Photography Adult Education: An Overview

If you are interested in learning more about taking pictures with your digital or still camera, or if you would like to make a career out of photography, you can find a course or program to suit your needs. Read about the photography courses and programs offered at adult education centers, colleges, universities and art schools everywhere.

Program Options

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.

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

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.

Degree Programs

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:

  • Lighting
  • Color management
  • Photojournalism
  • Visual arts
  • Photo history
  • Marketing
  • Illustration
  • Advanced studio techniques
  • Printing
  • Digital darkroom
  • Video
  • Electronic design
  • Drawing
  • Special photography topics

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Employment opportunities for photographers are expected to grow by four percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( The BLS expects limited growth as it's become easier for individuals to do their own photography. Having digital video and image editing experience can improve job prospects. The median annual salary for photographers was $29,280 in May 2013, according to the BLS, with the low end of the range being $17,770 or below and the high end of the range being $66,360 and above.

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