I am currently enrolled in the correspondence photography course at New York Institute of Photography. I took this course, so that I could take part in Operation Love. Operation love is a program for families with an active duty member that is being deployed. Professional photographers offer a free photo session and a 4x6 album for the deployed family member to take with them overseas. I have not gotten around to contacting them to throw my name into the hat for this great project. You have to be a professional, and have a portfolio of sorts on line (so I still have a little work to do before they will let me play along). That is my goal, and eventually, I will take part in it.
I have found the NYIP course to be very useful and interesting. While I have enjoyed photography for over a decade and almost two decades...I now have a better grasp on the technical side of the camera and it's many functions. I am proud to say that I now know in depth about aperture and shutter speeds, and how I can use them to make my photos better. I am deep in the middle of the course, and into the photo projects that must be submitted to finish the course. I enjoy the lessons, and the books that I got with my paid tuition. I also got a few free gifts with my enrollment, the photo umbrella, and reflectors are great. I have not used the monopod as of yet, but I am sure it will be useful in the future. All in all, I really like the course, and all its insight.
Though you don't need to take a course to be a good photographer, but it certainly was eye opening to all the different kinds of photography that you could focus on.