In today’s online world there is unlimited photography education and information at your fingertips. And most of it is totally free! Like never before we’re now able to self-teach, and become pretty skilled, without paying a penny! So why pay for photography training in 2017?
In this video let's thrash out the pros and cons of FREE versus PAID…
Nowadays businesses and individuals are producing vast quantities of free educational content so that they can connect with you and prove themselves to you. If you like their content and trust in them then the hope is that you might eventually buy into a paid product in the future. It’s exactly what we do at Tea Break Tog!
Most people won’t though. Most people will never buy a thing. They will consume that free content and be satisfied. And that’s totally ok. That’s generally what I do too. I usually find free content that does the job and I pick and choose what I learn and who I learn it from.
So why would you pay? Why would you put your hand in your pocket and part with your hard earned cash to learn something that you can just learn online for free nowadays?
Well I believe there is a place for both free and paid photography education and training. They can both offer enormous value. But there are some key things to consider when you are deciding which route to take. So stay with me because I’m going to help you out with some pointers for the next time you’re deciding whether to stick with free or cough up some cash.
Free is great for specific questions you have. Look it up – choose a tutorial you can identify with and job is done. Gone are the days when you had to pay to get the answer to a reasonably simple question you had. Now you type it into google and you choose from hundreds and thousands of articles on the subject.
Whereas if you’re looking to learn something a little bit more complex then you might find that you need to do a good bit of digging around over a long period of time to get a very clear picture of the topic using free content. In situations like this it often makes much more sense to pay for a course so that you know the lessons will be delivered to you in the correct order and in the same style and you won’t have any gaps in your learning. The time you save searching the web for decent free content on the whole subject will probably more than make up for the money you spend.
On the flip side, if time is an issue for you then free stuff is generally shorter and more to the point. You can consume it quickly and you don’t need to set aside lots of time for it once you find it. Paid content tends to be more in-depth and takes a little longer.
Another great thing about all this readily available free content is that it allows you to find the educators you can really identify with. Free content has made these people accessible. That’s pretty cool. So make sure you use all this free to find your favourite teachers. Because you can be pretty sure that if you find someone who’s free stuff is good – their paid stuff is going to blow you away.
But what about quality? You might assume that free content is poorer quality than paid content. But that simply isn’t true. Some of the best tutorials I’ve ever worked through have been absolutely free and some of the WORST – I’ve had to pay for! So there’s never a guarantee on quality.
However, one thing that paid content does tend to have that free content doesn’t – is an opportunity to read or listen to testimonials from past buyers. Really it’s hard to make a bad purchasing decision these days if you’ve done your homework. Customers leave very public reviews these days and they’re not hard to find. I mean you can make a pretty confident decision about a course that comes with 1000 five star reviews.
But this doesn’t tend to happen so much with free content. We generally have very little indication of whether other people found it useful or not. You need to take a more pot luck approach and go with whatever google chucks at you first. And if you’re pretty clueless on the subject you’re researching then you might not even know that what you’re reading or watching is a load of absolute drivel.
Free is great for learning ‘what’ to do. There’s no real need to pay for ‘what to do’ information these days. The free stuff is really good. However the real nitty gritty ‘how to do it’ stuff. You’ll find that most educators save that for their paid resources. Why? Because that’s valuable stuff. That’s the stuff that they have busted a gut learning themselves and they’re not willing to give that away for free. That being said, every now and again you’ll get lucky and find someone who is.
So as you can tell I am all for free AND paid photography education. But there is one last point I’m going to make about free versus paid and I saved it for last because it is by far the most important.
The biggest difference between paying for your education and getting it for free – is YOU. It’s simply a fact that when you pay for something you take it far more seriously. You show up, you listen well, you take notes, you make it count. Why? Because you spent money on it! You’re not going to let that go to waste!
When something is free we simply don’t give it the attention that we give to something we had to spend money on. Because it was free! You’ve way more likely to not turn up, or skim the content or multi-task. After all – there’s nothing to lose. Subconsciously you place very little value in it because you didn’t have to pay for it.
So my philosophy is that I pay for what matters most to me. I pay for what will save me time. I pay for what will make me money. I pay for what I value. But everything else – I just search and grab it for free. And whilst I’m on the subject of free stuff – you can check out my free Copywriting Workshop for Photographers right here.
So what about you? Do you ever pay for your photography education or do you swear by the free stuff? I’d love to hear from you! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe…