Professional Photography Courses

Among the key elements to living and working as a pro are the

  • attractive nature of the work (mental and emotional challenge, potential for travel)

  • having a good eye for what makes an image work

  • desire to express oneself creatively

  • and self-employment that allows the professional photographer to set his own schedule

Some photographers can make all of these pieces work, without spending time and money on professional photography courses. But there is always something to be gained from studying with a pro.

You might need some direction when it comes to producing images that not only impress but also sell! Studying at this level might help you make the correct choices in equipment.

Some individuals might be comfortable with "taking pictures" using the classic film technology. But they may not have experience with the world of digital cameras and all professionals in the field today need to work digitally.

This means learning about CDs, memory cards, flash drives, editing on a computer and much more.

In addition to all of these hands-on skills a professional photographer must be able to take care of daily, monthly and yearly business tasks. Photography courses that prepare you for a career should include all of the necessary pieces.

Professional woman photographer on the beach Professional woman photographer on the beach

What Kind of Photographer?

Let's take a look at a list of different photography styles and careers that you might learn about in professional photography classes.

  • Portrait/studio

  • Industrial

  • Commercial/advertising

  • Science

  • Fine art

  • Journalism

These are just a few of the major categories under the professional-photography banner.

With all of this in mind, it's time to narrow down the list of photography courses that will prepare you for the route you want to take. Most of the types on our short list require a college degree or extensive training in an academy setting. This is true for industrial and scientific photographers.

News photographers don't necessarily need a degree but many large publications and media companies do have this requirement. It is also possible to get the necessary training in a technical school or a two-year program for many photography careers.

Another path has developed for those who want to pursue a career in photography. Good online courses are now available. Some art schools and universities offer an online version of their photography program.

Some Excellent Examples of Photography Schools

One example of a school that offers professional photography courses is New York School of Photography. This school has complete programs that prepare you to run your own photography business, with an emphasis on the digital process.

Schools such as Ashworth and Stratford provide education for the hopeful pro through carefully designed online programs. Brooks School of Photography (Brooks Institute) is well known for its courses in photography, film-making, journalism and related areas.

The Academy of Art University in San Francisco has been offering degree programs at the bachelor and masters level for almost a century.

The London School of Photography has day and evening schedules throughout the year. As the school's Web site states,

"Whether you are a total beginner or a technical savvy, our state-of-the-art photography training gives you the knowledge and hands-on practical experience to succeed as a Freelance Professional Photographer..."

Nashville's International School of Design and Technology features a professional photography college "to help you plan for career opportunities in the field..."

This school and others like it cover all of the skills you will need to succeed:

  • lenses
  • lighting
  • digital data
  • studio settings
  • outdoor photography
  • portfolio development
  • business skills and so on

Things to Consider...

Consider the size of the school and the cost of tuition when you are deciding which professional photography courses are right for you. The New York school mentioned above may have as many as 20,000 students at any one time.

Tuition may cost several thousand dollars!

Online photography courses can be less expensive. You may be able to find the training you need in single courses that cost a few hundred dollars.

Try listing your goals and objectives so that you have some guidelines for uncovering the right professional photography courses for you.