I finished my first photography class and although in the beginning I believed that the class wouldn't help me much, I believed that overall my photography and thoughts of photography has improved a lot because of the class. My goal was to get an A for the class and I am pretty sure I achieved that goal. What I most appreciate is that I was able to gain a lot more then expected.
Two parts of the class that I believed helped me the most were dealing with movement and lighting. When I focused on movement I really had to think of ways to create an interesting photo that involved stop action, blurred movement, and camera movement. I found this somewhat difficult as I have been concentrating on portraits and landscape photography before the class has started. Most portraits and landscapes do not naturally incorporate movement. Some examples of how in incorporated motion into each shot was creating misty affects in water, blurring people, and then shooting sports using stop motion.
Going through the lighting assignment has helped a lot as well. While I try to do my best to understand light as I believe it is one the most important if not most important element of photography. Actually focusing on lighting as opposed to subject matter or composition helped me to focus on how light changes a scene. Personally lighting seems easy to understand, but is one of the most difficult elements to master in photography. Towards the end of my photography class I believe that I have been able to make a great advancement in understanding how light works, but I still have a lot I can improve.
If you are have an interest in photography I would recommend taking a photography class. Even if you feel that you have a lot of experience in photography and don't think a class will help you much I believe that you maybe surprised. I think the best experience you'll have is that the class will take you out of your comfort zone and force yourself to use techniques that are either new or that you don't use very often. This push will help to improve your photography more than you'll expect.