Yelp Reviews

Amazing Teaching Strategy and Community

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Karen S., Aurora, IL  //  August 14, 2013

I went from using my new SLR camera on "P" to participating in art shows and selling my photographs, all because of Richard Stromberg and his amazing teaching strategy and community. The system he has set up for teaching students to teach each other is genius, and allows you to learn from different approaches and advance in the direction that suits you best. When I took my first class with him and he talked about "finding your own voice", I admit I didn't really believe it or think I even had one. I studied under him for almost five years and by the end, I definitely got it. The structure and support he provides is just the right balance to nurture creativity and find your own vision. There is no "one way" and every rule can be broken, after you learn them of course. It's so much more than photography; it's really a life approach. You will learn lessons that will linger beyond when you put down your camera. It takes a lot of work and a lot of critique (and as Richard will tell you, it's not a cheap hobby), but if you have the drive to be a photographer, Richard is the one to work with. He'll always be there to bounce ideas off of and help you think outside the box. He supports you on an individual level and is a true Chicago gem.


7 Weeks Ago

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Jim W., Streamwood, IL  //  April 3, 2012

This review may be a bit long, so bear with me.

First, I have to comment on the few negative reviews I've seen here. And please notice that there are only a few. That alone should tell you something. While Richard may have no problem speaking up for himself, I do feel compelled to offer some thoughts. After reading the negative things some people have said, I wonder if they attended the same class I did. I'm not sure what some of these people expected to learn about photography in one night. It's an introductory class, for heaven's sake. Asking Richard what settings to use to take a picture of granny without understanding the principles behind it is like asking Jimmy Page to show you how to play "Stairway to Heaven". He shows you, you plunk away at it, and then what? Can you claim to know how to play guitar? Can you play another song? I don't think so. Like music, photography is both an art and a craft and people spend their entire lives trying to master it. I think what Richard is trying to do is teach you how to be a photographer, not a picture-taker. He's trying teach you how to make photographs that are clear and honest and communicate well. He's trying to teach you how to see the world with a photographer's eyes, and how to use your technical skills to then capture that moment with your camera. And I think he does it very, very well.

I just met Richard 7 weeks ago and I just finished Photo 1. Is it a bit unorthodox? Yes, but that's part of what makes it work. Is it easy? No. It's like learning to swim. You have to work at it. It's confusing and frustrating and sometimes you sink and sometimes you stay afloat. But you have to just keep on going. All the while, the master lifeguard is right there, coaching, challenging, pushing, reassuring. You're not going to swim the 400 meter medley the first night but I promise you that if you come to Richard's class with an open mind, the desire to learn, and a commitment to work hard at it, you WILL learn. The resources are all right there. All you have to do is show up and participate. Richard is a living, breathing encyclopedia of photography. The real kind. The kind that spent years out on the street making a living doing what he loves. Not the kind that has never left the classroom. And the rest of the community is made up of very real, very generous people who love photography and are eager to share what they know. Someone complained that Richard talked incessantly about himself and showed off his own work. In the 7 weeks I was in class with him, he only showed 2 pieces of his work, both times with the purpose of making a very salient point. He is, however, VERY proud of the work of the student body that hangs so prominently on the walls. Rightfully so. It's fantastic! If I could teach someone to do what those students have done in 9 months, I'd be proud too. The point is that these classes are about them, not about Richard, and about what I can accomplish if I put in the effort. If he can teach them do it, I can do it too. And believe me when I say I want to, and I will!

The very best teachers and coaches I've had in my life were the ones that really wanted me to find my own voice and to even exceed them, the ones that pushed me the hardest and made it safe for me to move outside my comfort zone, the ones that let me know it was ok to fail because my ultimate success was born out of those mistakes. Richard certainly fills those shoes. And all that spread out over about 40 hours of instruction for $400 from a teacher who's available to you by phone practically any time of day. That's about $10 an hour. I've seen people blow $400 on a dinner that was over in 2 hours. $400 spent on this will last you for as long as you can pick up a camera. Find me a better deal that that.

Richard rocks. His program rocks. His facility rocks. He's one of the most genuine, generous, big-hearted people I've ever met and he has an unmistakable passion for what he's doing. Show up, ask around, and see for yourself. If you want to learn how to be a photographer in an environment that's fun and nurturing and really all about the student, come and join us. Over the past 7 weeks, I've learned so much about myself, my camera, my subjects, and how we are all related. I can't wait for next Monday to start the next step of my journey. I'm honored to be a part of this community. Thanks Richard!


WOW

Katie B., Chicago, IL  //  April 3, 2012

WOW.... what a waste of time. I bought the Saturday date night class, and I wish I hadn't. The ONLY plus to this class was the wine and snacks provided. Let me break this down for you. Upon arrival, you are rudely greeted with "What kind of camera do you have? No, that's no good... you'll use one of mine". Ummm, ok. Wasn't the point of this class to learn how to use your OWN camera? For the next hour you wander along three or four walls looking at pictures that his students have taken. After the 15 minutes this takes.... you spend the next 45 standing around. Literally.

Once the "class" begins, you pretty much are put in a seat and demanded to listen to Richard go on and on about the other classes he offers, about all the things his website offers, about his background, about how great he is. 30 minutes later... you start to learn something. Oh, but wait... You won't learn anything that you can actually use. He goes over the technical aspects of your camera, but refuses to put it all together for you. I remember at the end of our class, someone asked "So, can you tell us how to put all this information together? So that if I wanted to take a picture of two people in a living room for example, what settings would I use". Richard replies.... "well you'll have to take one of my photo classes to learn THAT". Uhhhh, I thought that's what we were doing here!? It was a total waste of time.... especially a Saturday night date night.

Comment from Richard S. 
Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes
3/6/2012

I wish yelp gave us a way of rating customers. At least now I know you will not show up in any of our other classes. I'm sure that most Saturday nights are a waste of time if spent with you TOO. R ;-)


This Is Where You Need To Take Classes

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Erin D., Oak Park, IL  //  March 4, 2012

Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes are amazing! I began with Photo I nearly two years ago. I didn't know a thing about photography and didn't even own a DSLR camera. I called Richard and he got online right away and helped me find the perfect camera for me. Two years later I am a photographer at a reputable portrait studio in the suburbs and I am still in love with the camera I bought for Photo I (my Nikon D-90).

This School is something very special and I feel lucky to be a part of it. I have taken 4 classes here and now help teach a lab/Lightroom class. There are dozens of top-of-the-line computers (all equiped with Lightroom and Photoshop) to process photos on and Epson printers for archival printing. If you want hands-on learning and real world experience, this is where you need to take classes. The classes can be demanding at times (Learning will occur!!!) and I absolutely love the teachers who will push me harder to bring out my best work (Thanks Marcus and LeJean!!!).

All in all, I would suggest classes here to people looking to learn how to use their camera, take better photos of their kids and even begin their career in photography.

Five Stars.

Comment from Richard S.
Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes
2/27/12

 

Thank You for your kind words. This place would be nothing with out the very good and very hard work of our staff, Cara, Marcus, LeJean, Rick, Johnny, Bill, David J., Lolo, Heidi. and others. ;-)


Very Affordable Compared to Competitors

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Jessica H. , Chicago, IL  //  February 27, 2012

Last year, I decided that I wanted to begin photography lessons. After doing some online research, I found Richard's Chicago Photography Classes. I attended the FREE Sunday class and realized that this was a special place to learn. It is student-centered and every aspect of the class is hands-on. Not only did Richard teach the fundamentals on photography, he also consulted us on which camera and lens to buy for a beginner (Photo I student). The best part - all of this was FREE! A couple weeks later, I enrolled in Photo I which I must say is very affordable when compared to other competitors in the area. The class schedule is EXTREMELY flexible allowing you to fit the classes into your chaotic work schedule. The lab instructors were also very helpful. I am now proficient in Adobe Lightroom! As soon as Photo I ended, I decided to enroll in Photo II. In Photo II, you are given keys to the Ravenswood Ave. studio. This allows you to go to lab on your own time. I found this extremely beneficial. Another point to mention is that the Photo II instructors are very knowledgeable. They go above and beyond for their students to ensure they fully grasp the concepts discussed in class. One of them even published a book on Adobe Lightroom and photography. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I plan on taking Photo III in the next few weeks. Thank you to Richard and his amazing team. You're all WONDERFUL! Keep up the great work.

Comment from Richard S.
Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes
2/27/12

Thank You for your kind words Jessica. As you know our entire faculty is devoted to our students learning and we look forward to guiding you into your first show in our WithInSight Gallery. Richard


One of the Best Investment Decisions I’ve Ever Made

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Grace F., Chicago, IL  //  February 21, 2012

I took Photo I, II, and III here in 2009-2010 and it was one of the best investment decisions I've ever made. Yes, DSLR cameras and lenses are expensive...yes, you will need to put in the hours learning about photography, Adobe Lightroom, printing, etc.... but it will pay dividends in the end!!!

All three classes are very good, but I personally made the biggest leap in my skill set after taking Photo II with Cara. I had a lot more confidence in nailing my exposure after taking this class.

My lab partner from Photo II is now a successful professional children's photographer. I constantly think about quitting my day job to do the same, but right now I am just happy to be a serious hobbyist. My vacation photos are incredible, and I get a lot of requests to do photography shoots on the side (mostly from my mom friends, and brides on a budget).

Thank you Richard for creating such a wonderful photography community in Chicago.

Comment from Richard S.
Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes
2/21/12

 

Thank You for your kind words Grace. It has always been my wish that my students grow and thrive. And if they can make a little money so much the better. Our new space has two Computer Labs, more than 20 Computers, imac's and PC's. We have eight "best in class" Epson printers as well as three Epson mural printers. Our "WithInSight Gallery" now has 110 16X20" archival, framed and matted color prints. Most of the exhibitors have less nine months experience and all of the photographers started here with Photo I. R ;-)


An Amazing Place to Learn and Meet New Friends

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Monika C., Chicago, IL  //  February 20, 2012

Hi everyone:) I've been having a blast taking photo classes at Richard's Photography School.Photo I with Richard and Photo II with Cara were ones of the best classes I ever took (including political science studies back in Poland). I thought I'll just try to learn a little about photography, just for fun... I haven't even realised when I became addicted to photography. I literally dream about it. I have plans of getting a better equipment before any other new, big purchases. I am interested in hearing and learning more and more all the time. I look at the world around me with the 'eyes of the camera'. The thought: "that'd make a great/interesting/original picture" pops out in my head very often. It's all been triggered in my head because I've started taking classes at Richard's school. And I am so happy I have!

Thank you Richard for bringing together incredible people who are great teachers.They all (including you) share their passion and knowledge with us and are ready to help us practically at any time (epecially you). Thank you for creating a place with such a great family atmosphere. I've chosen your school after doing a careful research. I knew it'd be a good place to learn something at. But it is really an amazing place to learn and meet new friends. Thank you! I'm looking forward to all the classes in the future I take, starting with tonight's Photo III :)

Comment from Richard S.
Richard Stromberg's Chicago Photography Classes
2/20/12

 

Thank You for your kind words Monika. more than 20 dedicated staff make this place possible, We look forward to seeing your first Show Photographs in our WithInSight Gallery this October.