Professional Photography Education and Training Requirements

Professional photographs are everywhere, from the pages of your morning newspaper to billboards and advertisements. Find out what skills and training you'd need to become a professional photographer and create these kinds of images. Explore the photography specializations you could pursue, like wedding photography or photojournalism. Review your degree options and online learning opportunities in the photography field. Schools offering Photography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Education Will I Need to Work as a Photographer?

You can choose from a variety of professional photography career fields, including portrait, commercial, medical and fine art photography as well as photojournalism. While some fields don't require you to have a degree or other educational credential, your employment options might be limited if you don't have some amount of professional training.

For example, degrees aren't usually required to become a portrait or fine art photographer. However, if you'd like to work as a photojournalist, you could be required to function as both a reporter and photographer by using your images to communicate newsworthy information. In this profession, as with other industries, such as industrial, scientific or forensic photography, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that formal college education is usually necessary to supplement your talents.

Required EducationDegrees are not required to become a fine art photographer, but in other fields like photojournalism, a degree is usually required
Program TypesCertificates, associate's, bachelor's
Online AvailabilitySome online programs exist

What Training Programs Are Available?

You can take individual courses or earn a certificate or associate degree in forensic photography at a community college or technical school. Courses teach you how to record photographic evidence that can be admitted in court testimonies.

Associate and bachelor's degree programs in commercial photography are available, and you can also pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. Both types of programs can teach you how to use professional photography equipment, such as advanced cameras, lenses, lights, digital photography software and photo development tools. You might also learn photography composition, editing techniques and darkroom procedures as well theoretical and industry-specific design principles. These programs could also include internship opportunities, where you can serve as an assistant to a professional photographer.

Can I Complete Training Online?

A few online training options exist at the bachelor's degree and certificate levels, as well as stand-alone courses. You can find programs in general photography or specific fields, such as digital or forensic photography. You'll need a broadband Internet connection, and some schools recommend that you have a microphone and webcam. Coursework and reading materials are usually available online, and you'll typically need to upload digital images for review by peers and instructors.

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:

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