Get in Focus at Photography School

Here are five benefits to attending photography school.
A photography student look at photos on the floor in front of her laptop

If you are thinking of becoming a professional photographer, you may be wondering if photography school is a good investment.

While it seems easy to just play around with a camera and build up a portfolio of work on your own, photography school can open a world of possibilities for you both creatively and professionally.

From networking to learning about cutting edge techniques, there are many positive advantages that come with completing a photography program.

Here are five top benefits of attending a photography school:

1. Access to the Latest Technology and Equipment

Most photography schools have state-of-the art facilities filled with computers and modern studio equipment. For instance, Harrington College of Design in Chicago boasts "a lab filled with high-speed dual processor Mac G5s and imaging software, 6,200 square feet of studio space, and a comprehensive suite of equipment, from lenses to strobes, workbooks and videos." This is a far cry from developing black and whites from your 35mm in your basement darkroom.

2. Job Placement and Counseling

If you are looking to launch a career, then college campuses are often a great place to start. Many photography schools have career services departments dedicated solely to helping you land a job after graduation. Career counselors can be valuable resources for helping you write your résumé, assemble a portfolio, prepare for job interviews and locate employment opportunities and internships.

3. Professional Feedback on Your Work

Photography school faculty are typically knowledgeable, successful professionals with years of experience in the field of photography. They won't be afraid to give you an honest critique of your work and offer suggestions on how to improve. They can also give you insight on what it's really like to be a professional photographer and teach you what you need to get there. While photography can seem like a solitary pursuit, getting help and feedback from both instructors and other students is an important aspect of the development process.

4. Exposure to Different Types of Photography

There are many different types of photography (architectural, landscape, editorial, photojournalism, portrait, product), technical skills (outdoor lighting, studio lighting), different methods (film, digital), different formats (35mm, medium format large format, black and white, color) and end uses (multimedia/web, print) to learn, as well as the business of marketing and selling your work. Even if you think you already know which area of photography you'd like to pursue, being exposed to different types of photography is essential for becoming a well-rounded and marketable professional.

5. A Professional Portfolio

While having a degree in photography is not always a requirement to land a job as a professional photographer, having an outstanding portfolio is. Being able to showcase quality photos that bridge many different styles will prove to potential employers and clients that you can do the job. Photography school will give you access to the equipment and resources that can help to take your portfolio, and your career, from average to extraordinary.