Program presentation

The Title of Photographer RNCP level 7 in 3 years is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in photography, with a particular emphasis on the business management of the profession. This program allows them to gain expertise in emerging fields (3D, video, niche markets) while focusing on the marketing and commercial aspects of the profession. The Title of Photographer RNCP level 7 awarded by Spéos represents the highest level of professional training qualification for photographers.

This 3-year program allows students to master the photographic technique in all its artistic and technical dimensions. They produce a professional portfolio, with photos that are perfectly in line with the trends of each market. The Entrepreneurial Photographer + Video/3D training (RNCP level 7) allows them to develop expertise in areas increasingly valued by clients, whoever they may be (public or private, individuals or companies).

Top-level professionals hold the courses and monitor the students’ individual acquisition of skills. Outside of class, students independently organize their shooting sessions and post-production, with the continual guidance of their supervisors. Particular attention is paid to the synchronization of subject matters taught in the different courses.

The Title of Photographer RNCP level I and 7 is also accessible via a VAE procedure (“Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience” — a French procedure by means of which work experience can be translated into educational levels). For further information, please contact us.

Next sessions: September 2021
Campus: Paris
Language of instruction: English, French

Per year tuition for the program in French:
– France, European Union nationals: €10,500
– International students: €12,000
Per year tuition for the program in English:
– France, European Union nationals: €11,000
– International students: €12,000

Diploma: Title of Photographer RNCP level 7 – code NSF 323 t
This title is registered in the Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles (RNCP) by decree of 25 February 2016 – published in the Journal Officiel of March 17th, 2016.

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Structure of the program

The first year of the program comprises the core courses, which cover all aspects of professional photography, from September to May, during semesters I and II. This year is dedicated to the acquisition of the basic techniques, allowing the students to be able to produce photos of good quality. The students continually improve their skills (shooting techniques, composition and style) up to the level of young professionals within the field of photography. At the end of the year, according to their career goals, the students choose a specialization, either in studio or in photo reportage. The first year ends with the completion of a first personal project.

During the second year, the students improve their practical skills and broaden their range of knowledge, from September to May, during semesters III and IV. Depending on their career choice, they specialize either in studio photography or in photo reportage.

Specialization in studio
The students specializing in studio photography focus on the organization of complex studio sets. With the guidance of their supervisors, they lead fashion, portrait and still life shoots, encountering work conditions that are technically and artistically comparable to professionals.

Specialization in photo reportage
The students specializing in photo reportage focus on complex topics of today’s society. They investigate and cover them – supervised by their instructors – with in-depth photo documentaries and essays similar to those published by the media (magazines, news agencies, online media etc.).

Annual exhibition
The last week of the second semester is dedicated to the set-up of the students’ end-of-the-year exhibition on the school premises – an important event visited by established photographers, picture editors, news and advertising agencies. The students also have the possibility to exhibit their work online in the web galleries.

The third year is based on three main pillars: video, 3D/CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and niche markets. It allows participants to develop expertise in cutting-edge fields that are increasingly sought after by clients (public or private, individuals or companies).

The Expert modules aim at deepening the students’ previous knowledge and skills in those areas that are most demanded by the professional market. Each module takes place over several weeks, in June and July of the second year of the program.

Courses and conferences are taught by experienced and recognized professionals who share their experience and know-how from their respective fields of expertise. These speakers emphasize the practical ownership of these skills and offer students valuable experience gain for their own personal projects.
> See the list of lecturers year by year

In July, the students participate in the design and creation of a magazine featuring their own photographic work to promote their achievements. This magazine is entirely designed by and for the students, with an editorial written by one of them.

The professional project is the phase during which students reflect on their position at the beginning of their career and write their business plan. This stage runs in parallel with the Expert Modules, from June to September of the third year.

Course description

Essentials of Photography
Semester I: 1h30/week
This course is dedicated to the acquisition of techniques essential to the practice of professional photography. Combining theory and practical exercises, it allows students:
– to learn and practice the Stop-System, the global learning method of light control in photography, a method developed by Spéos,
– to understand and know how to define its settings when taking pictures,
– to understand the techniques inherent in shooting and to anticipate post-production,
– to understand the operation of different types of cameras, including the large-format camera.
The elements covered will allow students to make relevant technical choices according to the desired result. Whatever the situation, in studio or on location, indoors or outdoors, this course will enable them to deal with the possible constraints encountered when taking pictures.

Studio
Semesters I and II: 3 hours/week of lessons and 3 hours/week of tutorials
This course is dedicated to the acquisition of the techniques essential to studio shoots, as well as to the treatment of digital images. Students are initiated to:
– the Stop-System,
– different types of lighting,
– the general principles of balanced light sources,
– as well as different types of cameras, from 35mm to the large format.
The purpose of this first part is to broaden and consolidate the field of knowledge in order to develop and develop a creative approach.

Photo Reportage
Semesters I and II: 1h30/week
The course is designed to give an overview of photo reportage, focusing on 3 main themes: corporate photography, social photography and photojournalism. It includes discussions on the work of past and present photoreporters and coverage of Paris and London events.

Computer Imaging
Semesters I and II: 1h30/week
This course aims to:
– understand what the main parameters and formats of digital images are,
– learn how to manage a stream of digital images and retouch photos using Lightroom software,
– discover the Photoshop application and design a layout using this software.

Image Management and Publication
Semesters I and II: 1h30/week
This course helps photographers to manage their image stock with guidance on how to caption a picture, to assign the right key-words, to fill in the IPTC data. All of these are essential for any photographer to locate their pictures and to have them published.

Contemporary Photography
Semesters I and II: 2 hours/week
These lectures are given by artists or actors of the art market. They aim to educate students about the history, evolution and current trends of photography. Exhibition visits can be organized on an ad hoc basis.

Meet the Profession
Semesters I and II: 2 hours/week
The purpose of these meetings is to present a variety of professional careers within the photography industry, aiming at broadening the students horizons with regard to future career plans. Speakers include:
– former students of the school who present their activity,
– professionals in fields related to photography,
– representatives of major brands of photographic equipment, demonstrating new materials and presenting trends in the evolution of the profession.
These meetings bring together students from all programs and are held in English.

English
Semesters I and II: 1h30/week, only for the program in French
During the first year, the basics of English conversation for basic / independent users will be covered. The second year focuses on Business English, as used by professional photographers.

French
Semesters I and II: 1h30/week, only for the program in English
During the first year, the basics of French conversation for basic / independent users will be covered. The second year focuses on Business French, as used by professional photographers.

Studio
Semesters III and IV: 6 hours every other week
From the third semester, the shoots become thematic (for example fashion still life), then get further developed into complex professional shoots including all actors involved on a studio set (make-up artists, hair-dressers…).
Different topics with specific technical constraints will be dealt with, so as to:
– perfect the knowledge acquired in the first semester,
– adopt a work methodology covering the different market sectors.
Emphasis is put on the notion of teamwork, in close collaboration with a professional stylist who provides the students with the topics and a network of young designers, and thus opens up the studio activities to the outside world.

Computer Imaging
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
This advanced level course in Photoshop will conduct students to acquire digital imaging techniques on a professional level, in-depth retouching of images and design of photomontages. The students thus will be capable of providing high quality post-production after their shooting sessions in the studio.

Image Management and Publication
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
In the second part of the program, the course covers the following topics:
– add value to a photo stock with a good knowledge of captioning and keyword management,
– find sources of information for photographers,
– know the photo market,
– develop an Internet strategy: create a website using a CMS (Content Management System), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), know how to use blogs and social networks for photographers.

Printing Techniques
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
The course covers printing techniques with the programs Photoshop and Lightroom on Fuji Frontier or Durst Lambda printers as well as large-format ink-jet printers. Color management principles will be studied within the graphic chain of a typical digital lab (screen, printer, viewing booth). Students will gain the necessary knowledge to obtain high quality prints, true to their digital shots, whether by themselves or through a professional lab.

Visual Identity
Semesters III and IV: 3 hours/week
This course aims at encouraging students to develop their own ideas and concepts and turn them into “photographic realities”. It provides them with the critical tools to discuss and analyze their own photos as well as those of their fellow students, so as to give constructive criticism using the basic rules of composition and their own sense of aesthetics.
The course aims to:
– understand how an image is constructed, how to compose it, how to present it in a more efficient way,
– develop a certain photographic coherence and students’ own “visual signature”.

Business
Semesters III and IV: 2 hours/week
This course covers all necessary aspects to prepare the professional photographers for launching their business.
This covers:
– financial aspects: accounting, budgets, quotes, billing, business plan,
– legal aspects,
– marketing strategies,
– customer relations,
– communication.

English
Semesters III et IV: 1h30/week, only for the program in French
The second year focuses on Business English, as used by professional photographers.

French
Semesters III et IV: 1h30/week, only for the program in English
The second year focuses on Business French, as used by professional photographers.

Meet the Profession
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
The purpose of these meetings is to present a variety of professional careers within the photography industry, aiming at broadening the students horizons with regard to future career plans. Speakers include:
– former students of the school who present their activity,
– professionals in fields related to photography,
– representatives of major brands of photographic equipment, demonstrating new materials and presenting trends in the evolution of the profession.
These meetings bring together students from all programs and are held in English.

Video for Photographers: the Essentials
Semester IV: 3 hours/week
This course aims to:
– provide students with the basics of audiovisual production in the field of promotional or experimental short films,
– teach them how to enhance their photographic work with the animated image,
– train them in software specific to this type of creation.
The assignments will focus on diverse topics so that students can experience their own approach to video making, regardless of the shooting mode used: documentary film, fiction film, family and animated film, experimental film, advertising and institutional.

Photo Reportage
Semesters III and IV: 3 hours/week
This course aims to make students work on long-term thematic projects. The work continues with the coverage of events taking place in Paris or London during spring. After short photo-essays, the participants work on a personal theme for a long-term project. In a domain that is changing fast these days, students in photo reportage also need to continually keep up with the latest technologies.

Lighting for Photo Reportage
Semester III: 3 hours every other week
This course is designed to help students acquire complex lighting techniques – control of natural or artificial light in outdoor situations, both with natural/ambient and artificial light.
This course includes a studio supplement to allow photoreporters to respond to various professional lighting situations: portraits in situ, still life on site, corporate, documentary photo, etc. Students will be introduced to use of compact flashes, diffusion filters and reflectors.

Visual Identity
Semesters III: 3 hours/week
This course aims at encouraging students to develop their own ideas and concepts and turn them into “photographic realities”. It provides them with the critical tools to discuss and analyze their own photos as well as those of their fellow students, so as to give constructive criticism using the basic rules of composition and their own sense of aesthetics.
The course aims to:
– understand how an image is constructed, how to compose it, how to present it in a more efficient way,
– develop a certain photographic coherence and students’ own “visual signature”.

Computer Imaging
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
This advanced level course in Photoshop will conduct students to acquire digital imaging techniques on a professional level, in-depth retouching of images and design of photomontages, respecting the ethics of photo reportage.

Image Management and Publication
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
In the second part of the program, the course covers the following topics:
– add value to a photo stock with a good knowledge of captioning and keyword management,
– find sources of information for photographers,
– know the photo market,
– develop an Internet strategy: create a website using a CMS (Content Management System), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), know how to use blogs and social networks for photographers.

Printing Techniques
Semesters III and IV: 1h30/week
The course covers printing techniques with the programs Photoshop and Lightroom on Fuji Frontier or Durst Lambda printers as well as large-format ink-jet printers. Color management principles will be studied within the graphic chain of a typical digital lab (screen, printer, viewing booth). Students will gain the necessary knowledge to obtain high quality prints, true to their digital shots, whether by themselves or through a professional lab.

Business
Semesters III and IV: 2 hours/week
This course presents students with the tools and methods necessary for their first professional steps:
– financial aspects: accounting, budget, estimates, billing, business plan,
– judicial aspects,
– marketing strategy,
– customer relationship management,
– communication.

English
Semesters III et IV: 1h30/week, only for the program in French
The second year focuses on Business English, as used by professional photographers.

French
Semesters III et IV: 1h30/week, only for the program in English
The second year focuses on Business French, as used by professional photographers.

Meet the Profession
Semesters III and IV: 2 hours/week
The purpose of these meetings is to present a variety of professional careers within the photography industry, aiming at broadening the students horizons with regard to future career plans. Speakers include:
– former students of the school who present their activity,
– professionals in fields related to photography,
– representatives of major brands of photographic equipment, demonstrating new materials and presenting trends in the evolution of the profession.
These meetings bring together students from all programs and are held in English.

Storytelling
Semester IV: 3 hours/week
This course is an introduction to writing techniques and photo editing. It is given by a journalist / editor, helping students to edit their photo stories and back-up their reportages with a well-structured narrative. Key concepts:
– Understand the different steps of a photo reportage from the idea of a topic to the final publication in a magazine.
– Learn how to tell a story with images: they show, inform or provide evidence.
– Write a synopsis or narrative to accompany the photo story.

Video for Photographers: the Essentials
Semester IV: 3 hours/week
This course aims to:
– provide students with the basics of audiovisual production in the field of promotional or experimental short films,
– teach them how to enhance their photographic work with the animated image,
– train them in software specific to this type of creation.
The assignments will focus on diverse topics so that students can experience their own approach to video making, regardless of the shooting mode used: documentary film, fiction film, family and animated film, experimental film, advertising and institutional.

Video
Semesters V and VI: 6 hours/week

This course is designed to bring participants to a professional level in videography. It addresses each step that needs to be mastered, from the first client brief to the delivery of finalized footage. Theory and techniques are taught alongside practical exercises to learn shooting videos with dedicated tools and executing the appropriate post-production process.

The topics covered comprise:

  • Shooting with video tools: participants acquire the required knowledge to choose the right tools, formats and settings to shoot a video professionally. Skills taught include:
    • Understanding and choosing the appropriate format and video settings.
    • Handling different types of camera (hybrid, video or indie-film making cameras).
    • Considering useful accessories: lenses, stabilization system, camera rig, sound gear, focusing system, recorder and monitoring, lighting, energy management, media storage and back-up process.
  • Pre-production / Production: participants learn how to plan and prepare an upcoming shoot
    and follow the production while filming to keep the project smooth. Skills taught include:

    • Developing a screenplay / shooting script / storyboard / shot-list.
    • Thinking about location scouting and authorizations.
    • Team building.
    • Calculating a budget and providing quotations. Keeping the budget.
    • Production design (if necessary).
    • Location management.
    • Choosing appropriate gear.
    • Casting (if necessary) to find the right talents.
  • Post-production workflow: the post-production process is the decisive part when raw material turns into a finalized project. Skills taught include:
    • Building an editing and post-production system: which gear is involved (computer, storage requirements, display and video monitoring, audio monitoring).
    • Importing and managing your video rushes.
    • Editing your footage on pro-grade NLE (Non Linear Editing) software (Davinci Resolve, Final Cut X, Premiere).
    • Sound editing and mixing.
    • Using stock music / stock sound / stock footage from online libraries.
    • Adding titles and sub-titles.
    • Understanding and managing color spaces.
    • Color correction / color grading / LUT (Look Up Table): key steps to enhance and give a personal visual style.
    • Exporting footage to the required formats (web, social networks, broadcasting).
  • Adding Special Effects / Motion Design: training based on software such as After Effects, Fusion, Houdini, Nuke.

3D/CGI (Computer Generated Imagery)
Semesters V and VI: 6 hours/week

This course is aimed at those who wish to develop skills within the domain of 3D/Computer-Generated Imagery, both in their photographic work and the creation of digital images. Future image makers will thus be able to acquire a solid basis in different categories: modeling, creation and editing of materials, lighting, rendering, compositing and integration.

The classes of the first semester deal with all the topics pertinent to the design of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI). The first weeks allow participants to acquire basic techniques to create visuals through the use of 3D. Combining theory and practical exercises, they acquire the following skills:

– to learn and practice the creation of digital assets, mainly hard surface models,
– to understand and know how to use digital lighting as well as to define the correct rendering settings (Arnold render),
– to understand the techniques inherent to the creation of digital images and to anticipate postproduction,
– to understand the operation of different tools.

The elements covered allow them to make relevant technical choices according to the desired result.
Whatever the situation they face – preparation before a shoot, finding an angle, creating a decor, adding material or elements – this course will allow them to face the various possible and useful applications of 3D.

During the second semester, the participants improve their practice and broaden their theoretical knowledge, approaching new themes related to 3D, such as procedural shading, fluid simulation, digital sculpture as well as visual programming. They understand the requirements specific to the various activities of the digital artist. The classes complement and enrich the knowledge acquired during the first semester.

Teaching focuses on:

– the mastery of digital light through an understanding of natural and artificial light,
– the creation of materials in a procedural way,
– digital sculpture, in order to treat 3D models in a more organic way,
– visual programming to facilitate certain aspects of digital creation,
– the simulation of fluids to replicate natural elements (fire, water).

Niche markets
Semesters V and VI: 6 hours/week, or an average of 12 hours for each of the following modules during the year

  • Black & white laboratory: thanks to the Stop-System method invented by Spéos, participants learn all essential techniques used in the black & white lab very fast and at a high level. From film development to printing, quick access to the right density, contrast adjustment as well as blending and masking.
  • Large format cameras: whether film or digital, an analysis and practice of front and back tilts will allow participants to learn how to optimize the incredible possibilities of large format cameras. They are far superior to small and medium format cameras, and very popular in still life, studio, architecture as well as portraiture.
  • Drone: acquiring essential knowledge how to operate a drone with test flights by experimenting with different piloting modes, understanding the very strict laws regulating these devices, identifying potential partners for aerial photography..
  • Time-lapse photography: exploring different approaches to time-lapse photography by means of different photo or video tools. These techniques can be used to make sequenced images spread out over long periods of time which – once presented in accelerated form – allow us to see all kinds of subjects evolve in a short period of time. A real market can be found in the construction industry, especially for buildings.
  • Capture One : discovery of the photo retouching software developed by Phase One, which is in high demand in photo studios. Next to image editing, Capture One is used for image cataloguing, raw image file processing as well as tethered photography.
  • Architectural and interior photography: how to photograph and reconstruct facades that – in theory – cannot be photographed due to the lack of distance. Using the panorama, HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques for dark interiors with windows too bright via Lightroom Aurora and others.
  • Culinary photography: participants learn how to select products or replace some of them with artificial textures. They get to know how to improve the look of “sad” items and how to organize themselves, so that the products look always fresh for the moment when the photo is finally taken.
  • Wedding photography: this class teaches the essentials of wedding photography, from meeting the bride and groom to delivering the photos, including location scouting for the bridal preparations as well as the civil and religious ceremonies, followed by the festivities.
  • Long exposure photography: this class allows to learn how to photograph with long exposure times in order to fix immobile elements while modifying the rendering of moving elements, by day or by night.
  • Social networks: the evolutions of the main networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) are fast and require to closely follow their continual updates. These tools have become indispensable and competition has intensified. This class teaches how to design a digital communication strategy, how to analyze the performance of actions in order to improve them, how to create an audience and how to set up profitable advertising campaigns.
  • Finished goods: establishing contact with companies that produce finished goods using images (books, prints, 3D prints, etc.) to learn how to create additional products that are in high demand by customers.

Studio use
During the week, participants can book time in the school’s studios for their professional projects from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Expert Modules: June-September of the third year
The Expert Modules take place from June to September of the third year. Students can enroll immediately after completing the program, or return to Spéos to complement their training in the following year(s).

The Expert Modules deal with the business of photography (management, commercial approach and publication of photos). Students also follow the Expert Module of their specialty:
– Advanced Studio for studio specialization,
– Advanced Photo Reportage for photo reportage specialization.

Expert Module: the Photo Business 
Duration: 5 weeks in 2 parts
Different experts present the business management of all kinds of activities linked to professional photography. The module gives an overview of the photographic professions and the market, copyright legislation, marketing, accounting and financial management within the field of photography.
This module also allows students to deepen their knowledge in the domains of image management and publication, which are presented from the point of view of independent photographers, photo agencies and image banks. Students also encounter picture researchers/image buyers working for publishing houses and advertising agencies, art directors and photo agents. Throughout the module, they acquire in-depth knowledge about the various possibilities to syndicate their own image stocks. And – last but not least – they get a practical overview of how to efficiently use social media for photographers.

Expert Module: Advanced Studio Photography — Professional Portfolio Development
Duration: 3 weeks (takes place at the same time as the Expert Module Advanced Photo Reportage)
Participants focus on developing their portfolio in professional work situations which correspond to their individual intentions and chosen specialisation, including fashion, portrait, advertising, and fine art photography. Numerous partnerships with luxury and fashion brands (Lacoste, Longchamp, Issey Miyake, Bulgari, etc.) allow for a complete, hands-on understanding of the production process from start to finish, including direct feedback from the client and the possibility for publication.

Expert Module: Advanced Photo Reportage
Duration: 3 weeks (takes place at the same time as the Expert Module Advanced Studio)
Photo reportage is analyzed from the point of view of agencies, dailies, magazines, and independent photographers. Participants meet professionals working in the fields of image purchase, sales and editing within various kinds of media (print and web). Through these exchanges, they learn how to position them selves and to efficiently prepare their entry into the professional world. Several meetings will be held at professionals’ workplaces.

Design and creation of a magazine 
In July, the students participate in the design and creation of a magazine featuring their own photographic work to promote their achievements.
This magazine is entirely designed by and for the students: graphic design and production, construction of the dummy, layout, editorial and delivery of the print file.
The students are accompanied to select the images and understand the editorial creation:
– introduction to the field of publishing,
– presentation of dummy and flatplan,
– group and individual discussions with all students: final choice of  photos from their selection, test integration of the photos into the layout, evaluation of different possibilities for the final layout.

Professional project

During the Expert Modules, the students equally plan and elaborate their own business approach, to be implemented after their training at Spéos.
Through regular exchanges with their instructors, they are guided in their career choice, business strategy,
market research, and obtain the necessary skills in marketing, financial and legal matters, so as to set up their own business plan.
At the end of July, the main points of their business plan are presented to a first jury, which evaluates the project’s relevance and feasibility.
During the summer, the students improve and fine-tune their projects, which need to be submitted at the end of September as a written business plan. 

Enrollment and Contact

Registrations are open all year round and are subject to availability.
Feel free to contact Spéos if you have any questions about this photography program.
At any time you are most welcome to come and visit the school, just make an appointment!

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