How Far Should You Take Your Education for Photography?
Is a master's of photography too much, too little—or just right?
From portraits to photojournalism, the field of photography encompasses a wide variety of careers. If you're thinking about getting an education for photography, you'll first want to consider what your goals are. There are some entry-level positions for those with technical knowledge and a "good eye," but in the grander scheme, a master's of photography is useful to professionals and aspiring teachers alike.
Associate-Level Education for Photography
There are many photography jobs available whose primary prerequisite is technical knowledge—particularly in freelance photography, portrait photography or as a photographic assistant. In these cases, a certificate or diploma program may be sufficient.
However, some may choose to pursue a 2-year associate's degree in order to acquire basic knowledge of the business and creative aspects of the field. Design and composition fundamentals are usually taught in an associate's degree program, and you can also pick up courses in basic business skills.
Bachelor's Degrees in Photography
A bachelor's-level education for photography will give you more time to develop your portfolio, which is a critical part of being competitive in the job market. In addition, bachelor's degree programs often provide a more varied curriculum and the opportunity to specialize. For instance, you might choose to emphasize business skills if your goal is to open a private studio; alternatively, if you plan to work in online media, specializing in digital photography can help. A 4-year degree also enables you to pursue a masters of photography in the future.
Masters of Photography
If you're planning to go all the way in your education for photography, you'll want to think about getting a master's of photography—either an MA (Master of Arts) or an MFA (Master of Fine Arts). A master's of photography allows you to teach photography at the college level and increases your earning potential to boot. It also confers a bit more prestige to your résumé, telling potential employers that you have discipline and persistence as well as an advanced level of knowledge in the photography field.
Photographer Career Guide
- Job Description
- Reasons to Attend Photography Schools
- Choosing a Degree
- Photography Courses: What You'll Study
- Should You Go to an Online School?
- How Far Should You Take Your Education?
- Portfolio Tips
- Photographer Profile