Online Photography Schools
Online photography degrees are provided by several online, accredited schools that implement programs leading to associate, bachelor and master degrees for people interested in working as a professional photographer. Employment opportunities applicable to the field of photography include:
- Event photographer
- Fashion photography
- Digital photography
- Art photography
- Family photography
- Nature photography
In addition to exhibiting excellent creative abilities, photographers must also understand the technical aspects of photography that involve camera mechanics, shutter speeds and aperture, fundamentals of exposure and motion techniques. Additionally, all photography courses include instruction in Photoshop software, the most popular kind of digital image editing software used for all paper and digital media outlets. With Photoshop, photographers have access to numerous tools capable of cropping, retouching, drawing, slicing, painting, measuring photographs when these images are uploaded to the application. It is an invaluable instrument used by all photographers to enhance their images with alternative colors, shading or other creative affects.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online Division
This online photography school offers associate and bachelor degrees in photography as well as certifications in Digital Workflow (instructs students in all facets of digital photography), Portrait Photography and Studio Photography. Certifications take less than a year to earn and provides students with the knowledge necessary to gain employment as a freelance or company photographer. Studio and portrait certification programs emphasize lighting techniques, composition, studio advertising and management and basic camera operations.
Two-year and four-year photography degrees delve into concepts of photography that enhance the aesthetic aspects of photographic images used in journalism, advertising and art displays. Understanding the many uses of light and how varying intensities of illumination affect the overall appearance of a photograph is explored as well as camera angles, lens types, highlighting, contrast and subject qualities. Terminology used in photography when describing subject characteristics, such as “flat”, “translucent” and “reflective” are discussed and explained by professional instructors who have earned master’s degrees in photography.
Certain supplies are necessary when taking a photography course from any online photography school. They are needed for the student to engage in capturing images that show instructors they have learned the proper techniques and exhibit the necessary aptitude for working as a professional photographer. Some of these supplies include a tripod with a film or digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera equipped with a short, normal and angled telephoto lens and a computer loaded with Photoshop software.
Tuition cost for taking an online photography course at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh consists of $457 for each credit hour, lab fees of $100 and a digital resource fee per course of $75. Admission fees include an application fee of $50 and an enrollment fee of $100. Pre-requisites for students wanting a certification or associate’s degree are a high school diploma or GED. Applicants who have not previously attended AIP but desire a four year degree will need to show proof of having earned a two-year degree from a different college, along with certified transcript documents from that particular university.
Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify in addition to payment programs implemented by AIP for those who do not qualify. Organizations providing photography scholarships to those who submit application statements include:
Additional Online Photography Schools
The School of Photography at the Academy of Art University and the Brooks Institute are two other accredited online photography schools offering BFAs and MFAs in photography. These Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Art degrees provide photographers with enhanced skills and deep conceptual knowledge of photographic theory that enables them to obtain employment as compositional artists working in the fashion, nature and art fields of photography.
Course outlines for students seeking MFAs and BFAs include:
- Color theory and design
- Web design
- Color wheel psychology and concepts
- Chiaroscuro/black and white lighting
- Composition techniques
- Mood and emotion
- Advanced Photoshop editing
While working towards a bachelor or master’s degree, students will be accumulating photographic images they have taken and stored in a portfolio containing their best work. Portfolios are designed to assist photography students with obtaining employment and should also contain a well-written resume outlining the student’s goals and expertise. In addition, this collection of individual assignments should express the student’s creative ability as a photographer as well as provide online photography instructors with the documentation necessary to give students a deserving grade.
Accreditation of Online Photography Schools
Agencies accrediting online schools such as The School of Photography at the Academy of Art University and the Brooks Institute have all been recognized by the USDE (United States Department of Education) and the CHEA (Council on Higher Education Accreditation). However, the most prominent accrediting agency meant to recognize online photography schools is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. In addition there are six national and regional accrediting organizations that give accreditation to schools in different regions of the U.S.
Students in the process of obtaining bachelor or master’s degrees in photography are eligible to apply for the following scholarships:
- The National Press Photographers Foundation—awards for aspiring photojournalists range from $500 to $2000
- National Art Honor Society Scholarship—for photography students who are members of the National Art Honor Society. Winners of first place awards receive $20,000; second-place is $10,000 and third place winners get $5000.
Job Outlook for Photographers
Photography is a highly competitive field attracting many creative people. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that photography employment opportunities are expected to grow faster than average over the next 10 to 15 years, the BLS recommends that individuals desiring immediate and lucrative employment aim for the digital and portraiture field of photography rather than the more competitive field of the industry that includes fashion, advertising, artistic and photojournalism photography.
Salaries for professional photographers can range from $15,000 up to $60,000, depending on the field in which students choose to work. Portrait photographers generally earn lower wages while photographers working for fashion magazines and newspapers tend to earn the highest amounts, especially those who are employed as freelancers and have developed an up-scale, clientele base.