Best Bargain in Town
K.T., Chicago, IL
Looking for a photo class? Look no further. Richard Stromberg's Photo 1 course was the best thing I did with my summer. As an amateur photographer someday hoping to go pro, I've spent the past few years trying to learn my way around my camera. I've bought a shelf's worth of books, purchased and watched DVD tutorials, sat in on free workshops, and taken a course at The New School in New York. And while all of that learning was certainly of value, I'm amazed at how much time and money I could've saved if I'd just gone directly to Richard.
Photo 1 is an 7-week course that covers the foundations of digital photography. You learn the principles of exposure (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, light available), and how to manipulate each to your design. Weekly assignments are given, each revolving around a different theme (motion, depth of field, perspective, etc.) I was amazed at how fun and addictive the assignments became. I learned so much in such a small period of time, that I often found myself shooting well over the allotted number of pictures each week.
My experience as a photo student has run the gamut. I've done the big lecture classes, the small one-on-one teachings, the online courses, and the self-guided readings. None of these compared to Richard Stromberg's Photo Classes. They're the perfect size (less than 20 students), his teaching style is fun and interactive, and you'll be amazed at how much you learn so quickly. It's truly a photography community... open, welcoming, no pretense. Particularly helpful for those of us intimidated by the typical "photo school" attitude. You begin to form a bond with your fellow students, critiquing and championing each other's work. Everyone comes for a different reason: to learn a new camera, to become the family photographer, to chart a new career, to pick up the weekend hobby. Whatever the goal, we all share a common denominator: to take better pictures. And you will.
I titled this review "Best Bargain in Town," and even that may be an understatement. At $400 for an 8-week course that meets twice a week for three hours each... that comes to $8.33 an hour. And the first class is free. I just spent more than that on lunch at Subway. And the receipt doesn't look quite as pretty framed on my wall.
The Most Experienced Photography Teacher in Chicago
David Weinstein, Professional Photographer With Over 40 Years Experience
Richard Stromberg has been teaching photography for five decades. Richard has had in his hands every DSLR and SLR camera manufactured since the 1960's. Richard knows from first hand experience which cameras are good and which cameras are turkeys. Richard's experience goes from 8"x10" View Cameras through to Minox Spy Cameras and on to current DSLR's. Richard has been paid to photograph using cameras made in the 1920's (and older) through today's DSLR's. Richard has been paid as a Professional Photographer in each of the last five decades.
Sometimes Richard is cantankerous, but no one teaching in Chicago has the depth of professional experience or the dedication to his students. A one-man Academy? Not really, his extensive paid and volunteer staff shares his dedication to learning and for the development of his students. You may not have time for his 8-week class but everyone should attend one of his one-day Bootcamp for Digital Cameras, or free Sunday workshops.
Everything You Produce is Your Own
Richard is committed to taking his students on a journey. It isn't always easy, but when you learn from Richard, with time, you will find your own vision and voice as a shooter. He won't push you into any particular aesthetic so yes, it takes longer to learn this way. But when you arrive, everything you produce is your own not some cheap imitation of your instructor's work.
One of the Greatest Experiences of My Life
I became a student of Richard Stromberg's three years ago, after buying a digital SLR. I knew I loved photography but had no serious experience. I could only use the automatic setting on the camera when I signed up for Richard's Photo I. Three years later, I am exhibiting and selling my work, and printing my own photographs of family and friends. I never imagined this would be possible and I often still find it hard to believe. But that's the kind of teacher Richard is if you have any sort of passion for photography, he will encourage you, prod you, insist you follow rules, and ask the tough questions. What makes Richard's classes even more unique are that he has built a system for students to become lab instructors. If you choose to pursue this track, your learning really takes off as you share your learning experience with others. Richard's approach is unique, inspiring, and highly disciplined, and learning from him has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.
A Chicago Institution
Richard Stromberg is entirely responsible for anything good I have ever created with my camera. I've been a very successful professional photographer (again, all thanks to Richard) for the past 8+ years and could not imagine a better foundation and/or education than the one I received under his teachings.
He was immensely gracious, generous, encouraging, knowledgeable, talented, patient, funny and above all, kind to every one of his students and taught them in an environment that was open, enjoyable and unjudgemental.
He was and always will be a Chicago institution and should always be respected as such.
He is the reason for my being who and where I (very happily) am and the thought of anyone not being able to understand or appreciate his extraordinary vision, commitment, warmth and dedication to education of the community is unfathomable.
The Best Teacher in Chicago
I took classes at the Jane Adams Hull House for a few years about 8 years ago. I know Richard to be an upstanding individual, respectful, funny and most importantly an excellent teacher. I still have my notes from his classes and have used them over the years... follow him where he goes! He is the best teacher in Chicago, no doubt.
An All-Encompassing Approach
I am excited about Chicago Photography, and an opportunity to continue my learning under the guidance of Richard Stromberg; who for me is a bountiful mother lode of gruff, ironic, and valuable knowledge. I first became aware of Richard on the WGN Morning News Show, and after seeing his interview that morning I couldn't wait to check out cpc; which was his venue at that time. Thanks to Richard's teaching and encouragement I completed Digital I and II, Flash Photography, and Lighting I and cpc - and also went on a Photo Retreat to Peoria, Il, learning all the way.
I suppose what most impresses me about him as a teacher is how all-encompassing his approach to equipping the student to be able to realize a photographic vision: in a single class session I got technical information about using a camera, aesthetics regarding composition and lighting, and guidance regarding ethical and legal considerations. That is just an example of how much information Richard offers in each class as he presents a subject using a more horizontal approach to learning, as opposed to the vertical a, b, c and so on step-by-step-and-let's-move-on to the next subject approach.
By the end of a course I know what to do, how to do it, and why I should or shouldn't do something; how to make it alright to do something ordinarily not considered alright, as well as how I can ruin something that would otherwise be perfectly alright. In addition, Richard's moral approach to the art and science of photography takes the student far past legal and all the way to an ethically sound approach. That he emphasizes community and responsibility makes me want to give back somehow by my own participation, as well as continue my formal learning experience.