Photographer: Online Diploma

Research online photography certificate programs. Find out what you can learn in these programs and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Typically, schools offer online certificate programs in fields of photography, such as digital, studio and portrait photography. Some programs are offered in a hybrid format, and students will have to complete both online and on-campus assignments. Students typically need a Digital SLR or point and shoot camera, and may need Adobe Photoshop.


Because of the nature of the online programs, students must own their own digital SLR or point and shoot cameras. They will also need to check their curriculum to see if they need additional photography equipment and software like Adobe Photoshop. Access to updated computers and a good Internet connection iare also a must, since online photography courses often require the use of message boards or online school learning systems.

List of Common Photography Courses

The course descriptions below describe the usual online curriculum of photography programs.

Fundamentals of Digital Photography

This fundamentals class trains students in the basics of digital camera usage, equipment, beginning shot composition and basic lighting to set up the groundwork for future design projects. Students can also assess other photographers' works to examine how both technical and artistic techniques can produce successful photos.

Imaging and Digital Processing

In imaging classes, students work with digital software and learn the basics of digital color theory and digital file formats. Additionally, students acquire the skills needed for photo editing and output.

Business of Photography

Students explore basic business techniques for the self-employed photographer. Additionally, students learn about budgeting, marketing and operations planning, so that they can acquire the skills necessary to run a successful photography business.

Digital Design

While taking a digital design class, students train in conceptualizing themes and solving design dilemmas. For example, students might take photos in response to specific themes and then have their work evaluated by their peers based on the photos' ability to communicate their personal solutions to viewers.

Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for photographers should increase at a slower-than-average rate of 3% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, 60% of photographers were self-employed. The average annual salary for photographers was $40,280 as of May 2015, per the BLS, though those working in the motion picture and video industries made an average of $70,350 at that same time.

Online certificate programs for photography typically require students to own a DSLR camera and photo editing software, and some hybrid programs require students to complete on-campus assignments in addition to online coursework. Students typically learn skills such as digital design, self-employment business skills, imaging and digital processing.

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