In BFA programs in photography or digital photography, students gain experience with the latest digital imaging technologies and build a portfolio. They also study photography's relationship to media, communication, art and other industries. Digital photography programs foster experimentation and creative expression along with mastery of technical skills through extensive practical experience.
Applicants to a bachelor's degree program must have a high school diploma or educational equivalent and submit ACT or SAT exam scores. They must also submit a portfolio of previous photography work.
Bachelor's Degree in Digital Photography
While enrolled in a four-year bachelor's degree in photography program, students take a combination of general education courses in the arts, humanities and sciences as well as courses specific to the photography major. Students divide their time between the study and analysis of photography in a classroom setting and the practice of photography in a studio or natural environment for course projects or individual enrichment. Along with compiling a portfolio, students complete courses that cover topics, such as:
- Color photography
- Photography studio practice
- Time and motion
- Critical analysis of photography
- Film photography
- Digital photography
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment for all photographers was expected to decline 6% from 2018-2028. Also in May 2018, the BLS reported that photographers earned a median annual salary of $34,000.
A formal education in photography is not always necessary for employment. Programs are used to give educational context to a creative medium, as well as provide some technical skills, which can often be self-learned. While a bachelor's degree is often deemed sufficient for most jobs, aspiring digital photographers can also earn a master's degree. Advanced degrees sometimes allow for a wider variety of job opportunities and offer the potential for a higher salary.
Whether students find a major in digital photography or photography, a BFA in one of these fields provides sufficient theoretical coursework and hands-on art studio training to prepare students to work in the field or enroll in graduate school.