© Ksenia Usacheva – Spéos 2014

Course presentation

The intensive 32-week Professional Photography course is aimed at students with a strong work capacity. They will acquire all current skills and techniques within professional photography and put them into practice: photo reportage, studio photography, fashion photography, corporate photography, art direction, image management and publication.

After a first semester dedicated to the core skills, the students focus on their preferences (backed up by the advice of their instructors at Spéos): during the second semester, they specialize in studio photography or photo reportage.

Students thus learn to master the process of shooting in all the technical and artistic dimensions; they also produce their own portfolio for professional use.

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.

Next sessions:  January-September 2021; September 2021-May 2022
Campus: Paris or London
Language of instruction: English
Tuition:
– France, UK, EU nationals: €18,000
– International students: €18,000
Diploma: Spéos School Certificate

Structure of the program

The first part of the program comprises the core courses, which cover all aspects of professional photography, from September to December. The first few weeks are dedicated to the acquisition of the basic techniques, allowing the students to be able to produce photos of good quality. During the following weeks, 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 semester, according to their career goals, the students choose a specialization, either in studio, or in photo reportage.
During the second semester, the students improve their practical skills and broaden their range of knowledge, from January to May. Depending on their career choice, they specialize either in studio photography, computer generated imagery, or 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.).

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.

Course description

Essentials of Photography
Semester I: 1h30/week
This course deals with a variety of purely practical aspects of photographical techniques.

Studio
Semester I: 3 hours/week
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.
An introduction to the “Style and Composition” class will initiate the students to the notions of style and composition in professional photography.

Photo Reportage
Semester I: 3 hours/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
Semester I: 3 hours/week
This course aims to:
– understand what the main parameters and formats of digital images are,
– discover the Photoshop application and design a layout using this software,
– learn how to manage a stream of digital images and retouch photos using Lightroom software.

Image Management and Publication
Semester I: 3 hours/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.

Printing Techniques
Semester I: 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
Semester I: 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”.

Contemporary Photography
Semester I: 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
Semester I: 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.

Style and Composition
Semester II: 6 hours/week
The weekly sessions become simulations of professional studio shootings in the form of 6-hour workdays. 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
Semester II: 3 hours/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
Semester II: 3 hours/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
Semester II: 1h30/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Visual Identity
Semester II: 3 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Video for Photographers: the Essentials
Semester II: 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.

Contemporary Photography
Semester II: 2 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Meet the Profession
Semester II: 2 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Black & White Printing
Optional – on demand and at the end of the school year only
Possibility of organizing introductions to analog photography with film development and black & white printing in the Spéos laboratory. The school has one of the largest labs in Paris still in activity. Students will be introduced to the Stop System, a method developed by Spéos that allows to quickly take control of prints and masks. These sessions will take place at the end of the school year only, once students have acquired all the essential knowledge and techniques within professional photography.

Photo Reportage
Semester II: 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 II: 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.

Storytelling
Semester II: 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.

Computer Imaging
Semester II: 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 photojournalism.

Image Management and Publication
Semester II: 3 hours/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
Semester II: 1h30/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Visual Identity
Semester II: 3 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Video for Photographers: the Essentials 
Semester II: 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 exercises 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.

Contemporary Photography
Semester II: 2 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Meet the Profession
Semester II: 2 hours/week
Continuation of semester I towards a more advanced level.

Black & White Printing
Optional – on demand and at the end of the school year only
Possibility of organizing introductions to analog photography with film development and black & white printing in the Spéos laboratory. The school has one of the largest labs in Paris still in activity. Students will be introduced to the Stop System, a method developed by Spéos that allows to quickly take control of prints and masks. These sessions will take place at the end of the school year only, once students have acquired all the essential knowledge and techniques within professional photography.

Testimonials

Annsy: « I moved to London just for the school »

Awa: « I learned what I want to say as a photographer »

Thomas: « Spéos was a great experience »

Yichen: « Spéos is a great environment to learn photography, teachers are very supportive »

Enrollment and Contact

Registrations are open all year round and are subject to availability.
You can send your application via the online enrollment form.

Feel free to contact Spéos if you have any questions about this program:

  • Telephone : +33 (0)1 40 09 18 58
  • Email : info[@]speos.fr
  • Skype : speos-admissions01

At any time you are most welcome to come and visit the school, just make an appointment!

Enroll now!