The New York Institute of photography offers a home study course on photography. I started the program about three years ago, I am currently working on Unit 4. The course is suppose to take about two years, but can be done much faster if you prefer. I unfortunately work three jobs and had to sell the camera I was using for my assignments, so my units are taking much longer. I have enjoyed the lessons and have seen a huge improvement in my photographs. I get compliments all the time saying how professional my portraits look and that my landscapes look like postcards! If I get these kinds of compliments using a cheap digital camera, imagine if I had an SLR. I believe the course is worth the money and do not regret saving a few hundred dollars by paying for the program in full. If I had not paid for the program in full when our finances had changed so drastically I would have been unable to continue the courses. I do recommend using a digital camera, even if it is a cheap one. You will save hundreds of dollars on developing and you get immediate feedback on your photos using your cameras review.