As you start planning to learn this skill through online or video courses, keep in mind that photography is much more than knowing how to use your camera.
You will gain knowledge about photo composition, lighting, action and still images, the technology of film developing and/or digital photography. Successful pros in this field have a wide range of knowledge.
You may start a distance learning photography course with some very basic information about photography and cameras.
This is usually the way all photography courses begin, whether they are online/video study or live classroom programs on a university campus. With this in mind you should choose your program carefully because you will want to find a course that fits your current level of expertise.
In addition to the level at which you will study you should also be prepared to learn about the different types of photography. These may be presented as career options that range from studio/portrait photography to nature photography. You'll find opportunities in fine art and special-event photography as well (weddings etc.)
Be prepared to receive instruction that focuses on digital technology and equipment. You'll need to learn about the various computer-software programs and image-editing software that is an integral part of this new field.
Film photography and darkroom techniques are a special area of study now so be sure you understand what you are getting with a distance learning photography program.
Perhaps the best way to learn about this method of study is to look at details of various distance-learning programs. One example would be Stratford Career Institute (will open in a new browser window), which classifies itself
"as an innovative leader in the field of distance education. More than 700,000 students have enrolled in our convenient, affordable career education courses since 1991."
As this school and others point out, one of the real problems with on-campus photography study is the lack of flexibility. With distance learning plans you can do most of your studying and photography work at your own pace. This is especially beneficial to people with family and work obligations.
Reliable distance-learning schools literally "bring the photography school to you." The top programs have been developed by professionals in the field so you receive a detailed curriculum that won't leave you short on knowledge or experience.
Of course, the other key benefit involves money. Distance learning is less expensive in most cases!
If you want the campus atmosphere and the face-to-face instruction you will have to pay extra for it.
It's that simple.
The key factor here is acquiring the skills you need to be a professional photographer.
Another great option in distance learning is Ashworth College, which offers such programs as Intro to Photography. This course covers all aspects of photography, from camera construction and lenses to lighting, color and darkroom skills.
You can start with the first level, for beginners, then move on to the second level when you are ready. This school, like others, presents a Certificate in Photography that is yours to frame and display.
Other options include The Creative Photography Course 2010. This is an online, tutor-assisted program that you work on at your own pace. You may want to look at The Digital Imaging Course that focuses on using the computer to edit and manipulate images.
There are special courses, presented in the distance-learning format, that focus on the business of freelance photography and on specializing in wedding photography (please see also the article wedding photography courses).
You may also want to narrow your course of study to glamour images or landscape photography. With distance learning photography you'll find there are a lot of options.
Here are some typical costs for individual courses:
As you can see, specialized instruction provided online can be much less expensive than attending classes at a university or college. Decide what you want to learn and how you want to learn. The choice is yours!