When choosing an online photography school, a student should consider what type of education he or she wants to receive. Such programs vary in their course material, level of certification, and range of classes. Some online schools for photography focus exclusively on digital photography and imaging, while others provide instruction in traditional film photography and development.
Programs may be tailored to specific types of photography. For instance, some are specifically designed for people wishing to become professional photographers. These courses will often include course material that covers the business side of the industry as well as the art of photography.
Many people can afford a digital camera, and even professional-quality, digital single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras are affordable for many amateur photographers. Digital imaging software that modifies and enhances digital photographs is also readily available for purchase in stores and online. People wanting to acquire training in the use of these photographic tools, for personal or professional purposes, may choose to enroll in an online photography school for further instruction.
An online photography school that focuses exclusively on digital photography and imaging usually provides students with basic instruction in the use of digital cameras, digital scanners, photo editing software, and printers. Such courses may not teach artistic aspects of photography, but choose instead to focus on digital editing techniques. Some techniques taught by these programs could include the use of layers and filters, the manipulation of images, and ways to alter or repair developed film photographs that have been scanned to a digital file. In general, these courses are the least expensive option for online photography instruction.
A step up from basic digital photography courses, usually in both cost and level of education, is an online photography school that offers professional certification or preparation for certification. These schools often give more instruction in the technical aspects of photography including lenses, lighting, and professional-level digital imaging. Professional photography schools may also offer training in small business management because most professional photographers offer their services on a freelance basis or own their own studio.
An online photography school that is tied to a university often offers traditional degrees in photography. Typically there is little difference between the online courses in such a program and those taught on campus. The more traditional of these programs will usually provide instruction in topics on both the science and art of photography. Coursework such as this may include classes in artistic areas such as composition, lighting, and color theory, as well as technical instruction in digital and film media.