Review Rona Cox Photo Start Up Course.


TPer Emeritus
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The Rona Cox Photo Start Up Course.

See this thread.

Rona has kindly sent me a complete copy of her course to review on behalf of the members here.

The course is a modular one being in 8 separate modules, sent out at 1 month intervals. Rona offers support between each module in the form of e-mails and telephone if necessary to answer any queries or offer advice. If you're not happy with the course then you can return all CD's and literature up until you have received the 3rd Module, after which no refund will be given. That all seems fair enough to me. The course is in the form of PDF files readable with Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 or above

The course covers starting up as a full or part time professional photographer in the fields of wedding and portrait photography, the latter being heavily slanted towards the mobile type of studio setup..A lot of emphasis is away from photography and on the nuts and bolts of the administrative side of starting and running a business.

As far as the actual photography is concerned Rona isn't offering a complete course in photography, she assumes a basic level of competence to the extent that you're considering doing wedding or portrait photography on a paid basis whether full or part time, So onto a brief breakdown of the structure of the course..

Module 1

deals with...
Self employment registration for National Insurance and tax.
Preparing a business plan.
Basic camera equipment
Projected profit and loss acounts.

Module 2

Lots of advice and methods for local advertising of your business.
Basic book keeping
There are also lots of example portrait and wedding shots on this CD

Module 3

Choosing photographic equipment
Mobile studio equipment
Discussion RAW versus JPEG
Preparing a price list

Module 4

Lots of good practical advice on all aspects of dealing with clients from initial enquires through booking and invoicing with example forms provided.

Module 5

Deals with example wedding days both in church and registrar's venues, with good sound advice on what to expect on the day, and generally how to tackle the job with plenty of example photos provided, and covering the reception shots too.

A little surprisingly, Rona recommends you stick the camera on Programme and forget it as you don't want to be messing with settings with everything else you have to contend with. Just a little too cavalier that IMHO. There's nothing at all wrong with using the programme setting as long as the camera has Programme Override, (any decent DSLR will do) so that you can bias the aperture or shutter speed in favour of whatever the particular shot dictates - I don't think the camera should be making that decision, and you might as well be using AV or TV then anyway? How Rona works is her choice of course, and I wouldn't comment except she recommends you do the same. Make your own choices is the answer I think.

Module 6

Deals with all aspects of portraiture, lighting and techniques with various setups and different scenarios re room size etc. Plenty of advice on posing, including family groups with lots of diagrams of different lighting arrangements. Excellent IMO.

Module 7

Rona runs through her complete workflow routine. A lIttle surprisingly she shoots jpegs and converts to tiffs, rather than shooting RAW, mainly because of the smaller file size. Nothing wrong with jpegs as long as you nail the exposures pretty well and shooting digital and previewing your images there's little excuse for getting it wrong. Whether you want to deny yourself the latitude of shooting RAW is your choice.

Rona uses PS7 for her processing, and gives her complete workflow. She also provides an image for you to use along with a complete PS7 'walk through' of her processing for that image.

Module 8

Creating a wedding album
Submitting shots to a lab
Preparing the final wedding album.

Finally, there are lots of useful links to all sorts of suppliers of wedding albums and other wedding related products and software.


The course is biased heavily in favour of digital cameras, not surprisingly, as Rona has 'gone' completely digital. Film users will find lots of the course just as applicable to them except of course they'll be relying on a good professional processing house for their processing.

Rona has made a good job of this course IMO. It doesn't cover every eventuality likely to befall you on the big day, but no course possibly could. It offers good practical advice which is obviously based on years of experience. If you're thinking of going pro, full or part time, or even just thinking about doing a friend's wedding with no real idea where to start, then this course will get you off to a flying start. The fact that it's modular, with e-mail and telephone support is quite remarkable, and for the £60 it costs I'd have no hesitation in recommending it.
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Nice one, good review Cedric. Thanks. (y)


TPer Emerita
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Thanks for the review CT!
Id love to do a homelearn/online portrait course but not really sure if weddings appeal to me yet.
I can imagine that the admin side of this course is invaluable but, Im kind of itching to get started with the studio side first before I consider my competency in running it as a business.
Not really sure if this will be for me, Ill think on it ... though Id be interested to hear if other peeps are going for it, as I maybe swayed if it were done as a 'group' so to speak.


Kim Jong Bod
Staff member
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Thanks for the review CT (y)
Nice, concise, and honest review, cheers :)