Online Photography School

Many professional photographers embark on this career after several years of study and training at the university level. Others have become very successful without formal study at a university or art school.

There are even some professional photographers who use a combination of school study and on-the-job experience to build their career.

In the last couple of decades another path has developed for those who want to pursue a career in photography. A number of good online courses are now available. In fact, some of the traditional art schools and universities offer an online version of their photography program.

General or Specific?

It's probably not necessary to decide on a specialty within the huge field of photography when you are just beginning an online course of study. You may be able to learn much of what you need in a general course that teaches the basics of photography, along with some of the techniques used in the field.

But there will probably come a time when you want to focus on a particular type of photography

  • portraits and family photos
  • advertising
  • fine art and so on.

Give this some thought as you consider which online course you will follow. If you were going to attend an art school for fine-art photography or a technical school for a different view of the field you would have to make a choice. This may also be true with online study.

Online courses are usually interactive, which means you aren't just reading and looking at examples. You actually make choices and even chat with others. A typical online photography course will have several distinct lessons or levels for you to work through.


These courses are usually designed to give you a foundation on which to build your photography career. Specialties may come later.

A Web-based photography programs might include lessons on:

  • using a camera on automatic settings and on manual settings
  • basic lighting techniques
  • composition
  • film
  • color
  • black and white
  • and digital processing

These are just a few examples of lessons that might be completed over a period of weeks. This type of course is obviously meant to give you a basis on which to grow.

Choosing an Online Photography School

If you have some doubts about pursuing photography study online, talk with your local teachers or professional photographers. They may be able to give you some ideas that will help you make your choice.

Use two or three of the college/university search programs now available. You will find options from traditional universities that also offer online courses, as well as photography schools that exist only on the Web.

Consider such options as photography degrees, technical certificates or other designations when you are narrowing your search.

Include money questions in your research. It can be quite disappointing to find a great online photography course only to discover that it is too expensive or is available only at certain times.

Some on-site, traditional schools charge hundreds of dollars per credit hour or per session. While online courses are usually a bit less expensive, you don't want to be surprised at the cost when it comes time to make your decision.


Make sure you understand clearly what you will learn in your online photography school.

  1. Is this a theory course or a projects-based form of study?

  2. Will you learn to create by actually doing the work or will most of the emphasis be on book knowledge?

  3. Is the course designed to get you to the level of a bachelor's degree in photography or is it a technical/practical course of study?

  4. Will you download quizzes and assignments or will you be expected to complete the work while at the computer?

  5. Will you get personal feedback from a professional photographer/teacher?

  6. Does the school take the extra step to help you sell or publish your work?

All of these are important questions when choosing an online photography school.

Benefits of Online Study

There are significant benefits to completing your photography study online. These include:

  • self-paced study

  • personalized feedback from an instructor

  • reduced cost as compared to studying in a traditional campus setting

  • customized or personalized courses may be available

  • study is based on projects rather than extensive book study


One of the primary benefits of online photography school is the cost!

If you aren't interested in devoting several years to study so that you can achieve degree status you may find just what you need with an online course. It is possible to get a solid technical background and hands-on experience in various types of photography while spending only a few hundred dollars (not thousands).

Of course, you can also receive a degree in photography from an online course of study. There are several options for getting a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Art and Master of Fine Art degrees without going to a university campus.

Some schools offer an Associate of Arts degree as well. This might require two years or less for completion. The best of these programs provide extensive study of art history, photography history and technical subjects.

You will need up-to-date computer equipment in most cases. Photography is a subject that makes particular demands on computer equipment in terms of storage capability and color display capability. If you are serious about enhancing your photography skills with an online course you will need good digital equipment - both camera and computer.


In summing up the discussion of online photography school, we should mention that no matter which specialty you pursue, an online course of study can provide the solid foundation you need to succeed.

With careful research and some patience you should be able to find the online course you are looking for!

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