Learning photography is like starting to riding a bike, it helps if someone is there to catch you. Many people who teach themselves can also get into bad habits. But like riding the bike, no one else can do it for you.
There are groups that have good people in them who are willing to guide you with constructive comments on your pictures. Other groups have members that ‘like’ pictures even when they are not good.The first is a good way to learn, the last is no good for anyone.
My belief is that when you are taught by tutors, you invariably adopt their likes and dislikes because you are taught to believe that the teacher is always right.
Photography is about following your heart, producing the final picture that pleases you. If someone else likes it, great, if not no worries, you can’t please them all.
If you do a classroom course, learn the technique but not the tutors style, that you should avoid at all cost. Your photography is about you and no one else. That is unless they are paying you to do what they want.
One other point to consider before you pay good money to enter a classroom, Who is the tutor, and more importantly, what are their qualifications?
I am a photographer of 50 years standing and Chairman of a global photographic society, I even teach some aspects of photography, Would I consider myself good enough to teach in a classroom? Not on your life, but from experience, I have seen one person who brought a camera one year and set up an evening class at a college the following year ‘teaching’ photography.
Always check out the work of the tutor when thinking of going to a photography course.