Photography Teacher Has Industry Experience

News from Tulsa Tech by Dr. STEVE TIGER

SUPERIOR RECOGNITION: Pictured from left are Tulsa Tech Photography I instructor Clay Allen, Master Photographer Degree Recipient and Tulsa Tech Photography II instructor Joey Johnson, and Professional Photographers of America (PPA) President Susan Michael at the Gaylord Resort in Nashville on Feb. 3. Johnson recently received his Master of Photography degree from PPA.

Courtesy Tulsa Tech

Each day the students at Tulsa Tech have an opportunity to learn career skills from talented, award-winning instructors who are eager to share their valuable years of industry experience with those willing to learn. Joey Johnson, Photography II instructor and recent Master Photographer Degree recipient, feels that the exact moment when a student learns a new concept is the biggest award an instructor receives.

“I really like to see that moment, when the light bulb comes on, and a student ‘gets it’”, Johnson says. “It’s very rewarding to know that you’ve taught someone a new concept, and from now on they’ll have that knowledge to use.”

Recently, Johnson received his Master of Photography degree from the Professional Photographers of America (), which is awarded for demonstrating superior photographic skills in International Photographic Competitions and completing advanced education merits and service merits to the industry.

The proud Vinita native is one of only a handful of photographers in the state to have earned this distinguished award and says his interest in photography began with his father and growing up in northeastern Oklahoma.

“I grew up in a photography darkroom with my dad,” he says. “He was a photographer for Northeast Oklahoma Electric Co-op. We had a darkroom right there in our home. I had always dabbled in photography, but I didn’t really start professionally until about 2002.”

In 2005, Johnson began taking freelance assignments from the Tulsa World, and to date his portfolio includes sports, local news, weddings, senior portraits, baby photos, and wildlife, to name a few.

“I really enjoy covering local news, but my favorite subject would definitely be sports,” says Johnson. “I think my past coaching experience helps me see the play, or possibly predict where both the play and the ball are going to be. Shooting sports is challenging, and being able to think ahead of the play helps me get some good shots.”

Johnson credits much of his professional growth to Photography I instructor and Master Craftsman Photographer Clay Allen.

“Mr. Allen encouraged me to take the Certified Professional Photographer Exam and to investigate entering print competitions to earn merits toward my master photographer degree,” Johnson says. “I really enjoy competing, being judged by my peers, and these type of credentials ultimately separate professional photographers from anyone who just happens to own a camera.”

Allen feels that the recent Award not only recognizes Johnson’s talent as a photographer but also greatly benefits the students in his classroom.

“Joey has worked very hard to learn and perfect the complex skills necessary to score high in international competition,” says Allen. “I am sure his competition in international print judging has made him a better teacher to our second-year students. After they learn the basic skills in our first-year program, he is able to raise their talents to a level ready in many cases to compete in the professional world of photography.”

At first glance, a visitor to Johnson’s classroom might notice his informal, light-hearted interaction with each of his students. It’s also apparent, however, that every student has the utmost respect for this former police officer. A husband and father, Johnson moved from a career in law enforcement to the classroom in order to spend more time with his own family and seems to have adopted a few hundred students along the way.

“I really enjoy my kids; they’re top-notch students,” Johnson says. “I’m lucky because they want to be here. Nobody said you have to take photography, like math or history, so I know they are here because they really want to be here.”

Johnson feels fortunate to have the opportunity to work with his students each day and share just a small portion of his award-winning talent.

“There’s no better course to be teaching than photography. It’s really something I love,” he says. “I enjoy having a classroom full of students who want to become better photographers.”

If you’re currently looking for exciting classes for high school and adult students, quality business and industry training, or a challenging new career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at

Updated 04-25-2015

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