Photography Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Photography Degree

A photography degree offered through vocational or college programs give students knowledge and technical understanding necessary to build lasting careers within the field. Students enrolled within photography degree programs participate in courses based upon understanding the processes, equipment, and business aspects of being a photographer. Photography programs also give students the ability to refine artistic skills, develop photographs and manipulate images. A photography degree provides a well rounded educational experience by encompassing studies in commercial photography, media studies, fine art photography, design, electronic imagine, art history, visual communications, and film. Most students, upon completing photography degree programs, are qualified to work within news, fine art, advertising, fashion, and often journalism industries.

Most vocational schools, colleges, and universities have extended studies to online programs to reach students managing family and work responsibilities who can not attend on-campus instruction. Online degree programs offer virtually the same educational materials and information as their on campus counterparts. Online classes give students the added benefits of course flexibility and 24 hour access to course instruction. Online courses also offer students one on one interactions with instructors and other students via Internet chats. Many students find that pursing an online degree is one of the best ways to a personalized, affordable, and convenient educational experience.

What Students Learn Within A Photography Degree Program

Students within a photography degree program learn techniques designed to challenge creativity and maximize technical skills. Most photographers are required to complete a two or four year program before qualifying for employment. Many students supplement their degrees within related fields like graphic design, multimedia, business, finance, marketing, or advertising to diversify their education and increase employability within multiple industries.

Courses at an associate level include: design fundamentals, aesthetics and creativity, imaging software, foundations of photography, integrated media, color management, environmental lighting, history of photography, business for photographers, portraiture, location lighting, people photography, studio lighting, wedding and event photography, beginning photography, and beginning digital photography. Associate degree graduates may advance to entry level employment as assistants to more experienced photographers or continue studies within a bachelor degree program.

Classes at a bachelor level include: history of world art, photography foundation, basic photography, beginning digital photography, intermediate principles, business practices for photographers, history of photography, history of contemporary art, gallery and museum practice, visual design, lighting theory, digital workflow, creative applications, introduction to the humanities, English composition, college mathematics, American government, theories of personality, Western civilization Ancient to Medieval, Western civilization Renaissance to Modernism, accounting finance, popular culture, comparative politics, social psychology, persuasion, contemporary multicultural writers, and global economics. Graduates from bachelor degree programs may advance to entry level positions within photography and design fields or master’s degree programs.

Classes at a master’s level include general courses in photography, research, and theory as well as specialized courses in one of four concentrations like: advertising, portraiture, commercial photography, or photo media. Courses like: studio practice, digital imaging, photographic theory, documentary photography, fine art photography, commercial lab, comparative politics, group dynamics, psychology of creativity, ethics and society, history and systems, optics and fine arts, research methods, advanced advertising photography, visual communication, contemporary aesthetics and criticism, business/professional communications, and psychology of images are required to complete master’s degree studies. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs are often qualified as experts within the field and advance to a number of photography positions. Some graduates advance to doctoral degree programs in an art history discipline with a concentration in photography since doctoral degrees in photography not exist.

Courses at a doctoral level include: topics in Ancient art; topics in Renaissance art; topics in Medieval art; topics in early modern art; topics in global, colonial, and Diasporic art; topics in American visual culture; topics in 19th century art; topics in early modern art; topics in performance; topics in contemporary art; theory and criticism; contemporary art and criticism; issues in architectural history and criticism; modern European art and criticism; photography and the moving image; American art and material culture; early modern art and material culture; Medieval and Renaissance art; ancient civilizations, early modern art and visual culture; dissertation research and writing; theory and methodology; advanced tabletop photography; advertising photo concepts; advanced people photography; photography as an analytical tool; advanced architectural photography; stop action photography; high speed photography; and advanced image manipulation. Graduates who complete doctoral degrees qualify for employment as instructors or researchers within colleges and facilities.

Prospective Jobs For Photography Degree Graduates

Photography degree graduates have the potential to build lucrative, lasting careers in a variety of organizations and industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts job growth within the field of photography to increase by 12 percent at an average rate in comparison to other occupations through 2018. Competition for jobs is expected to be great due to the number of qualified applicants in relation to the number of available jobs. Graduates who complete formal degree programs with specializations in computers, technology, and electronics who distinguish their work with creativity, style, and talent are predicted to have an increased employability.

Graduates who complete an associate’s degree often work as photography assistants, assistant studio managers, or sometimes freelance photographers. Most bachelor degree graduates enter employment within commercial, portraiture, industrial, scientific, news, or freelance photography positions. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs often gain employment as professional studio photographers, art critics, art directors, commercial photographers, or public art program directors. Some master’s degree graduates advance to instructor positions within vocational schools, colleges, or universities. Graduates who complete doctoral degree programs gain employment as researchers within facilities or as instructors within colleges or universities. Many graduates who gain work experience, adequate funding, and display unique style often begin work as freelance photographers within self owned businesses.

Salary Range For Graduates With Photography Degrees

Earnings for graduates with photography degrees vary tremendously and are based upon factors like level of education, organization of employment, area/s of specialty, and work experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports photographers earn from $18,380 to $37,370 annually. Graduates who work as salaried photographers generally have higher earnings than those who work as freelance photographers. Salaried photographers within professional, scientific, and technical fields generally earn $23,100 annually. Photographers employed by news organizations generally earn $32,800 annually. Graduates with advanced degrees often have earnings beginning at $54,180. Freelance photographers generally earn less due to job fluctuations and occupation related expenses, including the purchase of equipment and maintenance costs for cameras and equipment.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Photography Degree Graduates

Graduates who complete photography degrees often build exciting and creative careers within a competitive industry. Gaining employment as a photographer is often difficult as the volume of applicants exceeds the number of available jobs. To increase employability, graduates may supplement studies within business, advertising, journalism, graphic design, marketing, digital media, and information technology. Graduates who display originality, style, and creativity in their work, while remaining current with rapid changes in technology often find the best job prospects and attract salaried jobs.

Demand for portrait photographers is predicted to increase due to the expanding population. Internet trends are expected to increase the demand for commercial photographers as the demand for digital images for magazine and news websites increases. Freelancer photographers are expected to have increased opportunities to attract clients through Internet marketing. Conversely, the use of digital images and declining prices of digital technology has allowed amateur photographers, individual consumers, and many businesses to access, produce, and store images without the assistance of a professional photographer. News photographers may find constrained job opportunities as the newspaper industry faces decline. Graduates who being entry level careers often gain the experiences and skills necessary to gradually advance to jobs with greater responsibilities as lead photographers or lead picture editors. Many photographers upon gaining necessary education and experience advance to teaching positions within vocational schools, film schools, colleges, or universities. Some graduates who establish their reputation and attract a strong client base advance to work as freelance photographers within their own businesses.

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