolutely no experience is required to take Photography 1. The course is designed with the assumption that its participants know absolutely nothing about photography, so we will start from the absolute beginning and move from there. One of the founding principles of ASOP is the desire to make the principles of photography accessible to everyone, so no one
should feel intimidated by the prospect of taking one of our classes. Our goal is to increase your comfort and confidence with your camera, and more-over, we like to think we exist to broaden Austin’s visual literacy. So beginners are always welcome!


/Well in that case, I’ve taken a class or two in the past, should I
then jump straight into the advanced classes?

This is a tricky question. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people asking this question have needed Photography1. Part of the reason ASOP was founded was in order to counteract the misinformation and inadequacies we've routinely observed in mainstream workshops and tutorials. To be specific, if your previous education concentrated mostly on camera settings and operating system functions (read: apertures, shutters, white balance, histograms, etc.), and then moved toward situational advice (ex: "how to take a portrait"), etc., then we will almost certainly surpass your knowledge very early on in Photo1. We actually spend most of the course discussing the more dynamic, underlying properties of the medium, including thorough discussions of lighting variables, angles of light, layers of space, distances, angles of movement, etc. We then discuss the manner in which you can control the STRUCTURE of the photograph, the viewer's eye movement, and the aesthetic or emotional value of the image, through combinations of these physical properties. However, the most important thing to note is that Photo1 puts all of these properties into one holistic narrative, through which our students gain a tangible understanding for how this knowledge will alter their vision and their shooting habits, and in that sense the course is keenly developmental. We find, very consistently, that Photo1 is precisely the "next-level" training that most of these students are seeking. Conversely, the feedback we’ve received from those who have jumped directly into the advanced classes has indicated that nearly all of them were several steps behind any classmate who had taken Photo1. But if you feel you need to consult with us regarding your proper placement, don’t hesitate to give us a call or simply come on down to the studio and we’ll discuss it together. 

/How are the classes structured?

Most courses meet once per week, for 2 hours at a time, and they last for 6 weeks (totaling 12 hours of instruction). However, it should also be noted that our most eager students tend to get quite a bit more. We encourage students to come early to class or to stay late, if they have questions. And students are also encouraged to keep an ongoing email dialog with the instructor if they'd like.


/What's the class size?

Most of our classes have around 10 students. We prefer a smaller class size, partly to allow for everyone's shooting to be analyzed, but also so that everyone has a chance to form a relationship with the instructor.


/What if I have to miss a class?

If you need to miss a class, please contact us in advance, and we will work with you to provide some options for make-up.


/What is your cancellation policy?

Because most of our classes fill well in advance and tend to accumulate a waiting list, we require 3 days notice for any cancellations, in order that we may have time to transfer the seat to someone on the waiting list. Thus, up until 3 days before the class date, students may receive a full refund, otherwise within 72 hours of the start time we cannot issue any refunds.


/Are there any age requirements?

Not officially. Anyone over 18 is free to enroll, however, it should be noted that students in the 15-16 age range have taken our classes with mixed results. About half of them have absolutely loved it and have even gone on to be among our most enthusiastic students (and it should be noted that they very often gain a head start on their peers as they enter college programs that deal with visual arts and communication). However, the other half can become noticeably disinterested, as our classroom atmosphere is more like a college environment and less like an after-school teen art program. So it certainly varies depending on the individual, and their particular level of enthusiasm and maturity. Thus we leave that decision to the parent. Please note, however, that students under the age of 15 are almost certainly too young for our program.

/Are your classes for digital cameras only, or can I shoot film?

It makes no difference whether you are shooting film or digital. The science involved in learning about light and lenses is nearly identical in either case, with the primary difference being some minor distinctions in terminology and, of course, the logistics of  post-processing the image. Although it is now 2019, our instructors still shoot a lot of B&W film, and we still occasionally have students who prefer to use film, but yes, the vast majority of our students now shoot exclusively digital.