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How Camera School works

It’s back! After a record-breaking term last year, with more students and uploads than ever before (not to mention a swanky end-of-course exhibition), Camera School returns in the July issue, on sale 6th June, with six exciting new modules to get you inspired and motivated once again.

A free skills course designed for absolute beginners and seasoned enthusiasts in need of a refresher, Camera School is a brilliant way to get to grips with the basics while challenging yourself with more creative techniques. As always, all you need to take part is a camera with creative controls, a copy of Practical Photography and a few hours each month to dedicate to the homework tasks. 

Camera School consists of six modules, each of which will introduce you to a different technique and subject via bite-sized lessons and step-by-steps. The modules, published in Practical Photography, are jargon-free and easy to follow. Each lesson will conclude with a homework task, which is where you put your new skills to the test.

Homework is uploaded to a special gallery, where the Camera School team will grade your images (gold, silver or bronze), offer constructive feedback and issue you with a special certificate. This year’s course will include creative techniques such as intentional camera movement (ICM) and some spooky Halloween shenanigans to celebrate the end of term.

Here are a few FAQs…

How do I take part?
Simply get the next six issues of Practical Photography (July to December 2019), sign up here to receive emails, and complete the homework. Easy! Why not take advantage of our Camera School-exclusive subscription offer and get the next six issues from just £14? Check it out here.

Is the course for beginners or professionals?
Camera School is designed with absolute beginners in mind, but we guarantee that whatever level you’re at, you'll learn something new. For more seasoned enthusiasts, it’s the perfect way to discover new subjects and brush up on your technique.

Will this course turn me into a professional photographer?
Honestly? No, it won’t. That said, it will help you take better pictures, which can only be good thing.

What camera settings should I use?
Camera settings are clearly explained in each module and we ask that you shoot in JPEG mode as this course is all about getting it right in-camera. Minimal editing is allowed, but your photo should appear natural. Images will need to be resized in order to comply to this site's 10MB upload limit – please see video below. 

How do I upload my homework? 
You’ll find a unique URL at the end of each module – follow the instructions and you can’t go wrong. We've made it as easy as possible, but if you do get stuck, email us here and we’ll help you out. Sign-up here and we’ll even send you module alerts and homework reminders . This site's upload limit is 10MB so if you need to resize your homework image, watch this video to see how it's done in Photoshop and Elements...

How long do I have to complete the homework?
Exactly four weeks from the start of each module, which should be plenty of time to practice, practice, practice.

Who will be marking my images?
The Practical Photography team will be rating and commenting on every image uploaded to the homework galleries. So that’s Ben, Richard, Louise and Kirk. This process can take a few days and updates are regularly posted on the Camera School Facebook page.

Where do I go to see how you’ve graded my image?
Head to the module URL that’s printed in the mag on the date that marks are announced and not only will you see your own grade, but everyone else’s too. You’ll be able to sort images by module and mark (gold, silver or bronze).

What does it mean if I get a ‘fail’ mark?
Hopefully you’ll never see this, but if you do, chances are it means you didn’t read the homework properly or uploaded the wrong image. We really don’t like dishing out ‘fail’ marks, as we know how much effort you guys put into your Camera School images, but the homework is as much about understanding and fulfilling a brief as it is learning new skills, and we can’t stress enough how important reading the homework is.

How do I get my certificate?
You’ll receive a special gold, silver or bronze certificate, via email, the day after marks are announced. Sadly, we can’t send actual print certificates or personalise them, so instead you’ll receive a PDF. You can, of course, print this out yourself, as big as you like!

What’s new in 2019?
Well, apart from six new modules and a rather fun (not to mention spooky) end-of-term twist, we’re delighted to welcome three new sponsors to the Camera School family - Affinity Photo, Fujifilm and Wex Photo Video - so keep your eyes peeled for exclusive discounts, insightful interviews and product advice from all three.