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Bachelor of Arts (BA): Professional Photography Degree Overview

Oct 16, 2019

A Bachelor of Arts in Photography program teaches students about the techniques, composition and commercial applications of professional photography. Explore the program, common courses and job options.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's programs in photography focus on a wide range of photo composition techniques, including focus and perspective. These programs may also cover fine arts, business and communications topics. Optional specializations in the field may include photojournalism, digital photography or illustration photography, among others. Schools may require students to create digital or print portfolios throughout the program, and the curriculum may culminate in a final portfolio.


Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Professional Photography

Students must typically have completed high school or earned a GED for entry into a bachelor's degree program. Bachelor's-degree students begin with basic concepts in subjects like exposure and lighting, then move on to subjects like multimedia operations, journalism, advertising and business management. Common courses include:

  • Publication photography
  • Studio portraiture
  • Color theory
  • Experimental camera techniques
  • Large format photography
  • Medical photography

Popular Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment prospects for photographers are expected to decline 6% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). Median annual earnings of photographers were $34,000 in 2018, with the highest-paid photographers earning $76,360 or more, according to the BLS. Career field options can include commercial photography, digital photography, industrial photography or photojournalism. Graduates of bachelor's degree programs may have learned about editorial, advertising, portraiture and event photography, and could be prepared for positions like:

  • Photographic technician
  • Photographer
  • Digital-imaging artist
  • Product photographer
  • Newspaper editorial photographer

Continuing Education

Through select schools, graduates of bachelor's degree programs may go on to earn a master's degree in photography. Master's degree programs can help practicing photographers advance their careers and can help them develop a more refined and professional style through critiques, the study of criticism and art history coursework.

A Bachelor of Arts in Photography program gives students the photography and business training necessary for entry-level work in the field. Master's degree programs are available for graduates who wish to advance in their careers.

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