AAS programs in digital photography educate students on the latest techniques and advancements in digital photography, but they also focus on traditional photography skills like lighting, proper exposure, camerawork, and composition. Students can expect to use a digital SLR camera to compose, expose, and present a final image. They also develop a professional portfolio, participate in hands-on assignments, and fulfill an internship requirement prior to graduation. Individual expression and creativity are encouraged so that graduates are prepared to take full control of the editing process.
Programs are typically comprised of 60-66 credits of coursework. In order to apply, students must hold a high school diploma or GED and submit an official transcript of coursework. They must also provide their own camera, lenses, and photography supplies.
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Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography (AAS)
In addition to photography-specific classes, students are required to complete general education coursework in subjects such as reading and math. Course topics may include the following:
- Digital, color and portrait photography
- Two-dimensional computer design
- Art marketing and media business
- Portfolio development and product photography
- Photographic software and photo composition
Popular Career Options
Graduates can find work in photojournalism, commercial or scientific photography. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the competition for salaried photography jobs is very high and many companies prefer to work with freelancers (www.bls.gov). Many people opt to work for themselves; for instance, by opening a photographic studio that performs wedding and portrait photography. The job outlook is better for people with a background in computers and related technologies. Some job titles include the following:
- Wedding photographer
- Commercial photographer
- Studio photographer
- Aerial photographer
- Fashion photographer
Employment Outlook and Info Salary
The BLS anticipates job opportunities for photographers to increase slower than average, at 3%, between 2014 and 2024. In May of 2015, the BLS stated that the average yearly salary of photographers was $40,280.
Continuing Education Information
Advanced techniques and skills can be gained by enrolling in a bachelor's or master's degree program. Degree and certificate programs are available in an online format. Certificate programs provide specialized training in various areas, such as digital imaging software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
An AAS in digital photography equips students with the basic education and technical photography skills necessary for freelance work or employment with a photography company.