FAQs

PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL

Who are you and why should we enroll in your photography classes?
I'm a high school English teacher who loves photography. I've been teaching photography as a sideline since February 2009. Though I've never had formal photography training, I come from a family of professional photographers. I grew up being surrounded by pictures--and as they say, maybe photography runs in my blood.

As of this writing, I've had more than 2,500 students all over the country who studied photography with me for the simple reasons that they do not understand their cameras AND they want to improve their photography skills. I take pride on being a professionally licensed teacher who knows how to structure curricula and lessons. I'm also quite good in explaining complicated photography jargons by making them understandable even for a student with zero background in photography.

I also am a proud photography hobbyist. Majority of DSLR owners nowadays belong in my category--and being a hobbyist myself, I know which photography lessons are important and which are trivial or only useful for professionals. I've had students who took up Basic lessons with other photography schools and I usually am amused to hear that they still learn some tricks and concepts after attending my lessons. Some photography teachers around are also professional businessmen--hence, they may not teach you everything. Since I'm a fellow hobbyist, I never see my students as competitors but as fellow lovers of photography. That's why I can be so generous to teach everything I know. :)




Do you have a portfolio of your work?
You may view some of them here.

Do you have a portfolio of your students' work?
They're all over the internet! :) Some of them are on my facebook pageinstagram page

Do you do wedding and other event coverages?
Sorry, I don't. :) I have a full time job as a high school English teacher during weekdays and my weekends are already filled with the photography classes. There are many other professional photographers out who can be of service to you.

Are you affiliated with a locally recognized photography group or association?
Apart from the SirNicolayans (Haha! This was coined by some students :), I actually just enjoy photography on my own. :) However, there were a few times when I invite students to shoot with me and vice-versa.






ENROLLING & RESERVATION OF SLOTS

How do I enroll or reserve slots?
Click here.

After I have submitted a form, now what?
Wait for a text message confirming the number and your interest in attending the classes. By replying, you are agreeing to the terms, schedule, and fees stated in the website.

Where in UP Diliman do you teach photography?
All classes are held at Ang Bahay ng Alumni building along Magsaysay Avenue inside UP Diliman campus.

Do you teach inside a classroom?
No. Admittedly, I don't have the funds yet to establish my own photography school, so I teach inside cafes. I choose cafes because my students won't be intimidated by a classroom setting; plus, coffee, pastries, and food can be ordered easily. Another good thing about cafes is the homey mood and good lighting as well. Cafes are usually quiet places also. This is also the reason why my fees are smaller as compared to other photography classes out there--maybe the time will come when I'll really have my own place for the lessons. But right now, I'm happy to be teaching within the UP Diliman campus, where I also spent a number of years of my college education. The university has a wide variety of scenic locations for practicing photographers as well.

What is your bank account and how do I pay?
I have savings accounts in BDO, Chinabank, Unionbank and BPI Family Savings Bank. The bank details will be sent through text message as soon as you confirm your attendance. You may also now pay with credit card through Paypal. You must have a Paypal account to choose this payment method. You will receive an invoice through your email. Because of the additional charges of Paypal, there will be a fee of 10% to your total enrollment fee when paying via Paypal. 

What happens if I don't show up on the reserved dates?
Since the reservations are limited, late cancellation of slots will be penalized P250 cancellation fee for every class cancelled. You will be required to pre-pay this fee before you can reschedule your class.

Is there an age limit or other limits for enrolling?
In the past year, I've had students who were as young as 7 years old and as old as 70; I had a few foreigner students as well and some Filipinos coming from places as far as Ilocos Norte and Davao; I also had the chance to teach four deaf students with their interpreter. As long as the enrollee is at least a high school student, willing to learn, understands English, there's no problem.

If I'll take your promo package, what is the correct order or sequence of lessons?
I recommend that you take the lessons as it is displayed on the main page. Start with Basic Digital Photography, end with Outdoor/Street Photography. But you may also choose freely. The only restriction is that BDP and Natural Editing are pre-requisite for the other lessons. As much as possible they should be taken first. But after the BDP, you may also take Portraits 101 and Still Life and Landscape, just in case you plan to take the Natural Editing later.

Can I pay partially or in installments?
Sorry, but full payment is required for all courses, especially for promo packages.

Why isn't there a pay-on-site option in the reservation form?
Pay-on-site option is available for enrollees who forgot or did not have time to pay through banks. I gave the P150-P250 discount for payments done through bank deposits to minimize the chances of students backing out at the last minute.




REGARDING CAMERAS & ACCESSORIES

Is it okay if I don't have an SLR?
Enrollees with point-and-shoot cameras are welcome; you will be given the same lessons and tips. It might also be useful to attend the Basic Digital Photography class to get recommendations on what DSLR camera to get when shifting from point-and-shoot to DSLR photography. DSLRs are recommended because of flexibility and features which are used in the other advanced classes I offer such as HDR and Black and White classes. Majority of the technical details in the lessons can be fully understood if the student has a DSLR camera.

What cameras do you recommend for beginners?
It all depends on your budget. Though I am a Nikon camera user, I usually recommend a Canon DSLR camera for people with budget less than P35,000. The reason for this is that the Canon entry level SLRs are easier to use since the ergonomics/design is really user-friendly. An excellent camera which I often recommend for people who have more money is the Nikon D1000. I think that these cameras are excellent already for beginners, hobbyists, and professionals. Normally, I'm fine with any camera as long as it's either Nikon or Canon. 

Where can I buy cameras at cheaper rates?
One golden rule among local photographers: never buy at the malls! The places I would recommend are: Hidalgo Avenue in Quiapo, Manila. Try Henry's or Watsons. Try the tiangges at Theatre Mall in Greenhills as well. Or buy stuff online. I recommend tipidpc.com, sulit.com.ph, dbgadgets, onestopshop, and kimstore.

Can I enroll with somebody else and share one camera?
Yes! I had mother-daughter, father-son, boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, best friends, and many other couples who shared a camera in the classes. However, you still have to pay separate fees.

Is bringing a laptop or tripod necessary?
Yes--for the courses where they're needed. For the editing classes (Natural, Black and White, HDR), bringing a laptop is required because of hands-on training. Tripods are necessary also for HDR classes.

What software are being used in the editing classes?
Adobe Lightroom and Photomatix Pro are being studied in some of the courses. I will personally install these software on your laptops during class hours. The software are compatible with both Mac and Windows.


If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to  email me at sirnicolay@gmail.com. Thanks!
- SirNicolay / James