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,