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Old                03-30-2004, 4:01 PM Reply   
I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions as to which photography schools out there are the best. I've been looking online and keep coming across the same 3-4 (and I don't know if I can trust some of the sites' credibility). If anyone has any reccomendations as to which schools are best to get a photography degree from, let me know...

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       03-30-2004, 5:57 PM Reply   
Go over to and contact Mike Isler. He's going to the premier photography school on the west coast evidently somewhere near Santa Barbara. He's mentioned the name to me but it skips my mind.
Old     (isler)      Join Date: Apr 2003       03-30-2004, 7:09 PM Reply   
Rich, I do hang out on the old guys site sometimes!

Wiscokid, the school I'm at is called Brooks Institute of Photography. There are several schools that have very strong photo programs:

(in no specific order)
- Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, CA
- Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
- Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
- Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY

I looked at all four schools in person before settling on Brooks. Art Center and RISD were much more heavily focused on design (composition, color theory) and light on the technical aspect. Brooks and RIT are more heavy on the technical side (lighting, using any camera from a 35mm on up to 8x10 view cameras and digital scan backs, etc). I'm sort of more of a gearhead so I like the tech side of things...not that a tech heavy school is better than a design heavy school. So, my choice was between living in cold, bleak New England, or living in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA.

I've been here for about two years. My school runs year-round, 6 two-month sessions annually. I've taken a lot of time off to shoot wakeboarding and stuff, but so far, here are the courses I've taken, in order:

- PHO101 (Basics of photography, B&W developing and printing, etc)
- PHO102 (Intro to 4x5 Large Format photography)
- PHO103 (More advanced photo techniques, as well as using "hot lights" for studio work)
- PHO200: Lighting Theory (using flashes, studio strobes, guide numbers, depth of light)
- PHO201: Lighting People (formal lighting patterns, posing, specular vs diffuse light for people)
- PHO202: Lighting Studio (small product photography, black-glass surface work, etc)
- DIM: Digital Imaging (I tested out of this class, but it's basically Photoshop for photographers)
- PHO203: ADA (Digital capture, using digital SLRs like Nikon D1x/Canon 1Ds, also medium format digital backs like Leaf Valeo 22, and large format array and scan backs like the Leaf Cantare XY and BetterLight scanback)

I have less than two years to go. All in all, it's a 3 year program if you do it year round, but as I said, I don't. You also take general education courses which are tailored to photography, like science (studying optics and CCDs), economics and accounting (for running your own studio), marketing (obvious), law (copyright, photo biz law), and more.

After I finish this course, I can choose my area of specialty and take more specific courses. Some majors include Commercial Advertising, Portraiture, Industrial, and Nature...there are more though. If you have any questions, drop me a line.


Mike Isler
Old                03-30-2004, 9:50 PM Reply   
Thanks for the response Mike. That was the info I was looking for.
Old                03-30-2004, 10:53 PM Reply   
HEY MAN, I CHECKED out your site. GOOD STUFF!!
u really get that much work amazing how long have u officially been in the photog industry for and what do u use canon digi rebel slr

thanks travis
Old     (isler)      Join Date: Apr 2003       03-30-2004, 11:12 PM Reply   

Thanks for your compliment. I stay pretty busy, between shooting for school and shooting wakeboarding. I'd say officially I've been shooting wakeboarding for 3 years or so, maybe longer. Last year I shot most of the Pro Tour events for the Mag, as well.

As for cameras, I use many different things depending on what I'm trying to do...I shoot some film, some digital, it all depends. For digital, I shoot with Nikon D2h bodies generally. I have used some medium format backs on my Mamiya 645, but it's not for shooting action, and they are prohibitively expensive ($14,000). For film, I shoot more Nikon cameras (F5, N90s) as well as 6x4.5cm and 4x5in. It really depends on the situation. The Canon Digital Rebel, while it's a nice camera for the price, isn't really designed to be used and abused in the kind of conditions I put my gear through. The camera body itself is such a small part of the equation of creating a phtograph, though. You may have heard it and you may hear it again, but the lens you put on a camera is more important than the camera itself.

Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       03-31-2004, 5:00 AM Reply   
"what do u use canon digi rebel slr" (hahahaha)

No offense Travis, you have to know Mike and his preference for Nikon equipment to understand the humor. He's got more gear than most camera stores!
Old                04-01-2004, 12:20 AM Reply   
tear tear apology excepted rich however mike i don't understand why u are in school if you own more equip then a store, have a seemingly secure job with the industry and know you shiznazzzz?????????????
just curios btw how old are ya
Old     (isler)      Join Date: Apr 2003       04-01-2004, 12:28 AM Reply   

Rich is kidding about more gear than a store =) But I do lug around quite a bit of crap... sometimes 6-7 cases of cameras and lighting gear and stuff. In this industry, the term "secure job" is used very loosely. I'm in school right now so I don't pigeon-hole myself into shooting wakeboarding for the rest of my life. I want to have the skills to shoot in other areas.

I'm 21 right now... still but a punk kid, pretty much... but I do take my business pretty seriously. I just got legally incorporated last week ("isler photo inc." in the state of Florida), and have been shooting professionally for 3 years in addition to going to school.

I figure, the more I can do now, it will only open more doors for me later on down the road.
Old     (garrett_cortese)      Join Date: Mar 2003       04-01-2004, 8:18 AM Reply   
"still a punk kid, pretty much..."

You got that right, Isler. But hey, it takes one to know one, right?

...the other 21-year-old punk photographer, oh, wait, I'm 22. Eh, close enough.

Garrett Cortese Photography
Old     (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       04-01-2004, 11:27 AM Reply   

Which setting are you using on your 1d-cfn 17 ? and are you using AI servo or just locking focus. It's been hit and miss for me using the AI servo.
Old     (garrett_cortese)      Join Date: Mar 2003       04-01-2004, 6:41 PM Reply   

I use a single autofocus point. I also use AI servo because you need the camera to track. If you use locking focus and the rider is changing distances from you, then you're only going to get one in-focus frame. AI servo just takes practice. Keep shooting and you'll get the hang of panning with a rider, keeping the autofocus point on him, and keeping him in the part of the frame you want. I keep the camera set to the full 45 autofocus points, so I can change where in the frame I want the rider, etc. But when I'm doing straight chase boat stuff from behind the rider I'm usually focusing manually.

All of the settings I use in my camera basically follow what SI has their photographers do. You can get those settings here:

Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have any other questions.


Garrett Cortese Photography
Old                04-06-2004, 7:24 AM Reply   
Check out Daytona Beach Community College if you want to be in FL. One of the top ten photo schools in the nation, and you can get a 4 year bachlors in photography there. Can't beat that community college price!


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