There are literally thousands of "photographers" in business today. Whether or not they are legitimate or legal is debatable. Another aspect that is up for debate is whether or not self taught photographers are on the same playing field as educated photographers. Let me elaborate on "educated"...I mean those who went to college for photography specifically. There are plenty of successful photographers that are on both sides of the fence...so what does separate the two (if anything)?
If you take a few minutes to Google or search Facebook, you will be ambushed by local photographers each trying to make their place in this crazy field. Those who are just starting out and finding their way, and those who have had thousands of satisfied clients and are seasoned and brilliant photographers. Some of the most successful photographers I know have been self-taught...so education does not necessarily mean they do any better work or even have a better handle on the camera. Why then am I "wasting" my time (and money) attending the Art Institute? I have been asking myself this question over and over.
When I realized I wanted to make my passion for photography into a business, I did so blindly. Little did I know how incredibly complicated and overwhelming running your own business could be. I know that when I started out, I knew little about the complexity of my camera or had even heard of the rule of thirds...but I did know I had an "eye" for good photography. Since I started my photographs have improved immensely and truly that is all that matters to me. The saying to the left says it all.
I personally think education is the right choice for me...my humble opinion is that knowledge is power. I am taking classes and they have aided to improvement without a doubt...and so is my personal research and effort. A formal education may not always be necessary and yet again it may be.
This leads to the question again...is "educated" necessary or better in the field of photography? I think it depends simply on the individual photographers desire to succeed and not how they learned the trade. We are the only thing in the way of our own success. How we get there is just a stepping stone. Self taught versus educated...you decide.