Photographer Education Requirements

Photographer Education Requirements

Photographer education requirements vary by field and industry you’re going to work in. Sometimes a regular high school diploma is quite enough. Sometimes, you may need a degree in photography or special education. In any case, Photography is the art, so you cannot learn how to create a masterpiece. However, knowing technical aspects, to make your masterpiece will be way easier.

Education Requirements for a Photographer

Depending on your goals, the photographer requirements education will also vary. To start a career, you must have relevant technical skills, vocational training, or an assistant degree, and know how and what photography equipment to use. However, for further professional development, you will need to get a Master’s or bachelor's degree in photography. It will be useful for you to study such courses as Arts, Marketing, Business, and other related fields. In addition, if you join one of the advanced educational programs, you can get great bonuses. Since you will need to prepare a quality portfolio for final exams, you can use it later to attract potential customers.

8 Levels of Photographers:

Nowadays there is a huge number of areas in which photographers work, and no wonder that education requirements for a food photographer differ from the landscape photographer education requirements. You should determine your specialization while studying and hone your skills. You can choose commercial photography, newborn photography, photojournalism, wedding portraits, science or portrait photography, interior photography, fine arts, wildlife or news photography. The task of fine arts photographers is to promote the sale of photos as art and scientific shooters provide shots for scientific experiments. Commercial photographers create images of various media formats, and news photographers are interested in the main news events.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Photographer?

During photo sessions, shooters meet many people and sometimes visit the most incredible places. On the other hand, this profession is technically demanding. If you decide to achieve success in this area, you need to look through education requirements for a photographer. I have prepared useful information for you, thanks to which it will be easier to decide what kind of education you need in order to achieve success in the photography business.

Photography Certificates

You can get a photography certificate about finishing some photography or photo editing courses, workshops online or in the college. How long does it take to become a photographer? As a rule, students of community colleges can receive a photography license and certificate in less than a year. You will be able to gain basic knowledge about photography and soon take the first steps to your success.

What Can You Learn?

  • How to work with photography equipment
  • Image photo editing and photo manipulations
  • The process of printing photos
  • The development of commercial and creative photography
  • How to work in a photo lab

Associate Degrees

Academic degrees may be one of the photographer education and training requirements. You can choose the Associate of Arts in Photography program. Another possible option is the Associate of Science in Photographic Technology. These courses may be found at some universities, all colleges, and art schools. The course usually takes about 2 years. It is possible to learn various fields of photography, practice the basics of the most popular techniques, and master skills needed to be a photographer. Besides, students must complete the coursework at the end of the studying.

What Can You Learn?

  • The main rules of using different film materials
  • Basic photo editing techniques
  • Main features and functions of lighting tools such as electronic flashes and tungsten light
  • Tools and equipment for visual communication

Bachelor’s Degrees

If you want to get a Bachelor of arts in photography, you need to complete a 4-year university course that includes the 173-credit program. If you wish, you can find relevant courses in design institute and art schools. After graduation, you will receive a Bachelor of Arts or Fine Arts in photography. While studying, you will be able to explore more specific moments related to photography and get additional inspiration to realize your creative potential. You will also need to spend about 36 training hours studying general educational subjects. As a rule, students attend classes in algebra, political science, English composition, physics, etc.

What Can You Learn?

  • Modern issues and ideas of successful photography business
  • How to shoot outdoors and in the studio in various lighting conditions
  • The ways of developing, researching and performing story ideas through photography
  • Possible ways of using idea-based imagery in various branches of photo business

Master’s Degrees

Many well-known photo studios and magazines include a Master’s Degree in Photography in their list of professional photographer education requirements. This scientific degree presupposes the preparation of not just a photographer but also a professional, an artist, and even a mentor, who can critically evaluate the situation. The course consists of both theoretical and practical lessons. Particular attention is paid to the practical part of the training. In the end, students must prepare a large final project or create a quality portfolio. Is it worth studying photography at university? Of course. Apart from the main subjects related directly to photography, students are offered a number of useful courses that will help in their career development. For example, studying the basics of business, they will learn about the main principles how to attract customers. You can get a master's degree if you already have a bachelor's degree and you have successfully completed a 36-credit course. Photographer training of this kind takes two years.

What Can You Learn?

  • Various issues related to lighting, both natural and artificial, possible ways to combine different sources, and shooting techniques in a studio and outdoors
  • How to create the composition of a photo, focus on necessary elements, and deliver images that impress the target audience
  • Basic techniques and methods of communication with customers, both written and oral, ways to present the concepts you create, and strategies to understand what people want from you
  • How to create a quality portfolio for people to treat you as a professional and convince potential clients and employers that you will meet all their requirements

Photography School Search

Photography Schools

All the schools for photography listed below have both online and campus availability, and provide their students with the fundamental knowledge of all the spheres of photography including commercial photographer education, artistic, and technical aspects.

1. Academy of Art University

This establishment was on the list of the best online photography schools 2016. Students can choose diverse educational programs and get first-class education supervised by professional lecturers and real photographers. The main focus is on the most effective ways of how to become a photographer from home and earn more than the rest.
When the studying is finished, the students can boast of perfect theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Besides, they will surely have an elaborately composed portfolio. The relations (with other students or professors) that appeared at this university will never be lost.


Campus Location: San Fransisco, CA
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges; National Association of Schools of Art and Design; WASC Senior College and University Commission
Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements: 

  • Undergraduate candidates must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official high school/GED transcripts as well as those from any attended undergraduate institutions, and an art portfolio (not required but highly encouraged).
  • Graduate candidates must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a statement of intent, a current résumé, and a portfolio/demo reel.

Program Options:

  • Online Award of Completion in Photography
  • Associate of Arts in Photography
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography
  • Master of Arts in Photography
  • Master of Fine Arts in Photography

California photography school online

Author: Scott Borrero

2. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

This photography school is known for a high level of training and the diversity of disciplines. There are several degrees you may master depending on your goals. The lecturers are known for professionalism and supportive approach to the future shooters.
What do you need to become a photographer? This is the first question you’ll find the answer to if you become a student of this institute. Besides, you will learn to prioritize and do everything timely, surpass the competitors and effectively attract the clients. The graduates are aware of different color correction techniques, image editing tricks, and photography as it is.


Campus Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Acceptance Rate: 39%

Admission Requirements: Candidates must submit a completed online application, official high school/GED transcripts/military transcripts, and a personal essay, and are required to complete an interview with an admissions representative on a phone.

Program Options:

  • Associate in Digital Photography
  • Bachelor in Digital Photography
  • Certificate in Digital Workflow
  • Certificate in Portrait Photography
  • Certificate in Studio Photography

Pittsburgh photography school online

Author: Xavier Ortega

3. American Intercontinental University

The training program of this university meets all the educational requirements for a photographer. Everything is organized and structured in a way that even beginners with poor knowledge will see what to start with. The students are provided with the most up-to-date equipment and materials, so they can experience what it is like to be a professional shooter.
The alumni get the solid understanding of the digital photography and related fields. Thus they can find a position in media, science, fine arts or run their own business. Anyway, they know all they need to cope with the task successfully.


Campus Location: Schaumburg, IL
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Acceptance Rate: 97%

Admission Requirements: Candidates must submit a completed online application, official high school/GED transcripts, and proof of proficiency in English and Math.

Program Options:

  • Camera and Lighting I & II
  • Film and Audio Aesthetics
  • Postproduction I, II, & III

Illinois photography school online

4. Santa Barbara City College

The College specializes in the graphic design, while the photography is treated as a powerful mean and a middle ground between the modern technologies and classic design. The students are tasked to create diverse projects, using the techniques of different photo genres and modern tools.
After graduation, the specialists may get the position of a graphic/ information/publications designer or an assistant. If the graduate demonstrates solid knowledge of the training program, he/she may earn much more than an average salary for a photographer.


Campus Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements: Candidates must submit a completed online application and official high school/GED/military transcripts.

Program Options:

  • Graphic Design
  • Photography

Santa Barbara photography school online

Author: Matthew J. Lee

5. Stratford Career Institute

The key principle of this online school for photography is to give each student the understanding of the basics of the trade. Only knowing the simplest things you can successfully learn more complex aspects. The career-oriented curriculum acquires more practical character in this Institute.
SCI provides its students with current and the most topical educational materials. The course was worked out to give students the overall understanding of starting and promoting their business. Students will learn how much a commercial photographer make and what are the possible ways to earn more.


Campus Location: Saint Albans, VT
Accreditation: U.S. Department of Education
Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements: Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and submit official high school transcripts.

Program Options:

  • Processing Color Slides and Transparencies
  • Animated GIFS and Derivatives
  • Color and Contrast

Vermont photography school online

Author: Claire Jaggers

All the paid and free online photography courses listed below provide you with all the basic material you need, starting from the composition of the picture and ending with photo editing techniques. I have also indicated the required skills level, so you will easily understand what courses will suit you the best.

6. Basics of Photography: the Complete Guide

Level: Beginner
It is a text-based universal program by Lifehacker photography school online, which begins with three informational sections about digital camera work and its setting (both automatic and manual). The second and third sections are full of useful material on compositional techniques and high-quality photo editing.
The course provides extra resources for each theme to enhance and ease learning. Moreover, there are also some video tutorials, which will help you better understand the process of photographing.


Canada photography school online

Author: Daniel Marlborough

7. The Art of Photography by Dr. Shane Hulbert

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
In contrast to other programs and classes, the Art of Photography from RMIT University provides quizzes and an assessment at the end of every single module. The academic and photography expert Dr. Shane Hulbert will help the photographers gain knowledge about setting and main peculiarities of a DSLR, lenses, and different tools for photo post-production etc. This online school for photography will take you 2-4 hours per week. It also comprises 4 modules and about 4 hours of video materials.


New Zealand photography school online

Author: Lola

8. Lighting 101 by Strobist

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
If you need to expand your knowledge of how to work with various lighting equipment or just get some basic understanding of this issue, have a closer look at this useful resource. Understandable texts are accompanied by pictures that help to understand the material faster.
Please note you may need to complete a basic course on photography before you start learning.

Michigan photography school online

Author: Mikael Kristenson

9. Creative Life On-Air Classes

Level: Beginner to Intermediate
This online recourse mostly offers paid courses but you can also find some free lessons. Among many interesting topics, you can find music, art, craft, video, and, photography. More than 50 thousand viewers around the world can easily view the classes they need. A lot of topics are offered daily, so carefully read the schedule on the website and choose what you need, no matter it is a product photography tutorial or wedding photography workshops.


Creative photography school online

Author: Kose

10. Alison Free Online Courses and Online Learning

Level: Beginner to Advanced
Alison provides everybody an opportunity to take online photography degree that include a huge variety of disciplines. There are also some courses that are created to help enthusiastic photographers diversify their skills and raise their professional level. Alison now consists of beginner, intermediate and advanced courses, and a diploma course on digital photography. It is a great decision to start your professional development here.


Georgia photography school online

Author: Kevin Drum

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