Choosing a Photography College

Choosing a photography college is an important step along your path to becoming a professional photographer. Some people believe all they need to do to launch a career in photography is to purchase a digital camera and some lenses and get going, but they don’t realize that without proper training, it is far more difficult to become successful in photography. Even National Geographic, which is renowned for its outstanding photography, gives this tip to would-be digital photographers: Even with the advanced technology present in today’s digital cameras, the basics of photography still apply. That means a good camera will not make up for lack of skills and training.

Some things to pay attention to when choosing a photography college are the courses listings, the reputation and professional work of the faculty, the quality of the student photography portfolios, and the availability of online classes.

Check to make sure that alongside the technical and artistic courses offered in photography equipment and technique, the photography school offers courses on the financial side of the photography business. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics emphasizes the importance of photographers learning essential marketing and business skills when they are undergoing their training. After all, you will need to know how to compete and get your name out there in a saturated industry in which so many people are interested. You will also need to know how to manage your clients and their deposits and payments, so that you can anticipate what your income and expenses will be. It is also useful to take certain graphic arts courses that will train you in developing an eye-catching website for your photography that will appropriately showcase your work.

Looking into the faculty at your school will give you an idea of the quality of instruction you will receive. Finding out your visual communications professor has had more than 10 years of experience as an overseas photojournalist or that your photo editing instructor manages a successful career in portrait photography while teaching part-time at your photography college are good indications that you will be learning from someone with the experience to back up their teaching methods.

Ask the department head of a photography college’s arts or photography department if you can see some of the final photography work produced by recent graduates. At many photography colleges, student portfolio work is featured on the school’s website, but at other colleges, you will need special access. Can you see talent, skill and technique reflected there? If the answer is yes, this is yet another indication that you have chosen a quality photography college.