Schools and Programs
Education offerings in photography range from individual classes for hobbyists to certificate and degree programs for who want to begin a career in photography. Certificate programs are available in specific areas of photography, such as studio photography, digital photography and portrait photography. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available for those who want to not only learn the basics of photography, but learn about business, multimedia and other design topics, as well as gain experience through a portfolio development and an internship.
Programs At a Glance
|Program||Program Length||Prerequisites||Class Format|
|Digital Photography||6 class sessions||None||On-campus|
|Certificate in Photography||8 months||None||On-campus|
|Associate Degree, Digital Photography||2 years||Diploma/GED or higher||On-campus|
|Bachelor Degree, Digital Photography||4 years||Diploma/GED or higher||On-campus|
Classes for the Hobbyist
Photography classes are always one of the most popular offerings at adult education centers. You can learn from professional photographers and study everything from the basics to advanced studio techniques. Course offerings might cover topics such as:
- Digital cameras and photography for beginners
- The art of photography
- Digital photo editing
- Turning photos into DVD movies
Programs for Professionals
If you are serious about making a career out of photography, you will need to enroll in a professional preparation program which will include not only coursework in photography techniques (both digital and still camera) but also coursework in the business of photography, which will teach you how to market your services. These programs are available at the certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree levels.
Certificate programs provide hands-on experience with picture taking techniques. Students learn to use image editing software like Photoshop, as well as prepare photos for printing and use on websites. Students also learn about composition, color, lighting and professional practice. In addition to having students make portfolios, schools sometimes hold showcases where students get to display their work. Focuses may include digital workflow, portrait photography, and studio photography.
Associate's and bachelor's degree programs are broader than certificate programs in that they include general education, art and elective coursework. In addition to requiring students to develop a portfolio, these programs often include final projects, seminars and internships. Specific types of photography - such as location, advertising, studio, news, fashion, architectural or news photography - may be discussed. Courses in a photography degree program may include:
- Color management
- Visual arts
- Photo history
- Advanced studio techniques
- Digital darkroom
Job Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities for photographers are expected to grow by three percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS expects limited growth as qualifications for entry have lowered. Having digital video and image editing experience can improve job prospects. The median annual salary for photographers was $30,490 in May 2014, according to the BLS, with the low end of the range being $18,120 or below and the high end of the range being $68,930 and above.