Diploma Programs for Aspiring Master Photographers

Find out about diploma options that could enhance your photography skills. Get information about courses offered in these programs, and learn about voluntary certification. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Diploma Programs Can Help Me Master Photography?

Some formal programs enable you to earn an undergraduate or graduate diploma or certificate in photography. However, most professional studies programs don't require college prerequisites, and you don't need to have a bachelor's or master's degree to enroll. Diploma program areas of specialty include digital imaging, technique, basic photography, wedding photography, commercial photography or portrait photography. Some schools even offer programs in niche areas, such as underwater photography. You can choose and tailor your specialty based on area of interest or career pursuits.

Specialty Areas Wedding photography, underwater photography, commercial photography, portrait photography, digital imaging
Common Course Topics Portraiture, panoramic photography, fashion photography, darkroom techniques, copyright law
Certification Not required, but professional credentialing could help your employability
Online Availability Online training in various editing software is available

What Courses Will I Take?

Your curriculum includes courses in technique, framing, lighting and editing. If you participate in a program that has a specific focus, such as black-and-white photography, you take additional courses that concentrate on that particular area of photography. Some courses you might see in your curriculum include:

  • Natural lighting techniques
  • Fashion photography
  • Professional practices, ethics and copyright laws
  • Darkroom techniques
  • Portraiture
  • Tabletop and small object photography
  • Panoramic photography
  • Nature, landscape and outdoor photography

Do I Need Certification?

In the United States, certification is not required to become a professional photographer. However, the Professional Photographic Certification Commission (PPCC) is professionally recognized. You can become certified by the PPCC by passing a written exam that tests your technical expertise. You also have to submit a portfolio of your work. Photographers who are certified by the PPCC are required to work by a code of ethics laid out by the commission. Failure to do so results in termination of your certification. Otherwise, certification must be renewed every five years.

Can I Complete a Program Online?

Since photography is a very hands-on field, most programs are not available online. However, some elements of photography require exceptional computer skills, so you may be able to find photography programs that offer a portion of your courses online, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator courses or other photo editing software training. In any online program, you will need a computer with access to the Internet. Some online and campus-based photography programs specify whether you need a Mac or PC. Most programs also require you to purchase preferred software.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago
  • The New School

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • School of Visual Arts

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • San Francisco Art Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • California: San Francisco
  • Rhode Island School of Design

    Campus Locations:

    • Rhode Island: Providence
  • Marywood University

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Scranton
  • Lesley University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Illinois

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago