Online Photography Schools

Photography can be used for practical purposes, like preserving historical data or recording important personal events, and it can also be used to create highly conceptual art. Learn about online photography programs, what topics may be covered, whether there is continuing education available and whether you can be certified. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

No matter what stage of your professional career you are in, there is an online degree program in photography that is right for you. From the certificate and undergraduate to the graduate level, this article will help you explore the work involved, requirement, and program offerings related to these programs.

What Are Online Photography Programs Like?

Although there are a number of online photography programs leading to associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees, stand-alone courses and short certificate programs are much more prevalent. Many photography programs are hybrids that call for some on-campus work in addition to online instruction. All programs will require you to have your own equipment. Though the specifics may change from school to school, typically your equipment will include a digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera with a tripod and compatible lenses and filters. Since there is such an emphasis on digital photography, only on rare occasions is a film SLR camera is acceptable. Typically, your computer will have to be equipped with Windows XP or Mac OS X as well as the program's suggested version of Adobe Photoshop.

Some schools participating in the OpenCourseWare Consortium offer free, stand-alone, graduate-level courses in documentary photography and photojournalism. Online programs designed by the International Society for Technology in Education are also available through some schools. These are graduate-level courses for educators that provide instruction and guidance on how to incorporate digital photography into their existing curriculum.

What's Included in Online Certificate and Degree Programs?

Certificate programs usually consist of required courses such as fundamentals of photography and Photoshop. Elective courses, such as portraiture, travel photography and landscape photography, may be an option in some certificate programs.

An online program leading to an associate's degree in professional photography may include courses such as design fundamentals, imaging software, location lighting, studio lighting, aesthetics and creativity, wedding and event photography, history of photography and color management. Students in these programs may also need to take general education classes in order to complete the degree.

Some schools allow you to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Professional Photography by adding additional courses to the associate's degree program curriculum. These additional courses may include portraiture, video, commercial photography, visual journalism for photographers, web design for photographers and advertising photography.

You can earn a Master of Fine Arts in Photography through a hybrid online and on-campus program. Made up of studio courses, seminars and lectures, the program addresses such subjects as digital photography, traditional photography, the nature of photography, the language of photography, Photoshop for photographers, business practices for photographers, color theory and aesthetics. You'll also need to complete a thesis project.

Available in hybrid format, a Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography also calls for a thesis project. In addition, you'll complete such courses as image processing, scripting and automation, color management, editorial photography, photo illustration and studio management.

Which Schools Offer Online Certificate Programs in Photography?

Certificate programs in photography are offered through the internet by a variety of institutions. Some of the schools which house them are:

  • Sessions College provides an Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Photography online
  • Valdosta State University has a hybrid format Digital Photography Certificate Program
  • Academy of Art University delivers an Online Award of Completion in Digital Photography

Which Schools Offer Online Associate's Degree Programs in Photography?

Online associate's degree programs in photography can be found at numerous schools, including the following:

  • Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Associate of Art in Digital Photography degree program
  • Academy of Art University houses an Associate of Art in Photography degree program through the internet
  • Sessions College has an online Associate of Occupational Studies in Digital Photography degree program

Which Schools Offer Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Photography?

Many colleges and universities allow students to earn a bachelor's degree in photography through online coursework, such as these schools:

  • Savannah College of Art and Design delivers a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications with a concentration in photography through e-Learning
  • Academy of Art University offers an online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography degree program
  • Southern New Hampshire University provides an online Bachelor of Arts in Digital Photography degree program

Which Schools Offer Online Master's Degree Programs in Photography?

At the graduate level, a handful of schools offer master's degree programs online. The following are a few examples:

  • The School of Visual Arts houses an online Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography degree program
  • Savannah College of Art and Design has a Master of Fine Arts in Photography degree program available through e-Learning
  • Academy of Art University has both Master of Fine Arts and Master of Arts in Photography degree programs available online

Are There Continuing Education Courses Available?

Some schools offer individual photography courses that can fulfill certain career requirements. For example online courses in forensic photography programs may be approved by the American Board of Criminalistics to satisfy continuing education requirements for crime scene photographers. Certain online forensic photography programs are designed specifically for law enforcement officers, investigators and government officials. Courses may include crime scene photography, photographic equipment, techniques, evidence and photographs in the courtroom. Some public schools have established partnerships with online learning companies to provide online instruction in digital photography for individual or career development courses.

Are Professional Certifications Available?

Designations offered by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) include Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) and Certified Evidence Photographer (CEP). Renewal is possible every five years and four years respectively, upon completion of continuing education units or passing a re-certification examination. According to the PPA, certification is voluntary, but may enhance your employment prospects or advancement possibilities (

Many degree programs in photography can be found online or in a hybrid format, and at the certificate, associate's, bachelor's, or master's level. If you are just beginning your foray into photography, an undergraduate program may be your best bet; if you are an experienced photographer, master's programs will help you hone your craft and advance your career.

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.

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