DOWNEY - Ronda Cordova's advanced photo class at Downey High School takes photography to the next level with its self-sustaining program that is solely operated by the talented students.Among the diverse lessons taught in advanced photo include set-up of the studio, correct lighting and image editing in Photoshop, all of which provide experience to effectively work as a photographer both in and out of school. "Advanced photo gives you the opportunity to expand on what you learned from the first year of photography," said student Gabriela Cabrera. "The students take the class because they want to, not just to receive credits. This creates a more positive atmosphere." Not only does this elective cover several topics in photography, but it also teaches the various aspects of running a business, which include dealing with clients and order forms, editing photos and collecting payments. Cordova's students began to make significant progress last year when they started promoting themselves by offering portraits for prom, sports, families and seniors. The fully functioning studio provides unlimited possibilities for the photographers. "Prom and sports photos are so expensive through outside companies, so I figured we could offer the same quality, if not better, at a lower price," said Cordova. "Our customers are happy and my students get on-the-job training. We are more flexible and aim to impress; therefore, the client is always satisfied with the outcome of the photos. We always take our time and make sure to produce high quality work." In just a few years, Cordova's photography program has attracted dozens of customers who are interested in supporting the school without having to worry about exorbitant prices. Football, soccer, volleyball, cross country, wrestling, lacrosse, cheer and dance have all had team and individual shots taken by advanced photo students. More than 15 teachers have brought in their families for portraits, and the number continues to rise as happy customers spread the word about their satisfaction. Most recently, custom-made Christmas cards were available for purchase. Just like the photo machines found at stores, customers only had to submit their photos and wait for the results to arrive in packages. "Mrs. Cordova encourages us to fulfill our creativity by allowing us to use her cameras and studios," said student Rebecca Velasco. "I like to be a part of advanced photo because I have learned that photography is more than just snapping a memory. It is also an original viewpoint on life."
********** Published: January 6, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 38