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Why Private In-Person Photography Lessons Are the Best Way to Learn Photography

Why Private In-Person Photography Lessons Are the Best Way to Learn Photography

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

Photography, an art form that captures moments and emotions, requires technical skills and creative vision. Aspiring photographers often face the dilemma of choosing the best learning method to hone their craft. Among the various options—online courses, group classes, workshops, and private lessons—there is a compelling argument that in-person private photography lessons are ideal for a photography student. This article explores the advantages of this approach, emphasizing personalized instruction, immediate feedback, hands-on experience, and the cultivation of a mentor-mentee relationship.

Check out some of what renowned teacher Scott Kelby says about Learning Photography.


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National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish Hardcover


Personalized Instruction

One of the most significant advantages of in-person private photography lessons is the tailored instruction that meets the student’s individual needs and learning pace. Unlike group classes or online courses that follow a set curriculum, private lessons allow the instructor to customize the teaching approach based on the student’s existing knowledge, interests, and goals.

For instance, a student passionate about landscape photography will benefit from a curriculum focusing on techniques specific to this genre, such as understanding light, composition, and the use of filters. On the other hand, a student interested in portrait photography might need to learn about posing, lighting setups, and post-processing techniques tailored to portraits. This level of customization ensures that the learning experience is relevant and directly applicable to the student’s aspirations.

Moreover, the instructor can quickly identify and address any gaps in the student’s knowledge or skills. This immediate and focused attention helps students overcome challenges more efficiently and prevents them from developing bad habits that could hinder their progress.

Immediate Feedback

In photography, timely feedback is crucial for improvement. In-person private lessons offer the advantage of real-time critique and guidance, which is often lacking in online courses or larger group settings. During a private session, the instructor can observe the student’s technique, composition, and use of equipment, providing instant feedback and corrections.

For example, if a student is struggling with camera settings, the instructor can demonstrate the correct adjustments on the spot, explaining the impact of each change on the final image. This hands-on guidance helps students grasp complex concepts more quickly and reinforces their learning through practical application.

Additionally, immediate feedback allows students to experiment and learn from their mistakes in a supportive environment. Knowing that they can ask questions and receive prompt answers builds their confidence and encourages a deeper exploration of their creative potential.

Hands-On Experience

Photography is a practical art form that requires hands-on experience to master. In-person private lessons provide ample opportunities for students to practice under the supervision of an experienced photographer. This direct engagement with the camera, lighting equipment, and various shooting scenarios is invaluable for developing technical proficiency and artistic vision.

In a private lesson, the instructor can organize practical exercises tailored to the student’s learning objectives. For instance, a lesson on outdoor photography might include a field trip to a scenic location where the student can practice capturing landscapes, managing natural light, and composing shots. Similarly, a lesson on studio photography could involve setting up different lighting configurations and experimenting with portrait techniques.

This immersive, hands-on approach helps students internalize theoretical knowledge and apply it in real-world situations. The instructor can provide immediate assistance and adjustments, ensuring that the student gains a comprehensive understanding of the techniques being taught.

Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Another compelling reason why in-person private photography lessons are ideal is the development of a mentor-mentee relationship. This dynamic goes beyond traditional teaching; it involves guidance, inspiration, and personal growth. A mentor can provide valuable insights into the photography industry, share their experiences, and offer career advice that extends beyond technical skills.

A strong mentor-mentee relationship fosters trust and open communication, creating a supportive environment where students feel comfortable expressing their creative ideas and challenges. The mentor can offer constructive criticism and encouragement, helping the student to build resilience and perseverance in their artistic journey.

Furthermore, mentors often become important network connections, introducing students to industry professionals, opportunities, and resources that can accelerate their career development. This personalized mentorship can be a pivotal factor in a student’s success, providing both technical expertise and professional guidance.

Enhanced Learning Environment

The environment in which learning takes place can significantly impact a student’s engagement and retention of information. In-person private photography lessons offer a structured yet flexible environment that is conducive to focused learning. Unlike the distractions that often accompany online learning or the competitive atmosphere of group classes, private lessons provide a calm and supportive setting where students can concentrate on their craft.

The instructor can adapt the learning environment to suit the lesson’s objectives, whether it’s a quiet studio for detailed technical work or an inspiring outdoor location for creative exploration. This adaptability ensures that the student is always in an optimal setting for learning, free from external pressures and interruptions.

Accountability and Motivation

Private lessons also offer a higher level of accountability and motivation for students. The one-on-one nature of the lessons means that students are more likely to stay committed and engaged in their learning process. The instructor can set personalized goals and assignments, tracking the student’s progress and providing encouragement along the way.

This personalized attention helps students stay motivated and focused on their objectives. The regular interaction with the instructor creates a sense of responsibility and commitment, driving the student to put in the necessary effort and practice to improve their skills.

Access to Professional Equipment and Techniques

Many aspiring photographers may not have access to high-end equipment or professional techniques in their early stages of learning. In-person private photography lessons often provide the opportunity to work with advanced cameras, lenses, lighting setups, and other professional gear. This access allows students to experience the capabilities of high-quality equipment and learn techniques that they might not be able to practice on their own.

The instructor can demonstrate how to use various types of equipment effectively, from basic DSLRs to advanced studio lighting systems. This hands-on experience with professional tools not only enhances the student’s technical skills but also gives them a better understanding of what equipment they might want to invest in for their photography career.

Building a Strong Portfolio

A strong portfolio is essential for any aspiring photographer, whether they aim to pursue photography professionally or as a serious hobby. In-person private lessons can be instrumental in helping students build a compelling portfolio that showcases their skills and creative vision. The instructor can guide the student in selecting and editing their best work, providing insights into what makes a portfolio stand out.

The mentor’s experience and eye for detail can help the student curate a diverse and cohesive collection of images that reflect their growth and potential. This curated portfolio can be a powerful tool for applying to photography schools, securing freelance work, or attracting clients.


In-person private photography lessons offer numerous advantages that make them the most ideal learning method for photography students. The personalized instruction, immediate feedback, hands-on experience, and mentor-mentee relationship provide a comprehensive and enriching learning experience. This approach not only helps students develop technical skills and artistic vision but also fosters personal growth, motivation, and professional development.

While online courses and group classes have their merits, the depth of learning and the tailored support provided by in-person private lessons are unparalleled. Aspiring photographers who invest in this form of education are likely to see significant improvements in their craft and achieve their creative goals more effectively. Whether the objective is to pursue photography as a career or to master it as a passionate hobby, in-person private lessons offer the ideal path to success.

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website