Discover the Best Photography Classes in San Francisco
You may have noticed some famous San Francisco backdrops in photos and wondered how to recreate such masterpieces or even develop an eye for such iconic images. There are levels to learning photography; while some start with taking photos of iconic landmarks, others can include improving your phone camera skills. No matter what level of photography you hope to learn, there is a class out there that can help.
Why You Should Learn Photography in San Francisco
San Francisco is the perfect backdrop for beautiful photographs. From Lombard Street, which is famous for its winding curves, to the notable Golden Gate Bridge, there are some iconic spots for spectacular photos. There are many opportunities to photograph great locations, so once you learn how to effectively use a camera, you can occupy your time taking pictures of these beautiful spots. Taking photographs of your favorite locations around the city can be a great hobby and one of the benefits of learning how to point and shoot accurately. Whether in an organized format or on your own, making a hobby using your camera is a great stress relief and productive use of your free time. Photography could also connect you with a new group of people.
The American Photographic Artists SF is a professional organization comprising the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. They offer benefits for its members, such as education programs and essential business resources. Members range from professional photographers, photo assistants, educators, and students.
You could also check out the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection at the San Francisco Public Library, an excellent location for photography enthusiasts to connect and enjoy a collection of photos of famous San Francisco street scenes, buildings, and famous San Francisco personalities. Appreciating photography gives you a newfound positive outlook for such events and a chance to connect with others.
Finally, learning photography is a great way to introduce a new side hustle or even break into a new career. According to Indeed, photographers in San Francisco can make about 87% more than the national average. While it should not be expected that you will immediately make this amount after taking just one class, there is the potential to get to this level with some experience and perfecting of your skill.
In-Person Photography Classes in San Francisco
In-person classes offer an excellent opportunity to advance your photography skills. San Francisco has many great schools to provide you with opportunities to learn. Aperture Academy is a school located in North San Jose that works closely with the National Park Service to acquire proper permits giving you access to great locations. Aperture Academy offers classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. They offer courses in diverse learning environments like mountain trails, beaches, parks, and even crossing rivers.
An example of a diverse learning environment provided at the Aperture Academy is the San Francisco Zoo Photography course. This 5-hour workshop is spent at the famed San Francisco Zoo. Students will spend the entire day sharpening their skills, getting comfortable with your equipment, and working with various lightning and outdoor conditions. Be sure to bring your DSLR camera, tripod, and meals for the day. Another location-based course is the San Francisco & Marin Headlands Photography workshop. This workshop starts and ends at the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Still, you will cover a lot of iconic and photographable locations in San Francisco. Students can expect to learn how to hone their composition skills, learn about their camera, and how to balance a scene. Students should bring their camera, lenses, tripod, extra batteries, memory cards, comfortable clothing and shoes, and money for lunch. Be prepared for a day full of adventure and learning.
The Digital Photo Academy offers nationwide workshops taught by accomplished photographers. Schools are located all over, with San Francisco being one of the prime locations. One of the most popular courses offered by DPA is the Live in-the-field seminars. These lessons take students out of the classroom and into the field. Around the city, there are some incredible spots to get real-life photos in the elements. For example, the Digital Photography Live In-the-Field @ Golden Gate class teaches students how to focus their lens on the bridge alone or capture the natural elements of local seagulls, dog walkers, and palm trees in the background.
Additionally, the Digital Photography Live In-the-field @ Fisherman’s Wharf immerses you in everyday life at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Students can capture shoppers, people riding the cable car, and even watch the playing sea lions. For both in-the-field courses, students can expect a three-hour session where they learn to shoot strategically and walk away with some good photos. The seminar can be used to expand your photography skill or as a great excursion if you are on vacation or have a birthday party idea. Each class begins with a talk from an experienced DPA instructor and then ends with a fantastic walk through one of the photogenic locations.
Isla Studio Photography is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Established in 2009, this studio specializes in architecture and fine art photography, and they teach beginners classes on weekends. Students can attend a course to learn basic digital photography skills or refine their existing skills. One course of interest is the 2hr Photography Walk Next to GG Bridge seminar. Students will take a 2-hour, light stroll next to the Golden Gate Bridge and capture fantastic shots. By the end of this two-hour adventure, students will be able to apply concepts such as long exposures, depth of field, aperture, shutter speed, rule of thirds, and metering. There will be an opportunity to ask equipment-specific questions too. The Beginner’s Photography class is a prerequisite for this course, or at least solid knowledge of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and manual mode.
Virtual Photography Classes
While in-person classes are the most traditional way to learn almost anything, especially photography, online classes have come a long way. Online classes allow students to take classes from anywhere, opening up class options. Students can now consider a class with their favorite New York-based photographer from the comfort of their home in Chicago. Even if you live in the same city where the course is offered, a virtual classroom reduces travel, saving you time and money. No more commuting to class and paying for parking; log into your course, preferably at least 5 minutes before the start, and enjoy the class from your living room. There can be challenges with an online class versus an in-person option, specifically needing your materials. Some in-person courses offer materials or equipment for students.
In contrast, online, the expectation is that you have the materials at home. Another challenge could be the need for instant feedback from an instructor. In a virtual space, it could take longer to receive critiques or even positive feedback from your instructor, causing it to take longer for you to learn from your mistakes.
Even if you are located in San Francisco, a virtual option gives you access to classes based in Chicago, for example. The Creative Fine Art Digital Photography course is a six-session course offered by the Chicago Botanic Garden. Virtually, students will discover how to see and convey their creative vision of the world through their photographs. Students must be familiar with basic camera functions and a digital SLR or mirrorless camera with manual controls for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
If you’d like to stay local virtually, the Contemporary FA Photography: Discovering Your Voice course is an online class that meets five times and teaches students a plethora of information. The class starts by examining the works of prominent fine arts photographers, helping students develop their vocabulary and working knowledge of the medium. Students will also study how classic styles of photography have informed contemporary photographs. By the end of the course, students will leave with a greater appreciation of photography, a deeper connection with their artistic voice, and a clearer understanding of what they want to communicate through their photographs. There are weekly assignments and even guest speakers to offer their perspectives.
Private Group Photography Classes in San Francisco
A private group photography class in San Francisco is a great way to connect with friends or plan an unforgettable team-building event for a business. CourseHorse has live online group classes they can deliver to you and help make your next event that will be talked about for a long time. If you check out their site but don’t see any pre-planned photography classes, no worries; CourseHorse still has you covered. You could always reach out to CourseHorse using their website’s contact form and plan your event with a free virtual event planner. CourseHorse doesn’t charge any booking fees, and you will receive confirmation within 24 hours of booking. Their process makes it easy to plan an event, and you can watch it come together seamlessly. The event planner must know the event’s date, group size, and description when booking. You can even change your group size after booking if needed. CourseHorse makes planning convenient and covers all the steps to pull off a seamless event.