© Joakim Eskildsen / Courtesy Polka Galerie

Program presentation

Polka, a French magazine specialized in photography, and Spéos open a new program dedicated to photojournalism. This 22-week intensive program takes place once a year in Paris, with intake in January. This program is intended for students who wish to acquire the fundamentals of photojournalism / documentary photography.

During this program, students acquire the basics of photo shooting whatever the situations, and learn to tell a story in different forms (press, book publishing or artistic installation). Supervised by the Spéos professors and the Polka team (including Dimitri Beck, the director of photography), the students will follow a program combining lectures, workshops and meetings with professionals and renowned photojournalists.

The credits acquired during this program allow students wishing to become professionals to continue their studies at Spéos by integrating the second part of the following 2-year programs:
– Professional photography,
– The Entrepreneurial Photographer in 2 years (RNCP level 6 – certification RNCP36195 registered on 25/02/2022, delivered by Spéos).
Please contact Spéos for more details.

> See this program on Polka’s website

Students who aren’t native speakers of English need to have a language level validated by an English language test at B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The language requirement needs to be submitted at the beginning of the program.

Next session: from January 27 to June 27, 2025
Language of instruction: English
Tuition fees:
– France, European Union nationals: €9,500
– International students: €11,500
Diploma: School Certificate signed by Spéos and Polka

Course description of the Photojournalism Program by Polka & Spéos

3 hours/week
This course is devoted to the acquisition of the essential techniques for the practice of shooting in different reporting situations. Students are introduced to the Stop-System, the different types of lighting, the general principles of light source balance and the proper use of a 35mm camera.
The learning process focuses on:
– the control of natural and/or artificial light in outdoor situations,
– a studio complement to enable photoreporters to respond to a wide range of professional lighting situations: site-specific portraits, still life on site, corporate, documentary photography, etc.

3 hours/week
The course is designed to give an overview of photojournalism, focusing on 3 main areas – place, event and theme. Assignments include the coverage of events in Paris and a long-term documentary project on a local neighborhood.

6 hours/week
Students spend one day a week at Polka to gain a comprehensive view of visual storytelling: they will learn how to tell stories through photography and make them public. Students will be brought the keys of understandings of photojournalism and develop the different steps of a reportage: from finding an idea, pitching it, producing it and selling it. It will address the students know-how needed to accurately show and reflect realities through their photography. Also, in today’s world, the tremendous progress of technology is giving priority to the rapidity of the transmission of images rather than the absolute and sacred requirement of their authenticity. The input of photo professionals, their ethics, and rigor are a must. Students will explore the different markets (press, galleries, publishing, festivals, contests, grants…) where they can work.

Key photoreportage steps and knowledge:
During this course, students will learn:
– Understanding the different steps of a reportage.
– Finding a story and making ideas / subjects to become visual storytelling.
– Choosing the visual approach to tell the story (portrait, reportage style, documentary photography…).
– Writing a synopsis.
– Working on the field.
– Editing its production and a story.
– Writing the captions of the pictures.
– Selling the stories.

Participants will be able to tell visual stories by themselves, to be skilled enough to stand in a professional photographic sector.

1h30 per week – 14 weeks
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.

2 to 3 hours per week – 22 weeks
In line with the acquisition of studio shooting techniques, this course gives participants an overview of the different digital post-production techniques allowing them to process and enhance their images. It aims to:

  • understand what the main parameters and formats of digital images are,
  • learn how to process Raw files in a professional way with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC development tool,
  • Deepen the participants post-production skills with Adobe Photoshop CC: non-destructive work flow through adjustment layers, knowledge of layer masks and selections, basic retouch.

1h30 to 3 hours per week – 22 weeks
Firstly this course will help 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. Then the course will cover 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 your visibility on the internet, design an online portfolio, know how to use social network for photographers.

2 to 3 hours per week – 22 weeks
Combining lectures with visits to museums and galleries, this course aims at giving an overview of the history of photography and the constantly evolving photographic processes, from their origins to the present trends of contemporary photography. Emphasis is placed on the analysis of real prints rather than reproductions, taking advantage of the rich photographic resources available in the local museums and galleries.

Pedagogical approach

The teaching method is essentially based on real-life practice, an essential element of learning. Classes are held in small groups to ensure a personalised, continuous approach, allowing students to develop their own style and sensitivity (excellent student/teacher ratio).

The school has developed its own teaching method: the Stop-System, a global learning method for controlling light in photography.

The courses are taught by recognised professionals and creatives who ensure that students acquire the knowledge they need.

The school has a number of spacious studios, all very well equipped: Phase One back rooms, Foba column stands, the best brands of flashes, projectors, lights and a wide range of accessories to style every shot.

The school’s computer rooms are equipped with Apple computers, Eizo calibrated screens and the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

Students can also borrow photographic equipment on a daily basis: the school lends out a large number of flash kits, sound kits, video kits and telephoto lenses for working outdoors, evenings and weekends included.

  • Continuous assessment.
  • Tests at the beginning and end of the semester, to assess students’ acquisition of knowledge.
  • Examinations in the form of graded exercises.

Enrollment and Contact

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