Professional Photography Schools
Photography schools are the starting point for most professional photographers. Although schools of photography may be departments in larger institutions, other photography schools are independent entities that focus solely on teaching photography. Each school differs in the courses it offers and the type of student it attracts.
Are Schools of Photography for You?
Competition for admission to the top schools of photography can be fierce. Because a professional photographer can make as much as $100,000 a year, a career in photography appeals to many.
Amateur photographers don’t usually have to attend photography schools that are geared towards the professional photographer. However, many professional photography schools offer short courses and seminars for amateurs. Such opportunities may be of interest to the serious hobbyist hoping to improve his skills.
Professional photography schools are a good choice for students intending to pursue art photography with the camera as their only medium. Students who intend to create artwork with photography and other media might prefer fine arts programs that include but aren’t limited to photography courses.
Photography School Courses
Schools of photography offer a number of courses, including composition, film development, lighting, digital imaging and portrait lighting. In addition,
professional photography schools offer courses suited to the business aspect of photography, such as courses in managing a photography business and maintaining a studio.
Professional photography schools provide instruction in specific types of photography, including wedding photography, black and white photographic techniques, landscapes photography and portraiture. As images are an important aspect of advertising, top photography schools also tend to offer courses in graphic design, advertising and fashion photography.
Upon graduation, students should have the knowledge and skills to run a successful photography business or find jobs in photojournalism, graphic design or other photography-based careers.
Photography School Workshops
Schools of photography often offer short workshops and seminars on a variety of specific photography subjects. Although such seminars may be restricted to professionals, they may also be available for photographers at a variety of skill levels. Possible seminars offered by photography schools include (but are not limited to):
- architectural photography
- black and white photography
- digital editing
- glamour photography
- landscape photography
- nature photography
Such workshops are an option for amateur photographers who want to expand their skills without paying the full costs or spending the necessary time involved in going to professional photography schools. Workshops are also valuable for established professionals who want to learn new skills or brush up on old ones.
Top Photography Schools
While many schools of photography exist, a few stand out as the top choices. Examples of top photography schools include these:
- The Brooks Institute of Photography offers Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in professional photography and photojournalism. It also offers programs in visual communication, film and video technology. Brooks is known for its hands-on approach and assisting its students in finding employment after graduating.
- The Hallmark Institute of Photography offers a ten-month professional photography program that includes business and technology courses.
- The New York Institute of Photography deserves its place among the top photography schools. Not only is it the oldest school of photography in the U.S., but the Institute is also the largest photography school in the world. In addition to resident programs, the Institute has a comprehensive program that students can complete from remote locations.
- The Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology is a technical college that provides instruction in diverse types of photography, ranging from portraiture to medical photography.
- The Oklahoma School of Photography offers a 36-week photography program with courses in digital imaging. It also has courses to train professional photographers, photo restorers and film lab technicians.
- The Rocky Mountain School of Photography offers intensive month-long courses on a variety of topics, including professional photography and digital technology.
Costs of Photography Schools
The cost of attending professional photography schools varies widely from one institute to another. Cost depends on course length, subject matter taught and the reputation of the particular school.
Top photography schools such as the New York Institute of Technology may charge as much as $700 to $900 a course. Before applying to schools of photography, contact the institutions and ask for copies of their course catalogs and fee schedules. Also, ask what types of financial aid (such as scholarships or student loans) are available. By comparing the courses and costs, prospective students are better able to select professional photography schools that suit both their needs and their budgets.
Scholarships and Loans
With the cost of top photography schools rising, students should investigate the possibility of scholarships and student loans. Student loans for photography schools work in much the same way they do for any other higher education institution.
Finding scholarships for professional photography schools requires some research. The counseling departments of individual photography schools may be able to help locate possible scholarships. The prospective student may also want to contact major employers and inquire about scholarships.
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