/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 the Photography 1 course. While Photo1 does move gradually toward some fairly advanced ideas, 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 at all 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, in part, 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 majority of people asking this question need Photo1, which is a far more comprehensive course than what most of them had taken previously. One of the reasons we’ve founded ASOP is because of the superficialities and misinformation that are so pervasive in other photography classes. So if your previous class concentrated mostly on aperture, shutter, and ISO, then we will almost certainly surpass your knowledge on the first or second day of Photo1. From there we spend most of the course exploring the external physics of photography, including things like angles of light, light differentials, layers of space, distances, angles of movement, and, finally, the manner in which you can control the structure of the picture, the viewer's eye movement, and the aesthetic or emotional value of the image through combinations of those 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 by the end of this course, we are already addressing the exact concerns of those students seeking “intermediate to advanced training.”  Conversely, the feedback we’ve received from those who have jumped directly into the advanced classes has indicated that nearly all of them needed the experience provided by Photo1. 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 out of this. We encourage students to come early to or 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, with the exception of some of the more advanced courses, which often seat only 8. 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?

The whole concept behind ASOP is to make learning photography as convenient and accessible as possible. If you miss a class, you may simply make it up on the next date that particular lecture is held.


/What is your cancellation policy?

Because most of our classes fill well in advance, we require 3 days notice for cancellation. Up until 3 days before the class date, students can receive a full refund, otherwise within 72 hours of the start time we cannot issue a refund.


/Are there any age requirements?

Not officially. Clearly anyone over 18 is free to enroll, however, it should be noted that students in the 15-17 age range have taken our classes with mixed results. About half of of them absolutely love it, and go on to be among our most enthusiastic students (and very often they gain a solid head start on their peers as they enter college programs that deal with visual communication and the arts). However, the other half can sometimes become disinterested, as our classroom atmosphere more closely resembles that of a college program, and less an after-school youth art program. So it certianly varies depending on the individual (and his/her level of enthusiasm and maturity). So we leave that decision to the parent

/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 2018, 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.