Digital Photography Degrees

In order to pursue a career in digital photography, you do not need a number of higher qualifications per se. Many employers look to the actual abilities of a photographer which can be self-taught. However, since today’s job markets are increasingly competitive, it is recommended that aspiring photographers consider pursuing at least an undergraduate degree in the field. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in photography can teach you a wide range of skills and techniques which could prove invaluable to you in your career.

If you want to learn more about digital photography as a profession and how to improve your chances of getting hired, read on.

What skills do you need as a digital photographer?

Photography as a profession requires you to be dynamic and creative. The list of skills and qualities a budding digital photographer should possess are not exhaustive; rather, they are intended to serve as a guide. These are all skills that you should either have or work to establish. In addition, you may find that skills which aren’t listed below are essential in your experience as a photographer.

Much of photography involves learning as you go and being able to adapt. Here are some of the skills which are useful for a digital photographer to have:

Skill Description

Artistic & creative

Photographers must possess a good eye. This means being able to spot the artistic qualities of the subject they are shooting. In order to determine the artistic nature of a subject, photographers may evaluate light, colors, compositions, etc.

A keen eye for detail A lot of photography involves editing and post-production. To ensure that the final piece is up to standard, photographers must have exceptional attention to detail.

 

Interpersonal skills

Photography is a profession which involves a significant amount of interaction with people. This could include clients, subjects, collaborators, other photographers, etc. Effective communication is essential in order to ensure that the final product is up to standard.

Computer skills

In order to maintain digital portfolios and carry out the editing work required on projects, photographers need to have exceptional computer skills.

Business and marketing skills

Many photographers are self-employed and must be able to effectively market themselves to potential clients in order to get work.

 

How to become a professional digital photographer

Strictly speaking, postsecondary education isn’t a requirement in order to become a digital photographer. It may however be extremely useful for you in terms of learning additional skills which would be beneficial in a career as a digital photographer. Furthermore, having postsecondary qualifications may help you find better job opportunities and set you apart from other photographers in the trade.

In general, these are the steps that you could take to becoming a digital photographer:

Steps to become a digital photographer:

1. Get a high school diploma

2. Enroll in a bachelor’s degree in arts with a concentration in photography

3. Enroll in a master’s degree in arts with a concentration in photography

4. Get relevant experience and improve your photography skills  

 

Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts

At the undergraduate degree level, you have a few choices in terms of what degree to enroll in. As mentioned earlier, a bachelor’s degree isn’t strictly speaking required in order to work as a digital photographer. However, it may be essential in helping to improve your job prospects.

If you are interested in pursuing digital photography as a career, you can either enroll in a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in photography or find universities which offer dedicated undergraduate programs in photography.

These programs will teach you the fundamentals of photography and how to get started as a photographer.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Bachelor’s Degree in Arts or Fine Arts with a concentration in Photography

4 years

  • The fundamentals of photography
  • The foundations of digital photography
  • Photojournalism
  • The history of photography

 

Master’s degree in Photography

As with the bachelor’s degree in the field, a master’s degree in photography is not strictly required. A Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in photography can help you enter the field with an advanced set of skills and expertise. The theory and practice of photography is explored thoroughly and students gain thorough hands on experience with the various techniques in photography. You will also be required to complete a final project or portfolio in this program.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Master’s in Photography   

2-3 years

  • Fine art photography
  • Effective lighting in photography
  • Business and marketing in photography

 

Career prospects and salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a separate career profile for digital photographers. Instead, it provides in-depth information and a career profile for photographers by and large.

This is what the career profile for photographers looks like:

Career Annual Median Salary (As of May 2015) Entry level education Is there any on the job training required? Job outlook between 2014 and 2024 The employment change from 2014 to 2024
Photographer $31,710 Minimum of a high school diploma Long term training on the job 3% - this is much slower than the average rate of growth for most professions which is 7% 3,900

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