Oxygen College has long offered the opportunity to study photography right here in Geelong. In 2017, they are embarking on offering a brand new Professional Photography Program which will give students the chance to do complete a full time, two year photography course. Those undertaking this program will leave ready to operate as a photographer at a professional level.
Forté chat with Andrew Whiteford who is helping put together the new program.
Oxygen College already has a few photography certificate courses. In what ways is the Professional Photography Program different?
The Professional Photography Program is an all-encompassing course. Over two years, it takes you from a point where you have a passion for photography and you are shooting in automatic mode, right through to the point where you are operating at a professional level. It covers off on all areas including camera function, using software programs like Photoshop and Lightroom, advanced lighting techniques, as well as making sure you are industry ready the day you complete the program.
What are the reasons behind the need to create this new course and how has the process been developing it?
We noticed that a lot of people had a passion for photography and we wanted to provide an option to turn that passion into a career. We also recognised that some people from Geelong and regional areas felt that Melbourne was their only option to do a two year full time program. Now, that is no longer the case.
Tell us about the trainers, are they professional/experienced photographers?
We insist that all of our trainers are either running a business or have current professional experience in the industry. This ensures the students are exposed to current industry practices and can feel reassured that their trainers are ‘practicing what they preach’. We have a fantastic team of trainers with varied skills – they are currently working on making the Professional Photography Program come to life.
As the program’s first year acts as a foundation year to establish a photography skill set and knowledge base, do photography students need to have any previous photography experience?
No, at an entry level we are just looking for people with a passion for photography who displays the desire to become a professional in the field. Ideally, the applicant would have a DSLR camera and have already started building a folio, though this is not essential.
Given the course has a major focus on industry outcomes (especially in the second year), what does the course do to prepare photographers for work?
The first year is about developing your foundational skills and knowledge and during the second year we take what you have developed and apply this to an industry context. So, if you were doing a project involving a fashion shoot for example, we would set up the activity to be based around a real industry setting. In the second year, we will also encourage students to start thinking about what they want to do upon leaving the course – whether it’s wedding photography or providing social media content, and we will help guide their skills in that area.
What is the best thing an emerging photographer can get out of undertaking the course?
Our aim is to provide students with the opportunity to be able to do something in life that they are passionate about. Rather than just working a 9-5 job, photography can offer a fantastic, versatile career in a growing digital world where traditional photography career opportunities also still exist. The other major benefit of the course is the chance to meet, learn and network with like-minded photographers who will help to drive and encourage a photographic journey.
Does the course allow students to develop their own style?
Yes! As with all our courses, we strongly encourage students to bring their own style and we will then provide the facilities, equipment and support to develop individual areas of interest to a professional standard.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?
Come down to see all that the College has to offer at our Open Day #2. If Photography isn’t your thing, we are also offering a Diploma of Visual Arts in 2017.
When & Where: Open Day @ Oxygen College, Geelong – October 29