I had a very good and helpful experience taking photography and art courses in college (at the two different universities I attended). I did not get a degree, but the courses gave me a really good foundation. But it required effort. I’ve probably learned more about all sides of photography after college, but I picked up on it very quickly… because I learned from the bottom up in college. My first course was entirely film (manual shooting, winding and developing film, making prints in a darkroom). I think that hands-on experience was invaluble. It taught us that one cannot simply pick up a camera and edit the shit out of it and call it good. Besides the technical stuff, we learned composition and artistic elements in photography. I have always had an artistic eye but this helped give me direction. Before college I did love photography. I had a point and shoot that had ‘manual’ settings. I began experimenting with it on manual. I also had a very early PS Elements and would ‘edit’ my own photos when I was younger. Of course they had ultra-smooth skin and blinding white teeth and eyes (much like the fauxtogs edit). When I was 15 I job-shadowed one day at the photography studio that my dad was friends of the owner. I watched their son edit senior pictures for several hours and he taught me a few things. Other classes I took in college were on digital photography and using Photoshop and other graphic software. I wouldn’t trade the hands-on learning for anything. Yes there are plenty of photographers who are self-taught but a lot of them start out as fauxtogs because they skipped the basics. Many eventually learn and become successful. There is one woman who started a photography business a year or so ago and mentored under one of the popular action creators but her stuff was kind of bad. Now however she’s amazing at what she does.