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Six Reasons to Attend Photography School

Learn why photography schools are a good place to get the training you need.
Photo of an empty photographic studio with modern lighting equipment

There isn't a shortcut to a successful photography career. It takes work, perseverance and talent.

Learning the craft is a continual process as technology changes. In the competitive photography job market, hard-won knowledge and technique can help you get in the door. Some of that know-how comes from experience, some from classes, and some from other photographers you encounter.

There's also the issue of getting your career off the ground. Networking is important, and can be hard without the built in pool of professionals a photography school can offer.

So, do you really need to go to photography school to get that training? The answer depends on your goals and learning style.

Here are some compelling factors to consider:

1. You'll learn a wide range of skills using an established curriculum

Attending photography school will give you the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills in an organized step-by-step approach. You'll also be expected to produce work that fits the parameters of your various assignments—which can be great practice for working with clients who will have specific needs or goals.

2. You'll learn more than photography skills

Photography schools may provide training that goes beyond the basics of photography technique. Consider choosing a degree program that will also offer you the opportunity to learn the business side of photography. Web training is also important in today's photography job market. These skills will be a definite asset as you start your career.

3. You'll learn from professionals

Photography schools often employ instructors with impressive professional credentials—which means you'll have the opportunity to benefit from their real-world guidance and advice. Who better to help you prepare for a photography career than someone who's been there and done that?

4. You'll enjoy the benefits of a creative learning community

You can get more out of photography schools than just a degree. You'll be able bounce ideas off your peers, and your work will benefit from the feedback of your professors and classmates. Your interactions with other photography students and students in related disciplines can be inspiring and lead to opportunities for collaboration. You can also benefit from a learning environment that includes the opportunity to use top-of-the-line equipment and studio space.

5. You'll establish industry connections

Photography schools can be great places to establish contacts in the industry. Your instructors with industry experience can be great resources for establishing connections. Not to mention that many schools have career placement services that may be able to help you find jobs and internships.

6. You'll become more employable

A certificate or degree from an accredited institution says that you've successfully navigated the rigors of an academic program. It shows that you've had formal training, practical experience and critical assessments. This can open doors to a broader range of job opportunities where a degree is a minimum requirement.

In the photography job market, your portfolio may mean a lot more than your educational background. However, generally speaking, job candidates with college degrees are more attractive than those without, everything else being the same.

Photography Degree & Career Guide