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What Training Is Needed for a Career in Digital Photography?

Though some photography experience can be gained simply through taking pictures and experimenting, vocational training or a college degree can also be important. Get more info about formal education in digital photography, and find out what you'd learn as a photography student.

Educational Requirements

Photography is about more than snapping the shutter of a camera. Photographers, including digital photographers, need to know the technicalities of a camera and the practical aspects of setting up a shoot. Professional photographers must have at least a high school diploma, but more training is common. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), this includes career training programs or college degrees. Some possible photography degree training programs include:

  • Certificate of Completion in Photography
  • Associate of Applied Science in Digital Photography
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Photography
  • Master of Fine Arts in Photography

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (2020) $41,280
Entry Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
On the Job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Job Outlook (2019-2029) -4% (decline)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Coursework

Training in digital photography includes learning how to operate a wide range of equipment and how to use it effectively to take pictures that are creative, crisp, clear, and intriguing. By working with other photographers and completing training in digital photography, students learn to set up a photo shoot, position people to catch them at their best, use scenery, take action photos, and edit pictures. According to the Virginia Career View, photographers need to know how to manipulate lenses, shutter speed, and film speed settings to obtain different types of photographs for various occasions and mediums. Training and degree programs may include courses in the following topics:

  • Location photography
  • Manipulating images
  • Editorial photography
  • Digital imaging
  • Portrait photography
  • Composition and content development
  • Photographic processes and materials