Another year has flown by, and apart from the odd blog post and a short New Year’s message, I haven’t done any official announcements for quite some time. So, here goes my first announcement for 2018!
Out with the old, in with the new
Even though the DPC Team and I were busy on many fronts, 2017 felt rather “slow”. Apart from a few minor changes to our existing courses, we didn’t exactly “move mountains” in terms of the goals we had set earlier. This was partly due to technical issues that we experienced with our Photo Critic service. However, on the less visible front, we did move a few hidden icebergs.
From an individual and personal perspective, the DPC team had a great year!
Our on-location lighting instructor, Trompie Van Der Berg, was awarded a Profoto brand ambassadorship. This is not a small feat, considering that Profoto is one of the world’s most exclusive and sought-after lighting brands.
Equally impressive, Warren James was appointed as a Fuji brand ambassador and X-Photographer.
Another achievement was that two of our team were featured in the Photoworld Magazine. Photoworld is a Chinese Photography Magazine with a huge following across Asia and other parts of the world. We’ve been chosen by Dudu Madonsela (curator of the Bensusan Photography Museum) among only twelve other photographers to represent South African photography! I was honoured with a main feature in the March edition (Danie Bester: A Knight of Photography as Art), and Bruna Mentrup-Nortje (DPC’s incumbent wildlife photographer) was featured in the August edition.
Bruna also received several prestigious awards, included a coveted PSSA licentiateship!
2017 also saw us heading in new directions on the educational front, John Onderstall and I started writing our first book on photography! Late last year, we also began working on a new educational platform: “Online DPC”. We also identified new team members who will be joining the DPC fold; but before I get carried away, let’s break down the major changes you can expect over the next two years:
Online DPC: A brand new teaching platform!
We are currently developing a brand new social-learning website, on which we will offer online courses to those who are not able to physically attend our courses. The good news is that these online courses will be made available to registered face-to-face students for free! More good news is that existing students who have already completed a course with us, will also get free online access to the courses they have already done! The online platform will follow the same structure and curricula as our face-to-face courses. Students will be able to connect with their instructors and other students via a social-learning platform, upload assignments, and track their progress online.
I can almost feel our students’ anticipation to join the awesome new community site! As with all good things though, it will take some time to roll out. Even though we have already started recording some of our classes in 2017, it will take us at least another year to have a fully functional platform, and an additional year to get all the courses online. Take note that complete online courses will not be offered before 2019 -2020. The online courses that we will offer this year will be supplementary to our face-to-face classes.
Changes to Photo Critic
Last year I reported that we are working on a new Photo Critic service. The current Ning-platform on which we’re currently running Photo Critic, was a great platform and served us well for over seven years. Unfortunately, compared to all the latest cutting-edge social platforms out there, Photo Critic has become outdated. We’ve also experienced serious performance issues, directly related to the platform itself.
After evaluating many alternative social platforms, and spending months installing and running demo sites, we concluded that it would be better to develop our own website from scratch. It was with great fanfare that I announced that we had found a developer who was willing to partner with us. The new website, built on Angular JS, quickly started taking form. By February 2017, the skeleton website was up. Heartbreakingly, the development of the new Photo Critic website has since stalled. Our developer could no longer continue, due to a change in his work schedule and personal commitments.
Since then, I have been looking at finding another programmer to partner with us and complete the platform. When hiring a developer proved too costly, we continued our search on customisable platforms. The good news is that with so many technological advancements in the past year, we found a more-than-suitable platform.
Unfortunately, investing in this new platform will cost a lot of time and money. I therefore had to make a tough decision: to postpone the development of our Photo Critic service for the interim. We will also no longer provide critiques on every photo, as we would rather spend our efforts and energy on developing and implementing the new study platform, where we feel our students will get maximum benefit. Luckily, all is not lost for our die-hard Photo Critic members. Members can still upload their photos and we will be encouraging the members to critique and rate each other’s photos while the DPC team maintain an administrative role only. We will also keep the communication lines open if members need any help, by encouraging them to post their questions on Photo Critic’s Discussion Forum and on our Facebook Group. We did amend the changes to the Rules for Posting images accordingly, if you would like to check it out.
Take note that we will continue offering the Photo Critic discounts to all our students!
I mentioned that John Onderstall and I are currently working on our first photography book. The eBook will cover, in-depth, the fundamental aspects of photography. It will be the ultimate photography resource and will contain hundreds of visuals, cheat-sheets, and dummy settings. As mentioned, ex-students will have free access to their relevant course materials on the online platform, whilst the eBook (an invaluable supplementary resource) will be offered as an additional purchase.
Since we have shifted all our weight towards getting the online platform ready, the book will only be launched towards the end of the year.
New Team members
We would like to introduce new members of the DPC Team who will join us from early 2018, and we hope to add a few more photographers by the end of the year.
Michael Tree, who is a seasoned professional portrait and wedding photographer, recently extended his photography reach towards architectural and interior photography. Michael won the Architectural Photograph of the Year (2017) at the 60th Anniversary of the Steel and Construction awards in South Africa. It is in this capacity that he will join our team and will, from hereon, present the Architectural and Interior Photography Course.
We are also welcoming the canny and energetic Tim Moolman, who is also a Fuji X-Ambassador. Tim is an adventure and documentary photographer with years of experience shooting many disciplines. He will be presenting a course on Mobile Photography in 2018 – we will keep you posted.
Other members who are joining us in supportive roles, are Jackie O’Hare and Phillip Erasmus. Jackie will be assisting us with proofreading and semantics. She has already done a lot of work behind the scenes, including the gruesome task of transcribing a few of my lectures! Phillip, who is a pro photographer, also joined the team in a supportive role. He has been assisting me during my classes, and I can assure you, the students will love him!
Photography Courses for 2018
We have already posted our course schedules for 2018, and we’ve made a few minor changes to our popular course line-up.
This year, we have added more modules to the creative photography programme, which will now consist of 4 courses:
- Expanding your Vision
- Visual Language and Storytelling
- Developing a Personal Photography Style and Photography Projects
- Photography Portfolios, Printing, and Presentation
For a list of all our photography courses for this year, follow the link below. Take note that we are in the process of confirming dates for Photoshop, Mobile, and the Location Portraits courses:
Courses for 2019
Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule, we postponed the development of our “Photography as a Business Course”. This business course will only launch in 2019. Another course you can expect next year, is a course on extreme action photography with Tim Moolman. We hope to introduce other long overdue courses on Baby, Children and Family Portraits from 2019 onwards.
DPC Services Roadmap for 2018 – 2019
Connecting the dots for our 2018 – 2019 programme so that you can follow our tracks:
- 1 March 2018, Beta Launch of Online DPC
- DPC Online are made available for testing to selected students
- 26 April 2018, Official Launch of Online DPC (SA)
- South African online platform launched to supplement the Basic to Intermediate Photography Course
- From this point onwards, we will start adding other courses to the platform
- At this stage, online courses will not be available as “stand-alone” courses as they will be offered supplementary to our physical classes
- 1 October 2018, eBook Launch
- Interactive guide covering the fundamental aspects of photography available for sale
- 9 January 2019, Official Launch of International Online Photography Courses
- International online platform launch
- 30% of our photography courses will be available as complete online courses
- More online courses will be added throughout 2019
- 2019 – 2020, New Photo Critic
- New Photo Critic subscription-based service to be launched
Coming to the end of this lengthy post, allow me to express our continuous support to all our students. We carefully weighed all our options, and it is not without a healthy sense of trepidation that we decided to step on the pedal and create a new, more exciting avenue for our students. We hope to blow you away with a brand-new, social-friendly platform that will aid you in the endless quest to be better photographers.
click on an image for more details:
Questions or thoughts?
As always, your comments and proposals are highly appreciated: feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment below.