Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Washington School of Photography Sucks

Last year, I was elated to find a local reputable school that offered photography courses, that actually offered affordable classes (unlike The Art Intstitute of Washington). The Washington School of Photography was right in Bethesda and the Photoshop Retouching class that I took there cost only $80, and despite the seemingly inexperienced teacher and meager surroundings, I learned a lot.

So this year, I decided to enroll in a second class, a 4-hour Photoshop Bootcamp class for $130. I'd been looking for something like this, because although I use Photoshop, I'm just winging it. And although I know there is an abundance of free tutorials online, I really respond to formal training. I cleared my calendar on Saturday, July 31st and held my breath (not really).

When you register online for a class at WSP, you are given the option to pay online or pay upon arrival. Cool, I chose the Pay Upon Arrival option and my registration was quick and easy. Two days later, I received a phone call and an email from an employee at the school, prompting me to pay the $130 fee for the class immediately, or I would not be able to ensure that there would be a space for me because the class could fill up. So, I called the school. After explaining why I was calling to the British-accented woman on the phone, she told me to go online. I said, "Even though I'm already on the phone talking to you?" She said yes, and after hanging up, I never got around to going to the website. At my first class, there was a total of four students. Filling the class wasn't exactly a fear of mine. I forgot about it and waited until July 31st.

On Saturday July 31st, I got up early, like I would if I were going to work, packed up my laptop, grabbed a Red Bull, made it to the credit union, got cash for the class, and headed up to Rugby Avenue in Bethesda of Wisconsin Avenue, about 25 miles from home. Wanna guess what happened when I got there?

Not only was the class canceled, but the "list" of registered students didn't include my name. There was one person listed, and I wondered if she got a phone call announcing the cancellation. Was she listed because she paid, I wondered? Was I not on the list because online registration means spit? Why was I prompted for my address and phone number during registration? For fun? There was no one at the school to ask these questions, except for the lone teacher who was there for the three-student Intro to Photography class, and it certainly wasn't his fault. He's seen it happen before. I just left with a big WTF on my face.

When I called the school on Monday, the same British-speaking woman answered and was slightly apologetic, but that's it. So now I can't go back to that school, because they suck. I actually almost entered a certificate program there, which costs thousands of dollars, but I can't go, because they are unreliable, and again, they suck. I'd pay a ton of money and my class could literally be canceled. I tried not to judge the school by the look of the building and the store-room like classrooms but now, I have no reason to discern. They both suck.
So, to the Washington School of Photography:
If you have another suggestion for Photoshop or photography classes in DC, Maryland or Northern Virginia, by all means, please tell me about it.

Feeling better now,



Keyser Söze said...

oh no, I'm signed up to take a class there starting this Wednesday

Insana Collins said...

Have you ever taken a class there before? And have you PAID already? :-/

Anonymous said...

I think you missed the point, it said pay at the office, not pay on the day of the class. I've paid over the phone with a credit card as well. I know its not the best school, I am currently in the program. It is hit or miss right now. By the way if you want to learn Photoshop from a great teacher. Take the class at WSP from Sasha (Alexander) Vasilijev. He is hands down the best Photoshop person in the DC area. He also teaches a great Lightroom course as well. He is also a good source because he is proficient in different types of photography, from portraits to wildlife and even architecture. I would only take the PS class from him. He teaches you a ton. So much your head will hurt, but feel good at the same time!

Anonymous said...

I finished all the courses and never got my certificate! why? because someone screwed up with bills. I know I paid for all the classes and I had several meetings to solve the money issue but at the end I thought they were trying to get more money from me, thinking I'd pay since I've came this far and I need my certificate. Since then I've noticed they changed their billing policy so they don't make mistakes! It is more about business than actually caring for students learning anything! Every time I get an email request for photographers, it's either do it for free or it sounds shady. One job you had to edit 20 pictures in photoshop as part of the interview to see if they want to hire you or not. why not let me just edit all your pictures for free?

Anonymous said...

It says you are only pre-registered. Therefore, from the schools point of view, they have no idea if you will show to pay the fee or not. So why would they put you on the list. They aren't going to pay a teacher to show on the wing and prayer that people who say they will come will show up on the day of an pay. They offer the option so you can pay by check if you don't want, or can't, pay by credit card. Stop trashing a school because you are a moron and expect the world to run only the way you want it. Next time, pay when you are supposed to and maybe they won't cancel a class because they can properly gauge the interest it it from actual REGISTERED students. The internet truly is the soapbox for idiots.

Anonymous said...

Insana, it is hard to believe that if you actually did pay for the courses that you would not have the appropriate documentation to prove that, i.e., cancelled checks, credit card statements, cash receipts, etc. I know that in my business dealings I always give a receipt for cash, and I am sure that the school did also, if you happen to be one of the very few that pay with cash.

Apparently the school is doing well, since they just moved into their new 17,000 square foot facility on Wilkins Ave. in Rockville, and have an greatly expanded course offering.

Anonymous said...

be very careful with Mary Jane. That fat b$ messed up my payments. she was trying to charge me twice for same class.