How do I Choose a Photography College?

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  • Written By: Dana Hinders
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2018
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If you enjoy taking pictures of your family and friends, you may be interested in a career as a professional photographer. Attending a photography college is the best way to help polish your skills and give you the practice you need to become a professional shutterbug. Depending on the school you choose, there are programs available to help you earn an associates, bachelors, or masters degree.

When looking at a photography college, keep in mind that most schools have photography classes offered as part of the art department. They may have a separate major for photography or place photography under a broader "visual communications" major that also includes coursework in graphic design and/or illustration. If you're interested in photojournalism specifically, you'll want to look for a photography college with a strong art program as well as one with a high ranking journalism department. Since photojournalists are essentially storytellers, many of choose to double major in both photography and journalism. In some cases, the journalism department may even offer a specific photojournalism major.


When looking at colleges for photography, it is a good idea to ask for a list of course requirements necessary for each particular degree program that is offered. Photography college courses should cover the basic fundamentals of photography, including camera use, exposure controls, lighting techniques, and photo processing. You'll also want the opportunity to learn more about photo composition and types, as well as the history of photography and some of the most influential photographers in your area of specialization. Internship programs, if not required, should be offered as a way to help you gain practical experience before you graduate.

A school is only as good as the people associated with it, so the reputation of the school's faculty is an important part of choosing a photography college. Ideally, your photography college courses should be taught by experienced professional photographers who have been published many times or shown their work at various galleries and museums. While not all talented photographers are necessarily good teachers, it's best to learn from the most experienced people possible. It's also a good idea to speak to some alumni of the photography college you are considering attending. Ask them about their experiences at the school, as well as whether or not they feel their education was a useful tool for furthering their photography careers.

For many students, the cost of higher education is an important concern. While it's true the best photography colleges can be expensive, most have scholarship programs to help defray your costs. These programs usually require the submission of a portfolio of your work, in addition to your academic transcripts and documentation of your financial need. Ask a representative from the school's financial aid office for details.



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