Education

Best Digital Photography Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Digital Photography programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Digital photography is the process of taking and storing digital photographs. Digital photographs are taken with a digital camera, and stored on a computer or other digital storage device. Digital photography degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in photography, including photojournalism, portrait photography, and wedding photography.

Digital photography degrees offer a broad overview of photography, covering topics such as digital camera basics, photo editing, and photo printing. Students in digital photography degree programs learn about the different aspects of taking and storing digital photographs. They also learn about the business side of photography, including marketing and copyright law.

How to Choose the Right Digital Photography Program

When it comes to choosing a digital photography program, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, consider the cost of the program. Tuition can vary considerably from school to school, so it’s important to do your research. You’ll also want to consider the location of the school. If you plan to study on-campus, you’ll need to factor in the cost of living in the area. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the length of the program. Full-time students can usually earn their degree in four years, but part-time students may require more time to complete their coursework.

You’ll also want to consider the curriculum of the program. Most programs will require you to take general education courses in addition to your photography courses. However, some programs may allow you to specialize in a particular area of photography, such as portrait photography or photojournalism. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the program you choose is accredited. This will ensure that your degree will be recognized by employers.

Finally, you’ll want to consider your career goals. If you plan to pursue a career in photography, you’ll want to choose a program that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. If you’re not sure what you want to do with your degree, you may want to consider a program that will give you a well-rounded education in the field.

Best Bachelor’s in Digital Photography Programs

The best programs for Digital Photography ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Webster University
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Arts in Photography from Webster University prepares students for a career in photography. Students learn to be technically proficient, versatile, imaginative and capable of working in a variety of photographic fields and environments. Photography majors graduate with a solid grounding in the aesthetic and the communicative aspects of the medium. Students take courses in a variety of formats, materials and technical environments while becoming familiar with a variety of approaches (journalistic, commercial/editorial and scientific).

Rank 2
University of Georgia
Athens, GA

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from University of Georgia is a highly selective program that typically has just forty undergraduate students. The program provides a comprehensive study of the art of photography, including its processes and technology, history, criticism, contemporary practices, and the expressive potential of its unique visual language. Students in the program benefit from one-on-one attention from faculty, small class sizes, and ample opportunities to experiment with their work.

Rank 3
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art – Digital Photography degree from Arizona State University is a great choice for students who want to pursue a career in photography. The program emphasizes contemporary, creative and expressive forms of digital photography, and students will learn how to improve their technique while growing their understanding of aesthetics and conceptual thinking.

Rank 4
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art (Digital Photography) from Arizona State University is a distance-based studio program that emphasizes contemporary, creative, and expressive forms of photography. In this program, students learn the relationships between technique, concept, and aesthetics and how each element contributes to meaning in the photographic image.

Rank 5
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Digital Studio at Oregon State University is a four-year program that focuses on developing individual expression through photography. Students learn to use traditional darkroom techniques as well as the latest concepts and technologies in digital photography, digital printing, exhibition techniques, studio lighting, and video-art. The program also emphasizes inclusion, diversity and equity, and encourages students to use their mastery of technical skills and aesthetics to develop their own visual “voice” – creating and framing their personal and professional work within the historical, theoretical and ethical contexts of the medium.

Rank 6
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts from Florida International University offers a balance of practical and technical training, with an emphasis on fine arts. Students will take courses in motion graphics, prototype design, digital fabrication, digital photography, and digital audiovisual artworks. In order to progress into upper-division BFA in Digital Arts Major courses, students must complete the four lower division foundation courses with a minimum GPA of 2.75. These courses include 2D Design, 3D Design, Beginning Drawing, and Beginning Figure Drawing.

Rank 7
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Millersville, PA

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Millersville University of Pennsylvania focuses on the value, function and perception of fine art photography. Students refine their skills as artists while considering the value, function and perception of fine art photography. The program covers black and white, color, non-traditional and digital as working methods for the creative photographer.

Rank 8
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Fort Hays State University is a well-rounded program that helps students develop their creative skills and produce work that demonstrates critical and creative thinking. The program provides a solid foundation in art history, as well as knowledge of art theories, contexts, and art/design works. Students will also learn to collaborate with peers and faculty to improve their ideas, concepts, and projects.

Rank 9
Concordia University
Mequon, WI

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Concordia University is a four-year program that prepares students for a career in photography. The program offers a wide range of photography courses, including photographic composition, camera usage, studio and natural lighting, editing, and image presentation. Students will develop the ability to photograph a wide array of subject matter with personal intent and professional standards. In addition to photography courses, students will complete classes in the liberal arts core curriculum, their chosen minor, and foundational art classes throughout their bachelor’s in photography studies.

Rank 10
Dallas Baptist University
Dallas, TX

The Bachelor of Arts in Art: Digital Photography degree from Dallas Baptist University is a 120-credit hour program that prepares students for careers in photography and graphic design. The program includes coursework in photography, drawing, design, and business. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship in art.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Digital Photography Program

Students in a bachelor’s in digital photography program learn how to take and edit photographs using industry-standard software. They also develop an understanding of the history of photography, the technical aspects of cameras and lenses, and the business side of the industry.

Most programs require students to complete between 120 and 130 credits, which takes full-time students four years to finish. In addition to coursework, students might also have to complete internships and/or capstone projects.

Prospective students should have some natural ability with photography, as well as basic computer skills. They should also be comfortable working with a variety of software programs.

Common Digital Photography Courses

A digital photography degree program will typically offer a wide range of courses covering the many facets of this field. The list below contains five examples of courses that might be found in a digital photography degree program.

History of Photography

This course covers the history of photography from its earliest beginnings to the present day. Emphasis is placed on the technical, aesthetic, and social aspects of photography as they have evolved over time. Topics include the invention of photography, the camera, early photographers and their work, the development of photographic processes and materials, the rise of photojournalism, and the impact of digital technology on photography. Upon completion, students should be able to trace the history of photography and understand the social and cultural context in which it has operated.

Tools and Techniques of Photography

This course covers the use of digital cameras, software, and accessories to create, edit, and output digital photographs. Topics include an introduction to digital photography, an overview of digital camera types and features, an introduction to image editing software, an introduction to digital workflow, and an introduction to imaging output options. Upon completion, students should be able to operate a digital camera, perform basic image editing tasks, and understand digital workflow and output options.

Photojournalism

This course covers the history and aesthetics of photojournalism with an emphasis on the ethical issues surrounding its practice. Students will learn about the different genres of photojournalism and the appropriate techniques for each, as well as the business side of the profession. Students will have the opportunity to put their skills to the test by completing a photojournalism project. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of photojournalism to create a compelling photo story.

Digital Photography

This course covers the foundations of digital photography including an introduction to the history of photography, the physics of light and optics, digital imaging technologies, and software applications used in the field. Topics include still images, digital cameras, lenses, file formats, color management, resolution, scanning, and printing. Emphasis is placed on understanding and using the basic controls of a digital camera to produce quality images, downloading and storing digital images, and using imaging software to manipulate digital images. Upon completion, students should be able to operate a digital camera, download and store digital images, and use imaging software to manipulate digital images.

Lighting & Studio Photography

This course covers advanced lighting techniques using studio strobes, hot lights, and natural light. Topics include light quality and quantity, color temperature, metering, lighting ratios, reflectors, diffusers, light modifiers, and special effects. Emphasis is placed on developing advanced lighting skills to create images with impact and emotion. Upon completion, students should be able to apply advanced lighting techniques to create images with a desired mood, feeling, and message.

Career Options for Digital Photography Graduates

Graduates of digital photography programs work in a variety of industries, including photography, graphic design, and advertising. They may also work in fields such as web design, video production, and media.

Wedding Photographer

Wedding photographers are responsible for capturing the memories of one of the most important days in a couple’s life. They work with the bride and groom to plan out the photography for the big day, and then they spend the wedding day itself taking pictures of the ceremony, the reception, the guests, and the happy couple. After the wedding, they edit the photos and deliver them to the newlyweds.

Photojournalist

Photojournalists are visual storytellers. They use their cameras to capture images that tell a news story or document an event. Photojournalists work for newspapers, magazines, online news outlets, and other organizations that need visual content. They may be assigned to cover a specific event, such as a presidential inauguration or a local sports game. Or they may work on long-term projects, such as documenting the effects of climate change or the lives of people living in poverty. Photojournalists must be able to tell a story with their images and often work under tight deadlines.

Photo Editor

Photo editors are responsible for the visual style of a publication, website, or other digital platform. They select and curate photos, often working with photographers, to tell a story or capture a feeling. A photo editor might be responsible for the photos that appear in a magazine article, on a company’s social media feed, or in an online ad campaign. In addition to finding and selecting photos, photo editors often have to do some basic editing, like cropping or color-correcting. They also may be responsible for captioning the photos or coming up with creative ways to present them.

Director Of Photography

A director of photography (DP) is the chief over the camera and lighting crews working on a film, television show, or other video production. The DP is responsible for the overall look of the project, and works with the director to determine what that look should be. The DP also works with the gaffer (chief lighting technician) and grip (chief camera technician) to execute the vision. On set, the DP is in charge of making sure the actors are well lit and the shots are composed in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Studio Manager

Studio managers work in the music industry, overseeing the day-to-day operations of a recording studio. They’re responsible for maintaining the studio equipment, scheduling studio time, and managing the budget. Studio managers also work with the artists and producers who use the studio to ensure that they have everything they need and that the recording process runs smoothly. In some cases, studio managers may also be responsible for booking gigs or finding new clients for the studio.

Insights From a Digital Photography Graduate

Nia Hess is a freelance photographer. She has a bachelor’s degree in digital photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Nia has over 7 years of experience in photography.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Digital Photography program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Nia Hess: The biggest takeaway that I got from my Digital Photography program was an understanding of the technical side of photography. I learned about composition, lighting, and how to use a camera to create the images that I wanted to create. I also learned about the business side of photography, which has been helpful in my freelance career.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Digital Photography be good at?

Nia Hess: Students interested in digital photography should be good at visualizing the final product, be it a photo, album, or series of photos. They should also be patient as some photo shoots can take a long time, and have an eye for detail to make sure the photos are perfect.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Digital Photography program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Nia Hess: I didn’t expect the program to be as creative as it was. I thought it was going to be more technical. The program was very hands-on and I loved it.

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