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Hear about Lizzie’s and Peter’s experiences in the 2017-18 Advanced Study program.

1 Hour Consultation

We welcome prospective students to visit our studio for an informal consultation. We’re happy to hear about your photography goals and help you determine if the Advanced Study is the right program for you.

Advanced Photography Study students at the Viewfinder Center discuss course content.

Hands-on Lessons

Hands-on learning in small groups. Students develop new skills and understanding through dynamic lessons, exciting practice shoots, fun assignments and engaging critique sessions.

Overview

It’s been said that to master an art such as photography, a student must invest 10,000 hours to thoroughly learn the craft. At the Viewfinder Center we agree that “practice makes perfect” but we also believe strongly in „quality over quantity.“

By focusing on seven units of photographic study from March through November, students of Viewfinder’s advanced program work on developing a variety of essential photographic skills. Graduates leave the program with a real working knowledge of their camera and the ability to photograph a variety of subjects in challenging situations. From shooting fast-action sports and portrait subjects to documentary projects and landscape work – this program will challenge the photographer who’s ready for more. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and go beyond the basics with Viewfinder’s Advanced Photography Study.

Student portrait assignment Advanced Photography Study Viewfinder Center Switzerland
Advanced Photography Study student photo
Practice sports photography basketball shoot at Nottwil Paraplegiker Zentrum in Viewfinder Center's Advanced Photography Study

Guided Practice Shoots

Each unit of our program includes an on-site practice shoot with individual support from our instructors. Photography can’t be learned simply by reading or watching videos. We believe in a combination of theory lessons, guided practice shoots and group feedback sessions. This is followed by students completing their own external assignments and receiving in-depth instructor feedback.

Who is it for? What is it like?

This program is perfectly suited for students who prefer a  “learn-by-doing“ approach. The advanced program is a combination of weekly evening lessons,  monthly practice shoots, conversational review sessions, and individual shooting assignments. It’s interactive, hands-on and fun!

During the first three units, students take on advanced exposure control and work on preparing their RAW photos for print. They study photographic composition to make stronger, more dynamic pictures.  This is followed by units on portraiture and studio lighting, landscape photography, documentary projects and sports.

Matt and John both subscribe to a „tell me, show me, let me“ philosophy of teaching. Lessons are hands-on and active. Theory and discussion are interspersed with demonstrations and lots of „now-let’s-do-it“ exercises. Our practical shooting experiences are a great opportunity to practice with instructor guidance. Review sessions provide the much needed feedback to help students challenge themselves and take big steps forward. Individual assignments allow students to finish a unit of study with proof that they’ve mastered new skills and have grown from experience.

Student photography portfolio printing in Viewfinder Center's Advanced Photography Study program in Zurich, Switzerland.

Build Your Portfolio

Throughout the program, students print their assignment work and build their own photography portfolios. This valuable asset helps maintain a photographer’s creative motivation and also nurtures the development of a personal shooting style. Each assignment is printed for a professional presentation. In addition to earning a program certificate, each student’s portfolio is a testament to their skills and experience behind the camera.

Content & Prerequisites

Unit Overview

Unit 1: Advanced Exposure Control
Unit 2: Digital Developing & Printing
Unit 3: Creative Composition
Unit 4: Studio Lighting & Portraiture
Unit 5: Action Sports
Unit 6: The Picture Story
Unit 7: Photographing the Landscape
Event: Concludes with a Student Exhibition

Prerequisites

  • Confident with beginner camera skills such as those learned in our Digital Photography 1-2-3 Course
  • Entry level experience with Adobe Lightroom
  • Informal enrolment interview with Matt (lead instructor) at Viewfinder Center
equipment

Equipment

Familiarity with your camera is more important than the model you own. We strongly encourage the use of a dSLR-type camera for this program. We’re big fans of the full-frame digital SLR cameras offered by both Nikon and Canon, but it’s not necessary to purchase a new camera for this course if you already own one. One of the key benefits of the Nikon and Canon systems is the variety of rental lenses that are available when needed. If you’re considering a camera upgrade then we’re happy to make a recommendation for you.

photography student hiking and shooting in the Engadin Valley of Switzerland
Advanced Photography Study student photo
Light painting photography class

Guided Practice Shoots

Photography is a „learn-by-doing“ craft. Students put their new knowledge to work by practicing together in the field. Instructors are available to assist as they tackle real shooting challenges that are both fun and challenging. From working with professional models to covering sporting events and photographing stunning alpine scenery, we make excellent use of Switzerland’s photographic variety.

Viewfinder Center outdoor photography instructor Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson – Instructor

Matt Anderson is the principle instructor and business director at Viewfinder. Matt has been living in Switzerland since 2008. His photography career began fifteen years ago while studying journalism in the United States. As a daily newspaper photographer he acquired a broad base of photography skills and found himself shooting all manner of subjects from sports and news events to portraits and feature assignments. Working as a regular freelancer for the Associated Press, he learned some important lessons about photographing under pressure. These days he balances a busy teaching schedule with photography projects for commercial clients in the Zurich area. Matt’s work has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association (USA), and the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers. Matt publishes a regular photo tips column in each issue of Spot Magazine. When he’s not busy shooting or teaching you can find him planning or packing for the next Viewfinder trip. More of his work can be seen at www.photo-matthew.com.

Advanced Photography Study student Alex K.

Alex K.

The program has been an incredible and intense journey. Not only were we taught a lot of technical stuff, but more importantly we were thrown out into the photography world: photojournalism, sports photography, working with models, all the way to landscape and wildlife photography. You don't spend much time in a classroom. You'll be amazed at the diversity of images you'll produce by the end of term. I'm ready to start some real life photography work now and maybe even turn it into a living. but I will really miss the joy of working with my ADV buddies!

Advanced Photography Study student Rod T.

Rod T.

I joined to extend my "photographic vocabulary” and learn the techniques to better express my ideas. That is exactly what this class is about. We spent a little time in the class room, learning the necessary theory and a lot of time in the field putting it into practice. Lots of fun was had on a number of excursions. If you are serious about your photography and want to take it to the next level, then this is the right place for you.

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