Digital Photography School Program Information

Though degrees are not always required in the photography field, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs can provide essential training and experience for aspiring photographers.

Essential Information

Photography degree programs explore the fundamentals of photography and provide hands-on education for those wishing to enter the field. Associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees are offered in photography and emphasize techniques useful in creating portfolios. Common program specializations include commercial photography, portraiture and advertising, among others.

Associate's programs provide basic training in digital imaging and portrait techniques. Further elaboration on technical skill building, lighting techniques and photography business principles is provided in bachelor's degree programs. Special projects and internship experiences are typically included in the curricula of these programs. Admission to undergraduate degree programs requires a high school diploma and ACT or SAT scores.

Master's degree programs include advanced lighting, printing and imaging courses. They might also offer areas of concentration. Undergraduate degrees and portfolios are required of applicants to graduate-level programs.

Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography

Associate's degree programs in digital photography are typically found at technical and community colleges, though some universities also offer digital photography courses. These programs cover the basic skills needed for a career in digital photography. Students in this program will learn how to operate cameras and create lighting effects. The associate's degree program also focuses on manipulation through digital imaging software. Students will be given hands-on training in shooting studio portraits, weddings, sporting events and fashion events. Before completion of the degree program, students will create a portfolio and resume. Typical courses in the program include:

  • History of photography
  • Lighting basics
  • Digital imaging techniques
  • Event photography
  • Portrait techniques

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Photography

Bachelor's degree programs in digital photography offer training in the creative and technical aspects of digital photography. Students learn about indoor and outdoor lighting techniques and learn to perfect image details through digital darkroom software and print-making technology. Undergraduates will also learn about the business aspect of digital photography through commercial projects and internships. Before beginning a bachelor's degree program in digital photography, students may be required to submit an essay or attend an interview with admissions representatives. Bachelor's degree students must complete general education requirements to complete the degree. Topics studied in a digital photography curriculum include:

  • Photographic principles
  • Photographic lighting
  • Digital darkroom
  • Image manipulation

Master of Arts in Digital Photography

A master's degree program in digital photography is an intensive program that focuses on the professional and educational aspects of digital photography. Students learn about photographic history, digital workflow and elements of the photography business. Students may also choose to concentrate in areas including commercial photography, portraiture and advertising. Coursework in a master's programs cover the same topics as lower-level programs but at a more advanced level. Topics studied include:

  • Printing methodology
  • Advanced digital imaging
  • Lighting
  • Mastering critique
  • Photographic historical perspectives

Popular Career Options

With an associate's degree, students are eligible for entry-level positions assisting senior photographers. Common career options include:

  • Studio assistant
  • Assistant photographer
  • Assistant product photographer

A bachelor's degree is the industry standard for professional photography and advertising fields. Graduates can work as:

  • Photojournalists
  • Catalogue photographers
  • Studio photographers

With a master's degree in digital photography, students can find professional positions at high-end advertising firms and educational institutions. Positions that master photographers can obtain include:

  • Professional advertising photographer
  • Commercial photographer
  • Museum administrator

Those who enjoy digital photography may consider pursuing either an undergraduate or graduate degree in the field. Many programs will allow students to specialize in a unique area of photography and help them find their niche.

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