Online Associates Degree in Digital Photography: Program Information

Get info about online associate's programs in digital photography. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Online degree programs in digital photography are uncommon because of the importance of hands-on instruction. However, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Digital Photography program is available online. Students may also find online associate's degree programs in photography or graphic arts that include instruction in digital photography.

Although most courses for the associate's degree program are available completely online, some programs may be in a hybrid format. Hybrid programs contain a mix of online classes and on-campus instruction. Students who complete assignments online often need to purchase software programs, such as Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe Photoshop, and photography equipment using their own budget. Photography equipment may include a digital camera, lenses, lighting equipment and accessories.

Associate's Degree Program in Digital Photography

Although photography associate's degree students in residence have the advantage of using the school's equipment, computers and software, online programs are available. Online classes in digital photography explain the process of staging and lighting interior and exterior digital photos. They also cover editing and processing picture files using image software.

Program Information and Requirements

A digital photography associate's degree program can be completed in six quarters. Through the distance learning option, students typically have to obtain all of their own materials. Students may need both a film and digital camera, particularly for broader arts degree programs. A light meter is required in some cases. Because software and equipment needs can vary from class to class, students should check with their instructors before making purchases. The Adobe Creative Suite is used in many courses.

List of Common Online Digital Photography Courses

Common general education courses include algebra, composition, speech, social sciences and history. Digital photography classes educate students in the career skills of digital design, web design, marketing and communications.


Adobe Photoshop is one of the most commonly used computer programs for editing graphics and photographs. This class familiarizes students with the tools and features of the software used to edit and publish photos.

Studio Lighting

In this course, students apply problem-solving to lighting issues for indoor commercial photography. The class describes products and techniques available to the photographer for optimal exposure based on the surface and shape of a subject. Students learn about different types of light and the effects of light placement.


This course covers lighting, background selection and posing for both indoor and outdoor portraiture. Students experiment with both single and multiple subject photos. For lighting, students will use both flash fill and strobes.

Career Information

Graduates can work as assistants to photographers or become freelance photographers themselves. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, photographers had a median annual wage of $31,710 in May 2015. Salaried photographers tended to make more than self-employed photographers.

Continuing Education

Graduates with an associate's degree in digital photography can progress to a bachelor's degree and then a Master of Fine Arts. Like the associate's degree, these degrees may be specialized in digital photography or deal in both film and digital. Bachelor's and master's degree programs can be found online.

Online associate's degree programs in digital photography are available, but typically require students to provide their own photography software and equipment. Graduates of these programs will have mastered skills in lighting, Photoshop and portraiture in preparation for careers as photographers.

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