Why you should not study photography (and what you should do instead)

So, you are an aspiring Street Photographer? Street Photography has become an important part of your life, and now you want to shift your passion to the nex level and want to study Photography? Forget about it. I had exactly the same thoughts a few years ago. Here are the reasons from my personal point of view that changed my mind:


1. You will begin to hate Photography

A few years ago, I studied two semesters at a private Photography school here in Berlin. After the first excitement of now beeing a real Photography student and an upcoming Professional Photographer, there was a time where I began to struggle with the decision to study at a Photography school.

My fellow students were great and made interesting and inspiring work, I had mostly good profs, but there was a problem: photography has become a kind of work for me and was not the fun it used to be anymore. I had to fulfill photography projects (that mostly came from the profs´ minds) that became boring after a certain  time but I was not able to choose other ones, because otherwise I would had failed.

After one year I felt that all my fun I used to have in photography was gone. So I gave up my studies and never regretted it.


2. It is really expensive

Studying photography is expensive. Studying photography at a private school is super expensive. My photography school had fees of 350 Euro a month. If you sum it up to a normal study period of 4 years plus extra fees,this is over 15.000 Euro! Just imagine what you could buy instead. An awesome camera like the Leica Q and many, many photograpy travels around the world. From these things you will benefit far more, if you manage it to photograph on a regular basis.


3. You have only 3 realistic perspectives to make money with photography

After you graduated in photography, you will have to make a choice: Will I make a living out of it? If not, why did I pay such a huge amount for my studies? Unfortunately you will recognize that there are only 3 ways of making a living from photography: 1.Wedding photographer, 2. Stock photographer, 3. Running a photography school…


4. It´s not what you really want

Most people who are thinking of studying photography imagine that it will help them to get a better job as a photographer and they will meet extraordinary photographers to learn from. But that´s not true: To get a good job as a photographer you just need an awesome portfolio. So make photos on a regular basis, and your portfolio will grow and become better and better. That´s all you need.

If you want to meet interesting photographers, contact them via Facebook or their Website. Have a coffee with them and talk about his or her photography. This will help you far more than any photography seminar, and will cost you just a few bucks for the coffee.


5. You will lose your own, unique style

Most photography schools tell you that they will help you to find your own style. But that´s not true: You will have to adapt the style of your teachers in order to please them. In my year at the photography school one teacher always told me that he liked the photos most I found to be mediocre or boring and recommended to sort out the photos I loved most. That made me lose faith in my own discernment.


…but what should you do instead?

  • Make photos for at least one year on a daily basis. Always have your camera with you
  • Buy photography books. Books are great teachers
  • Use platforms like 500px or Instagram to get other photographer´s opinons
  • Meet fellow street photographers and hang out together and learn from each other. Or found a collective, like mine and my fellow Berlin Street photographer friends Berlin1020 collective
  • Attend workshops. There are so many great photography teachers out there. One 3-day-workshop is cheaper than one month at a photography school, and you will often learn more. And meet other peers!
  • Go to exhibitions in your city. Have a coffee with the artists (See above)
  • Travel. Introduce yourself to photography challenges in other countries with other languages, habits and people. Meet other street photographers and let them show you their favorite Street Photography spots
  • Use Youtube tutorials


There are so many ways to become a good Street Photographer and meet other interesting photographers. You definitely don´t have to spent a fortune in a Photography school.

Always remember: Everyone you meet and everything you experience can be your teacher.


street photography london
Photos from a Street Photography Workshop in London with Eric Kim and Charlie Kirk.

london street photography




4 comments Add yours
  1. Hi Oliver, thanks for this article. I am exactly at that point right now. Thanks for your thoughts on this. This helps me to shape my opinion and decision. Really really cool page.

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