Education Requirements for a Photographer

Photographers work in a number of different industries and perform a variety of services with the images they capture with professional cameras. While photography classes are available at many 2-year institutions, a bachelor's degree in photography provides the most comprehensive training for someone who is serious about this profession.

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Educational and Career Options for Photographers

The extent of the education needed for a career in photography depends upon the individual's goals. Good technical abilities, knowledge of equipment and vocational training or an associate's degree might suffice for some positions at the outset of a career. A Bachelor of Arts in Photography provides more options for a career and for advancement; bachelor's degrees typically include art, business, marketing and other courses to round out one's education. A polished portfolio, which is often a requirement for graduation, is another benefit of a bachelor's degree program.

Photographers can work in many different fields, so choosing a photography specialization while enrolled in school helps hone and develop unique photography techniques. Some specialization options include news photographer or photojournalist, fine arts photographer, commercial photographer and scientific photographer. News photographers take pictures of newsworthy events while fine arts photographers sell photographs as art. Commercial photographers use pictures in various media formats while scientific photographers take photographs used for scientific procedures.

Equipment

Without the proper equipment, photographers cannot perform their work duties. While employers and some schools provide access to photography equipment, photographers typically obtain their own equipment in order to practice and familiarize themselves with the tools of this field. Cameras come in many different types, so researching cameras and tools beforehand is important prior to committing to a purchase. Two formats are available for cameras: film or digital. Additional tools like tripods, lenses filters and computer programs can assist with taking pictures.

Classes and Internships

Photography courses cover technical aspects of handling cameras and taking photographs. Subjects covered in this coursework include applicable photograph techniques, photography history and photography theory. Specific areas of study for photographers are available in specialized coursework such as advertising and commercial photography, wedding and portraiture photography, editorial and corporate photography, visual journalism, fine art photography or fashion photography.

Obtaining practical work experience while enrolled in school also helps photographers prepare for this field. In addition to internships and related summer jobs, school newspapers, magazines, newsletters, yearbooks and clubs can provide opportunities to have photographs published or displayed.

Career Details

After finishing school with a good educational foundation, photographers can enter into the workforce and continue learning from employers and other professionals. Starting as an assistant to a professional photographer allows one to pick up skills and tricks and develop work skills. Photographers can create electronic portfolios and maintain a website to show off work samples to the world, potentially catching the eyes of employers.

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  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Oregon (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Oregon include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Washington (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Western Washington University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Central Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography

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