Frequently Asked Questions

It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Hawai’i School of Photography is closing—at least for the foreseeable future. I opened Stephen Dantzig Photography on January 1, 1993 as “Pirate Photography.” The name was a joke based on the fact that I had to wear a patch over my right eye to focus the medium format camera I was shooting at the time. Eventually I dropped the “Pirate” and chose my own name for the business. I moved to Los Angeles in January 1994 to pursue my dreams. Life took its strange twists and turns and I began writing for major photography websites, magazines, and eventually my own books. I started to teach classes on photography during those years as well. Fast forward many years and Hawai’i School of Photography was officially born on June 1, 2000. It has been a great ride with over 800 students through our doors and many 1,000’s more via our books and articles. Several of our student’s have gone on to careers that have outshined the teachers (and we love that!). It is, however, with great sadness, that I announce the end of an era. Our last class will be the 4-day Essential Digital Photography Workshop that begins on March 28, 2020. Thank you to all of our supporters, students and friends over the years. It was a dream come true for a long time. Mahalo and Aloha oe.

Steve and Joan

1) We are coming to Hawaii and we’re wondering if you had any students or interns looking to build a portfolio who could photograph our event?

Mahalo for asking for our students to photograph your event. Hawaii School of Photography takes great pride in teaching our students the skills needed to create beautiful images for personal and/or commercial use. We also teach our students about running a successful photography business. Any of our students who are ready to shoot your jobs have their own businesses and fee structures. I will be happy to forward any inquiries on to them with the understanding that they will share their fees and policies for conducting a photography business. Hawaii School of Photography offers no guarantee or warranty and accepts no liability for the work requested from or completed by our current or former students. The faculty of Hawaii School of Photography are also available for commercial shoots.

2) Is there a minimum age for your classes?

We are an adult school and the classes are geared for adults, so the minimum age is 18 years. I have had teenagers in class before and to be honest, the results have been mixed. There is maybe a quick bathroom break, but other than that the classes are packed. Teenagers are occasionally admitted on a case-by-case basis or we can set up a special class for 3 or more teenagers. Chaperons are required for anyone under 18 years of years. UPDATE: I have scheduled our first New Digital Camera class for teenagers class for June 29th from 1 to 4 PM at the Queen Kapiolani Botanical Gardens on the corner of Monsarrat between Pakistan and Leahi in Waikiki. This is a special class, so there is nothing in place to allow for online booking and payment, so please email me to check space availability and let me know if you would rather send me a check or use PayPal for the tuition. The tuition is $124.40 including the Kama’aina discount and GET. Mahalo!

3) Is your school a college? Can I earn a degree or certificate?

Hawaii School of Photography has a program/course for you whether you want to learn how to take better photographs with your phone camera, further develop your understanding of more advanced camera mechanics, learn basic lighting techniques, or advance yourself as a professional photographer. We  provide opportunities for you to learn photography in studio or on location here in Paradise as well as offer books/ebooks. Our blog will have free lessons from time to time. However, we are a recreational school and not a recognized as a college or university. Students interested in a degree program are encouraged to look at the University of Hawaii or Hawaii Pacific University for degrees in the arts. I think Honolulu Community College also offers a photography program. I can, and have, provided certificates of completion for classes, but please understand that the school is recreational and classes do not count toward any degree or “official” recognition. Certificates are for personal use only.

4) Can I use my GI Bill to pay for your school?

Unfortunately we are not recognized as a school that is affiliated with the military GI Bill. Tuition already includes a discount for anyone in, or related to anyone in the military, active or retired. Mahalo for your service!

5) What beginner classes do you offer?

We have two options for you. Our 4-hour DSLR class will give you an overview of how to use your camera (main menu options, shooting modes, some creative applications, color).

We also have a much more detailed 15-hour class (5 consecutive Thursdays from 6 to 9PM) that covers these things and a lot more. We go into manual photography and metering in detail as well as more on color, lenses, and composition guidelines.

Some students take the 3-hour class and follow it up with the 15-hour class later.

6) How much are your classes?

Tuition for each workshop varies. Please see the individual class pages for more information.

7) How long are your classes?

Our classes are 4, 8 or 15 hours depending on the workshop.

8) Do I need a camera to take you classes?

Yes. We are dedicated to teaching you how to use your own personal camera so you know how to use it in the future. We do have older model cameras available to rent for classes if you do not have your own camera, but we highly recommend using your own. Rental fees are $15.00 for all one-day courses and $30.00 for our 4-day class. Rental fees include the use if a memory card, but you need to be able to download the images created before the end of class.

9) What kind of camera should I buy?

Unfortunately we cannot answer that question because it is a very personal issue. Every camera has a different “feel,” and one will “fit” when you try out the different brands and models within your budget. Nikon, Canon (I own and use both!) and Sony are all good brands as are others. Do you want a mirrorless or a “DSLR” camera? I also own and use both. They all do the same thing, but the controls are in different places and have different names sometimes. We cover all those differences in class. It really does depend on how the camera “feels” in your hands and how comfortable you are finding the various controls. Personally, I prefer the DSLR format and find the Canon layout easier, but I am a klutz, so that is specific to me. There is a difference between the entry level “cropped-frame” sensor cameras and the “full-frame” cameras, but there is also a significant difference in cost. I own and use both, so again, they both work fine. What is your budget? That is the starting point. My good friend Tony at Pro Camera Hawaii in Aiea will take the appropriate time to help you find the right fit for you without “over-selling” you. Tony also rents gear if you want to try a particular model out before purchasing it.