Photography Schools

Becoming a professional photographer requires far more skill than simply pointing a camera and pushing a button. Thankfully, for those who are looking to pursue professional photography,photography schools are there to help.

Professional photography schools provide hands-on learning programs, from classes for beginners to seminars for the more advanced. They also offer many areas of specialization, including fashion, advertising and fine art. In addition to teaching digital and traditional photographic practices, many photography schools also incorporate business management training.

In addition, top photography schools will introduce you to career counseling, teach interviewing skills and even make professional recommendations. Upon graduation, you”ll also have a credible portfolio for client and employer presentations.

Keep reading to learn more about professional photography schools.

Are Schools of Photography for You?

Many people aren”t sure if professional photography school is right for them. However, jobs for professional photographers are limited, and many employers see people with photography degrees as more qualified for jobs.

However, if you can”t find a way to go to photography school, you can get a job as a professional photographer without attending school. Many people without degrees have worked their way up the ranks, often finding mentors to help them along the way. You might also consider exploring part-time jobs, internships or freelance ventures to help get your foot in the door.

Professional Photography School Courses

If you do go to professional photography school, you”ll most likely get the chance to explore the various photography fields, including:

  • advertising
  • documentary/photojournalism
  • fashion
  • industrial
  • portraits
  • special events/weddings
  • tourism
  • videography.

It is important to note, however, that certain professional photography schools are geared toward specific fields, such as fashion photography.

The actual courses that you can take will vary from school to school, though classes are typically grouped according to skill level (beginner, advanced, etc.). Some fundamentals that photography schools cover include:

  • camera operation
  • composition
  • digital imaging courses
  • lighting and film development.

Students may also learn about the ethical aspects of taking photographs and about the history of photography. Many photography schools also offer business courses for those who want to start or manage a photography business.

Photography School Workshops

If you want to hone your photography skills, you might consider attending photography school workshops. While some professional photography schools offer workshops, you might also be able to attend them at your local photography store.

Photography workshops may be intense one-day sessions or they could span several weekends. Often, a workshop will focus on a particular photographic technique, such as lighting or composition.

An added benefit of attending a workshop is that you will be able to network with other photographers in your area. This could lead to job opportunities or even exhibitions!

Top Photography Schools

Recognized photography schools abound, both nationally and internationally. Here are a few:

  • Boston University”s Center for Digital Imaging Arts offers a Professional Photography Certificate. The courses are comprehensive and cover many areas, from basic camera work to advanced techniques.
  • Brooks Institute of Photography offers both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees. Located in Santa Barbara, Calif., the institute offers a full range of photography education and also provides financial aid opportunities. The learning environment, as in many schools, is intense and requires dedication to career advancement.
  • The Hallmark Institute of Photography in Massachusetts offers a four-phase photography program. Instructors cover techniques and business management in digital and film segments. The 10-month residency program provides valuable classroom, field and studio experiences for those who intend to freelance or engage in corporate specialties.
  • The New York Institute of Photography in New York City features year-round class enrollment. Students, who generally older than your average college student, graduate with certificates.
  • The Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology in Dayton offers specialized diplomas and associate degrees. Fields include portraiture and other commercial applications.
  • San Francisco Academy of Art University offers Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. The curriculum includes a focus on creativity, cutting-edge techniques and business aspects. Students can choose to specialize in digital or traditional photography.

Photography School Requirements

Many photography schools assume you have mastered the basics of using a camera. Universities, of course, will require a high school diploma and the requisite application forms. Some institutions offer advanced courses for individuals with specific or advanced degrees.

Outside of the university systems, entrance reviews are stringent and may or may not require high school diplomas or equivalency certificates. They will, in many cases, request letters of recommendation from educators and professionals. Admissions requirements often include a portfolio review for advanced courses. Expect to pay a nominal non-refundable application fee.

Scholarships and Loans

Attending photography schools can be costly. Tuition varies widely but often runs $30,000 per year at top photography schools. In addition, students must consider the cost of equipment and supplies, housing and other general living expenses.

Scholarships and loans are available for students who are pursuing training in photography. Scholarships can cover a portion or, in some cases, all of your tuition. These awards may be need- or merit-based, depending on financial circumstances and portfolio reviews. Grants are available at state and federal levels as well.